TORONTO – James van Riemsdyk scored two goals to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Thursday, spoiling the NHL head coaching debut of Ron Rolston.
Rolston, who until Wednesday was the head coach of the AHL’s Rochester Americans, was hired as the Sabres’ interim coach following the club’s decision to fire Lindy Ruff, who had been behind the club’s bench since 1997 and was the NHL’s longest-tenured head coach.
Van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal at 14:28 of the third — his team-leading 11th — gave Toronto breathing room after Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller stopped Van Riemsdyk with a fabulous glove save earlier on the power play.
DEVILS 3, CAPITALS 2: Ilya Kovalchuk scored the tiebreaking goal on a five-on-three power play with about 8:30 left to complete New Jersey’s comeback over Washington, which has yet to beat any of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.
JETS 4, HURRICANES 3: Blake Wheeler scored his second goal of the game with 4:54 remaining to lift Winnipeg past host Carolina.
Earlier in the day, Jets rookie defenseman Zach Redmond had surgery to repair a laceration to an artery in his right leg after a teammate accidentally stepped on him during the club’s morning skate.
He will be out indefinitely.
PANTHERS 5, FLYERS 2: Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller each had two goals to help Florida snap a five-game losing streak with a victory at Philadelphia.
BLUE JACKETS 3, RED WINGS 2: Vinny Prospal scored with 24.7 seconds left, capping a comeback that lifted Columbus over host Detroit.
Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first 2-plus minutes of the game to put the Red Wings ahead by two, a cushion they wasted for a third time during their five-game losing streak.
R.J. Umberger’s power-play goal a couple of minutes after Detroit took its two-goal lead pulled Columbus within one. Derek Dorsett tied it in the third period.
SENATORS 3, RANGERS 2: Kaspars Daugavins scored in the seventh round of the shootout and backup goalie Ben Bishop picked up the victory in relief of injured starter Craig Anderson in Ottawa.
The Senators lost Anderson at 1:43 of the third period after Rangers forward Chris Kreider slid into him.
The team said that the 31-year-old Anderson, who leads the league with a 1.57 goals-against average and .950 save percentage, has a sprained right ankle and is listed day to day.
ISLANDERS 4, CANADIENS 3: Rookie defenseman Thomas Hickey scored in overtime for his first NHL goal, and the New York Islanders rallied to snap Montreal’s six-game winning streak.
Matt Moulson scored twice and Frans Nielsen added a goal in the third period for Islanders, who trailed 2-0 and 3-1 but came back to end a two-game slide.
CANUCKS 4, STARS 3: Jason Garrison and Henrik Sedin scored third-period goals to lead Vancouver over host Dallas.
Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa also scored for the Canucks, who ended a three-game winless streak.
DUCKS: Brian Burke is returning to the Anaheim Ducks as a part-time pro scout. The recently fired general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs managed the Ducks from 2005-08, winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
A long ago Maine Mariner defenseman, Burke also served as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers.