Ryan Smyth made a big impression in two games. Unfortunately, both were losses. Lee Stempniak's power-play goal 25 seconds into overtime gave St. Louis a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over New York on Thursday night in Smyth's debut on Long Island.
Smyth, acquired from Edmonton on Tuesday, assisted on Mike Sillinger's first-period goal, and played a key role in Marc-Andre Bergeron's second-period score. After the net was knocked off its moorings, Smyth used his skate to push it back in place just before Bergeron's shot deflected in.
``Blakey (Jason Blake) said he ran into it when he tried to stuff a shot,'' Smyth said. ``I just tried to put it back on.''
Smyth was also conspicuous by his absence in Edmonton, where the Oilers fell 5-0 to the Minnesota Wild. It was the second straight listless performance from the Oilers since essentially giving up the playoff pursuit with Smyth's trade to the Islanders.
Third-string goalie Josh Harding stopped 30 shots for Minnesota, Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik had two goals and an assist apiece, and Branko Radivojevic also scored.
The Oilers have now lost three in a row and look a far cry from the squad that made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish admits the Oilers are struggling.
``There has been a sense of futility the last two nights,'' he said. ``It's frustrating to be in the situation we are in right now. It is going to be hard to battle through it mentally.''
In other NHL games Thursday night it was Philadelphia 4, Boston 3, OT; Tampa Bay 5, Washington 4 in a shootout; Pittsburgh 4, N.Y. Rangers 3 in a shootout; Florida 2, Dallas 1, OT; Colorado 6, Chicago 1; Vancouver 4, Phoenix 3; and Los Angeles 4, Anaheim 3, OT.
Smyth, who earned a warm welcome from the crowd of 12,263, assisted on the opening goal by Sillinger. Skating down the left side, he centered a pass to Sillinger, who faked Curtis Sanford down with a forehand move and tucked a backhander into the open net.
``I was nervous and excited in the same breath,'' Smyth said. ``I was waiting for the Canadian anthem to be played.''
Rick DiPietro stopped 36 shots, but took the penalty at the end of regulation that led to the overtime goal.
Stempniak had an open shot from the left circle off a pass from Eric Brewer and beat DiPietro to the far corner to give the Blues their sixth win in seven games (6-1-0).
DiPietro leads all NHL goalies with 22 penalty minutes. He chose not to meet with the media after the game.
The overtime point left the Islanders in sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Atlanta and one point ahead of Montreal. New York ended a seven-game homestand with a 5-2-0 mark, with the last five of those games decided by one goal.
``It's a valuable point,'' Sillinger said. ``But for the last few games, we've had a two-goal lead and let other teams tie it up. We have to correct that, and do it quickly.''
Penguins 4, Rangers 3, SO
At New York, Sidney Crosby scored the only goal of the shootout, and Pittsburgh used three special-teams goals in the third period to rally.
Pittsburgh erased a two-goal deficit with back-to-back short-handed goals by Jordan Staal and Colby Armstrong, and forced overtime with defenseman Sergei Gonchar's goal with 6 minutes left in regulation.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves in his second straight strong start following a benching. Michael Nylander, Jaromir Jagr and Blair Betts scored in regulation for the Rangers.
Panthers 2, Stars 1, OT
At Sunrise, Fla., Olli Jokinen scored a power-play goal in overtime to lift Florida. Jokinen's shot from the point beat Mike Smith at 2:11. It was the third consecutive overtime win for the Panthers. The Panthers have been in overtime in five of their past six games.
Jozef Stumpel also scored for Florida. Ed Belfour stopped 33 shots.
Darryl Sydor scored for Dallas.
Lightning 5, Capitals 4, SO
At Washington, Nick Tarnasky scored the lone shootout goal in the 10th round and goalie Johan Holmqvist was perfect during the tiebreaker to lift Tampa Bay over Washington.
Martin St. Louis scored to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead with 3:18 left in regulation, but Alexander Semin tied it with 10.9 seconds left on a left-post attempt that went in off defenseman Nolan Pratt's stick. The Capitals had pulled goalie Brent Johnson and had a 6-on-3 advantage.
Vaclav Prospal, Ruslan Fedotenko and Lecavalier also scored in regulation for the Lightning in the first game of a six-game trip.
Shaone Morrisonn, Alex Ovechkin and Matt Pettinger also had goals in regulation for the Capitals.
Flyers 4, Bruins 3, OT
At Boston, Scottie Upshall scored with 9.9 seconds left in overtime and Philadelphia snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Boston, which got 51 saves from Tim Thomas.
Joni Pitkanen, R.J. Umberger and Mike Richards had the Flyers' other goals.
Mark Mowers ended his stretch of 27 games without a goal by scoring a pair for Boston, and defenseman Zdeno Chara got his 10th of the season.
Martin Biron, acquired from Buffalo on Tuesday for a second-round pick in the 2007 draft, made 34 saves in his Flyers debut.
Avalanche 6, Blackhawks 1
At Chicago, Brad Richardson had a goal and an assist, and Peter Budaj stopped 23 shots in Colorado's victory. Brett McLean, Tyler Arnason, Ken Klee, Mark Rycroft and Jeff Finger also scored for Colorado.
Richardson was credited with a goal in the first period following an unusual, delayed video review. The teams continued to skate for 1 minute, 54 seconds after Richardson slid and knocked the puck into the net at 7:43 because no whistle sounded and the puck bounded back into play.
Tuomo Ruutu scored for the Blackhawks.
Kings 4, Ducks 3, OT
At Los Angeles, Jamie Lundmark tied the game with 8:49 left in the third period and Michael Cammalleri got the winner on a power play at 3:17 of overtime.
Alexander Frolov and Raitis Ivanans also scored for the Kings.
Dustin Penner and Scott Niedermayer had power play-goals for Anaheim, and Andy McDonald also found the net for the Ducks.
Canucks 4, Coyotes 3
Canucks captain Markus Naslund scored with 4:14 left in the third period to send host Vancouver past Phoenix.
Vancouver's Daniel Sedin tied the game with his second goal _ both on passes from twin Henrik _ on a power play 5:46 into the third period.
Jeff Cowan also scored and Roberto Luongo made 21 saves for his career-high 36th win of the season.
Bill Thomas had two goals for the Coyotes, and Shane Doan had one.