Capitals keep up the beat, blank Maple Leafs
After their third straight victory, the Washington Capitals were asking about the score from another game, curious to see whether they had reclaimed first place in the Southeast Division.
It turns out they hadn’t. While the host Capitals were shutting out the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-0, on Sunday, Florida was beating Carolina by the same score, keeping the Panthers 1 point ahead of Washington.
Given the way the season has gone, that’ll do for now. Over the last 12 games, the four-time defending division champions have lost three, won three, then lost three more, then won three more - all the while moving up to eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Alex Ovechkin was kept off the scoreboard against the Maple Leafs, but Michal Neuvirth made 23 saves, and Brooks Laich and Matthieu Perreault scored as the Capitals carried over the momentum from Saturday’s win over the Bruins and piled on the misery of a fading playoff contender.
Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves for the Maple Leafs, who have lost four straight and 10 of 11, their fortunes barely changed in the five games since the change in coaches from Ron Wilson to Randy Carlyle; they trail the Capitals by 8 points.
Rangers 4, Islanders 3 - Marian Gaborik scored the Rangers’ third power-play goal in the dying seconds of overtime as the hosts snapped their season-worst, three-game regulation losing streak.
With the Madison Square Garden crowd imploring the Rangers to “Shoot the puck,’’ Gaborik snapped a rising shot over goalie Evgeni Nabokov’s right shoulder to win it at 4:54.
Brad Richards scored twice on the power play to reach 20 goals for the ninth time, and helped set up Gaborik’s winner for the Rangers.
Devils 4, Flyers 1 - Martin Brodeur made 18 saves for his 650th career victory and Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists to help host New Jersey pull even with fifth-place Philadelphia in a showdown between surging Eastern Conference rivals.
Kings 3, Blackhawks 2 - Mike Richards scored the lone goal in a six-round shootout to give visiting Los Angeles a victory over Chicago.
Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick stopped all six Chicago shooters after making 35 saves - including Viktor Stalberg’s third-period penalty shot - through overtime.
Flames 4, Wild 3 - Jarome Iginla scored early and set up Curtis Glencross’s go-ahead goal late with a botched shot that became a pass, as Calgary hung on to beat host Minnesota for its third straight victory.
Blues 2, Blue Jackets 1 - David Perron broke a tie early in the third period and Jaroslav Halak made 33 saves to help St. Louis beat host Columbus for its season-high fifth straight victory.
Panthers 2, Hurricanes 0 - Jose Theodore made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season as host Florida beat Carolina to maintain its Southeast Division lead.