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Flyers' Elliott gets shutout in 3-0 win at Buffalo

Brian Elliott stopped 23 shots to shut out the Buffalo Sabres for a second time this season in leading the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-0 win on Saturday.

The Flyers were spurred by a replenished lineup in which four players returned after spending two weeks in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. They included Scott Laughton, who scored a breakaway goal to make it 3-0 late in the second period.

Sean Couturier had a goal and assist to extend his points streak to five games, in which he has four goals and five assists, and Shayne Gostisbehere also scored. Philadelphia improved to 3-2-2 in its past seven, and won consecutive games for the first time since a five-game winning streak to close January.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Carter Huton (40) stops Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek (93) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP PhotoJeffrey T. Barnes)

Elliott improved to 5-1 this season and upped his career record to 15-2-2 with four shutouts against the Sabres, including a 40-save outing in a 3-0 win on Jan. 19.

The Sabres dropped to 2-6-1 in their past nine and played their second game without captain Jack Eichel, listed as day to day with a lower body injury.

Carter Hutton stopped 36 shots starting in place of Linus Ullmark, who will miss at least a month with a lower-body injury sustained in the first period of a 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey on Thursday.

PREDATORS 2, BLUE JACKETS 1

Mattias Ekholm scored a pair of second-period goals, and Juuse Saros made 29 saves for Nashville, a winner of three of the last four games. Saros earned his first victory since Jan. 27. Saros’ fellow Finn Pekka Rinne has taken a larger share of the goaltending duties for Nashville in the month of February.

Cam Atkinson scored the lone goal and Joonas Korpisalo made 31 saves for Columbus, loser of four straight.

Atkinson scored the game’s first goal. From just inside the Nashville blue line, Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi turned over the puck under pressure from Jack Roslovic. The puck came to Boone Jenner on the left side and just outside the crease, he slid a pass to Atkinson for an easy tap-in for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Back in the lineup after recovering from an injury, Ekholm tied the game early in the second period with a slap shot from the left point through traffic for his first goal of the season and Ekholm’s 200th career point.

Ekholm struck again late in the second, this time with a wrist shot from the left point through traffic. That made for the first multi-goal game of Ekholm’s 551-game NHL career.

CAPITALS 5, DEVILS 2

Garnet Hathaway and Daniel Sprong scored in the opening 5:06 for the streaking Capitals. Lars Eller added the third goal in a big first period and Jabub Vrana gave the Capitals breathing room with a third-period breakaway tally. Rookie Vitek Vanecek had 22 saves in his ninth win.

Nic Dowd added an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play for Washington, 5-1-1 in its last seven after losing four straight.

Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha each scored for the second consecutive game for New Jersey, which has lost four of five. Mackenzie Blackwood had 19 saves as the Devils opened a five-game homestand.

The Capitals, who rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat New Jersey last Sunday, learned from that game and started fast.

FLAMES 6, SENATORS 3

Juuso Valimaki, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames, who ended Ottawa’s three-game win streak.

Drake Batherson, Colin White and Brady Tkachuk replied for the last-place Senators.

The Flames opened the scoring four minutes into the game and didn’t look back.

The speedy Johnny Gaudreau zipped around a couple of Ottawa players before sending a backhand saucer pass to Valimaki for a one-timer past Matt Murray. Calgary scored again 37 seconds later as Backlund flipped a rolling puck past a handcuffed Murray, who stopped 27 of 33 shots.

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