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Lecavalier gives Lightning a lift

Hat trick helps thrash Atlanta

Vincent Lecavalier had three goals and two assists, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning stop a four-game losing streak with an 8-0 victory over the Southeast Division-leading Atlanta Thrashers last night in Tampa.

Martin St. Louis had a goal and four assists as the Lightning beat Atlanta for the fourth time in five games this season. Marc Denis made 21 saves to end a personal seven-game losing skid.

Lecavalier and St. Louis set career highs with 5 points each.

"It seemed like every shot went in," said Lecavalier, who took six shots. "Some nights you can have 10 shots and nothing goes in. Tonight, three go in. I don't know what to say."

Tampa Bay also got goals from Nikita Alexeev, Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, and Ruslan Fedotenko.

Canadiens 4, Islanders 2 -- Saku Koivu's two power-play goals powered visiting Montreal.

Craig Rivet and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for Montreal, which moved 5 points ahead of Toronto and Ottawa for second place in the Northeast Division.

The Islanders, who enjoyed a two-day stay atop the Atlantic Division, fell to third place, 2 points behind the Rangers and Devils.

Panthers 3, Sabres 1 -- Ric Jackman scored the winning goal and Alex Auld made 17 saves as Florida beat Buffalo in Sunrise, Fla.

Stephen Weiss and Olli Jokinen also scored for the Panthers, who won back-to-back games for just the second time this season. Florida hadn't won consecutive games since Oct. 11-13, when it beat Carolina and Tampa Bay.

Rangers 3, Penguins 2 -- Brendan Shanahan scored the tying goal in the third period and then lifted host New York over Pittsburgh with the only tally in the shootout.

After looking lifeless through two periods, the Rangers woke up in the third and erased a 2-0 deficit when Blair Betts scored a shorthanded goal and Shanahan followed with a power-play marker less than two minutes later.

Red Wings 4, Blues 3 -- Pavel Datsyuk's goal 3:23 into overtime completed a comeback from a three-goal deficit and gave host Detroit the victory over St. Louis.

Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and an assist, and Jason Williams and Dan Cleary also scored for Detroit. Robert Lang and Mathieu Schneider each added two assists.

Avalanche 5, Sharks 2 -- Joe Sakic and Brett Clark each had two goals and an assist, and Colorado snapped out of a slump with a victory over host San Jose.

Clark had his first career two-goal game and Brett McLean also scored for the last-place Avalanche, who had lost three of four before handing the Sharks their first home loss in five weeks. Jose Theodore made 28 saves in his 150th career victory.

Wild 3, Flames 2 -- Manny Fernandez stopped two of three shots in the shootout to help Minnesota down visiting Calgary in a game featuring 18 penalties.

Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu scored shootout goals after contributing power-play goals in regulation for Minnesota, and Fernandez -- who made a season-high 38 saves -- denied Kristian Huselius on the final attempt.

Coyotes 2, Blackhawks 1 -- Shane Doan and Michael Zigomanis, the Coyotes' fifth and sixth shooters, scored in the shootout to give Phoenix a victory in Chicago.

Tuomo Ruutu, Chicago's fifth shooter, was the first player to connect in the shootout. But Zigomanis scored in the bottom of the frame. After Chicago's Radim Vrbata was stopped by Phoenix goalie Michael Tellqvist, Doan beat Nikolai Khabibulin with a sweeping move.

Predators 4, Kings 1 -- Scott Hartnell celebrated his 400th NHL game with a power-play goal and visiting Nashville beat Los Angeles.

Nashville's Jerred Smithson added a shorthanded goal off a sloppy turnover by rookie defenseman Peter Harrold.

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