|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 March 2008 19:40|
Ovechkin beat goalie Kari Lehtonen in the first period and then brought the Capitals within 3-2 at 11:30 of the third period with his 60th.
No one in the NHL had hit the mark since the 1995-96 season when Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr both did it. Ovechkin's previous best was 52 goals, accomplished in his rookie season of 2005-06.
Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals 32 seconds apart in the closing minutes to give the Capitals a 4-3 lead.
The Capitals, who are trying to get into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference, outshot the Thrashers 23-2 in the third period and 45-18 overall. Washington trails eighth-place Boston and the postseason cutoff by one point.
Islanders 3, Devils 1
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Kyle Okposo snapped a tie with 2:35 remaining by scoring his first NHL goal, and the New York Islanders ended a six-game losing streak with a victory over New Jersey.
Trent Hunter added an empty-net goal with 18.8 seconds left to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead and drop the Devils into a flat-footed tie with Pittsburgh atop the Atlantic Division. Both teams are 42-25-7 with eight games remaining and lead the New York Rangers by three points.
New Jersey had a chance to jump over Montreal for first in the Eastern Conference, but still trails the Canadiens by one point.
Flyers 4, Rangers 3, SO
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Mike Richards and Jeff Carter each scored in the shootout and Richards had a goal in regulation to lead Philadelphia over the New York Rangers.
The Flyers again blew another late lead in the third period, this time letting a 2-0 advantage midway through the third and a 3-2 edge with 1:51 left in regulation slip away.
Jaromir Jagr scored a tough goal with under 2 minutes remaining to force overtime.
The Flyers improved to 2-5 in shootouts when Richards and Carter scored on Philadelphia's first two shots. Martin Biron was perfect and the Flyers won for the second time in seven games against the Rangers.
Philadelphia jumped over Boston into seventh place in the Eastern Conference with seven games left. The Rangers are sixth in the East, but closed within three points of New Jersey and Pittsburgh - the co-leaders in the Atlantic Division.
Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 1
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Vesa Toskala stopped 35 shots and Toronto topped inconsistent Buffalo with a key win in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Jason Blake, Matt Stajan and rookie Anton Stralman had a goal and assist each for the 12th-place Maple Leafs, who moved within five points of eighth-place Boston and the postseason cutoff.
Darcy Tucker also scored in helping Toronto win its fifth straight road game, it's best string since closing the 2003-04 season with five.
The Sabres had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost ground in the standings, dropping to 10th, a point behind Washington.
Thomas Vanek scored his 31st goal of the season, but Buffalo was undone by an inept power play.
Wild 2, Canucks 1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Branko Radivojevic scored 1:33 into the third period and Niklas Backstrom made 30 saves to lead Minnesota over Vancouver.
Brian Rolston also scored for the Wild, who won for the third time in nine games. Minnesota, which has points in seven straight (3-0-4), moved three points ahead of the Canucks and Calgary, and five up on Colorado in the tight Northwest Division.
Sami Salo answered Radivojevic's goal on a power play three minutes later, but the Canucks lost for the third time in nine games.
Sharks 2, Ducks 1
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Jeremy Roenick and Joe Thornton scored, and San Jose tightened its hold on the Pacific Division lead by holding Anaheim without a shot in the third period.
Evgeni Nabokov earned his NHL-best 43rd victory for the Sharks, whose remarkable third-period defense put them seven points ahead of second-place Anaheim in the three-team race for the Pacific title. After Roenick put San Jose ahead early in the third period, the Ducks never tested Nabokov again.
The Sharks' 14th win in 15 games vaulted them seven points ahead of Anaheim and 10 in front of the third-place Dallas Stars.