NHL-Highlights of Friday's NHL games


(Adds later games)

Dec 27 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League games.

- -

Bruins 5, Senators 0

Goaltender Tuukka Rask kept his team alive in the first period before the Boston Bruins woke up and went on to their eighth straight home victory.

Rask made 15 stops in the first period, finishing with 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and right winger Reilly Smith scored twice to power Boston to victory over the Ottawa Senators.

The win, fueled by four third-period goals, came in the front end of a home-and-home that ends in Ottawa on Saturday night.

- -

Blue Jackets 2, Devils 1 (SO)

Right winger Cam Atkinson scored the only goal in a shootout to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to victory over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Devils left winger Adam Henrique had the tying goal in the third period. Left winger Artem Anisimov scored for the Blue Jackets.

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur made 29 saves and Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney stopped 16 shots.

- -

Capitals 3, Rangers 2

In a tense battle between rookie goaltenders, Washington left winger Eric Fehr provided the difference, scoring with 5:09 remaining in the third period to give the Capitals a win over the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center.

Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 38 of 40 shots to improve his record to 5-1-1. His first NHL victory came against the Rangers on Dec. 8 in New York and he has been nearly flawless in six starts since then.

The Capitals (20-14-4) snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and opened a six-point lead on the Rangers (18-19-2), who had their two-game win streak snapped.

Fehr, who was playing in his 300th game for the Capitals, broke free while the teams were skating at 4-on-4 and snapped a shot past the blocker of Rangers goalie Cam Talbot, who was starting his third straight game in place of Henrik Lundqvist.

- -

Penguins 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)

Left winger James Neal scored 1:03 into overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Neal took the puck on a give-and-go from left winger Jussi Jokinen for the winning goal.

It came after a frantic third period when Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, in his first game back after sitting out five games as part of a suspension, scored with 6:45 remaining to put the Penguins ahead.

Engelland's blast trickled into the net past Carolina goalie Justin Peters. It was Engelland's third goal in 28 games this season.

- -

Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3 (SO)

Left winger Joffrey Lupul scored the only goal in the shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Buffalo Sabres who had tied the game 3-3 with 24.1 seconds left in the third period on the fifth goal of the season by center Steve Ott.

The goal that forced overtime came after a scramble around the net on a power play and with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller removed for an extra attacker. Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf had been sent off for hooking at 19:09.

Right winger Phil Kessel, defenseman Jake Gardiner and center Peter Holland scored in regulation for the Maple Leafs (19-16-5), who lost their two previous games in shootouts.

- -

Blackhawks 7, Avalanche 2

Right winger Patrick Sharp became the first player ever to score a hat trick for the Chicago Blackhawks on his birthday, scoring three goals and an assist on his 32nd birthday as his team routed the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center.

Sharp became the second Blackhawks player to score a hat trick this season, the other being center and team captain Jonathan Toews (Oct. 25 vs. Ottawa). With its seventh win in the last nine games, Chicago improved to 27-7-6 and 60 points, both second-highest in the NHL.

Sharp has been red-hot recently, scoring 13 goals in his last 14 games, and increased his points total to 40, second-best on the team. Sharp is on pace to break his single-season record of 36 goals, set in 2007-08.

Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta stopped 16 of Colorado's 18 shots.

- -

Jets 6, Wild 4

Based on their previous meetings this season, the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets seemed to be set for another low-scoring affair at the MTS Centre, but that possibility went out the window right away.

The teams combined for five goals in the first 7:04 of the contest and for seven tallies in the first period overall as the Jets (17-18-5) escaped with a victory. In three previous matchups this year, the teams had combined for 10 goals.

Winnipeg right winger Blake Wheeler banged home his second goal of the night and 14th of the season at 10:40 of the third period to lift the Jets to victory and snap a two-game losing streak.

- -

Stars 4, Predators 1

When left winger Erik Cole has multiple points, it is a good sign for the Dallas Stars. On Friday, he scored twice in a win over the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski had two assists for Dallas, who also got a 33-save performance from goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Dallas (19-12-6, 44 points) is 4-0-0 this season when Cole registers multiple points, and the veteran winger scored twice in the second period.

- -

Oilers 2, Flames 0

Edmonton Oilers left winger Ryan Smyth surprisingly only scored 24 career goals against the Calgary Flames. Not many were as ugly, yet pretty at the same time, as his first tally in Friday's victory over the Flames.

Smyth, suited up against the Flames for the 87th time in his 18-year NHL career, notched the winning tally of the night with the kind of greasy goal he is known for during his career, albeit with a twist.

Late in the first period, Smyth drove to the net in anticipation of a pass from right winger Ales Hemsky, and the puck came his way. However, the pass went right into his midsection and ricocheted past Flames goaltender Reto Berra.

The flukey tally, which was only decided to be a good goal after a lengthy review, held up the rest of the way, while Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves to record his second shutout of the season.

- -

Sharks 4, Coyotes 3 (SO)

San Jose center Patrick Marleau scored his second goal of a game in the second round of a shootout to give the Sharks victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Marleau beat Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith through the five hole to give the Sharks (24-8-6) the fourth victory in their last five games and their third straight shootout win.

Right winger David Moss had his first two-goal game of the season for the Coyotes, who have won only one of their last six games. (Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

What to Read Next