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NHL Capsules

WASHINGTON - Logan Couture broke a scoreless tie with 8:05 to play, Antti Niemi made 25 saves for his second straight shutout and the San Jose Sharks ran their defensive-minded winning streak to four games by beating the Washington Capitals 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Ben Eager led Couture just enough for the rookie centre to take the pass in open ice at the left circle and put the shot through the legs of goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

Dan Boyle added another goal, this time from the right circle with 5:53 to go, as the Sharks extended their points streak to nine games and improved to 3-0 on their seven-game road trip.

The Capitals, whose offensive struggles have threatened to cancel out the team's improved defensive play, were shut out for the eighth time this season and the second time in five games.

PITTSBURGH (AP)—Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek each had a goal and an assist to lead Columbus past the Penguins.

Samuel Pahlsson and Antoine Vermette also scored for Columbus, and Steve Mason was sensational in net with 32 saves.

The Blue Jackets avenged a 7-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 4, when Sidney Crosby had two goals for the Penguins. This time, Crosby was missing for the 14th straight game.

The Penguins added centre Chris Kunitz to an injury list that already includes Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (knee). Kunitz, third on the team in goals, has a lower-body injury and is day to day.

Tyler Kennedy spoiled Mason's shutout bid with a power-play goal in the third to make it 3-1.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Drew Stafford had three goals and Buffalo scored three times in a span of 1:42 during a five-goal third period to rally past the Lightning.

Buffalo took control after Jordon Leopold pulled the Sabres even at three on a disputed goal at 4:26 of the third. During the play it appeared Stafford lost his balance skating near the crease and tripped Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson to the ice.

Goals by Tim Connolly (10:14), Thomas Vanek (11:01) and Stafford (11:56) put Buffalo ahead 6-3. Stafford completed the hat trick with a power-play goal with 6:33 to go.

Sean Bergenheim and Vincent Lecavalier each scored twice for Tampa Bay, which dropped to 4-2 during an NHL record-tying 12-game homestand. The Lightning are 22-2-1 when leading going into the third period.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—Mattias Tedenby scored his second goal of the game 2:42 into overtime and New Jersey continued its winning ways without goalie Martin Brodeur by beating Carolina.

Fellow rookie Nick Palmieri tied it with 2:54 to play in regulation and Johan Hedberg made 20 saves and picked up an assist on the game-winner in helping the Devils win for the 10th time since Jan. 9 (10-1-2).

Rookie Jeff Skinner had two goals for Carolina, which moved a point ahead of idle Atlanta in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

The 38-year-old Brodeur hurt his right knee in a win Sunday over Montreal and is expected to be sidelined for a while.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP)—Tomas Kaberle scored the first of Toronto's three third-period goals to break a tie and the Maple Leafs took advantage of New York's emergency goalie in snapping a five-game road losing streak.

The Islanders were forced to start Mikko Koskinen in his NHL debut after second-string goalie Kevin Poulin appeared to injure his left leg during pre-game warmups, minutes before the opening faceoff.

Colby Armstrong, who had two assists in thethird, and Jay Rosehill scored to give Toronto a 2-0 lead on the Maple Leafs' first two shots against the 22-year-old Koskinen.

Nikolai Kulemin stretched it to 4-2 with 11:11 left and Fredrik Sjostrom made it a three-goal lead with 5:07 remaining. James Reimer made 31 saves for Toronto, which won on the road for the first time since Jan. 11. The Maple Leafs are 4-1 in an eight-day stretch following the all-star break.

Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and Rob Schremp scored for New York.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Matt D'Agostini scored the tiebreaking goal with four minutes left to lift St. Louis over Florida.

David Backes also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves for the Blues, who snapped a four-game road losing streak.

Dennis Wideman scored for Florida and Tomas Vokoun stopped 26 shots.


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