In Raleigh, the Hurricanes used a big second period to thump the Ottawa Senators, 4-1. Cam Ward made 35 saves for the win.
“We were very sound,” said Ward, who made his third start since the injury. “Not only the defense, but the forwards coming back taking care of the house.
“If we want to be successful, we have to play good defense. It was great to see in the second period that we capitalized on some opportunities. It takes a lot of weight off of some guys’ shoulders.”
Ward kept the game close with a stellar save on Colin Greening who was bidding to put the Sens up 2-0.
“Cam makes that huge save, and the guys were like, we’ve got to get going here,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. “After that, we started to pick it up. That save was the probably the turning point in the game.”
The ‘Canes second period outburst disappointed the Sentators head coach Pail MacLean.
“Right now, we don’t play hard enough to win,” MacLean said. “We don’t play long enough to win consistently. (We) play the teams that are below us in the standings, and we don’t seem to have enough respect for them to play hard enough. Tonight was another example.”
In Buffalo, the Sabres hosted the Detroit Red Wings who were welcoming Daniel Alfredsson back in the lineup. Alfredsson was returning from a groin injury and promptly scored one and assited on the game tying marker that made the score 1-1.
“He was real good. He’s just smart,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Alfredsson. “I don’t know if his legs were like he wanted them, but he’s smart and knows how to play. That line to me with Helm and [Justin] Abdelkader and him is a real good line because they do a lot of the leg work for him and he can do the thinking for them.”
A crosschecking penalty to the Sabres midway through the third led to the eventual game winning goal by Johan Franzen.
“I don’t think it was a real major cross-checking [penalty],” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. “Detroit was cross-checking us all night. They seemed to get away with it. When you’re the winning team, you get those breaks, and when you’re struggling you don’t.”
Ryan Miller made 31 saves in the loss.
“You got to make it count in this League,” Miller said. “You can’t just be satisfied with a little glimmer of what we feel is the right way to play. We have to not let teams back in the game.”
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., RDS, ROOT, NESN
Columbus @ Toronto, 7:00 p.m., FS-O, SNET-O
Winnipeg @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., TSN-JETS, MSG NY Rangers @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., MSG PLUS, SUN
Philadelphia @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., CSN-PH, FS-F
Minnesota @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2
Phoenix @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., KTVK
Chicago @ Edmonton, 9:30 p.m., CSN-CH, SNET-W Los Angeles @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., FS-W, SNET-P
BRUINS, PENGUINS FACE OFF IN BATTLE OF EAST LEADERS
The Bruins (15-6-2, 32 points) and Penguins (15-9-0, 30 points), the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, face off in the second of three meetings in 2013-14. Pittsburgh has won seven consecutive regular-season games against Boston, including the clubs’ first meeting this season Oct. 30, as well as six straight regular-season contests at TD Garden.
The Bruins are 3-0-1 in their past four games overall and 7-1-2 in their last 10. They also have points in eight consecutive contests at TD Garden dating to Oct. 31 (6-0-2). The Penguins have won three of their past four games overall, but are 1-4-0 in their last five road affairs. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby leads the NHL with 30 points (12-18—30), while teammate Evgeni Malkin is tied for first in the League with 22 assists.
CLUBS OFF TO RECORD-SETTING STARTS MEET IN ST. LOUIS
The Blues (16-3-3, 35 points) play host to the Wild (15-5-4, 34 points) in a meeting of teams off to record-setting starts in 2013-14. St. Louis is 10-1-2 (22 points) in its first 13 games at Scottrade Center, its second-best home start in franchise history (2000-01: 11-1-1, 23 points). Meanwhile, with 34 points Minnesota is off to its best 24-game start in club history, besting the previous mark of 31 set in 2008-09 and equaled in 2011-12.
The Blues have won five straight games versus the Wild and are 7-0-3 in their last 10 meetings at Scottrade Center. Blues forward Alexander Steen ranks second in the NHL in goals and tied for third in points (17-10—27), while Wild forward Jason Pominville is tied for fourth in the League with 13 goals.
Detroit 3, Buffalo 1
Carolina 4, Ottawa 1
Johan Franzen scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves to help the Red Wings improve to 10-1-1 versus the Sabres since 2003-04.
* Franzen has 4-4—8 in his past seven games after totaling 2-3—5 in his first 13 contests of the season.
* Gustavsson improved to 5-0-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in seven appearances this season. That includes a 3-0-1 record with a 2.21 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in four road starts.
* The Red Wings are 7-3-1 on the road this season, tied for the second-most road victories in the League.
ZETTERBERG REACHES 700
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg recorded the primary assist on Johan Franzen’s game-winner to pick up the 700th point of his NHL career (273-427—700 in 739 GP). He now ranks second in the League with 28 points (10-18—28) in 25 games this season, including 0-7—7 in his past five contests.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Zetterberg is the fifth-fastest Red Wings player and eighth-fastest active NHLer to reach the 700-point milestone:
FASTEST TO REACH 700 POINTS, RED WINGS HISTORY
1. Steve Yzerman: 519 games
2. Sergei Fedorov: 638 games
3. Gordie Howe: 673 games
4. Pavel Datsyuk: 706 games
5. Henrik Zetterberg: 739 games
FASTEST TO REACH 700 POINTS, ACTIVE NHL PLAYERS
1. Teemu Selanne: 541 games
2. Jaromir Jagr: 557 games
3. Alex Ovechkin: 579 games
4. Dany Heatley: 685 games
t-5. Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton: 706 games
7. Daniel Alfredsson: 738 games
8. Henrik Zetterberg: 739 games
WARD, STAAL SPUR HURRICANES
The Hurricanes scored four unanswered goals to improve to 10-0-1 in their past 11 home games versus the Senators. They have outscored Ottawa 37-14 in that span, holding the Senators to one goal or fewer in nine of 11 contests.
* Cam Ward made 35 saves, including a paddle stop on Colin Greening, to pick up his first victory since Oct. 19. He has posted 30 or more saves in six of his 11 appearances this season, including 35 in each of his past two starts.
* Captain Eric Staal recorded 1-2—3 for his second multi-point game of the season and first three-point game since March 5. He has 3-5—8 during a six-game point streak, the longest by a Hurricanes player this season.
* Defenseman Justin Faulk tied career highs with two assists/points and a +3 rating.
* The Hurricanes improved to 10-3-2 in their past 15 games overall versus the Senators.
Senators captain Jason Spezza scored 67 seconds after the opening face-off, raising his career totals to 18-20—38 in 32 games versus the Hurricanes . . . Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson posted 1-1—2 and now has 43-43—86 in 91 career regular-season games against the Sabres, his highest goal total and second-highest point total versus any opponent . . . Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller made 31 saves (on 33 shots) and has a .936 save percentage in his last five starts . . . Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty skated in his 300th NHL game . . . The Senators played their 1,600th regular-season game and 800th road contest.