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Messier moves past Howe, gives Rangers boost

Mark Messier's two goals moved him past Gordie Howe for second on the league career points list and led the Rangers to a 3-0 victory over Dallas on Tuesday night.

Messier tied Howe with a goal in the second period, then surpassed him by shooting into an empty net with 4.7 seconds left.

Alexei Kovalev fed Messier as he streaked down the right wing, and Messier placed a shot into the center of the vacated net for his 1,851st point. He threw his hands up in exultation, and referees allowed the New York bench to empty and greet him in the Dallas zone.

Rangers coach and general manager Glen Sather clapped on the bench as Messier's family hugged in the stands. Sather was Messier's first NHL coach when the 18-year-old Messier entered the league.

Messier gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 1:37 into the second period, earning his 1,850th point in his 1,691st game. Howe played 1,767 games over 26 seasons. Wayne Gretzky is first with 2,857 points.

Messier's linemate Matthew Barnaby also scored in the second period. Jussi Markkanen made 34 saves for his first win of the season and sixth career shutout.

GRETZKY SIGNS ON AGAIN: Wayne Gretzky will return as executive director for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey in September. Canada won its first Olympic gold in 50 years at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Gretzky, the managing partner of the Coyotes, was in charge of assembling the roster, lining up coaches and directing the management.

The World Cup, a two-week event run by the NHL and its union, is returning after an eight-year absence. The United States won the inaugural event in 1996. In North America, Montreal, Toronto and St. Paul, Minn., will be game sites, with Toronto staging the championship Sept. 14 _ the day before the bargaining agreement between the NHL and the Players Association expires.

KINGS: Forward Ziggy Palffy won't face charges for a confrontation with his girlfriend, the team and his attorney said. Palffy was arrested Oct. 26 for investigation of domestic battery. Los Angeles police said there was a physical altercation at Palffy's home and that the woman sustained minor injuries. Palffy's attorney, John Tyre, said the district attorney's office decided "filing a criminal charge in this case was not appropriate."

RED WINGS: Forward Henrick Zetterberg is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a broken right leg. He has two goals and five assists in 12 games this season. Last season, Zetterberg led all rookies with 22 goals and 44 points.

THRASHERS: Center Marc Savard had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left ankle and is expected to miss 8 to 10 weeks. Savard is tied for fifth in the league with 14 points in 12 games. Atlanta already expects to play most, if not all, of the season without All-Star Dany Heatley, injured in a car wreck that killed teammate Dan Snyder before the season.

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