Rangers 4, Flames 3
Henrik Lundqvist raised his arms in a game-ending celebration as if it were playoff series clincher. It likely felt that way for the New York goalie as the Rangers snapped a brutal four-game losing streak.
Lundqvist made 28 saves in relief of Ondrej Pavelec, who injured his knee during the first period of an eventual victory over Calgary on Friday night.
Lundqvist replaced Pavelec to start the second and made 19 saves that period then stopped all nine shots in the third to secure the win, his team's first since Jan. 25 at San Jose before the All-Star break. It was most saves Lundqvist ever made in a relief appearance.
"We've been losing a lot of one-goal games, which means we are one play away, we are one save away, one goal away from getting points," said Lundqvist, who won in relief for the third time in his 13-year career with the Rangers. "Tonight we got that goal, we got that save in the end to keep the lead."
Mika Zibanejad scored the go-ahead goal on a power play at 12:41 of the third period off a cross-ice pass from J.T. Miller. It was Zibanejad's 16th goal of the season.
The Rangers ended Calgary's three-game winning streak. New York had lost 10 of its last 13 games to fall out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Rangers forward Rick Nash, likely to be traded by the Feb. 26 deadline because of his expiring contract, tied it at 3 at 6:41 of the third with his 17th goal of the season. Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes also scored.
Matthew Tkachuk put Calgary ahead 3-2 with his 18th goal of the season at 18:27 of the second on a power play. Brett Kulak had his first NHL goal, and Curtis Lazar also scored for the Flames.
The Flames (28-19-8) had won the first two games of their six-game trip, beating New Jersey 3-2 on Thursday night. Their coach Glen Gulutzan was not happy with his team's performance especially seeing his team outshot 20-8 in the first period.
"Just the way we played and the way we approached the game. I thought we were terrible in the first and took way too many penalties," he said. "We got what we deserved. We weren't ready to play."
Grabner put the Rangers ahead 2-1 at 11:52 of the second when the puck deflected off Calgary defenseman Giordano and went past goalie Mike Smith. Grabner has a team-high 22 goals.
Lazar quickly tied the contest for the Flames with his first of the season at 12:37, nudging the puck past Lundqvist when the goaltender went for a poke check attempt.
Hayes opened the scoring for the Rangers, knocking in a rebound on the power-play at 7:53 of the first period.
The Rangers (26-24-5) seemed to come out with relieved purpose a day after the organization released a letter to fans asking them to bear with a potential rebuild ahead with the league's trade deadline looming in just over two weeks.
Vigneault said he still believes his squad can make the playoffs - though the roster he will be working with remains to be determined.
"If I were a player, I would be looking at the standings, seeing that we're three points out of the playoffs. You can be sure I'd be coming ready, coming out and working hard," he said. "I think that's what we've been doing."
Nash figures to be the most prominent player to depart since his contract is expiring. The 33-year-old forward needs two points to reach 800 in his NHL career. He scored a career-high 42 goals for the Rangers three seasons ago.
Even though the Rangers outshot the Flames so widely in the opening period, Calgary still managed the tie the contest at 1 when Kulak scored his first NHL goal at 18:15.
Vigneaul said Pavelec would be evaluated on Saturday and any roster decisions would be determined before the team leaves for Winnipeg and the start of a four-game trip.
With Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh out against the Flames with an upper body injury, two defensemen made their debuts for the Rangers — Neal Pionk and John Gilmour. Both were recalled from AHL Hartford.
The Rangers also continued to be without injured defensemen Marc Staal and Kevin Shattenkirk as well as forwards Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey.
Islanders 7, Red Wings 6 (OT)
Down by three goals with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third period, New York needed a break.
Tyler Bertuzzi swung his stick and gave it to them Friday night.
The Detroit forward drew a major game misconduct for slashing and the Islanders took full advantage by quickly scoring four times on the power play. Brock Nelson then scored his third goal of the game 3:15 into overtime and New York, boosted by rookie Mathew Barzal's five assists, emerged with a wild win over the Red Wings.
"That was a roller coaster of a game," Barzal said.
The Islanders were down 5-2 when Bertuzzi was penalized for slashing Cal Clutterbuck with 6:33 remaining.
Nelson, Anders Lee, Nick Leddy and Josh Bailey scored in a span of 3:37 for a 6-5 lead. The four power-play goals in the third period set a franchise record.
