With their pesky in-your-face style, the New Jersey Devils are never any fun to play. Add the Colorado Avalanche to the teams who thoroughly hate to face them.
"The Devils are one of the best teams in the NHL at frustrating other teams," Colorado coach Marc Crawford said after the Devils beat the Avalanche 2-0 Thursday night.The Devils put on a display of their gritty defensive prowess as they won the battle of division leaders and took over the top spot in the league standings with 97 points, two better than Dallas.
The Stars lost 1-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"You saw Martin as good as he gets," New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire said of goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 23 saves. "He is so steady and has been like this all year."
Brodeur improved his record to 41-12-7 - 9-1-3 against the Avalanche franchise - as he gained his ninth shutout of the season and 31st of his career.
MAPLE LEAFS 1, STARS 0: Felix Potvin stopped 26 shots for his fifth shutout, and Sergei Berezin scored the game's only goal as Toronto ended a five-game winless streak.
Berezin's 15th goal, with 16:18 remaining, was enough to stop an 0-4-1 slump by the Maple Leafs.
BRUINS 4, FLYERS 2: Boston's top checking line of Per Johan Axelsson, Rob DiMaio and Mike Sullivan scored three goals in the first 10 minutes as the host Bruins beat Philadelphia.
Axelsson got the go-ahead goal at 9:04 of the first period after the Flyers had twice come back from def-i-cits on goals by Mike Sillinger and Rob Brind'Amour.
ISLANDERS 4, PENGUINS 3: Bryan Smolinski's power-play goal with 64 seconds left in the second period broke a tie as the host Islanders beat the Penguins.
Smolinski unleashed a rising slap shot that beat goaltender Peter Skudra high to the glove side to break a 3-3 tie.
PANTHERS 5, CANADIENS 4: Bill Lindsay scored two goals, including the game-winner, as host Florida snapped a 13-game losing streak.
Lindsay's game-winner came with 5:27 left, giving the Panthers their first victory since Jan. 31. The 13 consecutive losses tied a record for the most this season in the NHL and were four shy of the league's all-time mark of 17 straight.
MIGHTY DUCKS 3, RED WINGS 3: J.F. Jomphe's first goal of the season helped Anaheim extend its unbeaten streak to five games as the visiting Mighty Ducks tied Detroit.
The Ducks, hopelessly out of the playoff picture, nonetheless won three straight before Thursday night and are 3-1-2 on a seven-game road trip that ends Saturday at Colorado.
HURRICANES 4, RANGERS 1: Mar-tin Gelinas and Keith Primeau scored in a 43-second span of the second period as the Hurricanes beat the visiting Rangers.
Jeff O'Neill scored Carolina's other two goals, giving him 17 for this season and helping the Hurricanes secure their first win over the Rangers in four tries this season. Alexei Kovalev scored for New York.
BLUES 3, LIGHTNING 2: Brett Hull scored twice and Al MacInnis added another goal to lead host St. Louis over Tampa Bay.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Blues. The Lightning have lost seven of their last 11.
SABRES 5, CANUCKS 2: Mike Peca scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, as visiting Buffalo scored five third-period goals on five consecutive shots in a fight-filled game.
Jason Wooley, Geoff Sanderson and Alexei Zhitnik also scored for the Sabres, who overcame a 2-0 third-period deficit.
SHARKS 5, KINGS 2: Jeff Friesen and Tony Granato triggered a four-goal first period with power-play goals as visiting San Jose ended a four-game losing streak.
Friesen later added an empty-netter in the final minute to help San Jose climb within three points of idle Edmonton for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. The Sharks have 11 games remaining, one more than the Oilers.
FLAMES 3, CAPITALS 2: Jason Wiemer scored the winning goal in his debut for Calgary as the Flames beat visiting Washington.
Wiemer, acquired at the trade deadline on Tuesday from the Tam-pa Bay Lightning, capped Calgary's comeback from a 2-0 deficit by scoring the go-ahead goal at 14:13 of the second period.