NEW YORK – T.J. Oshie scored twice, Dmitry Orlov and Nicklas Backstrom each had a goal and two assists, and the first-place Washington Capitals beat the struggling New York Islanders 7-3 Thursday night.
Andrei Burakovsky added a goal and an assist, and Lars Eller and John Carlson also scored to help Washington improve to 10-4-3 in its last 17 games against the Islanders. Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists and Philipp Grubauer finished with 35 saves for his 11th win of the season.
Brock Nelson, Andrew Ladd and Ryan Pulock scored for the Islanders, who lost for the ninth time in 10 games (1-5-4). Christopher Gibson started and gave up five goals on 12 shots before he was pulled midway through the second period. Jaroslav Halak came on and finished with eight saves.
The Islanders have allowed a league-high 252 goals and are 15-23-8 since finishing November at 15-7-2.
Penguins 5, Canadiens 3
MONTREAL – Patric Hornqvist’s second goal of the game gave Pittsburgh the lead in the third period, and the Penguins went on to beat Montreal.
Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust also scored for Pittsburgh, which remain tied with Washington in points atop the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals, however, currently hold the tiebreaker with two games in hand.
Tristan Jarry made 17 saves for his 14th win of the season while starter Matt Murray remains sidelined with a concussion.
Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron and Nicolas Deslauriers scored for Montreal, and Antti Niemi stopped 34 shots in his first regulation loss since Feb. 14.
Maple Leafs 5, Sabres 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. – James van Riemsdyk had two goals and an assist to lead Toronto.
Connor Carrick, Tyler Bozak and Patrick Marleau also scored for the Maple Leafs, and Curtis McElhinney stopped 38 shots.
Van Riemsdyk has five goals in two games after scoring a hat trick in Wednesday’s 6-5 shootout win over the Dallas Stars. Van Riemsdyk set a new single-season career-high for goals with 31.
Sam Reinhart and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo, and Robin Lehner finished with 33 saves.
Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 3
PHILADELPHIA – Cam Atkinson scored a hat trick to lead surging Columbus to its sixth straight victory.
Oliver Bjorkstand and Boone Jenner also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for the Blue Jackets, who tied Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers currently hold the tiebreaker with one more regulation/overtime win with 11 games remaining for both.
Claude Giroux, Andrew MacDonald and Shayne Gostisbehere scored for the slumping Flyers, who dropped their seventh in the last eight games.
Philadelphia and Columbus, which is in the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, are one point ahead of idle New Jersey, which holds the second wild card.
Panthers 3, Bruins 0
SUNRISE, Fla. – James Reimer tied a season high with 46 saves to lead Florida past Boston.
Making his first start in six games, Reimer earned his third shutout of the season. Nick Bjugstad had a goal and an assist, and Vincent Trocheck and Aaron Ekblad also scored. Evgenii Dadonov added two assists.
Florida moved within three points of idle New Jersey for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers, who have won 11 of their last 13 home games, have two games in hand on the Devils.
Anton Khudobin stopped 25 shots for the Bruins, shut out for the first time since their second game of the season, a 4-0 loss to Colorado on Oct. 9. The Bruins are four points behind Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay, with one game in hand on the Lightning.
Avalanche 4, Blues 1
ST. LOUIS – Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, Semyon Varlamov stopped 44 shots and Colorado won its third straight to move into the first wild card spot int he Western Conference.
Mikko Rantanen also scored twice to help the Avalanche move a point ahead of idle Dallas – and five ahead of St. Louis. The Avalanche, who won 10 in a row from Dec. 29-Jan. 22, are 6-0-3 in their last eight games.
Joel Edmundson scored for St. Louis, and Jake Allen finished with 19 saves.
MacKinnon scored twice in a span of 2:53 in the first period to give Colorado a 2-0 lead with just under seven minutes remaining. He has 11 goals and 13 assists in 13 games since returning from a shoulder injury on Feb. 18.
Jets 6, Blackhawks 2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Kyle Connor scored twice to reach 25 goals this season and Winnipeg rebounded from a quick deficit.
Bryan Little and Jack Roslovic each had a goal and an assist as all four Jets lines produced goals. Joel Armia and Paul Stastny also scored. Connor Hellebuyck turned away 25 shots in his 36th win, increasing his franchise record for goaltenders.
Patrick Laine extended his club-record point streak to 14 games with an assist on Stastny’s goal. The 19-year-old star has 16 goals and eight assists during that span – most of which came during the Jets’ recent road trip – helping the 2016 second overall draft pick earn NHL First Star honors for a second time this season.
Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp scored for Chicago.
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