Penguins trounce Buffalo for 12th straight

Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to their 12th straight victory, a 5-2 win over the Sabres Saturday night in Buffalo.

Alex Goligoski and Michael Rupp scored 4 minutes, 34 seconds apart in the third period to seal a victory in a game the Penguins never trailed. Sidney Crosby set up Goligoski's goal to extend his point streak to 18 games - one short of matching a career best. The Penguins lead the NHL with a 21-8-2 record.

Elsewhere: Tomas Holmstrom and Danny Cleary scored on Detroit's first two shots against Martin Brodeur as the visiting Red Wings handed the New Jersey Devils their fifth straight loss, 4-1. . . . The visiting Colorado Avalanche beat the Capitals, 3-2, in Washington. The loss was the Washington's fifth straight. . . . Rick Nash scored twice in a three-minute span in the third period to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-1 victory over the visiting New York Rangers. . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the visiting Montreal Canadiens 3-1. . . . The visiting Atlanta Thrashers scored four goals in the final period to beat the New York Islanders, 5-4.

Bruins were premature to doubt Thomas

One of the biggest surprises so far this season has been the excellent play of Boston's Tim Thomas, a player who lost his starting job last season and who the Bruins were shopping before the season began.

The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner and 2010 Olympic silver medalist is back from a hip injury that left him on the bench for the Bruins and the U.S. team in Vancouver. Now he's recovered from off-season surgery and proving to be even better than when he was the NHL's leading goaltender two years ago.

At 36, Thomas is still getting better at an age when most athletes' skills are declining - Saturday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Flyers notwithstanding. Going into Saturday, he led all qualifying goalies in win percentage (.833), save percentage (.955), and a dominating goals-against average (1.49), and his five shutouts this season already match his career high.

Nordiques Nation flexes its muscles

About 1,100 fans from Quebec - calling themselves "Nordiques Nation" - arrived in buses in Long Island Saturday night to see the Islanders play the Atlanta Thrashers, and to demonstrate that they really, really want a team of their own. Even the Islanders will do.

Quebec City once had a team, but the Nordiques moved to become the Colorado Avalanche before the 1995-96 season and that was that. - Wire reports