Brodeur Lifts Devils Over Hurricanes

Friday, March 16th 2007, 8:00 am
By: News On 6

The New Jersey Devils were thankful to have Martin Brodeur in goal against the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes. The New York Islanders played so poorly with a backup in net, even the two-time Vezina Trophy winner wouldn't have helped much.

Brodeur stopped 38 shots, and Erik Rasmussen and Zach Parise scored third-period goals in New Jersey's 3-2 road victory over the Hurricanes on Thursday night.

``We kept things simple,'' Brodeur said. ``We're fortunate that we're not fighting for our lives right now. Right now, we just have to play solid and keep our game together.''

The Islanders are fighting for a playoff spot and took the ice at Ottawa without durable starting goalie Rick DiPietro, who had started a career-high 18 straight games, but was sidelined from injuries sustained Tuesday.

Mike Dunham took the start in his place and gave up five goals on 28 shots in the Islanders' 5-2 loss to the Senators. He was bailed out by Wade Dubielewicz, the third-stringer who came up from Bridgeport of the AHL and made his season debut.

``Mike Dunham is a great goaltender,'' Islanders forward Jason Blake said. ``It doesn't matter who's in net _ Mike, Ricky or Martin Brodeur. If you hang him out to dry, there's not much he can do back there. It wasn't his fault.''

In other NHL games, it was Philadelphia 3, Atlanta 2; Boston 4, Washington 3 in a shootout; Buffalo 5, Florida 3; Dallas 4, Calgary 2; Minnesota 2, Edmonton 1; San Jose 5, Phoenix 1; Vancouver 3, St. Louis 2 in overtime; and Chicago 4, Los Angeles 3 in a shootout.

Dunham was pressed into action for the second time in three nights after making only five appearances since Dec. 15 before DiPietro went down against Montreal on Tuesday. It was his first start since Feb. 1.

Chris Neil, Dean McAmmond and Jason Spezza scored 1:16 apart early in the third period, the fastest three goals in Senators history.

Spezza closed the spurt with his 29th at 3:16 to chase Dunham, who stopped 23 shots.

``My job is to find the way to stop pucks,'' Dunham said. ``I felt good the first two periods and then just fell apart there for the first three minutes. The puck all of a sudden just found its way into the net quickly and it got out of hand.''

Dunham also gave up five goals on 32 shots in a loss to Montreal after replacing DiPietro, who was injured in a mid-ice collision with Canadiens forward Steve Begin. He sat out Thursday with a stiff neck and general soreness.

The Islanders, who have lost four of five (1-3-1), are tied with Carolina for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 78 points, one ahead of ninth-place Toronto and two up on the New York Rangers and Montreal.

``It was unacceptable,'' forward Ryan Smyth said after New York's fourth loss in five games. ``We're in a playoff race and we've got to find a way to step up our game or we're going to be on the outside looking in.''

Scott Gomez had a goal and an assist, and Jamie Langenbrunner added two assists for the Devils, who have won three of four and remained two points behind Buffalo in the race for first in the East.

Brodeur made 22 saves in the third period and beat the Hurricanes for the third time this season.

``Marty was outstanding obviously,'' Devils coach Claude Julien said. ``We had to have a lot of guys step up for us to make that happen, and Marty was definitely one of those guys.''

Flyers 3, Thrashers 2

At Philadelphia, Stefan Ruzicka had a goal and two assists and the lowly Flyers completed a season sweep of the Southeast Division-leading Thrashers.

Geoff Sanderson had a goal and an assist, and Derian Hatcher scored for the first time in more than a year for the Flyers, the owners of the NHL's worst record (20-40-11).

Martin Biron stopped 37 shots and is 4-2-1 since the Flyers acquired him from Buffalo on Feb. 27.

Keith Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who had won six of seven but are 1-10-2 against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

Bruins 4, Capitals 3 SO

Patrice Bergeron tied it in the third period, then beat Olaf Kolzig again in the shootout for the host Bruins, who rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Washington.

Chris Clark scored a short-handed goal with 2:57 left in the second period to complete his second career hat trick and give the Capitals a 3-0 lead. But the Bruins tied it thanks to three assists from Marc Savard and a pair of power-play goals 65 seconds apart in the third session.

Kolzig returned after missing 13 games with a knee injury.

Sabres 5, Panthers 3

Ty Conklin made 42 saves in his first start for Buffalo and helped the visiting Sabres snap a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Chris Drury broke a 3-3 tie at 9:50 of the third period when he tipped in Brian Campbell's slap shot from the point. Drew Stafford scored twice for Buffalo, which hadn't won since beating Toronto on March 3. Campbell had three assists.

Nathan Horton had two goals for Florida, which lost at home in regulation for only the second time in 11 games (8-2-1). Ed Belfour, who tied a franchise record with his 22nd consecutive start, stopped 15 shots.

Wild 2, Oilers 1

Marian Gaborik scored an insurance goal 7:22 into the third period and Minnesota sent the host Oilers to their ninth straight loss.

Mark Parrish also scored for the Wild, who led 2-0 and won their fifth consecutive game.

Robert Nilsson, in his Oilers debut, had the lone goal for Edmonton, which has been outscored 34-7 during its skid that matches the second longest in club history.

Stars 4, Flames 2

At Dallas, Mike Modano moved within a goal of matching Joe Mullen for the lead among U.S.-born players, and the Stars stretched their winning streak to four games.

Modano scored his 501st career goal in the first period, then assisted on rookie Junior Lessard's power-play goal later in the frame to help the Stars improve to 16-5-4 in their last 25 games.

Matthew Lombardi had a goal and Alex Tanguay added a power-play rebound for his 20th with 2:50 left for the Flames, 1-3-1 in their last five.

Canucks 3, Blues 2, OT

Daniel Sedin scored a power-play goal 1:09 into overtime for the host Canucks, who recovered from squandering a two-goal lead in the third period.

St. Louis rallied with two goals in the final seven minutes, but Eric Brewer received a four-minute penalty for pounding on Canucks agitator Matt Cooke with 50 seconds left in regulation.

Roberto Luongo made 20 saves to become the second NHL player this season _ and 20th ever _ to win 40 games.

Sharks 5, Coyotes 1

Joe Thornton had a goal and three assists, and Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice to lift San Jose.

Bill Guerin added his team-leading 32nd goal, and Matt Carle scored his 11th for the Sharks, who won for the fifth time in six games. Cheechoo also had an assist, and Milan Michalek set up three goals for the visiting Sharks.

Travis Roche scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes, who have lost six of seven and 13 of 16.

Blackhawks 4, Kings 3, SO

At Los Angeles, Tuomo Ruutu scored the tying goal in the third period and Nikita Alexeev netted the deciding goal in the seventh round of the shootout for Chicago.

Alexeev and Denis Arkhipov scored first-period goals for the Blackhawks, who have won four of five _ two in shootouts. Nikolai Khabibulin made 24 saves.

Jamie Lundmark and Brian Willsie scored less than 3 1/2 minutes apart to erase an early two-goal deficit, and Scott Thornton also had a goal for the Kings, who have an NHL-worst 14 losses after regulation.