DALLAS (AP) — James Neal shot the puck and then took a shot — one that knocked him to the ice so quickly he never saw the goal that put the Dallas Stars ahead. Then again, nobody else knew for sure it was in, either.
Neal’s shot from the middle of the right circle over the shoulder of Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin ricocheted out of the net so quickly and so far up the ice that play continued until the whistle finally blew for an apparent penalty midway through the third period.
Officials then looked at a video replay and awarded the goal.
“As soon as I got hit, I didn’t see where it ended up,” Neal said after the Stars’ 3-2 victory Tuesday night. “And there was no reaction from everybody, so we weren’t sure.”
Neal was knocked down by Jean-Francouis Jacques, and the whistle still hadn’t blown when he got back to his feet.
“It was difficult to see whether it was in. Half the guys on the bench said it was, and half of us thought it wasn’t,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said. “Thankfully, there was video review because it was in the back of the net.”
Crawford initially thought the puck went in, then wasn’t so sure when he saw a replay angle that made it appear that the puck hit the crossbar. But a view from overhead showed clearly that it was a goal.
“It was such a great shot,” said Oilers coach Tom Renney, who also thought the puck had hit the crossbar before seeing the replay.
Jamie Benn scored his third goal in two games for Dallas and captain Brenden Morrow also scored. After the Oilers tallied twice in less than 2 minutes to tie it, Neal got his 16th of the season with 11:09 left.
Jamie Langenbrunner, reacquired last week from New Jersey, played his first home game for the Stars in nearly nine years. The right wing was scoreless, but the crowd cheered loudly when he got in a fight late in the second period.
The Pacific Division-leading Stars had been 0-3-2 at home since a win over Montreal on Dec. 21. In that same span, they have set a franchise record with a seven-game road winning streak, including a 4-0 win Sunday at Minnesota when Benn scored twice.
Edmonton, which has won only one of its last 10 games (1-7-2), took a season-high 41 shots. Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 of them.
The Oilers finally scored on their 27th shot, with 14:10 left, when Jacques flicked a rebound up and over Lehtonen’s glove for his second goal of the season. On another rebound that the Stars failed to clear, Ryan Jones got his 10th goal of the season with 12:22 remaining.
“We continue to battle and show character,” Jones said. “That’s one thing I love about this team, that we play together and stick up for each other and battle for 60 minutes. At some point, this has to turn around.”
Benn’s goal Tuesday, his 12th of the season, came in the second period when he passed the puck to Steve Ott to his left. Ott then twisted his body and passed back to Benn, who knocked it in for a 2-0 lead.
Morrow got his 18th goal, matching Richards for the team lead, on a one-timer from Mike Ribeiro with 5:28 left in the first period.
“Their comeback to make it 2-2, it’s the first time in a while our team has been tested like that,” Crawford said. “We’ve been behind and tested to come back in games, but never when we had a lead and gave it up and then had to find somewhat of a surge like we did.”
Last-place New Jersey traded the 35-year-old Langenbrunner, its captain, to Dallas on Friday. Langenbrunner was drafted by the Stars in 1993 and was part of their only Stanley Cup championship in 1999, then another Western Conference title the following season. He was traded to New Jersey in 2002 and was on the Devils’ Stanley Cup-winning team in 2003.
Langenbrunner appeared on the ice for the first time about a minute into the game, getting a nice ovation. That turned into a loud cheer late in the second period when he and Kurtis Foster got tangled up and wrestled, though both got 5-minute fighting penalties.
In the third period, Langenbrunner and Ladislav Smid got 2-minute roughing penalties after a scuffle.
Both teams had apparent goals wiped out in the second because of interference against the goalies.
With about 13½ minutes left in the period, Foster knocked a puck in from the right circle, but officials quickly disallowed the goal because Linus Omark made contact in the crease with Lehtonen.
About 11 minutes later, Ott thought he had scored but officials ruled Adam Burish interfered with Khabibulin, who made 17 saves.
NOTES: Edmonton has not won in regulation at Dallas since Dec. 8, 2006. The Stars are 7-0-1 against the Oilers at home since then. … The Stars and Oilers played for the first time this season. They play four times in all, three of those games this month. … Dallas assigned RW Brandon Segal to the Texas Stars of the AHL after he cleared waivers Tuesday. He had been placed on waivers to make room on the roster for Langenbrunner.