Bailey's goal gave New York its first lead of the game with 1:49 left in regulation. But Mike Green's sixth of the season with 29 seconds remaining forced overtime.
Nelson completed his second career hat trick with his 14th goal, assisted by Barzal, and sent Detroit to its third straight loss.
The Islanders had allowed an NHL-high 200 goals this season going into the game. They also had scored 181, third most in the league.
"It's good to have (our offense) in our back pocket," Bailey said. "But I think we're a better team when we're the ones controlling the pace and making the other team chase the game a little bit."
Barzal became the first rookie in NHL history to have a pair of five-assist games in a season. It was also his third five-point game, the first rookie in 100 years to accomplish that feat. Joe Malone did it in the NHL's first season (1917-18).
Barzal is the fifth player overall to have multiple five-assist games in a season over the last 30 seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Peter Forsberg and Pat Lafontaine.
Jaroslav Halak made six saves on seven shots in the third period to pick up the win. He replaced starter Thomas Greiss, who allowed five goals on 32 shots.
Jordan Eberle also scored for New York. Anthony Mantha, Martin Frk, Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm and Niklas Kronwall scored for Detroit.
"It's not the ending we wanted," Mantha said. "Every point is important and losing one tonight like that hurts."
Added Zetterberg: "We lost a point instead of getting one."
Detroit took a 3-0 lead in the first period. Mantha scored his 17th goal 2:12 into the game, Frk followed with his 10th at 5:12 and Zetterberg snapped a rebound from the right hashmark over Greiss' glove at 14:40.
Eberle's 19th midway through the second period made it 3-1 and Nelson scored early in the third. Detroit responded with two goals in 2:12 to go ahead 5-3 after Helm's tap-in at 7:42 and Kronwall's score at 9:54. Following Kronwall's goal, New York coach Doug Weight replaced Greiss in net with Halak.
Stars 4, Penguins 3 (SO)
Tyler Seguin scored the deciding shootout goal and Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped all three Pittsburgh shooters in the tiebreaker.
Lehtonen won his fifth straight game, and stretched Dallas' winning streak to five games.
Shooting second, Seguin sent a shot off of Matt Murray's right side and into the net.
The Penguins tied it with 1:13 left in regulation on defenseman Justin Schultz's goal from above the left faceoff circle. Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Riley Sheahan and Carl Hagelin. The Stars' comeback began when Seguin scored his sixth goal in five games at 17:57 of the first period. John Klingberg and Dan Hamhuis scored early in the third period to give Dallas a 3-2 lead.
Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 2
Fourth-line center Jay Beagle put Washington ahead for good with his 50th career goal, and the Capitals continued their dominance against Columbus.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and an assist as Washington swept a home-and-home with Columbus and won its sixth straight against the Blue Jackets dating to last season.
John Carlson also scored and Braden Holtby made 35 saves.
Pierre Luc-Dubois and Artemi Panarin scored for the Blue Jackets. They have lost five straight.
Ducks 3, Oilers 2
Ryan Kesler scored early in the third period, and Anaheim held on for the win.
Corey Perry also scored and Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who are tied with San Jose and Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division with 64 points. John Gibson made 30 saves after missing four games with a lower-body injury.
Anton Slepyshev and Kris Russell scored for the Oilers, who dropped the first two games of their three-game California trip. Cam Talbot made 31 saves.
Blues 5, Jets 2
Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and St. Louis used a big push in the second period to beat Winnipeg.
Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen scored in a 7 1/2-minute span of the second, helping St. Louis open a 3-0 lead. Tarasenko added his 23nd goal in the third after Winnipeg pulled within one. Brayden Schwartz scored into an empty net and had an assist.
Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine scored for the Jets.
Kings 3, Panthers 1
Anze Kopitar scored his 22nd goal of the season, Jonathan Quick made 35 saves and Los Angeles beat Florida for its third straight victory.
Jonny Brodzinski scored the go-ahead goal, and Nick Shore also connected for the Kings.
Aaron Ekblad scored for the Panthers, and Harri Sateri made 23 saves. They had won four in a row.
Hurricanes 4, Canucks 1
Brett Pesce, Phil Di Giuseppe and Sebastian Aho scored in the first period, leading Carolina past Vancouver.
Justin Williams added his 10th in the third as Carolina stopped a three-game slide. Scott Darling made 22 saves, allowing only Michael Del Zotto's goal.
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