The New Jersey Devils reeled off six straight goals on their way to a come-from-behind 7-4 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators last night. The seven goals were a season high for a club that had not scored more than five in a game.
"It was nice to see us explode," said Randy McKay who scored twice for the Devils, including the go-ahead goal 13 seconds into the third period. "We exploded at a great time."
The explosion left goalie Patrick Lalime and the rest of the Senators shellshocked.
"They've got this new series up in Canada where guys play three-on-three hockey," said the Senators' Kevin Dineen. "That's what it seemed to turn into. It was so wide open it was not what you'd expect to see from the New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators.
"We made some really ugly mistakes that cost us the hockey game."
Petr Sykora also scored twice for the Devils. Jay Pandolfo, Scott Niedermayer and Bobby Holik, who returned from a three-game suspension, had goals for New Jersey, which extended its home unbeaten streak to 12 games.
The Devils have not lost at Continental Airlines Arena since their home opener, a 7-5 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 7. They have gone 10-0-2 at home since then.
New Jersey is approaching the club record 15-game unbeaten streak at home set from Jan. 8 to March 15, 1997.
* THRASHERS 2, PANTHERS 1: In Atlanta, Norm Maracle, playing for the first time in nearly seven weeks, stopped 25 shots and Yannick Tremblay scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period.
The expansion Thrashers snapped a three-game losing streak with just their third victory in 12 games. Florida, leading the Southeastern Division, lost for the third time in 10 games.
Maracle had not been in the nets since an Oct. 17 loss to the Rangers. He sprained his left ankle in practice the day after Halloween and had been on the injured list until yesterday.
* RANGERS 3, CANADIENS 2: Mike Knuble scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period as New York beat Montreal for its first home victory in nearly six weeks.
One day after General Manager Neil Smith held a players-only meeting designed to spark the struggling team, the Rangers won at Madison Square Garden for only the fourth time and first since Oct. 17.
The Rangers, who were 0-5-1 during their winless home streak, played their first home game since Nov. 13.
Montreal dropped its second straight contest after having a four-game win streak snapped Wednesday.
* RED WINGS 7, BLACKHAWKS 4: In Chicago, Brendan Shanahan scored twice and Detroit spoiled Bob Pulford's return to coaching after a 12-year absence. Pulford, who was the Blackhawks general manager for almost 20 years until 1997, returned to that job Thursday when GM Bob Murray was fired. Pulford was also given the title of head coach with Lorne Molleken demoted to associate coach in a major shake-up for the floundering team that has only five wins in 25 games.
* KINGS 1, MIGHTY DUCKS 1: Craig Johnson scored for host Los Angeles 13:46 into the game and Pavel Trnka countered with an Anaheim goal less than two minutes later in the tie game.
CAPTION: Ottawa's Rob Zamuner, right, beats goalie Martin Brodeur in first period as Ken Daneyko looks on during the Devils' 7-4 win. New Jersey hasn't lost at home since Oct. 7.