Teams expect to have to contend with Joe Sakic, Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk when they take on the Colorado Avalanche. When Chris Dingman starts scoring, it's too much to handle.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks found out firsthand in a 4-2 home loss on Sunday night.
Colorado's top line combined for two goals and three assists, and Dingman scored for the first time in 41 games for the Avalanche, who have the NHL's best record at 32-8-8-1.
"Any time you can contribute, it's great. It's nice to chip in," said Dingman, who had his first goal since Feb. 17, 2000 -- and his first point in 25 games this season.
"It's been a little frustrating at times because our line has had some good games and some good chances, but just haven't put the puck in. So it's nice to finally break through."
Hejduk extended his goal-scoring streak to five games when he gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead at 4:34 of the first period with his team-leading 28th this season.
"It's amazing how Milan can score in five straight games," said Dingman, who had eight goals last season. "Obviously, we know how skilled he is. Every night, some of the goals he's scored, you look and you wonder, 'How did he put it there?' It looks like he only has a space of about half a foot to shoot at, but somehow he finds it."
Hejduk's best streak last season, when he had a career-high 36 goals, was three games.
"Lately he's been really hot. It seems like he's been putting in all of his scoring chances," Sakic said. "Do you see his hands out there? It's unbelievable the way he stickhandles and the way he sees the game. He gets open and he's got such a quick shot."
All of the scoring came in the first period.
Sakic, the NHL's scoring leader, had a pair of assists to raise his career total to 700. Stephane Yelle scored for the first time in 28 games, Tanguay made it 3-2 on a power play and Aaron Miller had two assists.
Marty McInnis scored twice for the Mighty Ducks. Goalie Guy Hebert is 0-8-2 in 10 starts since beating Tampa Bay on Dec. 17.
Thrashers 4, OT
Yves Sarault scored twice, including the game-tying goal on a breakaway with 9:37 to play to lift Atlanta into a tie.
Brad Isbister scored twice for New York -- which has just one victory in 11 games (1-10). Atlanta is winless in 11 games (0-8-3).
Predators 3, Blues 1
Kimmo Timonen had a goal and an assist as Nashville beat St. Louis, earning consecutive home victories for the first time since October.
Nashville won for just the sixth time at home in 24 games and hadn't won two in a row there since Oct. 13-14.
Vitali Yachmenev and Marian Cisar also scored for Nashville, who got 32 saves from Mike Dunham -- including 14 in the first period.
Mike Eastwood ended the shutout bid at 5:36 of the third period.
Blue Jackets 3,
David Vyborny scored 27 seconds into the third period as Columbus beat Tampa Bay.
The goal was the fastest at the outset of a period in the expansion team's short history and ended a 35-minute drought for both teams.
Ron Tugnutt made 26 saves for the host Blue Jackets, improving his career record against the Lightning to 10-3-1.
Penguins 4, Blackhawks 0
Mario Lemieux scored his 11th goal in just the 12th game of his comeback for Pittsburgh.
Garth Snow stopped 24 shots for his third shutout of the season as Pittsburgh gave the Blackhawks just their third loss in 15 games.
The game, only Chicago's third home sellout this season, also featured the first NHL matchup between European coaches in Chicago's Alpo Suhonen and Pittsburgh's Ivan Hlinka.
Flames 4, Red Wings 2
Marc Savard scored twice and Jarome Iginla had a goal and three assists as Calgary rallied to beat Detroit.
After Brendan Shanahan gave Detroit a 2-1 lead, Savard tied it and Derek Morris put the Flames ahead with a short-handed goal.
Mike Vernon finished with 34 saves, 16 in the third, to win his first game since Dec. 19. The Flames are 6-1-1 in their last eight at home.
Cory Stillman added two assists for Calgary, giving the Stillman-Iginla-Savard line 16 points in two games.
Coyotes 5, Stars 2
Daniel Briere scored for the sixth game in a row and Keith Tkachuk got his third goal in three games as Phoenix beat Dallas.
Jeremy Roenick had three assists and Tkachuk two as Phoenix matched its longest winning streak of the season at four.
Briere has seven goals and three assists in the eight games since he was recalled from the American Hockey League on Jan. 7.
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