Lightning strike Sabres


Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Tampa Bay goalie Marc Denis wasn't going to let one bad goal rattle him. The Lightning didn't appear shaken either.

Denis made 32 saves and Brad Richards scored the go-ahead goal 7 minutes into the third period, in the Lightning's 3-2 win over the suddenly sloppy Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

The difference was Denis, who showed poise and provided his teammates confidence by making 16 saves after allowing the Sabres to take a 2-1 lead in the second period when Ales Kotalik sneaked a weak shot in through the goalie's legs.

"As much as you hate them, they happen every night in the NHL," Denis said, referring to cheap goals. "But it says a lot about this hockey team. Earlier in the season, a backbreaker like that, maybe the game would have been over. Tonight, it didn't phase us."

The Lightning are on a roll. Vincent Lecavalier, with his team-leading 27th, and Dan Boyle also scored in extending Tampa Bay's win streak to a season-best four games.

Tampa Bay also ended a six-game losing skid against the Sabres, and won for the first time in five trips to Buffalo, including a 7-2 loss on Nov. 20.

"We haven't gotten four in a row this year, and it's something we've got to start doing," Richards said. "And it's also a good confidence boost, winning in this building."

PANTHERS 7, CAPITALS 3

Stephen Weiss scored three goals for his first career hat trick to lead host Florida.

Jay Bouwmeester, selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team earlier in the day, had two goals and two assists for Florida. Chris Gratton and Rostislav Olesz also scored for the Panthers, and Ed Belfour had 14 saves.

Alexander Semin, Matt Pettinger and Chris Clark scored for Washington, which lost its fifth straight on the road. Olaf Kolzig gave up five goals on 41 shots before being replaced by Brent Johnson at the start of the third. Johnson made 10 saves on 12 shots.

THRASHERS 4, HURRICANES 3 (SO)

Slava Kozlov and Marian Hossa scored in the shootout to lift visiting Atlanta.

The Thrashers snapped a five-game losing streak to stretch their lead back to five points over the second-place Hurricanes in the Southeast Division.

Kozlov and Hossa scored on Atlanta's first two attempts in the shootout while Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped Carolina's Ray Whitney and Justin Williams. Lehtonen finished with 24 saves.

Bobby Holik forced the overtime with a goal from the blue line at 10:27 of the third period.

Williams and Whitney scored the first two goals for Carolina, which lost for the first time in four meetings with Atlanta this season.

CANUCKS 6, MAPLE LEAFS 1

Daniel Sedin, Mattias Ohlund, Trevor Linden, Taylor Pyatt, and Sami Salo scored power-play goals to lead visiting Vancouver.

Roberto Luongo made 35 saves for the Canucks, who have eight of nine. Vancouver, outshot 36-21, was 5-for-10 on the power play.

The Sedin twins combined for seven points, including a goal and three assists from Daniel.

Bates Battaglia scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, who are missing eight players because of injuries, including Darcy Tucker.

DEVILS 2, ISLANDERS 1 (OT)

Scott Gomez scored with 1:20 left in overtime to lift visiting New Jersey.

Patrik Elias took the puck in the Islanders zone, drew a defenseman down, and passed up to Gomez, who slid the puckpast Rick DiPietro for his eighth goal.

Miroslav Satan tied the score with 0.7 seconds left on a power play tip-in off Martin Brodeur while the Islanders were on their second power play.

John Madden the Devils' first goal and Brodeur finished with 27 saves.

DiPietro made 28 saves as the Islanders lost their third straight at home.

RED WINGS 6, BLACKHAWKS 3

Jason Williams had two goals and host Detroit beat Chicago.

Williams scored his second goal at 13:37 of the third period and was followed by Chicago's Tony Salmelainen and then Danny Markov within 50 seconds to make it 5-3. Robert Lang and Williams scored 1:42 apart in the second period for the Red Wings, then Craig MacDonald had a goal 1 minutes later to pull Chicago within a goal.

PREDATORS 4, BLUE JACKETS 1

Jerred Smithson had his first career two-goal game and visiting Nashville won its fifth straight.

Paul Kariya and Shea Weber also scored for the Predators, who have won 13 of their last 16 and all five games against Columbus this season. Scott Nichol added two assists.

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