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NHL Roundup

Ovechkin, Capitals soar

It was two on one as Sabres goalie Ryan Miller took on Capitals Mike Knuble (22) and Matt Hendricks. It was two on one as Sabres goalie Ryan Miller took on Capitals Mike Knuble (22) and Matt Hendricks. (Nick wass/Associated Press)
Associated Press / December 31, 2011
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Alex Ovechkin scored early and late, Tomas Vokoun made 25 saves, and the Capitals got one back against one of their toughest nemesis of the season last night, beating the Buffalo Sabres, 3-1, at Washington.

One of Ovechkin’s goals was actually a pass attempt that deflected into the net, but the Capitals captain has five goals in seven games, a further sign he is emerging from the spotty play that has run parallel to Washington’s slow start. The former two-time NHL MVP has 14 goals on the season.

Nicklas Backstrom scored his 13th of the season - and 100th career NHL goal - for the Capitals. Alexander Semin had a pair of assists for his second multipoint game in a row.

Jochen Hecht scored for the Sabres. Ryan Miller made 18 saves.

The Capitals have had two of their most deflating performances in Buffalo this season, losing, 5-1, in the last game before coach Bruce Boudreau was fired.

They fell behind, 4-0, in a 4-2 loss the day after Christmas, showing they still have a ways to go before getting a consistent rhythm under new coach Dale Hunter.

Rangers 4, Panthers 1 - Carl Hagelin had a goal and an assist and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots for the Rangers at Sunrise, Fla.

Brad Richards, Michael Del Zotto, and Brandon Dubinsky also scored for the Rangers, who have won six of seven.

Senators 4, Flames 3 - Daniel Alfredsson scored his 400th career goal at 3:31 of overtime for host Ottawa.

Alfredsson drove a slap shot from the left point past Leland Irving on a power play after Calgary was left shorthanded when Rene Bourque was called for holding 2:20 into the extra period.

Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 2 - Brent Seabrook scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period as host Chicago improved to 10-2-1 in its last 13 games.

Seabrook scored 1:52 into the third when he fired from the blue line and overpowered Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with a rising shot that sailed over his glove.

Predators 2, Blues 1 - Martin Erat scored in the fifth round of the shootout for visiting Nashville.

Pekka Rinne kept St. Louis scoreless on all five attempts to win for the second game in a row in a shootout.

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