Patrik Elias and Niclas Bergfors scored two goals each and the netminder Martin Brodeur recorded his 577th career victory as the New Jersey Devils beat the struggling Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Saturday. Elias followed two power-play scores by the Swedish rookie Bergfors with the 300th goal of his career in the first period and added another in the second.
Of his double, Bergfors said: "When the goals start to come, it's a great feeling. You get more comfortable out there. "We're winning a lot of games, so right now it's a very good feeling. I'm trying to shoot at the right time and use space more. It's a little bit of luck, too." Brodeur stopped 22 shots for his 20th victory of the season but lost a bid to become the NHL's all-time shutout leader when Philadelphia's Claude Giroux scored on a power play 15:03 into the second period.
The Devils' netminder and the Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk share the all-time lead with 103 career shutouts. The loss was the 10th in 12 games for Philadelphia, while New Jersey, who share the lead in the Atlantic Division, have won eight of their past 10. Elsewhere in the NHL, Matt Stajan had two goals and an assist as the North-East Division strugglers Toronto Maple Leafs beat the South-East leading Washington Capitals 6-3.
Phil Kessel, Niklas Hagman, Lee Stempniak and Alexei Ponikarovsky added to Stajan's brace as the Leafs - still 14th overall of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference - tore up the formbook. Nicklas Backstrom (two) and Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington. The Pittsburgh Penguins remain level on points with the Devils thanks to a 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers, who were beaten by Evgeni Malkin's power-play goal.
The Phoenix Coyotes saw off their table-topping Pacific rivals San Jose Sharks 2-1. Radim Vrbata and Robert Lang gave Phoenix a 2-0 lead and only Dany Heatley could find a way past Ilya Bryzgalov. Patrik Kaleta scored two for the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Derek Roy opened the scoring for the Sabres, but Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik put the Rangers ahead before Kaleta took centre stage.
Tedd Bertuzzi scored twice, including the overtime winner, as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 while the Los Angeles Kings sank the Dallas Stars 3-2 after a shoot-out. The Vancouver Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3, the Atlanta Thrashers edged the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 after overtime, the Carolina Hurricanes lost 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1.
* With agencies