COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fernando Pisani’s third-period goal gave goaltender Jussi Markkanen all the offense he needed in the Edmonton Oliers’ 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

Pisani’s third goal of the season came 7:36 into the period and gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead.

Jason Smith had a goal, and Radek Dvorak added an empty-netter as the Oilers won for the first time in three games. Ryan Smyth helped set up all three goals, and Shawn Horcoff added two assists for Edmonton, unbeaten in its last 12 meetings (9-0-3) against Columbus.

Markkanen stopped 29 shots, saving his best for last as the Blue Jackets pressured him near the finish.

Todd Marchant had his second goal for the Blue Jackets, who had won three straight at home.

With the score tied 1-1, Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky took a hard check in the offensive end but bumped the puck to Horcoff. Horcoff then tossed a centering pass that Pisani chipped past goaltender Marc Denis.

With just under 2 minutes left, Columbus’ Francois Beauchemin’s long slap shot was blocked by Markkanen, with Jason Chimera – who had been hit in the helmet by a shot early in the period – whiffing on the rebound in the crease.

Marchant also had two cracks at a loose puck just seconds later, with Markkanen making a big save and Marchant missing on the second shot.

Smith’s slap shot from the top of the right circle eluded Denis at 2:54 of the first period – 7 seconds after the Oilers killing off a penalty.

The Blue Jackets pulled even at 10:53 of the period when Chimera flipped a pass to Marchant who skated into the slot for a shot. Markkanen got a piece of it and the puck bounced over him and off the right post, but Marchant crashed the net and tapped in the rebound.

Thrashers 5, Lightning 2

ATLANTA – Ilya Kovalchuk scored a career-high four goals – all in a row – and the Atlanta Thrashers rallied from an early deficit to beat Tampa Bay 5-2 Friday night and send the defending Stanley Cup champions to their sixth straight loss.

After Atlanta fell behind 2-0 late in the first period, Kovalchuk cut Tampa Bay’s lead in half with 1:49 remaining. He then scored the first three goals of the second period to notch his fourth career hat trick and give the Thrashers a 4-2 advantage.

Marian Hossa added a short-handed goal with 6:29 remaining and helped set up Kovalchuk’s first. Marc Savard had three assists and Niclas Havelid had two for Atlanta, which won two straight for the first time in 34 days.

Improving to 3-1-1 in their last five games, the Thrashers took the lead on the second of Kovalchuk’s three power-play goals at the 14:02 of the second. He stood in the slot with a defender between him and goaltender John Grahame and used a backhanded redirect on Havelid’s slap shot from outside the top of the left circle. Lightning coach John Tortorella pulled Grahame after the three-goal second period and Gerald Coleman made his NHL debut.

Hurricanes 1, Panthers 0

SUNRISE, Fla. – Eric Staal scored his team-leading 12th goal and Martin Gerber stopped 26 shots Friday night as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Florida Panthers 1-0 for their franchise-record ninth straight victory.

Gerber posted his second shutout of the season – both over Florida – and had to be perfect to outduel Roberto Luongo, his Florida counterpart. Luongo made 34 saves but it wasn’t enough to keep the Panthers from losing their seventh consecutive game.

Gerber stopped 27 shots last Saturday in Carolina’s 2-0 win against the Panthers.

Carolina got the only goal when Staal connected on the power play with 2:44 left in the second period. Erik Cole passed from behind the net to Staal just outside the crease. Staal flipped the puck over a prone Luongo into the right corner of the net.

The Panthers best chance to tie it came at 15:59 of the third period. Niklas Hagman got the puck directly in front of the crease and took a shot, but Gerber made a pad save and fell on the rebound.

Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 2

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Tim Connolly scored two goals, including the winner, and the Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.

It was the first two-goal game for Connolly, who missed the entire 2003-04 season with a concussion.Connolly, who also added an assist, scored his second of the game and fourth of the season nearly seven minutes into the third. He made a nifty move inside the Toronto blue line to go around defenseman Ken Klee, and backhanded the puck past goalie Ed Belfour.

Chris Drury, Mike Grier and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres, who won for only the second time in eight games after starting the season 6-2.

Teppo Numminen added three assists for Buffalo.

Alex Steen and Eric Lindros scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost their fourth straight road game.

Connolly opened the scoring 6:46 in, beating Belfour with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Steen answered four minutes into the second with his seventh goal of the season while the Leafs were on the power play. Buffalo goalie Martin Biron tried clearing the puck from behind the net, but Mats Sundin intercepted the attempt in the left corner and immediately fed Steen, who was alone in front.

Red Wings 3, Wild 1

DETROIT – Brendan Shanahan and Jason Williams scored second-period goals to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.

Johan Franzen added a goal, and Manny Legace made 16 saves for the Red Wings, who have won three straight.

Randy Robitaille scored for Minnesota, outshot 37-17.

Shanahan and Williams connected to give Detroit a 2-0 lead in the middle period when the Red Wings held a 20-4 shots advantage.

Shanahan opened the scoring at 7:28 with his 10th goal. He put in a rebound from the bottom of the left circle off a shot from the point by Jiri Fischer.

Williams’ power-play goal at 9:26 made it 2-0. After sneaking in from the right point, Williams took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and beat Manny Fernandez with a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle, high to the short side.

Robitaille made it 2-1 with a power-play goal 8:26 into the third period. His shot from along the goal line to Legace’s left, bounced off the inside of one of the Detroit goaltender’s pads and into the net.

Kings 4, Blackhawks 2

CHICAGO – Mathieu Garon stopped 32 shots and Los Angeles’ penalty killing was perfect for the third straight game in the Kings’ 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

Eric Belanger had a goal and assist, and Michael Cammalleri, Alexander Frolov and Craig Conroy also scored for the Kings. Los Angeles was 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, including a 5-on-3 disadvantage that lasted 35 seconds in the middle period. The Kings have turned away 21 straight power-play chances by opponents. The last time they were touched up for a man-advantage goal was midway through the second period of a 4-0 loss at Phoenix on Nov. 3.

Brent Seabrook and Mikael Holmqvist scored for the Blackhawks, who got 23 saves from Nikolai Khabibulin.

Seabrook opened the scoring with 5:13 left in the first period when his screened wrist shot from the point struck Garon and deflected in.

Belanger tied it 1-1 with 1:37 remaining in the first. From just outside the crease, he chipped a rebound of Jeff Cowan’s shot from right wing between Khabibulin’s pads.

Cammalleri’s deflection with just 5.3 seconds left in the period put Los Angeles ahead 2-1. As he cut through the slot, Cammalleri redirected Dustin Brown’s feed from the left boards past Khabibulin’s glove.

Frolov made it 3-1 at 1:54 of the second as the Kings capitalized on a failed Chicago clearing attempt. Belanger picked up a loose puck just inside the blue line, skated to the net, then passed across the slot to Frolov, who fired into an open net.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.