In a lineup boasting proven playoff performers, the key forward for the Colorado Avalanche this postseason could be Marek Svatos.
A rookie who played only four regular-season games, Svatos scored 5 minutes 18 seconds into double overtime at Dallas, giving Colorado a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night and sending the Avalanche home with a 3-1 lead in their first-round series.
Svatos' overtime goal kept the Avalanche from dropping consecutive games in which it led by two goals. It also bailed out the offense on a night when it was outshot, 43-21, and gave goaltender David Aebischer a much-deserved victory.
"I was just trying to get a shot on net and it went in," Svatos said. "It's the greatest feeling in my hockey career."
Philadelphia 3, New Jersey 0 -- Goaltender Robert Esche has brought a calming influence to the talented Flyers and helped push Martin Brodeur and the defending champion Devils to the brink of a first-round playoff elimination.
Esche made 35 saves at East Rutherford, N.J., stealing Game 4 and leading the Flyers to a win and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Esche has given up eight goals on 123 shots in the series. The playoff shutout was the first of his career.
Tampa Bay 3, New York Islanders 0 -- Nikolai Khabibulin made 33 saves for his second consecutive shutout in Nassau Coliseum, and Martin St. Louis' third goal in two games pushed the Lightning within one victory of the second round.
"He's just shutting the door," said forward Fredrik Modin, who had a goal and an assist.
St. Louis' short-handed goal in the first period set the tone for the fourth consecutive 3-0 game in the series. The flashy forward had an NHL-best 94 points this season and led the league with eight short-handed goals and 11 short-handed points.
Ottawa 4, Toronto 1 -- Marian Hossa and the Senators had reason to celebrate, finally getting some pucks past Ed Belfour.
Daniel Alfredsson scored late in the first period to end Ottawa's two-game scoreless streak, and Hossa got the go-ahead goal in the second, helping the Senators win at home.
The Senators tied the first-round playoff series, 2-2. Game 5 will be played Friday in Toronto.
Ottawa ended Belfour's shutout streak at 157:45 when Alfredsson scored with 35.6 seconds remaining in the first period, tying the score. Hossa thrust his arms skyward after he scored his third goal of the series to give the Senators the lead 13:15 into the second.