Streaking Maple Leafs win fourth consecutive

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NEW YORK --- Nik Antropov scored three goals, chasing Henrik Lundqvist and sending the Toronto Maple Leafs to a season-high fourth victory in a row, 6-2 over the slumping New York Rangers on Thursday night.

The Bruins' Marc Savard leaps to avoid a shot on Canadiens goalie Carey Price which was blocked by defenseman Ryan O'Byrne (left) during Montreal's victory over Boston.  Associated Press
Associated Press
The Bruins' Marc Savard leaps to avoid a shot on Canadiens goalie Carey Price which was blocked by defenseman Ryan O'Byrne (left) during Montreal's victory over Boston.

Toronto, which hadn't won more than two in a row before this spurt, beat the Rangers in both road meetings this season -- outscoring them 9-3. The Maple Leafs scored six times on 16 shots.

Matt Stajan and Mats Sundin gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the first period on only four shots, but that advantage was gone before the intermission. Alex Steen scored late in the third, and Vesa Toskala finished with 23 saves.

Defensemen Dan Girardi and Fedor Tyutin got New York even in the first, both scoring power-play goals off passing plays by forwards Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. It wasn't enough to prevent the Rangers' fourth loss in five home games. New York was outscored 9-2 in consecutive home losses this week to Carolina and Toronto.

Steve Valiquette started the third period for New York in relief of Lundqvist, who allowed four goals for the second straight game -- both at home -- after going 18 straight without yielding more than three.

Antropov finished off his second NHL hat trick when he made it 5-2 at 3:34 off the third, putting a shot past Valiquette's glove.

CANADIENS 4, BRUINS 2

In Boston, Chris Higgins had a goal and two assists to help Montreal snap a three-game losing streak with its seventh straight victory over Boston.

The Canadiens have outscored the Bruins 28-11 during the streak.

Higgins, Kyle Chipchura and Tomas Plekanec scored goals on the first six shots of the game against Tuuka Rask, forced into the starting role with Tim Thomas sidelined by an apparent groin injury. Mathieu Dandenault added a third-period goal for Montreal, and rookie Carey Price made 24 saves to improve to 7-4-1.

Phil Kessel and P.J. Axelsson scored for Boston, coming off a six-game road trip.

CANUCKS 5, PREDATORS 2

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Daniel Sedin scored two third-period goals, and backup goalie Curtis Sanford made 26 saves for Vancouver.

Alex Burrows, Taylor Pyatt and Trevor Linden also scored for the Canucks, and Curtis Sanford made 26 saves. Jed Ortmeyer and Martin Erat scored for Nashville.

Sedin gave the Canucks a 3-2 lead at 8:11 of the third period, skating low through the slot and shooting the puck between the left post and goalie Dan Ellis. Sedin struck again at 12:26, scoring on a high shot from close range as Ellis dove to the ice.

LIGHTNING 2, HURRICANES 1

In Tampa, Fla., Vincent Lecavalier scored his 19th goal of the season, and Johan Holmqvist made 23 saves for Tampa Bay.

Lecavalier opened the scoring with a power-play goal 16 minutes into the second period, and Martin St. Louis added a third-period goal. Holmqvist allowed only Cory Stillman's goal with 14 seconds left.


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