Islanders trade Potvin to Canucks for three players

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The New York Islanders traded goalie Felix Potvin to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night, just hours before the NHL's roster-freeze for the Christmas holiday.

The New York Islanders traded goalie Felix Potvin to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night, just hours before the NHL's roster-freeze for the Christmas holiday.

The Islanders received goalie Kevin Weekes, right wing Bill Muckalt and center Dave Scatchard in exchange for Potvin, a 2000 second-round draft choice and a conditional draft pick.

"We're pleased with the package we were able to get," Islanders general manager Mike Milbury said. "All three players fit in with Butch Goring's system and our organization's plans for the future."

The Islanders, who beat New Jersey 5-3 on Sunday night, were expected to start Potvin. However, the goalie was pulled from the starting lineup and sat on the bench throughout the game.

"I got a call from Mike and was told that Potvin couldn't play tonight," said Goring, the Islanders coach.

That fueled rumors that Potvin was going to be dealt before the midnight EST roster-freeze that will remain in effect until December 27.

"It was something I guess that was coming since training camp," Potvin said. "It's going to make it tougher because it was so close to Christmas."

Potvin, acquired from Toronto on Jan. 9 for Bryan Berard and a sixth-round draft pick, was 5-14-3 in 22 games with a 3.21 goals against average this season.

The 28-year-old goalie became expendable in New York with the emergence of rookie Roberto Luongo.

"Felix is a solid NHL goaltender who has demonstrated All-Star potential during his young career," Vancouver general manager Brian Burke said. "He has played well under trying circumstances over the past few years, but we believe he is still one of the better goaltenders in the NHL."

With regular backup goalie Wade Flaherty lost for the season with a shoulder injury, Luongo was called up from the minors to serve as Potvin's backup.

Luongo made 46 saves Sunday night in the Islanders' first home-victory since Nov. 4.

"I would say it was a deadline for the Islanders," Burke said. "If Roberto Luongo is their starter, and they can get three players, that's a good trade for them."

It's also the second quick trade for Weekes, who was part of the deal that sent Pavel Bure from Vancouver to Florida.

At the time of that trade, Burke called Weekes "the goalie of the future."

There was speculation last week that Potvin would be dealt to the Canucks for goalie Garth Snow, but that was angrily denied by Burke.

With an injury to Florida starting goalie Trevor Kidd, rumors of a deal between the Islanders and Panthers swirled as well.

"Recent events in the league have accelerated interest in Felix," Burke said. "I decided it was time to pull the trigger. It was a lengthy process and I'm going to sleep well tonight."

Muckalt had 16 goals and 20 assists as a rookie with the Canucks last season. This season he had four goals and eight assists in 33 games.

Scatchard had just four assists in 21 games this season and did not play in the last two games. He has gone eight games, dating to November 22, since his last point.

Weekes is 6-7-4 with a 2.86 GAA this season, and Burke said he was very frustrated with Vancouver's play in goal.

"I don't feel either one has done it," Burke said. "I'm tired of starting games down 1-0 and 2-0. I put up with it for as long as I could, I think I was patient with both of them. Now I've made a move that says 'I think we need a No. 1 goaltender."'

Islanders 5, Devils 3

In Uniondale, New York, Niklas Andersson had a goal and two assists and Roberto Luongo stopped 46 shots to lead the New York Islanders to their first home victory in over six weeks, a win over New Jersey.

Olli Jokinen and Brad Isbister each had a goal and an assist as the Islanders had their biggest offensive outburst of the season.

Gino Odjick and Tim Connolly also scored for the Islanders. Luongo, a surprise starter, won his second NHL game.

The Islanders improved to a league-worst 3-10-2 record at Nassau Coliseum.

The Devils got two goals from Claude Lemieux and a shorthanded score from John Madden.

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Flyers 1, Predators 1

In Philadelphia, Eric Desjardins scored a fluke goal with 53.2 seconds left in the third period to give Philadelphia a tie with Nashville, extending the Flyers' home unbeaten streak to 12 games.

Desjardins' slapshot from just inside the blue line bounced off the chest of defenseman Karlis Skrastins, tied up with John LeClair in front of the net, and rolled between the legs of goalie Mike Dunham.

Patric Kjellberg scored midway through the third period for the Predators, who are winless in seven games (0-4-3).

The Flyers are 10-0-2 since last losing at home to Vancouver on Oct. 26 - the longest current streak in the NHL.

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Rangers 5, Lightning 4, OT

In New York, Theoren Fleury scored 45 seconds into overtime and assisted on the Rangers first three goals to lead New York to victory over Tampa Bay.

Fleury knocked his own rebound past goaltender Dan Cloutier as he recorded his first four-point game of the season. The overtime goal saved the Rangers, who had blown a 4-2 lead with eight minutes left in the third period.

Trailing 4-2, Tampa Bay got a goal from Fredrik Modin at 12:52. Steve Guolla tied the game at 4 on a power-play goal with 3:48 left in regulation.

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Mighty Ducks 3, Red Wings 1

In Anaheim, California, Matt Cullen ended a 16-game goal-scoring drought and Marty McInnis had three assists for the first time in his career as Anaheim beat Detroit.

Paul Kariya had a power play goal and Jim McKenzie also scored for the Ducks, helping extend their winning streak to a season-best four games and improving their all-time regular-season record against the Red Wings to 5-16-5. Anaheim was swept out of the playoffs by Detroit in 1997, and again last April.

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Oilers 3, Senators 3

In Edmonton, Alberta, Boyd Devereaux scored midway through the third period as Edmonton tied Ottawa.

Devereaux scored at 13:24 of the third period from just outside the crease after winning a faceoff in the Ottawa zone. He slipped the puck back to Roman Hamrlik on the draw, and flipped in the rebound Hamrlik's shot.

Jim Dowd and Ethan Moreau also scored for the Oilers, who outshot the Senators 32-24.

Shaun Van Allen had given Ottawa a 3-2 lead at 9:51 of the third beating goalie Tommy Salo.

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