Martin Brodeur made 32 saves in posting his second straight shutout and Bobby Holik scored early in the third period to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 2-0 victory over the struggling New York Rangers on Sunday.
The win extended the Devils' unbeaten streak to a season-high seven games (5-0-2) and handed the Rangers their second straight loss and 10th in 12 games, a slump that has put their chances of defending the Stanley Cup in jeopardy.New York has only 11 games left and still has to catch eighth-place Hartford and hold off Montreal and Florida. New Jersey, which once again is starting to look like the team that came within a goal of going to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, is now just three points behind first-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.
Red Wings 4, Blackhawks 1
At Chicago, Mike Vernon made 25 saves, running his unbeaten streak to 15 games and leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 victory over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks.
Ray Sheppard, Keith Primeau, Steve Yzerman and Dino Ciccarelli scored for the Red Wings (26-7-3), who have gone 7-0-1 the last two weeks and 13-1-2 the last month to move a point ahead of Quebec for the NHL's best record.
Just six games ago, they were only four points ahead of Chicago in the race for the top Western Conference mark, but the Blackhawks have gone 0-5-1 to Detroit's 5-0-1 in that span to fall 14 points back. Detroit is 13-2-1 in the Central Division, Chicago 4-9-2.
Once one of the league's highest-scoring teams, Chicago has managed only nine goals during its skid - just four in 10 periods since All-Star Jeremy Roenick suffered a season-ending knee injury April 2.
Bruins 6, Sabres 5
At Buffalo, N.Y., Bryan Smolinski ripped a slap shot between Dominik Hasek's legs with 20.1 seconds remaining to lift the Boston Bruins to a 6-5 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Buffalo had tied the game with 43 seconds remaining on Yuri Khmylev's goal before Smolinski put the Sabres away with his second goal of the game.
Mats Naslund scored a pair of goals in the third period for the Bruins, who were without Cam Neely.
Craig Billington, acquired for future considerations from the Ottawa Senators on Friday, made 22 saves for the victory in his debut with Boston. He was 0-6-2 with the Senators and allowed seven goals in a loss to the Sabres about two weeks ago.
Stars 3, Blues 2
At St. Louis, Kevin Hatcher scored his second goal of the game with 3:30 left to lift the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
The loss snapped the Blues' unbeaten streak of seven games. St. Louis had lost just once in its previous 10 home games.
Brent Gilchrist had the other goal for the Stars. Adam Creighton had both St. Louis goals, and Brett Hull extended his league-leading scoring streak to nine games with an assist on Creighton's second goal.