Ilya Kovalchuk scored a career-high four goals and the Atlanta Thrashers rallied from an early deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2, Friday night at Atlanta and send the defending Stanley Cup champions to their sixth consecutive loss.
After Atlanta fell behind, 2-0, late in the first period, Kovalchuk cut Tampa Bay's lead in half with 1:49 remaining.
Kovalchuk then scored the first three goals of the second period to record the fourth hat trick of his career and give the Thrashers a 4-2 advantage.
Improving to 3-1-1 in their last five games, the Thrashers took the lead on the second of Kovalchuk's three power-play goals at 14:02 of the second period.
Kovalchuk stood in the slot with a defender between him and goaltender John Grahame and used a backhanded redirect on Niclas Havelid's slap shot from outside the top of the left circle.
New Jersey 4, Washington 3 -- Martin Brodeur returned to the lineup to end the Devils' four-game losing streak, making 21 saves at Washington.
Brodeur, who sat out six games because of a sprained knee -- the longest injury-induced absence of his NHL career -- recorded his 408th victory to move ahead of Glenn Hall and into sole possession of sixth place in all-time wins.
Carolina 1, Florida 0 -- Eric Staal scored his team-leading 12th goal and Martin Gerber stopped 26 shots at Sunrise, Fla., as the Hurricanes recorded their franchise-record ninth consecutive victory. Gerber posted his second shutout of the season -- both over Florida.
Gerber had to be perfect to best Roberto Luongo, his Florida counterpart. Luongo made 34 saves, but the Panthers lost for the seventh consecutive time.
Detroit 3, Minnesota 1 -- Brendan Shanahan and Jason Williams scored second-period goals at Detroit to lift the Red Wings over the Wild.
Manny Legace had to make only 16 saves to help the Red Wings win for the third consecutive time.
Buffalo 5, Toronto 2 -- Tim Connolly scored two goals at Buffalo, N.Y., and the Sabres ended a four-game losing streak.
It was the first two-goal game for Connolly, who sat out the 2003-04 season because of a concussion.
Edmonton 3, Columbus 1 -- Fernando Pisani's third-period goal at Columbus, Ohio, gave the Oilers the lead, and they remained unbeaten in their last 12 games (9-0-3) against the Blue Jackets.
Edmonton goaltender Jussi Markkanen stopped 29 shots.