Capsules: Spacek ties game for Canadiens, Pouliot wins it
NEW YORK (AP) — Jaroslav Spacek scored the tying goal in the second period and Benoit Pouliot put Montreal ahead for good in the third as the Canadiens beat New York 2-1 on Tuesday night, snapping the Rangers’ three-game winning streak.
Spacek connected for the first time in 29 games with 1:11 left in the middle period after the Canadiens controlled play in the Rangers’ end for about two consecutive minutes. Pouliot scored his second in three games with a tough-angle shot 6:03 into the final period.
New York came out flying early, buoyed by consecutive one-goal wins at Dallas and St. Louis, but couldn’t sustain the momentum after Brandon Dubinsky gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 4:15 in. All-Star Henrik Lundqvist was solid in making 36 saves, but likely would want another chance at Pouliot’s winning drive.
Alex Auld, who played in three games with the Rangers last season, stopped 25 shots and earned his third win of the season despite getting into only six games with Montreal.<
Panthers 4, Capitals 3, OT
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Dennis Wideman scored a power-play goal in overtime, helping Florida end a three-game losing streak.
After the Panthers squandered a three-goal lead, Wideman’s wrist shot from the right circle beat Michal Neuvirth on the glove side at 2:51 of overtime. Mike Santorelli, Marty Reasoner and David Booth also scored for Florida, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 30 shots.
Marcus Johansson scored two goals for Washington and Mike Knuble added another. Neuvirth had 37 saves as the Capitals lost for just the third time in 10 games.
Predators 5, Wild 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Joel Ward had a goal and an assist while Nashville blew open the game with three goals in the third period, leading the Predators to their sixth straight victory.
Nick Spaling scored two goals in the third, and Marcel Goc also added had an unassisted goal in the period. David Legwand scored in the first and Pekka Rinne finished with 25 saves.
The Predators scored so fast in the third they chased Jose Theodore after Spaling’s second goal at 10:39. Theodore had been the NHL’s third star after going 3-1 with a .946 save percentage last week.
Mikko Koivu scored for Minnesota, which now has lost two straight after a four-game winning streak of its own.
Hurricanes 6, Flames 5, SO
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Rookie Jeff Skinner scored in the shootout and Cam Ward stopped Calgary cold to lift Carolina to the victory.
Jussi Jokinen had two goals and an assist. Erik Cole, Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, who blew a three-goal lead but won their third straight and sixth in eight games.
Jarome Iginla and Niklas Hagman each had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who lost their fourth straight and second in a row in a shootout. Jay Bouwmeester, Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque also scored and Olli Jokinen had two assists.
The 18-year-old Skinner had the only goal in the shootout when he snapped the puck high past Henrik Karlsson. Ward stopped a wrist shot from Alex Tanguay and a backhand from Ales Kotalek before Hagman sent a wrist shot into his pads to end it.
Coyotes 4, Blue Jackets 3
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Derek Morris’ slap shot with 9:16 left went in off goalie Mathieu Garon’s back, leading Phoenix past slumping Columbus.
The Coyotes, who trailed 2-0 and 3-1, also got goals from Radim Vrbata, Vernon Fiddler and Eric Belanger. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 37 shots.
The loss was the fifth in a row for the Blue Jackets, who got goals from Jared Boll, Rostislav Klesla and Kristian Huselius. Fedor Tyutin had two assists and Garon made 24 saves.
Down 3-2 heading into the third, Phoenix tied it on Vrbata’s goal off a nifty setup from Ray Whitney.
The Coyotes improved to 4-12-3 when trailing through two periods. Columbus was 11-0 with a lead and 20 minutes left.
Flyers 5, Sabres 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Danny Briere had a goal and three assists against his former team, helping Philadelphia overcome a two-goal deficit.
Ville Leino scored the go-ahead goal 2:17 into the third period by having a rebound go in off his skate after Ryan Miller stopped Briere’s initial shot from the left circle on a 2-on-1 break. Scott Hartnell scored twice, including an empty-netter, and Mike Richards also scored as the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers (27-10-5) won their fourth straight and 12th of their past 16 (12-3-1).
Cody McCormick had a goal and an assist, and Paul Gaustad also scored for Buffalo (18-19-5), which led 2-0 before the first period was 10 minutes old.
