Niclas Wallin scored on a deflection 16 seconds into the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes pulled away for a 5-1 victory over the slumping Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes, who lead the NHL with 74 points, won for the 12th time in 13 games, including the last three in a row. They came into the night with an 18-point lead over Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division.
Atlanta is fading a bit in the playoff race, losing its fourth straight game -- one away from its worst skid of the season.
The Thrashers fell behind 2-0 in the second period, but began to turn things around after star Ilya Kovalchuk was struck by a stick and headed off the ice with blood streaming down his face. No penalty was called, and Kovalchuk slammed his helmet to the ice in disgust as he headed to the locker room for stitches.
With 59 seconds left in the period, Patrik Stefan swatted in a rebound with one hand on the stick to halve the deficit.
But whatever momentum the Thrashers took from Stefan's inspired play was quickly wiped out by Wallin's second goal of the season. With the teams skating 4-on-4, the defenseman slipped deep into the Atlanta zone and deflected Bret Hedican's shot past Kari Lehtonen.
Senators 3, Canadiens 0
At Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson had two goals and an assist and Dominik Hasek recorded his fifth shutout. The Canadiens tied a franchise record by being held to 12 shots.
Zdeno Chara also scored for Northeast Division-leading Ottawa, which outshot Montreal 33-6 through the first two periods and 40-12 overall. The Senators went 2-for-6 on the power play through the first two periods while Montreal had only one opportunity with the man advantage over the same stretch.
The Canadiens, who have lost 17 of 19 on the road, fell to 1-4 on a six-game road trip that ends today in Toronto.
Bruins 3, Capitals 2
At Boston, Marco Sturm scored in the third period to lift the Boston Bruins.
After Ben Clymer tied the game at 2 for Washington at 10:55, Sturm responded 25 seconds later when he backhanded a shot under the arm of Capitals goalie Brent Johnson.
Tim Thomas made 31 saves and is 5-0-2 since taking over as starting goalie for the Bruins.
Red Wings 2, Canucks 1
At Detroit, Brendan Shanahan's power-play goal with 7 minutes left helped the Red Wings snap a two-game losing streak.
Detroit also got a goal from Nicklas Lidstrom and had a 35-15 shots advantage. Red Wings goalie Manny Legace held off Vancouver scramble in front of the net with 41 seconds to play to preserve the lead.
Anson Cater scored for Vancouver, which lost its third straight.
Lightning 1, Devils 0, OT
At Tampa, Florida, Ruslan Fedotenko scored with 2:38 left in overtime, spoiling another stellar outing by Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
John Grahame had 20 saves en route to his third shutout in Tampa Bay's last five games. The Lightning are 4-0-1 during that stretch, and Grahame has allowed a total of one goal in the four victories.
The loss was the second in 12 games for the Devils, who entered as the NHL's hottest team with Brodeur posting four shutouts during a stretch that's propelled the club into postseason contention.
Islanders 4, Penguins 3, SO
At Uniondale, New York, Alexei Yashin had a goal and recorded his 400th NHL assist and backup Wade Dubielewicz stopped all three Pittsburgh skaters in the shootout.