EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The New Jersey Devils started to win again once they rediscovered the value of patience.
Sergei Brylin and Brian Rafalski scored second-period goals Saturday to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Scott Gomez also scored as the Devils extended their unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1) in a season marred by inconsistency. Stanley Cup finalists the past two seasons, the Devils reached the .500 level for the first time since Nov. 17.
Getting back to a simpler game based on patience and defensive discipline keyed the recent turnaround.
"We have chased (the puck) too much at times this year," Brylin said. "I think we played a very patient game.
"We forechecked at the right times and we played strong in the neutral zone."
Sergei Gonchar got the goal for the Capitals who saw their four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) come to an end.
Washington had the better chances in the scoreless opening period. Peter Bondra had five shots, including two point-blank chances against Martin Brodeur with the teams skating 4-on-4 early in the period.
"I should have taken advantage of those chances," Bondra said. "The game would have been different. At the same time, you have to give Martin credit, he made some great saves."
The Devils took control of the game on the Brylin and Rafalski scores.
Brylin netted the rebound on Bobby Holik's shot at 1:04 for his first goal in 10 games. Rafalski beat Olaf Kolzig with a shot over his left shoulder at 6:56.
Flyers 5, Wild 1
Philadelphia Jan Hlavac scored two goals in a span of 42 seconds, and Roman Cechmanek made 31 saves as the Flyers beat Minnesota. Luke Richardson, who celebrated his return to the lineup with his first goal in almost a year, Mark Recchi, and Keith Primeau also scored for the Flyers. Recchi had two assists.
Senators 5, Lightning 2
Ottawa Zdeno Chara, Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher scored second-period goals as Ottawa beat Tampa Bay. Radek Bonk and Marian Hossa also scored for Ottawa. Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier scored for the Lightning. Chara opened the scoring on a power play 7:57 into the second period, only Ottawa's sixth power-play goal of the season.
Hurricanes 3, Panthers 2
Sunrise, Fla. Sami Kapanen and Josef Vasicek each scored goals with a two-man advantage as Carolina beat Florida. The Hurricanes won for just the second time in five games and third time in 13 games. Florida, 1-5 in its last six games, is 1-1 under coach Mike Keenan, who replaced Duane Sutter on Dec. 3. Tom Barrasso had 34 saves, and the Hurricanes killed a Florida power play in the final 1:56 of the game.
Blues 2, Kings 0
St. Louis Al MacInnis and Dallas Drake scored and goalie Fred Brathwaite stopped 17 shots, leading St. Louis over Los Angeles. Brathwaite, who sat out Thursday night's 1-1 tie in Los Angeles, recorded his first shutout with the Blues. His last shutout came March 21 when he was with the Calgary Flames. Brathwaite (5-5-3) had five shutouts with the Flames last season and now has 12 in his career.
Oilers 2, Predators 2
Nashville, Tenn. Edmonton's Ethan Moreau had a goal and an assist and Todd Marchant had a pair of assists as the Oilers and Nashville tied. Mike Grier also scored for Edmonton. David Legwand and Denis Arkhipov scored for Nashville.
Avalanche 2, Blue Jackets 0
Columbus, Ohio Patrick Roy stopped 26 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and Radim Vrbata and Rob Blake scored as Colorado beat Columbus. Roy registered his 58th career shutout and is 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts The Blue Jackets were shut out for the third game in a row, stretching their scoreless streak to 195 minutes and 21 seconds the longest in the franchise's two seasons. Colorado is unbeaten in eight games (7-0-1). Columbus lost its fifth in a row.
Coyotes 3, Canadiens 3
Montreal Brad May scored twice, including the tying goal with 3:20 left in regulation, as Phoenix extended its unbeaten streak to five games. Phoenix trailed 3-2 after Montreal overcame a two-goal deficit, but May scored his fifth of the season to force overtime.
Penguins 6, Thrashers 3
Pittsburgh Hans Jonsson and Michal Rozsival scored power-play goals as Pittsburgh beat Atlanta. The Penguins, who extended their winning streak to a season-best three games, are 10-0 against Atlanta since the Thrashers joined the NHL for the 1999-2000 season. The Penguins scored more than once on the power play for just the second time in 29 games. They had two power-play goals in a 5-2 home win over Ottawa on Oct. 16.
Bruins 4, Sabres 2
Boston Brian Rolston scored two short-handed goals and Joe Thornton added two at even strength as Boston defeated Buffalo. Rolston is the first Bruin to score two short-handed goals in a game since Bryan Smolinski did it on March 27, 1994 at Washington. The Bruins remain in second place, three points behind the Maple Leafs.
Maple Leafs 4, Rangers 3
Toronto Mats Sundin and Alexander Mogilny each had a goal and an assist as Toronto beat New York. Darcy Tucker and Travis Green also scored for the Maple Leafs, who had won in New York, 6-3, on Thursday.