Devils, Sharks Win Despite Poor Defense

Friday, March 12th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks earned wins they desperately needed, just not the way they would've liked.

Both acted very out of character and won with significant offense when their trademark defenses failed them.

New Jersey had trouble with the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, but emerged with a victory they declared they had to have, winning 6-4 at home.

``It's pretty rare for us to allow four goals,'' said Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who faced 35 shots. ``We'll take it. These are big points right now. We're moving up, and hopefully we'll get some confidence offensively.''

San Jose snapped a three-game losing streak, breaking out of a scoring slump but not looking good in its own zone in a 5-4 home victory over the slumping New York Islanders.

``It's not good enough,'' defenseman Kyle McLaren said. ``We won, but 41 shots (allowed), four goals, that's not us.''

In other NHL games, it was Boston 3, Buffalo 2 in overtime; Dallas 2, Philadelphia 2; Detroit 4, Columbus 2; Florida 3, Montreal 2 in overtime; Pittsburgh 3, Toronto 2; Nashville 1, St. Louis 1; and Calgary 4, Ottawa 2.

Patrik Elias scored two late goals, and Sergei Brylin, John Madden, Turner Stevenson and Grant Marshall also scored in the game the Devils labeled as a ``must win'' after an embarrassing home loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

``They are a young team and they somehow outworked us in our zone,'' Brodeur said of the Blackhawks.

The Sharks lost their previous three games by a combined score of 13-4. San Jose's offense broke out, but concerns remain about the play of Evgeni Nabokov, who gave up two soft goals to the slumping Islanders.

``We've given up 20 goals in the last five games, and that's way too much for my taste,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. ``Although the shot chart didn't show it, I thought we were a lot more stable on defense.''

Cliff Ronning scored two goals for the Islanders, who scored three of the seven netted in the second period. Michael Peca and Arron Asham also scored as New York's winless streak reached six games (0-3-1-2) despite outshooting San Jose 41-28.

Nils Ekman had a goal and two assists during the wild second period, and Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals for the Sharks, who chased goalie Rick DiPietro with five goals in 19 minutes spanning the second and third periods.

``Goaltending had to be better, and it wasn't tonight _ and we made a couple of glaring mistakes,'' Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. ``There were a lot of risk-reward situations, and at times, the risks did not outweigh the reward.''

The Islanders' lead over Buffalo dropped to four points in the race for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

Penguins 3, Maple Leafs 2

At Toronto, Ric Jackman, Rico Fata and Aleksey Morozov scored against backup Trevor Kidd, and Pittsburgh won its season-high fourth straight.

Pittsburgh, 6-2-1 since an 0-17-0-1 streak, won despite allowing Toronto to record a season-high 46 shots to the Penguins' 17. They have won four straight for the first time since a six-game run from Jan. 17-26, 2002.

Bruins 3, Sabres 2, OT

At Buffalo, N.Y., Mike Knuble scored his 20th goal of the season 1:15 into overtime, lifting Boston.

Jiri Slegr and Martin Lapointe also scored for the Bruins, who extended their unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1).

Flyers 2, Stars 2

At Philadelphia, Brenden Morrow's goal with 35 seconds left in regulation lifted Dallas into a tie.

Rob DiMaio scored his 100th NHL goal for Dallas, 8-1-2 in its last 11 games.

Marcus Ragnarsson and Tony Amonte scored for Philadelphia, which moved within two points of Tampa Bay for first place in the East.

Red Wings 4, Blue Jackets 2

At Columbus, Ohio, Brett Hull snapped a tie midway through the third period and Detroit stretched its unbeaten streak to six games.

Jason Williams, a healthy scratch the previous 20 games, scored twice for Detroit, winners of eight of 11.

Curtis Joseph made 31 saves in his first start for Detroit since missing 11 games with a sprained right ankle.

Blues 1, Predators 1

At St. Louis, the visiting Predators, seeking their first playoff berth, remained one point ahead of the Blues for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

Kimmo Timonen scored for Nashville, and Eric Weinrich connected for St. Louis, which has been in the playoffs 24 straight years, the longest current streak in major league sports.

Panthers 3, Canadiens 2, OT

At Montreal, Olli Jokinen scored his second goal of the game 1:19 into overtime for Florida.

Josh Olson also scored for Florida in his NHL debut.

Yanic Perreault and Francis Bouillon had goals for the Canadiens, who earned a point for the ninth time in 10 games (8-1-0-1).

Flames 4, Senators 2

At Calgary, Alberta, Ville Nieminen's second goal in two games lifted the host Flames.

Marcus Nilson had two goals and Krzysztof Oliwa also scored for the Flames.

Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat scored for Ottawa.