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Quick Start Carries Penguins

NHL

Playing catch-up on the road is not the way to win. Just ask the Florida Panthers.

Mario Lemieux scored the first of his three goals 36 seconds into the game and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored four times in the first 7:04, then held on to beat the Panthers 6-5 Saturday night.

“We dominated the last 55 minutes,” Florida coach Doug MacLean said. “You can’t get down 4-0 to a team like that and expect to beat them.”

MacLean had a point about which team had the edge in play. The Panthers started the game with a 13-4 disadvantage in shots, then went on to hold a 39-16 edge from there. They outscored Pittsburgh 5-2 in the last 40 minutes. But not even a three-goal third period was enough to negate the bad start.

Lemieux had his 35th career hat trick and fourth this season as he raised his league-leading goal total to 34.

Penguins 6, Panthers 5

Florida 0 2 3 -5

Pittsburgh 4 2 0 -6

First Period-1, Pittsburgh, Lemieux 32 (Sandstrom, Wilkinson), :36. 2, Pittsburgh, Zubov 3 (Nedved, Jagr), 1:27. 3, Pittsburgh, Roche 3 (Murray, Zubov), 4:34. 4, Pittsburgh, Lemieux 33 (Sandstrom, Jagr), 7:04 (pp).

Second Period-5, Florida, Dvorak 10 (Skrudland, Hough), 1:16. 6, Pittsburgh, Lemieux 34, 6:06 (sh). 7, Florida, Woolley 6 (Lowery, Garpenlov), 9:29 (pp). 8, Pittsburgh, Jagr 33 (Francis, Nedved), 15:21.

Third Period-9, Florida, Murphy 6 (Neidermayer, Garpenlov), 8;27. 10, Florida, Fitzgerald 8 (Hough), 14:19 (sh). 11, Florida, Mellanby 21 (Neidermayer, Barnes), 16:54.

Shots on goal-Florida 16-16-11-43. Pittsburgh 14-7-8-29.Power-play Opportunities-Florida 1 of 10; Pittsburgh 1 of 5.Goalies-Florida, Vanbiesbrouck (17 shots-12 saves), Fitzpatrick 9-3-0 (6:06 second period, 12-11). Pittsburgh, Barrasso 13-2-2 (29-24).A-17,181 (17,181).

Maple Leafs 4, Blues 3 (OT) St. Louis

Mats Sundin scored 6 seconds into overtime to give Toronto a come-from-behind win over St. Louis.

Toronto’s Paul DiPietro had knotted the score with 12:19 left in regulation.

The Blues won the faceoff to begin the overtime, but Sundin ended up with the puck in front of the goal and fired it between goalie Grant Fuhr’s pads.

Toronto 1 1 1 1 - 4

St. Louis 1 2 0 0 - 3

First Period-1, Toronto, Gilmour 15 (Sundin, Andreychuk), 1:32. 2, St. Louis, Creighton 5 (Hull, Courtnall), 7:12.

Second Period-3, Toronto, Andreychuk 10 (Murphy, Gill), 9:45 (pp). 4, St. Louis, Hawerchuk 5 (Courtnall, Pronger), 11:49 (pp). 5, St. Louis, Corson 12 (MacInnis, Zezel), 14:27.

Third Period-6, Toronto, DiPietro 4 (Domi, Wood), 7:41.

Overtime-7, Toronto, Sundin 4 (Gilmour), :06.

Shots on goal-Toronto 11-14-8-1-34. St. Louis 6-9-7-0-22.Power-play Opp.-Toronto 1 of 6; St. Louis 2 of 4.Goalies-Toronto, Potvin 16-9-5 (22 shots-19 saves). St. Louis, Fuhr 16-16-5 (31-27), Racine (9:45 second period, 3-3), Fuhr (15:32 second period).A-20,087 (19,260).

Canadiens 4, Senators 1 Ottawa

In their next-to-last game at the Civic Center and perhaps their final game of the year without Alexei Yashin, Ottawa lost to Montreal.

Andrei Kovalenko and Vincent Damphousse each had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who snapped their two-game losing skid. Turner Stevenson and Brian Savage also scored, while goaltender Jocelyn Thibault picked up his fifth win against two losses and a tie since arriving from Colorado in the Patrick Roy trade.

Ottawa opens its new 18,500-seat Palladium on Jan. 17 against Montreal, and few among the Senators will mourn the Civic Centre’s passing. Ottawa has a lifetime record of 24-86-12 in the converted junior rink.

