NEW YORK – Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 45th goal and the Washington Capitals extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
T.J. Oshie, Matt Niskanen and Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom, who had four assists in a win over Montreal on Saturday, added two more to give him 44 this season. Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves.
Washington increased its lead to five points over two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Lias Andersson scored in his NHL debut and Mats Zuccarello added a goal for the Rangers.
The Capitals scored four goals in the first period and cruised from there.
Panthers 3, Islanders 0
NEW YORK – Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and an assist, and James Reimer stopped 32 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as Florida moved closer to a playoff spot by blanking the reeling New York Islanders.
Keith Yandle also had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bjugstad scored to help Florida win for the 13th time in 17 games (13-3-1). The Panthers moved within a point of idle New Jersey for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. They have eight games remaining, one more than the Devils.
Reimer, who has 21 career shutouts, won his fifth straight start with his second shutout during that stretch. The 30-year-old goalie improved to 7-1-0 since returning from an injury Feb. 12.
Christopher Gibson finished with 38 saves for the Islanders, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the second straight year with their 14th loss in 16 games (2-10-4).
Coyotes 4, Lightning 1
TAMPA, Fla. – Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist to lead Arizona over Tampa Bay.
The Coyotes got two goals from defensemen as Trevor Murphy and Jacob Chychrun each scored to help Arizona improve to 17-12-6 since January. Brendan Perlini also scored for the Coyotes, and Antti Raanta had 19 saves.
Chychrun scored the winner on the power play at 17:22 of the second period.
The Lightning played without captain Steven Stamkos, who missed the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Tampa Bay has lost consecutive games for the second time in 10 days. Since scoring seven goals against the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Lightning have two goals in two games.
Canadiens 4, Red Wings 2
MONTREAL – Brendan Gallagher scored twice, including his 30th goal of the season, and Carey Price snapped a seven-game losing streak as Montreal defeated skidding Detroit.
Paul Byron and Alex Galchenyuk also scored for the Canadiens in a matchup of Original Six franchises already eliminated from playoff contention. Price made 26 saves for his first win since Feb. 4. He had been 0-5-2 since then.
Gustav Nyquist and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for Detroit, and Jared Coreau stopped 27 shots in his fifth game of the season. He is 0-4-0.
The Red Wings have won just once in their last 14 games (1-12-1).
Hurricanes 4, Senators 1
RALEIGH, N.C. – Warren Foegele had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, and Carolina beat Ottawa.
Brock McGinn and Valentin Zykov scored 98 seconds apart in the second period, Sebastian Aho had an empty-netter with 1:59 remaining and Derek Ryan had two assists to help the Hurricanes win their third straight.
Bobby Ryan scored and Craig Anderson stopped 26 shots for the Senators, who lost their fifth straight and have been outscored 22-7 in their last four. The Hurricanes beat them twice in three nights by a combined 9-3 score.
Cam Ward made 19 saves for Carolina, which recalled Foegele from its AHL affiliate in Charlotte during a day off Sunday.
Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 2
TORONTO – Jack Eichel scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period to help last-place Buffalo end Toronto’s club-record home winning streak at 13 games.
Casey Nelson had the other goal for Buffalo, which got 39 saves from Chad Johnson to end a four-game slide. Zemgus Girgensons added two assists.
Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist, and Nazem Kadri scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 24 stops for the Leafs, who were also looking to set a franchise mark for victories in a season with 46.
Sharks 4, Blackhawks 3 (SO)
CHICAGO – Kevin Labanc scored the deciding goal in the fourth round of a shootout and San Jose beat Chicago for its eighth straight victory.
Labanc almost pulled to a stop in front of Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg, faked and then lifted in a nifty backhand. Logan Couture also connected in the tiebreaker for the surging Sharks, whose winning streak is their longest in seven years.
Chicago’s Patrick Sharp tied it at 3 with 2:22 left in the third period. Tomas Hertl had put the Sharks ahead 3-2 just 1:57 earlier.
San Jose’s Evander Kane scored his 28th goal – his eighth in 13 games since being acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline. Marcus Sorensen also had a goal for the Sharks.
Rookie forward Alex DeBrincat scored his 26th goal and had an assist, and Connor Murphy scored his second for the last-place Blackhawks, who have lost six of seven.
Martin Jones made 28 saves through overtime and stopped three of four Blackhawks in the shootout.
Golden Knights 4, Avalanche 1
LAS VEGAS – William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault each scored to help the expansion Vegas Golden Knights clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Colorado Avalanche.
The Golden Knights became the first team to reach the playoffs in its inaugural season since the league expanded for the 1967-68 season.
It was also the 200th career victory for coach Gerard Gallant.
Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore also scored for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 28-11-4 after stopping 28 shots.
Kings 3, Flames 0
LOS ANGELES – Anze Kopitar tied a career high with his 34th goal, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and the Los Angeles Kings moved back into playoff position with a win over the Calgary Flames.
Dion Phaneuf had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who tied Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division at 91 points. They also passed Colorado (90 points) and St. Louis (89) in the Western Conference wild-card race.
Jeff Carter also had a power-play goal.
Mike Smith stopped 26 shots for the Flames, who were eliminated from playoff contention. Calgary has been outscored 28-7 during a six-game losing streak.
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