BUFFALO, N.Y. – Brian Campbell and Maxim Afinogenov scored 4 minutes apart in the third period, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
The loss spoiled a breakout game for Bruins rookie Phil Kessel, who enjoyed the first two-goal game of his career, in only his fifth game back since having surgery for testicular cancer.
Daniel Paille scored twice, including an empty-netter in the final minute, to help the Sabres snap a season-worst three-game winless streak (0-2-1). Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy also scored as Buffalo also ended a three-game home losing skid. Glen Murray also scored for the Bruins, who settled for a split of the home-at-home series after a 3-2 shootout win over the Sabres at Boston on Monday. Boston dropped to 2-6-1 in the last nine games and has lost five straight on the road – the team’s worst stretch since going 0-5 in the final month of last season.
The Eastern Conference-leading Sabres (32-11-4), who allowed the Bruins to tie the game twice, rallied with their best offensive outing in 11 games – dating to a 6-3 win over Washington on Dec. 26.
Campbell put the Sabres up 4-3 with 9:55 remaining, when his rising shot from the right point point appeared to deflect off someone in front and sailed past screened goalie Tim Thomas.
Afinogenov then sealed it 3:39 later, capping a great individual effort when he streaked past defender Andrew Alberts at the Bruins’ blue line, cut to the net and backhanded a shot in.
Kessel, otherwise, was the star. He opened the scoring on a breakaway 10 minutes in and then tied the score at 3 in the opening minute of the third, when he one-timed Marc Savard’s cross-ice pass. The 2006 first-round pick missed 11 games and had not produced a point since he returned.
He now has seven goals on the season.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stopped 25 shots, his best stop coming with 8 minutes left when he kicked out his right pad to stop Brad Stuart’s blast from the right circle.
Red Wings 5, Predators 3
DETROIT – Henrik Zetterberg had a two goals and an assist, and Pavel Datsyuk added four assists to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit, which won its fifth straight. Datsyuk has 14 points – two goals and 12 assists – in his last five games, Zetterberg has three goals and nine assists while scoring at least a point in six straight games, and Holmstrom has nine goals in his last 10 games.
Greg Zanon got his first NHL goal, and Jordin Tootoo and Dan Hamhuis also scored for Nashville, which snapped its six-game winning streak.
Detroit scored four goals in the second period.
Avalanche 4, Coyotes 3
DENVER – Paul Stastny scored two goals and Tyler Arnason added three assists as the Colorado Avalanche beat Phoenix 4-3 Wednesday night, ending the Coyotes’ six-game road winning streak.
Milan Hejduk had a goal and two assists and Joe Sakic added two assists for Colorado, winner of seven straight over Phoenix and 10-0-2-1 in the last 13 meetings.
The Coyotes’ road streak was the second-longest streak in franchise history. The longest was eight in 1985 when the team was the Winnipeg Jets.
Phoenix made things interesting after falling behind 4-1 midway through the third period. Michael Zigomanis and Shane Doan scored 1:16 apart, but the Coyotes couldn’t tie the score even when they pulled goalie Curtis Joseph with 39 seconds remaining.
Stars 4, Flames 2
DALLAS – All-Star goalie Marty Turco matched a franchise record with his 160th victory, stopping 18 shots and assisting on a goal as the Dallas Stars beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Wednesday night.
Turco has spent all six of his NHL seasons in Dallas. He began as a backup for two seasons to Ed Belfour, the Stanley Cup-winning goalie for the Stars who won 160 games from 1997-2002.
Joel Lundqvist’s first career goal snapped a 1-1 tie with 131/2 minutes left in the second period. About 2 minutes later, Turco assisted on Stu Barnes’ goal that gave Dallas a 3-1 lead.
The injury-riddled Stars, playing their final home game before hosting the All-Star game next week, also got two goals from Jere Lehtinen – one in the first period and an empty-netter in the final minute of the game.
Kristian Huselius and Andrew Ference had goals for Calgary, which lost its second straight after a five-game winning streak. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 20 shots in his 200th NHL game.