Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001
PITTSBURGH -- Mario Lemieux had the first three-goal game of his recently resumed career Wednesday night, a natural hat trick that carried the suddenly defensive Penguins to a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Lemieux, responding to cheers of "Mar-i-ooo, Mar-i-ooo" from the 13th consecutive sellout crowd to watch him during his comeback, scored in each period for his 40th career three-goal game.
Only Wayne Gretzky, with 50 career hat tricks, has more in NHL history. Lemieux went into retirement in 1997 tied with Mike Bossy at 39.
Lemieux's last game with three or more goals was at Montreal on Jan. 26, 1997, when he tied an NHL record with four goals in the third period.
Since he returned Dec. 27, Lemieux has 14 goals and 26 points in 13 games, a two-points-per-game pace that nearly matches his career average of 2.006.
Penguins goaltender Garth Snow was working on his second consecutive shutout -- he beat the Blackhawks 4-0 Sunday night -- until Montreal rookie Eric Chouinard scored his first career goal at 17:48 of the third.
Montreal was determined to take away open ice from the Penguins. It dropped its forwards back into the neutral zone whenever possible, stalling their offense but limiting the Penguins' breakaway chances. The strategy mostly worked -- except against Lemieux.
CAPITALS 2, PANTHERS 1: Peter Bondra had both goals for host Washington. His winner, with 11:46 left to break a tie, was his second in two nights. He scored the winner in a 5-2 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday.
Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig made a number of tough stops and finished with 31 saves. Florida ranked last in the Eastern Conference and next-to-last in the NHL in goals, but the Panthers came up with several scoring chances, including a pair of near-breakaways while short-handed in the second period.
Mike Sillinger tied it for Florida with 10:12 left in the second, putting the rebound of Viktor Kozlov's shot past Kolzig, who was diving.
Roberto Luongo had 23 saves, keeping the Panthers in the game when Washington pressured early.
RED WINGS 4, PREDATORS 3: Defenseman Mathieu Dandenault had a goal and an assist as host Detroit won for the first time in three games. Nashville ended a three-game winning streak.
Detroit defenseman Larry Murphy played in his 1,600th career game. He is the second player in NHL history to play in that many, second to former Red Wing Gordie Howe, who played in 1,767. Murphy had an assist on a goal by Martin Lapointe.
Detroit captain Steve Yzerman had two assists, tying Phil Esposito for sixth place on the all-time points list with 1,590.
HURRICANES 3, RANGERS 2: Niclas Wallin, David Tanabe and Martin Gelinas turned a 1-0 deficit around with second-period goals for visiting Carolina.
New York had a season-high five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) snapped. It gave up the tying and go-ahead goals 29 seconds apart in the second.
Rich Pilon and Brad Smyth had the Rangers' goals. Neither had scored since 1997. Smyth, the AHL's leading scorer when he was called up Sunday, had played 13 NHL games since his last goal.
BRUINS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1: Jason Allison, scoreless in his 14 previous games, scored the winner for visiting Boston in the third. Mats Sundin scored for Toronto, which has five wins in its past 19 games.
AVALANCHE: Forward Adam Deadmarsh tested his sprained left knee in a 20-minute skate and said, "I don't feel that great, and the knee didn't feel that good."
Deadmarsh knocked knees with Vancouver left wing Todd Bertuzzi in a game Jan. 18. He has missed the past two games. Colorado plays Chicago on Friday. Deadmarsh said he will decide whether he will play.
BLUES: Rookie goalie Brent Johnson, who leads the league with a 1.70 goals-against average, has joined the team's lengthy injury list.
Johnson, the backup to Roman Turek, twisted his left knee in warmups for Wednesday's game at Montreal. Johnson, who has a 16-3 record and is tied in victories with Turek, was supposed to start. He is listed as day to day.
The Blues recalled goalie Dwayne Roloson from Worcester of the AHL under emergency conditions.
St. Louis also is without defenseman Chris Pronger, the NHL MVP last season, who had knee surgery Tuesday; forwards Pavol Demitra (eye) and Michal Handzus (abdominal surgery); and defenseman Sean Hill (groin).
CANUCKS: Forward Andrew Cassels will be sidelined up to six weeks with a broken big toe on his right foot. He was hit by a shot from St. Louis' Al MacInnis in a game Saturday. MacInnis' slapshot has been clocked at more than 100 mph.
PENGUINS: Lemieux's contract calls for a prorated payment of $789,300 for the regular season, plus as much as $1.3-million in bonuses, players association spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said.
Lemieux, the team's owner, is making the league's average salary of $1.4-million, prorated from Dec. 27, the day he returned to the active roster after a 31/2-year retirement. He can make the whole bonus if the Penguins win the Stanley Cup and he is named Most Valuable Player of the regular season and playoffs, Weatherdon said.
Lemieux negotiated the agreement with the Penguins management committee. He did not have the help of Pittsburgh-based agents Tom and Steve Reich, who negotiated his other player contracts.
Penguins spokesman Steve Bovino referred questions about the contract to Lemieux, who did not return repeated telephone calls from Bloomberg News.
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