MONTREAL – Ray Whitney scored twice and Matt Cullen had three assists to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Whitney scored a power-play goal on Canadiens rookie Carey Price with 33.8 seconds remaining in the middle period. He added another goal – his 14th of the season – 6:28 into the third against Jaroslav Halak, who replaced Price to begin the period.

Cam Ward made 35 saves, and Erik Cole, Eric Staal and Rod Brind’Amour also scored for Carolina, 2-2 on its five-game road trip that will end Sunday in Detroit.

Andrei Kostitsyn scored a power-play goal in the second, the lone tally by Montreal, which has lost six of eight (2-5-1).

Price stopped 25 of 29 shots through the first two periods.

Carolina held an 18-8 shooting margin in the first period as Cole and Staal combined to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.

Capitals 6, Thrashers 3

WASHINGTON – Nicklas Backstrom and Jeff Schultz scored a minute apart in the first period, and the Washington Capitals got two goals from Mike Green in a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, whose previous four games were decided by one goal. It was only the second time Washington scored as many as six goals; the other was in a 7-1 rout of Toronto on Oct. 29.

Of the Capitals’ NHL-low 10 wins this season, four have been by at least three goals.

Matt Pettinger scored his second goal for Washington, and Backstrom had two assists. The Capitals improved to 4-3-1 under coach Bruce Boudreau, who took over for the fired Glen Hanlon on Nov. 22, one day after the Capitals turned in a listless performance in a 5-1 loss to Atlanta.

Wild 2, Blue Jackets 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Brian Rolston’s third-period goal and Niklas Backstrom’s 31 saves helped the Minnesota Wild beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Saturday night.

Rolston snapped a 1-1 tie with a hard slap shot from the top of the left circle that slipped inside the near post and past goaltender Pascal Leclaire at the 2:22 mark of the third period.

Backstrom did the rest, handling a flurry of shots in the final minutes while the Blue Jackets desperately looked for the tying goal.

Predators 4, Ducks 2

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Jordin Tootoo recorded a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a goal, assist, and a fight in the Nashville Predators’ 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

The Predators snapped a two-game losing streak and ended Anaheim’s two-game winning run.

Tootoo broke a scoreless tie at 5:52 of the first period with his sixth goal of the season.

Vernon Fiddler won a faceoff back to Tootoo, who was stationed above the right circle.

Tootoo quickly snapped a wrist shot that beat goalie Jonas Hiller high to the glove side.

Islanders 3, Lightning 2

TAMPA, Fla. – Mike Sillinger scored a power-play goal with 27.7 seconds left in overtime to help the New York Islanders snap a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Sillinger scored from the left circle during New York’s second power play in overtime.

Rick DiPietro made 32 saves, and captain Bill Guerin snapped his 16-game goal drought for the Islanders.

Andy Hilbert had the other New York goal.

Tampa Bay got a pair of third-period goals from Brad Richards. Johan Holmqvist made 30 saves.


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