Martin Gerber came back from a day off to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden last night.
Gerber, who sat out the Senators' 4-3 overtime home loss to Chicago on Saturday night, made 34 saves to earn his fourth win in his last five outings. Goals by Jason Spezza and Chris Kelly wiped out an early 1-0 deficit for the Senators, who lead the Eastern Conference with 50 points (23-8-4).
"It was good for us to bounce back," Gerber said. "You look around the league and you see teams in first in their division and then in a few days they're out of the playoffs. You have to try to come back and jump on the wagon."
Mike Fisher made it 3-1 when his shot from the right point, after a turnover by New York's Chris Drury, hit Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and caromed in midway through the third period.
It was the last game of the season between the teams. The Senators won three of the four games, and have won 16 of 20 over the Rangers since the 2002-03 season.
Sean Avery returned to the Rangers after missing 11 games following wrist surgery. He jawed and jostled and hit anyone he could starting from his first shift in the opening 2 minutes, but it wasn't enough. The Rangers are 9-5-1 in games he's played this season, 8-10-3 during his two injury stints.
In other games:
* At Pittsburgh, Gary Roberts had two goals and an assist and linemate Georges Laraque also scored to lead the Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, who have lost four straight.
Evgeni Malkin and Laraque scored in a 30-second span late in the second period to open a 3-1 lead. It was Laraque's 50th goal in 10 NHL seasons.
* At St. Louis, Marian Hossa scored at 19 seconds of overtime and Ilya Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 29th goal in the Atlanta Thrashers' 3-2 win over the Blues.
Kovalchuk has 25 goals and 16 assists in the last 28 games for the Thrashers, who climbed above .500 at 18-17-1 after starting the season 0-6. Mark Recchi scored his fourth goal in seven games with Atlanta.
* At Calgary, Patrik Elias scored the game-winning goal 25 serconds into overtime and Martin Brodeur stopped 30 shots in the New Jersey Devils' 1-0 victory over the Flames. Brodeur is second all-time in career shutouts with 95. Terry Sawchuk had 103.
* At Chicago, defenseman Brent Seabrook had his first two-goal game in the NHL, and the Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, for their third straight victory. Patrick Sharp scored his 18th goal for Chicago.
* At Dallas, linemates Mike Ribeiro, Antti Miettinen and Brenden Morrow scored goals, and the Stars rolled over the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1.
* At Denver, Cody McCormick and Andrew Brunette scored in a 1:34 span of the third period, and Peter Budaj made 21 saves to boost the Colorado Avalanche over the Vancouver Canucks, 3-1. The Avalanche, 5-0-1 in their last six games, moved into a tie for first place with the Canucks in the Northwest Division.
* At Columbus, J.P. Dumont broke a 1-1 tie with 38 seconds left in the third period, leading the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 victory over the Blue Jackets. David Legwand had a power-play goal and Jed Ortmeyer added an empty-netter for the Predators, who have won 11 straight, including three this season, against Columbus. *