It was a game of disputed deflections and odd bounces, with the puck behaving more like that oblong ball with the laces more commonly associated with Super Bowl Sunday. The strangest carom of all came on a simple dump-in that hit a stanchion along the glass and went into a net deserted by a befuddled goaltender.
The Pittsburgh Penguins weren't fazed by that bit of misfortune that tied the game in the second period, just as the Washington Capitals couldn't take advantage of the stroke of luck. The third annual Super Bowl warm-up between the Eastern Conference rivals soon turned into a rout, with Chris Kunitz getting a hat trick in the visitors' 6-3 victory.
"I really like our team responding to that bad bounce that happened on the wall," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "Now it's 2-2 -- and our team responded well with the penalty kill and getting some goals."
Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Matt Cooke also scored, Sidney Crosby had three assists, and Tomas Vokoun made 21 saves against his former team for the Penguins, who have won three straight and four of five to lead the Atlantic Division.
The bizarre goal came from Capitals defenseman John Carlson, an obvious dump-in that Vokoun retreated behind the net to intercept. Vokoun then tripped trying to get back to the crease when he saw the puck take the unexpected change of direction along the glass.
Vokoun said he's allowed a similar goal only once before -- about a dozen years
"I remember that game in Chicago. We lost," Vokoun said. "This one doesn't feel as bad."
Panthers 4, Sabres 3: Defenseman Brian Campbell scored on the power play with 10:33 remaining to cap Florida's three-goal rally, and the Panthers beat host Buffalo. Peter Mueller, George Parros and Shawn Matthias also scored for the Panthers, who won their first road game of the season and snapped a seven-game road winless drought (0-5-2) dating to last season.
Canadiens 2, Senators 1: David Desharnais and Erik Cole scored first-period goals, and host Montreal held on for a victory over Ottawa.
Devils 3, Islanders 0: Johan Hedberg made 22 saves for his 22nd career shutout, and Steve Bernier scored two of New Jersey's three third-period goals in the Devils' victory over host New York.