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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 15, 2001


Oilers hit Stars hard in win

DALLAS -- By absorbing more punishment than they gave, the Edmonton Oilers are heading home with a chance to take control of their first-round playoff series against the Stars.

Daniel Cleary, Rem Murray and Anson Carter scored power-play goals as Edmonton took out the frustrations of a 13-game losing streak in Dallas, beating the Stars 4-3 Saturday and tying their first-round series at one game apiece.

The teams left immediately for 1,700-mile flights to Edmonton, where the series resumes tonight.

"This was the game we really, really wanted to focus on to give us home-ice advantage," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We've played very well at Skyreach Center all year long and we know what an advantage our fans will give us."

The Oilers trailed 1-0 after 26 seconds on a goal by Mike Keane. But they stuck to their hard-hitting game plan and lured the Stars into being more combative than the officials allowed -- Dallas committed seven penalties in the first period and 13 for the game.

Joe Nieuwendyk was helped off the ice after being hit in the leg by hard-charging Scott Ferguson. Nieuwendyk was taken to a hospital for an MRI exam and did not return. Pushing and shoving followed, then another round of blows began when Ferguson was spotted standing alone near his bench, smirking.

Another Dallas penalty seconds later gave Edmonton a power play and Murray capitalized, putting Edmonton ahead for good, 3-2, with 1:46 left in the first period.

SABRES 4, FLYERS 3 (OT): Jay McKee managed one goal during the regular season. He matched that total to give visiting Buffalo control of its series. McKee wristed a shot past goaltender Roman Cechmanek 18:02 into overtime.

"It was the biggest goal I ever scored," said McKee, who had never scored in 27 career playoff games and had one goal in 74 games this season.

Philadelphia, which earned home ice by beating the Sabres 2-1 in Buffalo on the last day of the regular season, is 2-8 when it loses the first two games of a playoff series.

Philadelphia took a 3-2 lead by scoring two goals in 1:41 of the second.

SHARKS 1, BLUES 0: San Jose leaves St. Louis with a victory. The Blues were left with an all-too-familiar feeling.

Scott Thornton scored on a breakaway 13:52 into the second period and rookie Evgeni Nabokov made his first playoff victory a shutout as the Sharks evened their best-of-seven series.

It was the same trick San Jose pulled last year, when the Sharks lost Game1 in St. Louis before winning three straight. They wound up beating the Presidents' Trophy winners in seven games.

"I think we know it's a long series," Thornton said. "It's probably going to be a seven-game battle and tonight we just wanted to keep our composure, play a little tighter defense and keep out of the penalty box."

PENGUINS 2, CAPITALS 1: Pittsburgh is known for offensive prowess. It is showing Washington some defensive skill as well.

Mario Lemieux had a goal and an assist in the first period, scoring on his first playoff shot since 1997.

But the Pittsburgh defense won the game, holding the Capitals to one goal for the second straight game.

"We turned the tables on them a little bit," Lemieux said. "We put a lot of pressure on them."

Many Penguins fans, who often turn out in large numbers for games in Washington, were shut out when Washington majority owner/chairman Ted Leonsis installed a program on the team's Web site that blocked Pittsburgh area fans from purchasing tickets.

RED WINGS 4, KINGS 0: It didn't take long for Sergei Fedorov to show how he planned to help make up for the loss of Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan.

Fedorov scored two minutes into the game, assisted on the second goal seven minutes later and even did some checking and shot-blocking for host Detroit, which has won 13 straight first-round games, breaking a record by the Edmonton Oilers from 1983-86.

Los Angeles has lost 14 straight post-season games since the 1993 Stanley Cup final.

Detroit coach Scotty Bowman shuffled his lineup with one less forward and an extra defenseman to compensate for the loss of Yzerman (sprained ankle, expected back for Game4) and Shanahan (broken foot, out indefinitely).

Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios, out with a broken thumb since March17, returned.

MAPLE LEAFS 3, SENATORS 0: Curtis Joseph made 37 saves for his second shutout in less than 24 hours and Gary Roberts scored twice for visiting Toronto.

On Friday night, Joseph stopped 36 shots as Toronto opened the Eastern Conference series with a 1-0 victory on Mats Sundin's overtime goal.

"We haven't won anything yet. It's always tough to close out a series," said Joseph, who extended his playoff shutout streak against Ottawa to 166 minutes, 50 seconds.

Sergei Berezin opened the scoring 2:49 into the game, beating goalie Patrick Lalime with a shot from the blue line.

Roberts got his pass back off Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden's skate and jammed in a goal at 9:15 of the second.

Roberts intercepted rookie Karel Rachunek's pass behind the net and beat Lalime at 7:12 of the third period.

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