Dec 28 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Saturday's early National Hockey League games.
Devils 2, Islanders 1
Goaltender Cory Schneider made 30 saves and center Travis Zajac scored a painful game-winning goal with 6:57 left as the New Jersey Devils edged the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum.
Zajac was credited with the goal when a slap shot by defenseman Marek Zidlicky bounced off Zajac's left shoulder and fluttered past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Zajac crumbled to the ice as the goal light went on and was hunched over in pain as he went to the Devils bench.
Schneider made 10 of his saves in the first 10 minutes of the third period before the Islanders finally tied it on a goal by center Frans Nielsen. But the Devils needed less than three minutes to re-take the lead on a goal set up by a pass from right winger Jaromir Jagr to Zidlicky.
Center Adam Henrique also scored for the Devils, who stopped a two-game losing streak to improve to .500 (16-16-8).
Red Wings 4, Panthers 3
The Detroit Red Wings welcomed back left winger and captain Henrik Zetterberg, who scored a goal and helped his team hold off the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center. Detroit went 3-6-2 in 11 games without Zetterberg, who was out with a back injury.
Saturday's tie-breaking goal was scored by defenseman Brendan Smith, who scored his first goal of the season after just 42 seconds elapsed in the third period to make the score 3-2.
Center Gustav Nyquist added a needed insurance goal just 38 seconds later as he pounced on a rebound for his fifth marker of the season.
Panthers left winger Sean Bergenheim scored his second goal of the game and seventh of the season to draw Florida to within 4-3 with 15:33 left.
Senators 4, Bruins 3
Winger Bobby Ryan scored the tie-breaker with 4:35 left in the third period and the Ottawa Senators held on to defeat the Boston Bruins at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Ryan's team-leading 18th of the season was a brilliant solo effort as he stole the puck from Bruins defenseman Tory Krug at the Ottawa blue line and finished off a breakaway with a backhand after deking Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson to the ice.
The win was just the fourth for the Senators in their last 18 meetings with the Bruins, and it successfully avenged their 5-0 loss in Boston on Friday.
Canadiens 2, Lightning 1 (SO)
Center Lars Eller scored the only goal in the shootout and goaltender Carey Price stopped all three shots he faced as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Tampa Bay (23-11-4) entered the game two points ahead of Montreal (23-13-3) for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Tampa Bay swarmed the Canadiens in the third period, completely reversing the earlier momentum. But Montreal was again the aggressor in overtime as center Tomas Plekanec forced Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop to make a game-saver from close range. The goal was Eller's ninth of the season.
- - (Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)