Stars of the night
--Tuomo Ruutu, hat trick to lead Carolina over Dallas, 5-3.
--Dwayne Roloson, 25 saves in the Islanders' 2-1 win over the Rangers.
--Jonas Hiller, 28 saves for Anaheim, which got Saku Koivu's late power play goal to defeat Vancouver, 3-2.
--Ottawa's Brian Elliott fended off all 22 shots Buffalo threw at him to guide the Senators over the Sabres, 2-0. Alexander Picard and Mike Fisher scored for Ottawa. Ryan Miller made 26 saves and was named the game's No. 1 star in Ottawa.
--Cristobal Huet continues to make his doubters look silly after making 27 saves in Chicago's 3-0 victory over St. Louis. Patrick Kane assisted on all three Blackhawks goals, by Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa. Jonathan Toews had two assists.
If a record falls and no one's there to see it, does it still count?
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur didn't break Terry Sawchuk's shutout record, but if he had done it Wednesday, not many people would've witnessed it. The announced crowd in New Jersey, to see a team vying for the top overall spot in the NHL, with history on the line each night, was just 12,178, barely 69 percent capacity at the Prudential Center.
As it was, Brodeur, who tied Patrick Roy's record for most goalie appearances, actually allowed the game's first goal in the opening period, but goals by Ikka Pikkarainen and Patrik Elias gave the Devils a 2-1 win over Montreal. Brodeur finished with 17 saves.
Two steps forward, one step back
December has been a good month for Toronto, which won six of its first eight games, but the Maple Leafs suffered a setback by giving up six goals to defensively-strong-but-offensively-challenged Phoenix in a 6-3 home loss.
Petr Prucha scored twice, and Vernon Fiddler, Paul Bissonette, Scottie Upshall and Radim Vrbata had goals for the Coyotes, who had scored only eight goals in their last four games. Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle had three assists each.
At it again
Atlanta erased another multiple goal-deficit in the third period, but Michael Frolik's goal with 1:21 remaining allowed Florida to avoid the collapse and defeat the Thrashers, 4-3.
Stephen Weiss had a goal and assist for the Panthers, who received goals from Radek Dvorak and Bryan McCabe.
Ilya Kovalchuk led Atlanta with a goal and an assist.
Stat of the night
141:21 - Chicago's current streak, in minutes, of not allowing a goal
Non-3 Stars Selection
Eric Staal, a goal and two assists for Carolina. Third star was the 'canes Joni Pitkanen (two assists), second was Carolina's Jussi Jokinen (one goal, one assist) and Ruutu was No. 1.
Quote of the night
"There has to be something done, and we'll see along the way before [Thursday] night's game. We'll see where we go with them. It's just simply unacceptable how we started that game. I wish I could give you an explanation about it. I can't."
Rangers coach John Tortorella, whose tirade included more than the above quote, and was followed by him smacking a chair and storming out of the interview room. New York is 0-3-2 in its last five and 1-6-2 in the last nine, with just 15 goals in that time.
Thursday, Dec. 17 (9 games)
Let's go with a doubleheader: Pittsburgh (23-10-1) at Philadelphia (15-16-1), 7 p.m. ET, to see what they do for an encore after a seven-goal, three-fight night, followed by Los Angeles (22-11-3) at Calgary (19-10-4), 9:30 p.m. ET.
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