BUFFALO, N.Y. – Christopher Higgins scored twice and Cristobal Huet made 42 saves, leading the surging Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Alex Kovalev, Maxim Lapierre and Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, which won its fourth straight and moved within five points of first-place Buffalo in the Northeast Division. Sheldon Souray and Sergei Samsonov each had two assists for the Canadiens.

Ales Kotalik and Jaroslav Spacek scored for Buffalo, which has lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Ryan Miller stopped 24 shots.

Hurricanes 2, Flyers 1

PHILADELPHIA – Justin Williams and Anton Babchuk scored, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat Philadelphia 2-1 on Tuesday night to hand the Flyers their franchise-record seventh straight loss.

Simon Gagne scored for the Flyers, who had dropped six in a row five times in their 40-year history – including twice this season. The Flyers have the fewest points in the NHL (20) and have only three victories at home, also a league low.

Islanders 4, Rangers 3

NEW YORK – Jason Blake scored three goals and the New York Islanders took advantage of the depleted and tired New York Rangers before holding on for a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

Blake quickly erased the Rangers’ only lead of the night in the first period and then scored two power-play goals in the second for his fourth NHL hat trick as the Islanders took a big lead.

He already has 19 goals, nine shy of his career best set last season.

Lightning 5, Capitals 4

WASHINGTON – Vincent Lecavalier scored his 200th career goal and assisted on Martin St. Louis’ 21st and 22nd of the season, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning build a big lead they nearly gave away before beating the Washington Capitals 5-4 Tuesday night.

Defenseman Filip Kuba added a goal and two assists, and Nikita Alexeev also scored for Tampa Bay, which snapped a four-game losing streak. The Lightning outshot the Capitals 29-9 through two periods while taking a 5-2 lead, bringing loud boos from an announced crowd of 10,417.

Panthers 7, Maple Leafs 3

TORONTO – Gary Roberts scored twice against his former team and Ed Belfour made 33 saves in his first game in Toronto since he was cut by the Maple Leafs, leading the Florida Panthers to a 7-3 rout Tuesday night.

Ville Peltonen, Rostislav Olesz, Martin Gelinas, Joel Kwiatkowski and Nathan Horton also scored for the Panthers, who won back-to-back road games for the first time this season. They lost their previous five in Toronto.

Thrashers 4, Devils 3

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Marian Hossa scored two short-handed goals, then connected in the shootout to help the Atlanta Thrashers end a season-high five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Slava Kozlov and Hossa, the first two shooters for Atlanta, beat Martin Brodeur. At the other end, Kari Lehtonen stopped Zach Parise and Brian Gionta.

Wild 5, Canucks 2

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Branko Radivojevic scored twice and Brian Rolston had a goal and an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild past the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Tuesday night for a split of their home-and-home series.

Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish also scored for the Wild, who won in regulation for only the second time in 21 games. Minnesota has five other wins during that stretch.

Trevor Linden and Kevin Bieksa scored for Vancouver, which lost for the first time in four games.

Coming off a winless three-game swing through western Canada in which it scored just four goals, Minnesota improved to 13-3-1 at home with its fourth straight win in the Xcel Energy Center. Only Anaheim (14) has more home wins.


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