Two can play at this game

In response to Rangers coach John Tortorella starting his fourth line in New Jersey earlier in the season, Devils coach Pete DeBoer started his fourth line Monday. A line brawl erupted three seconds in with Ryan Carter getting beat up by Stu Bickel, a defenseman Tortorella put at forward.

Said DeBoer: "I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same in here. He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite."

Responded Tortorella: "The situation is disrespectful to players, and I think we took a backwards step."

Hitchcock: Don't stop now

Since clinching a playoff spot, the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues have lost four of five.

"You work six months to get in first place and you want to keep it," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have too much to play for. First place in the West, first place in our division and first place in the league ... home ice across the board ... that's pretty important stuff."

Flames are flickering

The Calgary Flames have lost four in a row and are killing their playoff chances.

"We're just giving it away. You have to want to be in the playoffs," said Alex Tanguay after blowing a 2-0 lead to the Wild. "And right now ... we're giving it away. Extremely disappointed. There's not much more we can say."