WASHINGTON – Tim Connolly backhanded a rebound past goalie Olie Kolzig with 3:42 left in the third period, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Connolly, who left the ice in the second period with a bloody nose, was positioned just in front of Kolzig, and after Jason Pominville’s long shot was batted away by the goalie, Connolly tapped it past him to break a 3-3 tie.

It was Connolly’s fifth goal of the year, and gave him points in four straight games.

The Sabres won their fourth straight against the Capitals, who were seeking to complete a 4-0 homestand for the first time in more than seven years.

Jochen Hecht added an empty netter with 1:14 to play for the final margin. Derek Roy, Maxim Afinogenov and Derek Stafford also scored for the Sabres.

Flames 4, Hurricanes 3

RALEIGH, N.C. – Dion Phaneuf scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period Friday night to lead the Calgary Flames past the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3.

Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius and Dustin Boyd also scored for the Flames, who improved to 4-0 on their six-game road trip. Adrian Aucoin added two assists, while Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 33 saves.

Matt Cullen had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, who continued their recent slump despite outshooting Calgary 36-21.

The Flames came in with plenty of momentum after a strong start to their road trip, winning at Chicago and beating Florida in a shootout before cruising by Tampa Bay 9-6 on Thursday night. They added to it by never trailing against a Carolina team desperate to get a win.

Leafs 4, Thrashers 0

ATLANTA – The way Vesa Toskala is playing in goal, it might not matter how long the Toronto Maple Leafs play on the road.

Toskala continued his hot streak with 24 stops and Toronto took advantage of more second-period success to beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-0 on Friday night in the opener of the Maple Leafs’ season-high seven-game road trip.

Toskala posted his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career. He improved to 6-1 in his last seven games and has not allowed more than two goals in any game during the stretch.

The Maple Leafs, who lead the NHL with 44 second-period goals, scored twice in the period following a scoreless opening 20 minutes.

Toronto put the game away with two goals by Alexei Ponikarovsky late in the third period.


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