Montreal 2 2 0 - 4

Ottawa 0 1 0 - 1

First period-1, Montreal, Stevenson 4 (Kovalenko, Koivu), 8:13. 2, Montreal, Savage 20 (Damphousse, Rucinsky), 14:03.

Second period-3, Montreal, Kovalenko 13 (Koivu), 3:41. 4, Ottawa, Modry 4 (Hill, Alfredsson), 7:13 (pp). 5, Montreal, Damphousse 17 (Malakhov, Bure), 9:01 (pp).

Third period-None.

Shots on goal-Montreal 14-8-5-27. Ottawa 9-11-5-25.Power-play opp.-Montreal 1 of 4; Ottawa 1 of 8.Goalies-Montreal, Thibault 5-2-1 (25 shots-24 saves). Ottawa, Bales 2-9-1 (27-23).A-10,575 (10,575).

Capitals 3, Whalers 0 Landover, Md.

Jim Carey stopped 26 shots for his second shutout in three starts and Washington extended Hartford’s winless streak to seven games with the victory.

Keith Jones had two goals and an assist for the Capitals, who have won five straight at home for the first time since February 1992.

Hartford 0 0 0 - 0

Washington 0 2 1 - 3

First period-None.

Second period-1, Washington, Jones 13 (Konowalchuk, Gonchar) 6;31 (pp). 2, Washington, Eagles 3 (Jones, Cote) 11:45.

Third period-Jones 14 (Pivonka, Bondra), 18:05.

Shots on goal-Hartford 9-10-7-26. Washington 8-13-7-28.Power-play opp.-Hartford 0 of 4; Washington 1 of 7.Goalies-Hartford, Burke 9-15-3 (28 shots-25 saves). Washington, Carey 16-10-3 (26-26).A-18,130 (18,130).

Rangers 8, Oilers 3 Edmonton, Alberta

New York’s December express rolled through Edmonton, flattening the Oilers for their 11th win of the month.

The Rangers ran roughshod over Edmonton, running up a 5-1 lead in the opening period to cruise to the win and into sole possession of first place in the NHL with 56 points.

N.Y. Rangers 5 2 1 - 8

Edmonton 1 1 1 - 3

First period-1, New York, Karpovtsev 1 (Nemchinov, Sundstrom), 1:31. 2, New York, Leetch 6 (Driver, Messier), 5:05 (pp). 3, New York, Kovalev 10 (Ferraro, Karpovtsev), 9:04. 4, New York, Graves 14 (Messier, Verbeek), 15:46. 5, New York, Presley 3 (Nemchinov, Sundstrom), 17:19. 6, Edmonton, Weight 14 (McAmmond, Satan), 19:48 (pp).

Second period-7, New York, Graves 15 (Messier, Leetch), 6:04. 8, Edmonton, Arnott 13 (Olausson, Oliver), 6:57. 9, New York, Verbeek 25 (Leetch, Ferraro), 13:24.

Third period-10, New York, Kypreos 3 (Landon), 9:05. 11, Edmonton, McAmmond 3 (Oliver), 10:10.

Shots on goal-New York 12-11-3-26. Edmonton 13-13-11-37.Power-play opp.-New York 1 of 4; Edmonton 1 of 7.Goalies-New York, Richter 19-8-3 (36 shots-33 saves), Healy (18:35 third period, 1-1). Edmonton, Ranford 13-17-5 (26-18). A-16,035 (16,230).

Bowman’s record should be safe

Detroit coach Scotty Bowman worked his record 1,607th game behind an NHL bench Friday night, which qualifies him as a genius, a glutton for punishment and a dinosaur.

In all likelihood, no one ever will surpass Bowman’s mark, which eclipsed the 1,606 games coached by Al Arbour. In the 1990s, NHL clubs turn over coaches faster than coaches call for line changes, and the better of the frazzled fraternity typically begin lobbying for GM jobs before they’ve even figured out how to pack for a two-week road trip.

For the record, Bowman has coached six Cup winners, including five during his eight years behind Montreal’s bench and one with Pittsburgh. Friday’s victory over the Stars gave him a career mark of 939-428-240 - first overall in victories and winning percentage (.659) for coaches with 600 games.

Twist a real tough guy

St. Louis enforcer Tony Twist knows how to hurt a guy-on or off the ice. The Blues’ tough guy was shooting a commercial in which a “reporter” asks him about the origin of his name.

Twist, following the script, grabbed the interviewer, Wes Edwards of the Blues’ sales department, and locked him in a half-nelson. What wasn’t in the script was that Twist inadvertently stepped on Edwards’ foot with his skate, inflicting a gaping cut.

“I looked down and saw my sock cut open and blood squirting out,” said Edwards.


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