Best of NHL: Capitals crush Blackhawks to push win streak to 8

Best of NHL: Capitals crush Blackhawks to push win streak to 8

WASHINGTON -- Jay Beagle scored twice to lead a balanced blowout for the Washington Capitals as they won their eighth consecutive game, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 6-0 Friday night in a matchup of the NHL's hottest teams.

Nicklas Backstrom, Brett Connolly, Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie also scored for Washington, which snapped Chicago's winning streak at four.

The Capitals have ended five different opposing win streaks of three games or more already in 2017 while playing their best hockey of the season.

With the victory, they reached 61 points and passed the Columbus Blue Jackets for the most in the league.

Braden Holtby stopped all 24 shots he faced and got the benefit of goaltender interference on Vinne Hinostroza's would-be goal for his fifth shutout in the past 14 games. The Vezina Trophy winner is 9-2-2 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .950 save percentage over that time (see full recap).

Tavares posts hat trick in Islanders’ victory
SUNRISE, Fla. -- John Tavares scored three goals for his sixth career hat trick and the New York Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Nick Leddy had a goal and two assists, and Jason Chimera also scored for the Islanders. Thomas Greiss made 26 saves.

Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Reilly Smith also scored for Florida, Keith Yandle added a pair of assists and Jaromir Jagr recorded his 1,138th NHL assist. Roberto Luongo stopped 37 shots.

Tavares' second goal gave the Islanders a 4-2 lead at 7:50 of the third for his 500th NHL point.

Tavares added an empty-net goal with 1:44 left for the hat trick (see full recap).

Maple Leafs ride hot start to win over Rangers
NEW YORK -- William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk scored in the first period, Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Friday night.

Connor Brown and Connor Carrick also scored to help the Maple Leafs win for the seventh time in nine games (7-1-1). Toronto moved four points behind Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tyler Bozak and Mitch Marner had two assists each.

Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 23 saves. New York had won five of six overall, and four in row against Toronto.

Toronto, which came in sixth in the league on the power play at 22 percent, were 2 for 4 and held the Rangers to 0 for 6 (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Predators beat Bruins after Rask knocked out of game

Best of NHL: Predators beat Bruins after Rask knocked out of game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Filip Forsberg scored with 2:24 left in the second period, and the Nashville Predators beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Thursday night after Bruins' All-Star goalie Tuukka Rask was knocked out of the game.

Rask, named an All-Star on Tuesday for the first time in his career, lasted only 12:49. The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner came in having won his last two starts, but took a puck off a shot by Nashville defenseman Roman Josi off the bottom right of his mask near his jaw and neck.

Rask immediately shook off his right glove and pulled his mask off. Once he got up, Rask skated to the bench and went straight to the locker room. He was replaced by Zane McIntyre.

Austin Watson also scored a goal for Nashville, and Juuse Saros made 35 to improve to 4-3-1.

Torey Krug scored a power-play goal for Boston (see full recap).

Condon, Senators take down Penguins
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Mike Condon made 29 saves to help the Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Thursday night.

Coming off a 5-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday night, the Stanley Cup champion Penguins lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Dec. 14-19, 2015.

Bobby Ryan, Mike Hoffman, Tom Pyatt and Mark Stone scored for Ottawa.

Condon, making his eighth consecutive start, allowed only Conor Sheary's goal.

Matt Murray, playing for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury Dec. 28, made 29 saves for Pittsburgh (see full recap).

Wild offense erupts in win over Habs
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal and Jordan Schroeder scored 39 seconds apart in the second period, Nino Niederreiter had two goals, and the Minnesota Wild overwhelmed Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens on their way to a 7-1 victory Thursday night.

Devan Dubnyk stopped 20 shots, missing the shutout by 9 seconds on Tomas Plekanec's power-play rebound, but he beat Price for the second time in three weeks. What began as a matchup of two All-Star goalies became an all-out blitz by the surging Wild.

Christian Folin, Jason Zucker and Ryan Suter also scored, Matt Dumba had three assists and Staal and Jared Spurgeon each set up a pair of goals. Price, who made 17 saves, was taunted by the "Sieve!" chant after Niederreiter's second score.

The last time Price allowed seven goals was against Pittsburgh on March 2, 2013 (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Alex Ovechkin reaches milestone in Capitals' win

Best of NHL: Alex Ovechkin reaches milestone in Capitals' win

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin scored twice to reach and exceed the 1,000-point plateau, leading the Washington Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Becoming the 84th player in NHL history to hit the milestone, Ovechkin put the team on his back as Washington won its seventh consecutive game and snapped Pittsburgh's winning streak at five.

Justin Williams and Nicklas Backstrom also scored, and Braden Holtby made 30 saves.

Ovechkin wasted no time picking up his 1,000th point , beating Marc-Andre Fleury just 35 seconds in for his 20th goal this season. He's the only player to score 20 in every season since 2005-06, his rookie year.

In true Ovechkin fashion, the Russian superstar scored from his spot on the power play in the second period for his 1,001st point.

Evgeni Malkin, who was picked second behind Ovechkin in 2004, and Patric Hornqvist scored for Pittsburgh (see full recap).

Danault, Lehkonen lead Canadiens past Jets
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Phillip Danault and Artturi Lehkonen each scored twice and the Montreal Canadiens dominated the Winnipeg Jets in a 7-4 victory Wednesday night.

Tomas Plekanec and Sven Andrighetto, with his first of the season, also had goals for the Canadiens. Shea Weber had a pair of assists, and Al Montoya, playing against his former team, made 22 saves.

Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals on seven shots in his sixth straight start before being replaced by Michael Hutchinson late in the first period. Hutchinson stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced.

Danault and Brian Flynn gave Montreal a 2-0 lead four minutes into the game on the team's second and third shots.

Mark Scheifele scored twice, Mathieu Perreault had a goal and assist and Bryan Little had his seventh of the season for Winnipeg. Drew Stafford added a pair of assists (see full recap).

Panthers hold on to beat Islanders
NEW YORK -- Jason Demers scored the tiebreaking goal early in the second period, Roberto Luongo stopped 29 shots and the Florida Panthers held on for a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

Keith Yandle also scored for Florida, which won for the fourth time in six games.

Nick Leddy had the Islanders' goal and Thomas Greiss finished with 22 saves. New York, in the midst of a stretch of seven of eight on the road, lost for the fourth time in five games (1-2-2). The Islanders have managed just one goal in each of their last three games.

The Panthers made their first visit to Brooklyn since losing to the Islanders in the second overtime of the series-clinching Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs last April 24. Florida won the teams' first meeting this season, 3-2 in overtime at home on Nov. 12 (see full recap).