The Vancouver Canucks’ NHL-record road trip got just a little bit longer after Jason Spezza, Brian Elliott and the Ottawa Senators all extended their streaks for the second time in two nights.
Spezza scored his ninth goal in his last eight games and Ottawa extended its team-record winning streak to 11 with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
Elliott made 29 saves to break his own team record with his ninth straight win. He lost a shutout bid when Kyle Wellwood scored a power-play goal with 1:39 left.
“Ells has been phenomenal,” said Spezza, who extended his goals streak to eight games. “There’s not enough we can say about how well he’s played. He just keeps it going and it seems like every night he seems better and better, so it’s going well for us.”
Milan Michalek had a goal and an assist, and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson had three assists a night after scoring twice in the final minute to lead the Senators to a 4-2 victory in Buffalo.
Spezza, who scored twice against the Sabres, has scored in every game since he returned from a knee injury. He also scored in each of his two games prior to his injury.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Montreal 3 Boston 2 (SO); Minnesota 4 Edmonton 2; Washington 6 N.Y. Rangers 5; Columbus 2 Dallas 1; San Jose 4 St. Louis 2; Tampa Bay 5 N.Y. Islanders 2; Nashville 5 Colorado 3; and Los Angeles 6 Anaheim 4.
At Ottawa, Chris Kelly scored into an empty net with 40.5 seconds remaining.
Vancouver, playing the third game of its 14-game trip, lost its second in a row following a seven-game winning streak.
Andrew Raycroft, who recorded his 100th career loss, made 18 saves in his first start in two months. Raycroft had made two relief appearances – including his 99th career win in the Canucks’ 5-3 come-from-behind win in Toronto on Saturday night – since allowing four goals in a 5-3 loss at Carolina on Dec. 5.
The Canucks fell to 1-2 on the eight-game first leg of their record road trip while GM Place is being prepared for the Winter Olympics. Vancouver, which plays six straight on the road following the games, does not play at home again until they host the Senators on Mar. 13.
“We had been good on the road prior to these last two games and our game in Montreal, but that being said, we’ve got a lot of guys whose personal stats on the road are definitely as good as they are at home,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
Michalek opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 1:34 of the first. Alfredsson faked a shot before dishing off to Alex Kovalev, who held the puck before feeding a pass to the slot which Michalek redirected past Raycroft for his 19th of the season.
Ottawa had several more scoring chances throughout the first before Spezza made it a two-goal lead late in the opening period.
Linemates Alfredsson and Michalek drew assists as Spezza drove to the net and had his pass attempted pass slide past Raycroft for his 12th goal.
“We missed two open nets off rebounds,” Alfredsson said. “You can’t worry about it but sometimes it does come back and haunt you later in games but Spezza’s goal was really big to give us that two-goal cushion and it allowed us to play a little bit more – I won’t say defensive, but smarter. We didn’t have to force as much or take charge. We let them come and created our chances from turnovers.”
Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson left the game late in the second period. He suffered an upper-body injury and did not return.
Canadiens 3 Bruins 2 (SO)
At Boston, Brian Gionta beat Tuukka Rask for the only goal in a shootout and Montreal sent the free-falling Bruins to their ninth straight loss.
The Bruins, 1-9-3 in their last 13 games, blew a two-goal lead, then extended the second-longest losing streak in franchise history. They also lost their eighth straight home game, also the second-longest streak in club history.
The Canadiens got 45 saves from Jaroslav Halat in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout. Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead, but Glen Metropolit and Roman Hamrlik scored 39 seconds apart late in the second period.
Wild 4 Oilers 2
At St. Paul, Minn., Martin Havlat had his first two-goal game for Minnesota, and the Wild beat Edmonton for their 12th straight time at home.
Antti Miettinen and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for Minnesota. Mike Comrie and Marc Pouliot scored for Edmonton.
Capitals 6 Rangers 5
At New York, Nicklas Backstrom’s third-period, power-play goal – his fifth point of the night – gave the Capitals a victory over the Rangers to extend Washington’s winning streak to a team-record 12 games.
Backstrom already had four assists when he got to a loose puck near the left circle and snapped in his 24th goal of the season to make it 6-5 at 5:34 of the third.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assist to reach 500 career NHL points. He is the fifth player to reach the milestone in five seasons, doing it in only 373 games. Boyd Gordon, Mike Knuble, and defenceman Tom Poti added goals for the Capitals, who haven’t lost since Jan. 12 at Tampa Bay.
Blue Jackets 2 Stars 1
At Columbus, Ohio, Steve Mason had 22 saves, R.J. Umberger scored an empty-netter while sliding on his gut in Claude Noel’s coaching debut.
Noel was coaching his first NHL game after taking over for Ken Hitchcock, who was fired Wednesday after the Blue Jackets sagged to a 22-27-9 record a season after making their first trip to the playoffs. Anton Stralman also scored for Columbus.
Brad Richards scored in the final minute for Dallas.
Sharks 4 Blues 2
At St. Louis, Patrick Marleau scored his 38th goal to remain tied for the NHL lead, helping Western Conference-leading San Jose beat the Blues.
Ryane Clowe, Devin Setoguchi and Scott Nichol also scored, and backup Thomas Greiss had a strong game in goal for the Sharks, who rebounded from their lone regulation loss in the last 11 games after squandering a two-goal lead against Detroit two days earlier.
San Jose has 83 points, one behind Washington for first overall in the NHL.
Lightning 5 Islanders 2
At Tampa, Fla., Martin St. Louis scored in his fifth consecutive game, and Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist for the Lightning.
Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay also scored for the Lightning. Matt Moulson and Jon Sim scored for New York. The Islanders have lost six in a row.
Predators 5 Avalanche 3
At Nashville, Tenn., Patric Hornqvist had two power-play goals and an assist, and Jason Arnott had a goal and three assists for the Predators.
Steve Sullivan added a power-play goal and an assist, and Joel Ward also had a goal for Nashville. Cody McLeod, Matt Duchene and Justin Mercier scored for Colorado, which has lost four of five following a season-best six-game winning streak.
Kings 6 Ducks 4
At Los Angeles, Dustin Brown scored the go-ahead goal with 5:32 left after the Kings blew a three-goal lead in the third period.
The Kings went tied the franchise record with their eighth straight victory.
Anze Kopitar had two goals and two assists, defenceman Jack Johnson had a goal and three assists for his first four-point game in the NHL, and Jonathan Quick made 18 saves to help the Kings beat their Southern California rivals for the fifth straight time. Wayne Simmonds also scored.
Jason Blake, Troy Bodie, Matt Beleskey and Ryan Carter scored for Anaheim.