Canucks 4, Islanders 3, SO
UNIONDALE, NY (AP) — Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler scored in a shootout, leading surging Vancouver to the win.
Alex Burrows, Kesler and Kevin Bieksa scored for the Canucks in regulation. Roberto Luongo made 38 saves, helping Vancouver improve to 14-0-3 in its last 17 games. The Canucks (28-8-6) lead the NHL with 62 points.
Jack Hillen, John Taveras and Blake Comeau had goals for the Islanders. Kevin Poulin turned aside 48 shots.
Bruins 6, Senators 0
BOSTON (AP) — Patrice Bergeron scored three times for his first career hat trick and Boston’s Tim Thomas earned his sixth shutout of the season.
Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin each had a goal and an assist and David Krejci added a pair of assists for the Bruins, who picked up right where they left off Monday night, when Boston rallied for four goals in the final 3½ minutes of a 4-2 win at Pittsburgh.
Thomas made 31 saves and the Bruins improved to 2-1 this season against the Senators. All three games have been shutouts.
After scoring five goals in a span of three games, the Bruins have 10 in their last two. Five of Tuesday’s got past Brian Elliott, who faced 27 shots in two periods before being pulled.
Maple Leafs 4, Sharks 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Carl Gunnarsson scored a tiebreaking goal midway through Toronto’s four-goal third period and the resurgent Maple Leafs gave coach Ron Wilson his 600th career win by beating his former team.
Clarke MacArthur scored twice, Phil Kessel added another goal and James Reimer made 40 saves to help the Maple Leafs win their fourth straight game and just second all season when trailing after two periods.
Patrick Marleau scored twice for the Sharks, who have lost five straight and have a losing record this late in the season for the first time since April 2006. Joe Thornton assisted on both goals to end a five-game pointless streak, his longest drought in 10 years.
Wilson became the seventh coach to reach the 600-win milestone.
Blackhawks, Canucks lead remaining NHL All-Stars
NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL All-Star game might do what the rest of the league can’t — break up the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks and the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks commanded the spotlight Tuesday when each club had multiple players picked to the All-Star game roster. In all, 36 players along with 12 rookies, who will only participate in the skills competition during All-Star weekend, were chosen by the league’s hockey operations department.
Chicago was already well represented for the All-Star festivities later this month in Raleigh, N.C., as captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Duncan Keith were among six players voted into the game in fan balloting. They were joined Tuesday by forwards Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the rest of the fan’s six picks: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury claimed the other elected spots last week.
While those players are all teammates today and will be again once the regular season resumes in February, chances are that several will be pitted against each other for the midseason classic.
The NHL is straying from the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format this year. Next week, two captains will be chosen and charged with the task of picking the two rosters. Think fantasy draft in a world of reality.
Each team for the game will be made up of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards. It has been two years since the NHL staged an All-Star game — last season’s game was skipped because of the Vancouver Olympics.
Twenty players, including Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, will be All-Stars for the first time.
The Canucks, who own the NHL’s best record, are sending identical twins Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, along with Ryan Kesler — their three leading scorers — to the game. Picture this: Henrik and Daniel could be on opposite sides, something the NHL draft didn’t do when this duo arrived from Sweden.
Another set of brothers will also end up as teammates or foes. In the case of the Staals, forward Eric of the Carolina Hurricanes and defenseman Marc of the New York Rangers are used to being on different teams.
“It’s special that it’s in Carolina,” Marc Staal said. “My family will all be down there, which should make for a fun weekend.”
But make no mistake, first-time All-Star Marc Staal isn’t looking to spend any extra time alongside his brother, who is a little more than two years older.
“Against him, obviously,” he said when asked what side he would prefer. “I don’t think I could handle being on his team. He’s too mouthy.
“We’ve played together just in some pickup games, but I don’t think we’ve ever been on a real organized team before.”
The unique draft will kick off All-Star weekend Jan. 28. The skills competition will take place one day later on Saturday, with the game to be played Sunday.
Logic dictates Crosby and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will be picked as captains. If not, they certainly will be prime candidates to be the first two players picked — assuming Crosby recovers in time from the concussion that has forced him to miss three games already. Injuries have limited Crosby to only one All-Star game in his career, in 2007.
