Matt Stajan enjoyed adding the latest bit of lore to the NHL’s longest-standing rivalry. Stajan scored late in the third period to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. The 23-year-old center ended a nine-game goal drought when he broke down the right side and put a slap shot past Cristobal Huet with 1:34 remaining in the third and Toronto went on…
Mike Fisher and Ottawa Senators finally overpowered Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins. Fisher scored two of Ottawa’s three power-play goals in the Senators’ 3-2 victory over the Bruins 3-2 on Saturday night. Dany Heatley had a goal and an assist, Joe Corvo added three assists, and Martin Gerber made 17 saves for his NHL-leading eighth win of the season.
Petr Prucha finally came through for the New York Rangers. Prucha had only two points in 12 games heading into Saturday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, where he went from near-zero to hero by scoring the lone goal of the shootout in the Rangers’ 2-1 win. “I know that I wasn’t scoring much this season, but I feel good on the ice and I didn’t lose my confidence,” Prucha said.
Bold Chieftain won the $250,000 Classic by a half-length Saturday, when Russell Baze led racing’s first family to six California Cup victories at Santa Anita. Lava Man, racing’s richest claiming horse with earnings of $5.2 million, faded to sixth as the 8-5 wagering favorite in the Classic. Baze, thoroughbred racing’s winningest jockey, was aboard Bold Chieftain.
Istan ran away with the $221,600 Ack Ack Handicap, winning by a record 8 lengths Saturday at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old son of Gone West, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, covered the mile in 1:34.08 and paid $6.80, $3.40, $2.80. Sun King, ridden by Julien Leparoux, rallied for second and paid $3 and $2.60.
Patrick Valenzuela returned to racing for the first time in nearly a year Saturday, riding two winners at Zia Park. Valenzuela hadn’t ridden since sustaining a rib injury in a paddock accident at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26. The 45-year-old jockey won a pair of claiming races Saturday aboard Devil Action and Must Be a Topper.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 30 shots and the Anaheim Ducks beat Phoenix 5-2 on Saturday night, extending the Coyotes’ home losing streak to six games. Giguere, bidding for this 26th career NHL shutout, lost the whitewash early in the final period. The 30-year-old netminder picked up his third win of the season to go with three losses and one tie.
Daniel Sedin had two goals and an assist, Brendan Morrison had a goal and the Vancouver Canucks dealt the Colorado Avalanche their first home loss with a 4-3 victory Saturday night. Ryan Kesler added a goal and Henrik Sedin had three assists for the Canucks, losers of six of their previous eight games.
Patrick Sharp was in the right place at the right time for the Chicago Blackhawks. Not once but twice. Sharp’s two third-period short-handed goals enabled the Blackhawks to come away with a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Sharp became the first Blackhawks player to score two short-handed goals in a game since Steve Sullivan did it against Colorado on January 26, 2001.
This time Minnesota finished what it started. Marian Gaborik scored twice and added an assist to lead the Wild past the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Saturday night. Brian Rolston and Branko Radivojevic also scored for Minnesota, which snapped a five-game winless streak. Niklas Backstrom stopped 23 shots in his return after missing four games because of a strained groin.
Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour walked out with another win, while everyone around the New York Islanders left with concern about Rick DiPietro. A night of celebration ended with a banner raised along with fears as the star goalie was sent to the doctor after being struck in the right eye by the stick of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.