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Kovalchuk a winner again

The Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates his goal against the Penguins on an overtime power play for a 2-1 victory.

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The Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates his goal against the Penguins on an overtime power play for a 2-1 victory.

NEWARK, N.J. — Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a power play with 24.9 seconds left in overtime and the Devils continued their remarkable playoff push with a 2-1 victory over the Penguins on Friday night.

The goal was the second straight winner for Kovalchuk — he scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over the Lightning on Wednesday — his sixth in the past 12 games and his ninth of the season.

More important, it gave New Jersey its 19th win in 23 games (19-2-2) and handed the injury-ravaged Penguins their eighth loss in 10 (2-5-3).

Travis Zajac scored for the Devils in regulation, and Tyler Kennedy tallied for Pittsburgh, which, while slowly getting healthy, is without top forwards Evgeni Malkin (season-ending knee injury), Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Chris Kunitz (lower body), and top-four defenseman Brooks Orpik (broken finger).

Pittsburgh played with five defensemen for most of the game after Kris Letang got a game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down in a fight with Travis Zajac 6:14 into the first period.

Game highlights: Derek Stepan had a goal and an assist, Mats Zuccarello and Artem Anisimov scored 12 seconds apart in the second, and the Rangers ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the host Senators.

Islanders' Gillies gets 10-game suspension

Islanders forward Trevor Gillies was suspended by the league for 10 games for a hit to the head in his first game back from a nine-game suspension for the same thing.

Gillies, a key combatant in New York's fight-filled win over Pittsburgh on Feb. 11, played four shifts totaling 1:51 of ice time Wednesday before he was ejected for throwing an elbow at the head of Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck 2:23 into the second period of the Islanders' 4-1 win.

Gillies was given a major penalty for checking from behind and ejected. Clutterbuck stayed in the game and played Thursday against the Rangers.

"There can be no justification for a player delivering a dangerous check to an opponent in this manner," league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said in a statement.

Gillies said there was "no intent to injure him at all" and he was trying to finish his check on Clutterbuck, who had boarded New York's Justin DiBenedetto moments before.

Clutterbuck called the hit a "big joke."

Gillies — who has 220 penalty minutes and two points in 48 career games — earned a nine-game suspension for charging Pittsburgh forward Eric Tangradi, hitting him high with an elbow and punching him as he lay on the ice in the brawl-marred Feb. 11 game. Tangradi remains out with a concussion.

Bruins: The team will be without defenseman Steve Kampfer and leading scorer Patrice Bergeron against the Penguins tonight. Kampfer sustained what coach Claude Julien called a mild concussion against the Lightning on Thursday and is expected to miss about a week. Bergeron was excused for personal reasons and was out of town, ESPN reported. Kampfer left Thursday's game in the second after a hit by Mattias Ritola and never returned.

Devils: Center David Steckel said he reached out to apologize to the Penguins' Sidney Crosby for his hit to the head that contributed to Crosby's concussion. The hit occurred during the Jan. 1 Winter Classic while he was with the Capitals. Steckel said he reached out through Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was his AHL teammate in Hershey. "I said, 'Tell Sid I'm really sorry. I didn't see him at all,' " said Steckel, acquired from Washington in a trade Monday. "And I haven't talked to him since." Four days after that hit, Crosby was hit from behind into the boards by the Lightning's Victor Hedman. He hasn't played since. The Penguins say he still has concussion symptoms.

Oilers: Wing Taylor Hall, the first overall pick in last year's draft, will miss the rest of the season with a high left ankle sprain sustained in his first NHL fight, Thursday vs. the Blue Jackets.

at Devils 0 1 0 1 2
Penguins 0 1 0 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesLetang, Pit, major-game misconduct (fighting), 6:14; Zajac, NJ, major (fighting), 6:14.

Second Period1, New Jersey, Zajac 10 (Palmieri, Greene), 3:43. 2, Pittsburgh, Kennedy 15, 5:58. PenaltiesZubrus, NJ (high-sticking), 14:03.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesWhite, NJ (boarding), 7:33.

Overtime3, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 23 (Elias, Rolston), 4:35 (pp). PenaltiesMichalek, Pit (hooking), 2:46. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 9-7-10-0—26. New Jersey 8-13-6-3—30. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 0 of 2; New Jersey 1 of 1. GoaliesPittsburgh, B.Johnson 9-5-3 (30 shots-28 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 16-19-2 (26-25). A17,625 (17,625).

Rangers 1 2 1 4
at Senators 0 0 1 1

First Period1, N.Y. Rangers, Prospal 4 (Avery), 10:08. PenaltiesCallahan, NYR (holding), 7:17; Svatos, Ott (tripping), 11:45; Zuccarello, NYR (boarding), 16:13.

Second Period2, N.Y. Rangers, Zuccarello 4 (Stepan, Wolski), 6:26. 3, N.Y. Rangers, Anisimov 15 (Callahan, Girardi), 6:38. PenaltiesKarlsson, Ott (tripping), 8:49.

Third Period4, N.Y. Rangers, Stepan 18 (Wolski, Eminger), 2:25. 5, Ottawa, Gonchar 7 (Spezza, Karlsson), 4:56 (pp). PenaltiesBoyle, NYR (roughing), 1:28; Neil, Ott (roughing), 1:28; Gilroy, NYR (high-sticking), 4:06; Foligno, Ott (tripping), 15:51; Karlsson, Ott (tripping), 18:52. Shots on GoalN.Y. Rangers 8-9-10—27. Ottawa 8-10-11—29. Power-play opportunitiesN.Y. Rangers 0 of 4; Ottawa 1 of 3. GoaliesN.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 26-23-4 (29 shots-28 saves). Ottawa, Anderson 17-18-3 (27-23). A17,497 (19,153).

Playoff chase

With nonshootout wins (the first tiebreaker) and games remaining. Division winners get the top three seeds:

East Pts. Wins GR

1. Flyers 86 38 19

2. Bruins 83 37 18

3. Lightning 81 32 18

4. Penguins82 32 16

5. Capitals 80 33 17

6. Canadiens 77 33 17

7. Rangers72 27 15

8. Hurricanes* 71 27 17

9. Sabres 68 25 19

10. Maple Leafs 67 25 17

11. Thrashers 63 23 17

West Pts. Wins GR

1. Canucks 89 37 17

2. Red Wings 85 35 17

3. Sharks 82 33 17

4. Blackhawks* 76 30 18

5. Kings 76 29 18

6. Coyotes 76 30 16

7. Predators 75 27 17

8. Flames* 75 26 16

9. Stars* 74 29 19

10. Wild 74 32 17

11. Ducks* 73 30 18

12. Blue Jackets* 69 27 19

* Late result not included

Kovalchuk a winner again 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 11:06pm]

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