|Tempers flare between Montreal’s Scott Gomez (left) and Flyer Chris Pronger. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)|
Ilya Kovalchuk made his first goal with the slumping Devils a big one, snapping a third-period tie to lead New Jersey to a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators last night in Newark, N.J.,
Acquired in a blockbuster trade with Atlanta last week, Kovalchuk took a pass from Patrik Elias and beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne with a snap shot from between the circles at 8:24 of the final period.
The fans roared and quickly started throwing hats on the ice, something usually reserved for a hat trick. After waiting four-plus games for the high-scoring Russian to score, the action seemed appropriate.
Elias, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored, with Parise putting in the rebound of Kovalchuk’s power-play chance with 6:52 left to ice the Devils’ fifth win in 16 games (5-9-2).
Rangers 3, Penguins - Olli Jokinen scored at 1:02 of overtime to lift visiting New York over Pittsburgh.
Playing his fifth game with the Rangers since being acquired from Calgary, Jokinen skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s left shoulder.
Brandon Dubinsky and Vinny Prospal also scored for New York, which beat the Penguins for the first time in eight meetings overall and the first in eight trips to Mellon Arena.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby scored twice to establish a career high with 41 goals. He trails Washington’s Alex Ovechkin by a goal for the NHL lead.
Canucks 4, Blue Jackets 3 - Mikael Samuelsson scored on a lazy, deflected popup that wafted over goalie Steve Mason’s head, capping Vancouver’s comeback from a two-goal deficit to win in Columbus, Ohio.
In addition to Samuelsson’s goal eight minutes into the third period, Sami Salo had the tying goal earlier in the period and Nolan Baumgartner and Kyle Wellwood also scored.
Rick Nash, Jared Boll, and Raffi Torres had goals for Columbus.
Flyers 3, Canadiens 2 - Jeff Carter scored his 25th and 26th goals, and Michael Leighton made 31 saves as host Philadelphia won its third straight by holding off Montreal.
After Carter scored late in the first period and early in the second, Matt Carle made it 3-0 at 3:17 of the second. Montreal’s Glen Metropolit and Dominic Moore made it close, scoring in a 56-second span early in the third period.
Thrashers 3, Wild 2 - Niclas Bergfors scored the winning goal midway through the third period as Atlanta won in St Paul.
Bergfors took a pass from Bryan Little at the Minnesota blue line and beat Niklas Backstrom at 11:05. The perfectly placed slap shot from the right circle went over the goalie’s right shoulder and under the crossbar.
Blues 4, Maple Leafs 0 - Chris Mason made 30 saves for his second shutout of the season, and T.J. Oshie and Alexander Steen scored shorthanded goals in the second period to help host St. Louis get past Toronto.
Avalanche 2, Coyotes 1 - Rookie Matt Duchene scored his second goal with 4:16 left, Craig Anderson made 31 saves, and Colorado won its fourth straight by edging Phoenix in Denver.