Ice Hockey - Ovechkin treble steers Capitals to win over Panthers

Alex Ovechkin hit a hat-trick as the Washington Capitals' great form continued in beating the Florida Panthers.

Ice Hockey - Ovechkin treble steers Capitals to win over Panthers

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Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals is congratulated by teammates after completing a hat trick against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center (AFP)

Capitals 4, Panthers 3

Captain Alex Ovechkin recorded his 12th career hat trick - and second this season - and Braden Holtby turned aside 27 shots as visiting Washington posted its seventh win in nine games (7-1-1) against the Florida Panthers.

Mike Ribeiro scored and set up a goal and Nicklas Backstrom notched three assists for the Capitals, who are even in points with Winnipeg.

Tomas Kopecky scored twice - with the latter tally coming with 33 seconds remaining in the third period as Jacob Markstrom (27 saves) was pulled for an extra attacker.

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Rangers 4, Hurricanes 1

Henrik Lundqvist turned aside a season-high 48 shots and Rick Nash and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals as New York earned its seventh straight victory over Carolina.

Captain Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle also tallied for the seventh-place Rangers, who kept pace with the Islanders by recording points in their fourth consecutive game.

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Maple Leafs 2, Devils 1

Leo Komarov and Tyler Bozak scored goals as Toronto extended its point streak against New Jersey to six games.

James Reimer turned aside 27 shots for the Maple Leafs, who improved to 6-1-3 over their last 10 contests. Toronto moved two points ahead of idle Ottawa for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

David Clarkson scored and Martin Brodeur made 16 saves for the struggling Devils, whose winless streak reached six games (0-3-3). New Jersey fell three points behind the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East.

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Islanders 4, Lightning 2

Matt Martin scored the go-ahead goal with 6:26 remaining in the third period and the Islanders held off Tampa Bay in New York to earn points for the seventh time in eight games.

Martin beat a screened Ben Bishop from just above the left face off circle for his third goal of the season and defenseman Andrew MacDonald sealed it with an empty-netter with 13.3 seconds to go.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, Michael Grabner also scored and Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for New York, which improved to 6-1-1 in its last eight contests.

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Canadiens 2, Bruins 1

Michael Ryder burned his former team with a power-play goal early in the second period and Carey Price turned aside 26 shots as Montreal edged Boston to extend its lead in the Northeast Division to three points.

Rookie Alex Galchenyuk scored for the second straight contest and defenseman P.K. Subban recorded his second consecutive two-assist performance for the Canadiens, who have won five of six overall and four straight at home.

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Kings 4, Oilers 1

Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist as host Los Angeles won for the fifth time in seven games.

Mike Richards and defenseman Slava Voynov also scored goals and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves as the Kings moved ahead of Pacific Division rival San Jose and into sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference.

Drew Doughty added an empty-net tally for Los Angeles while Magnus Paajarvi scored the only goal for Edmonton.

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Jets 4, Flyers 1

Grant Clitsome and Kyle Wellwood scored 27 seconds apart to ignite a four-goal second period as Winnipeg halted a five-game losing streak.

Evander Kane and Bryan Little each had a goal and an assist and Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 30 shots as the Jets remained level on points with Washington atop the Southeast Division.

Ruslan Fedotenko scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

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Blackhawks 1, Predators 0

Ray Emery made 20 saves for his second shutout in three starts and Bryan Bickell scored the only goal as visiting Chicago took the first game of a weekend home-and-home series with Nashville.

Michal Handzus, acquired from San Jose at the trade deadline for a fourth-round pick, earned his first point with his new team by feeding Bickell a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 at 5:31 of the first period.

Emery, who only needed 16 saves when he blanked Calgary on March 26, improved to 13-1-0 for the league-leading Blackhawks.

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