Rangers win battle for Eastern top spot: NHL roundup
Ference likely to hear from NHL over hit, Red Wings extend home win streak to 16
BOSTON — The New York Rangers finally broke their power-play drought with just 3.6 seconds to spare. Ryan McDonagh wasn't around to help them celebrate.
After Andrew Ference was ejected for sending McDonagh crashing into the boards in overtime, Marian Gaborik scored a third-try goal and the Rangers beat Boston 3-2 on Saturday in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
"We don't care about first place, the division, the conference," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We are just trying to play the right way."
Ference was given a five-minute major and game misconduct. Both teams said they expect the NHL to review the hit, and a suspension is possible.
"It was one of the most dangerous hits I've seen in a while," Tortorella said. "Nothing needs to be said about what has to be done."
McDonagh remained on the ice for a few minutes before he skated off with a trainer. The Rangers wouldn't specify the injury except to say it was to his upper body.
"The five minutes, obviously, didn't help the team, but on top of that you just hope you didn't put a guy in a bad spot," said Ference, who scored for the second consecutive game. "It's a bad feeling both ways."
Bruins coach Claude Julien defended his defenceman, saying the hit was more damaging because McDonagh was off-balance.
"Andrew Ference is not a dirty player," Julien said. "He's a guy who is trying to support what the league is trying to do as far as preventing injuries."
The Rangers (30-12-4) are now two points ahead of Boston (30-13-2). The Bruins have a game in hand, and will cash that in on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.
DETROIT — Valtteri Filppula scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings their 16th straight home victory, 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The 16-game home winning streak tied Detroit with the 1975-76 Boston Bruins for the fourth-longest home winning streak in NHL history.
Niklas Kronwall and Nicklas Lidstrom scored for the Red Wings in regulation, and Jimmy Howard made 17 saves. Ryan Russell and Nikita Nikitin scored for Columbus, and Curtis Sanford stopped 29 shots.
The teams traded power-play goals in the second period.
Lidstrom tied it at two, with 8:57 left in the period when his slapshot from the point bounced off the end boards and deflected in off Sanford's pads for Lidstrom's 10th goal.
Nikitin gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead 8:43 into the period with a wrist shot from the high slot. Russell opened the scoring 8:51 into the game with his second goal. He put in a rebound off the heel of Howard's glove.
Kronwall tied it with 8:26 left in the first period when he beat Sanford from the high slot off the rush. It was Kronwall's 11th goal.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — John Tavares scored his second goal of the game 3:58 into overtime, and the New York Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 for their third straight win.
Tavares scored his 19th goal of the season after extending his career-best point streak to 12 games with a second-period goal. Tavares has eight goals and 13 assists during his streak, the longest in the NHL this season.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 32 shots for the Islanders (19-21-6), who have won four of five and five of seven. It was also the fourth straight win for Nabokov, a season high for Islanders goalies.
Jeff Skinner gave Carolina a 1-0 lead in the first period.
New York has allowed only four goals in four games. The Islanders won at Philadelphia and Washington this week after losing at home to Nashville on Monday.
NASHVILLE — Sergei Kostitsyn, Kevin Klein and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist to help the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2.
The Predators have won seven of their last eight and 10 of 12. Nashville also ended Chicago's winning streak at three. The Blackhawks had earned points in seven straight games.
Craig Smith and Colin Wilson also scored, and Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for Nashville.
Marian Hossa scored twice for Chicago.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 32nd goal, Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie each had a goal and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 for their third straight victory.
Dwayne Roloson made 33 saves and improved to 7-10-2 with his first win since Nov. 17 against Pittsburgh.
Teddy Purcell also scored for Tampa Bay.
Lauri Korpikoski, Keith Yandle and Ray Whitney scored for Phoenix.
ST. LOUIS — David Backes had two goals and two assists, and Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
The Blues are 8-0-1 in January, earning 17 of 18 points, and Halak is 11-0-3 in his past 14 starts.
St. Louis is an NHL-best 21-3-3 at home and has 64 points overall, one fewer than Western Conference-leading Detroit.
Buffalo, which dropped its 12th straight on the road and fifth in a row overall, is 2-7-1 in January.
B.J. Crombeen and David Perron also scored for the Blues, and Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie each added two assists for St. Louis.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Cal Clutterbuck, Chad Rau and Kyle Brodziakscored goals during a 59-second span of the second period, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars 5-2.
Dany Heatley added a goal and two assists, and Devin Setoguchi also scored for Minnesota (23-18-7), 3-11-4 over the past 18 games. Josh Harding made 22 saves.
Eric Nystrom and Philip Larsen scored for the Stars (24-21-2), who are 1-5-1 the last seven games. Kari Lehtonen, who was pulled after giving up four second-period goals, made 15 saves. Richard Bachman stopped six shots in the third period for the Stars.
LOS ANGELES — Peter Mueller had the go-ahead goal in the fifth game of his inspirational comeback, Cody McLeod scored on a breakaway and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 25 saves, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick came up short on his 26th birthday after stopping 28 shots. Colorado's other goal was by Gabriel Landeskog on a power play with 1:57 to play. The Kings have scored fewer than three goals in 20 of Quick's 21 losses this season, including overtimes and shootouts.
The regulation loss was only the second by the Kings in 16 games since Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as coach (8-2-6). The other one was a 1-0 defeat against Columbus in which Quick a season-low 18 shots.