Call it the next chapter in the ever-growing rivalry between the stars that has already been on display on the scoring lists, in the playoffs, on HBO and in this year’s Winter Classic.
The Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, the host Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, the Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning all had two players picked for the game. The Edmonton Oilers were the only club to send two rookies — last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Taylor Hall, will join Jordan Eberle in the skills competition.
Those players will also be chosen in the new All-Star draft. All 30 teams have at least one representative, either in the 42-player main draw or in the rookie pool.
In a stark sign of the times, the New Jersey Devils, who have fallen from the top of the standings a year ago to the bottom, are sending only veteran forward Patrik Elias to Raleigh. No room for slumping goalie Martin Brodeur at this party.
The New York Islanders, who have only the Devils behind them in the standings, will be represented just in the skills competition by Michael Grabner. The same goes for the Buffalo Sabres (Tyler Ennis), Florida Panthers (Evgeny Dadonov) and Phoenix Coyotes (Oliver Ekman-Larsson).
– Ira Podell
Prospective Sabres owner visits team offices
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Prospective Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula visited the team’s offices Tuesday for what the team described as “informal discussions.”
The Sabres confirmed the visit took place in a two-sentence news release that noted neither the team or Pegula, a Pennsylvania billionaire, would comment further on the nature of the visit. Pegula emerged as a serious candidate to buy the team from current owner Tom Golisano in late November.
Minority owner Larry Quinn was not immediately available for comment. On Monday, he told The Associated Press the team had not been sold and a letter of intent to sell the team had not been signed.
Arriving for Buffalo’s home game against Philadelphia, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said he did not take part in the discussions or meet with Pegula. Buffalo’s WGRZ-TV first reported Pegula was at the Sabres’ home, HSBC Arena, earlier in the day.
Pegula has not returned numerous messages left with him at his homes in Pennsylvania and Florida. And Golisano has declined comment.
Though the Sabres haven’t been for sale or actively seeking a buyer, they have been open to entertaining offers from prospective buyers.
In an interview last week, Quinn didn’t rule out a potential sale while continuing to deny reports that Pegula had signed a letter of intent.
“We may very well sell it, but let’s take it one step at a time,” Quinn said. “We’re way a bunch of steps ahead here. We haven’t signed a contract to sell the team We haven’t signed a letter of intent to sell the team.”
Pegula is the founder and former president of the energy company East Resources Inc., a major player in Pennsylvania’s burgeoning natural gas industry that was sold to Royal Dutch Shell PLC for $4.7 billion earlier this year. He has an estimated worth of $3 billion and was most recently ranked 110th on Forbes magazine’s list of the wealthiest Americans.
In September, Pegula and wife Kim made the largest private gift in Penn State history, donating $88 million to fund a new multipurpose arena and help upgrade the men’s hockey program. The Nittany Lions will make the move to Division I hockey in the 2012-13 season. Pegula, 59, is a Penn State graduate and has ties to western New York.
His wife is from nearby Rochester, and they’ve previously lived in Orchard Park and Olean, a 90-minute drive south of Buffalo.
Quinn called Pegula “a great guy” last week and noted that if he does purchase the Sabres “you’ll be very happy with him.”
Quinn also assured fans the Sabres wouldn’t be moving in the event of a sale by noting a new owner would be expected to agree to a non-relocation clause as Golisano did when he purchased the team out of bankruptcy in 2003.
“The Buffalo Sabres are going to be here forever,” Quinn said. “I think from a fans’ point of view, that’s all they need to worry about.”
The Sabres aren’t expected to be going anywhere as they are regarded as one of the NHL’s strongest small-market U.S.-based franchises.
The team has consistently sold out its cap of about 14,000 season tickets for the past four years. And Buffalo represents one of the United States’ strongest television hockey markets, consistently ranking in the top 10 during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
– John Wawrow
Red Wings G Osgood has surgery for hernia
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings say goalie Chris Osgood has had successful surgery for a hernia. The team said Tuesday that Osgood underwent the operation in Philadelphia. The team says his recovery is expected to take six to eight weeks.
The 38-year-old missed all of November because of the injury. Osgood has won three Stanley Cup titles with Detroit and has backed up Jimmy Howard for most of the last two seasons.
Last month, he became the 10th goalie to win 400 NHL games.