Feb 7 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League games.
- - -
Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (shootout)
Center Brad Richards scored the decisive goal in a shootout to lift the New York Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
Richards got the puck past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Rangers (32-24-3) their fifth win in their last six games.
The Eastern Conference-leading Penguins (40-15-3) lost for just the second time in their last 19 games at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins left winger James Neal sent the game into overtime by scoring with 2:56 left in regulation.
The Penguins were playing just hours after getting the sobering news that defenseman Kris Letang had been diagnosed with a stroke.
- - -
Hurricanes 5, Panthers 1
The Carolina Hurricanes benefited from a rare early scoring burst to defeat the Florida Panthers 5-1.
Center Riley Nash, right winger Alexander Semin and defenseman Brett Bellemore scored in the first period, left winger Jiri Tlusty added a second period goal and defenseman Andrej Sekera converted on a third period power-play.
Center Nick Bjugstad scored for Florida, which heads to an Olympic break with two consecutive losses and five of its last six games.
- - -
Devils 2, Oilers 1 (overtime)
Defenseman Jon Merrill scored with 2:26 remaining in overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers.
Merrill found himself alone near the left faceoff circle and blasted a shot past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to end the contest.
Left winger Andrei Loktionov also scored for the Devils while right winger Taylor Hall netted for the Oilers.
- - -
Coyotes 2, Blackhawks 0
Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle and forward Radim Vrbata scored power-play goals and goaltender Mike Smith handed the Chicago Blackhawks their first shutout of the season in the 2-0 victory.
Yandle scored 69 seconds into the game and Vrbata scored on a 5-on-3 advantage with two and a half minutes remaining in the second period.
Smith made 29 saves, including one at point-blank range by forward Patrick The Coyotes (27-20-10) moved a point ahead of Vancouver into eighth place in the Western Conference while Chicago fell to 35-11-14.
- - -
Sharks 3, Blue Jackets 2
The San Jose Sharks found just enough energy and offense to beat a team that played the night before in a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Sharks right winger Tommy Wingels scored his career-high 12th goal of the season at 5:11 to cap a long San Jose cycle that featured a full line change without the puck exiting the zone to claim the win.
The Sharks scored two goals in the opening 8:13 thanks to a fast start.
- - - (Editing by Benjamin Everill)