WASHINGTON — Matt Niskanen scored the tie-breaking goal with 3:22 remaining and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 4-2 Friday night to continue their climb up the Metropolitan Division standings.

Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the Capitals, who have won four in a row and 7 of 8. Jay Beagle scored 14 seconds in, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal in a second consecutive game after a long drought and Tom Wilson added an insurance goal with 1:32 left.

Wilson also assisted on the winner by Niskanen.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots in his first game back after a brief illness. Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast scored for New York, which won its previous two games.

Kevin Shattenkirk started on defense in his return to Washington, where he finished last season, and made one of several miscues by the Rangers on the first shift of the game. Beagle got some space and scored a soft goal on Lundqvist to put the Capitals ahead.

Lundqvist stopped the final 16 shots of the first period to keep it 1-0. But a brutal giveaway from Grabner sending the puck off teammate Mats Zuccarello’s skates gave it to Backstrom for his fifth goal of the season.

Grabner made up for that when he scored with 56.9 seconds remaining in the first. Since Oct. 26, Grabner leads the NHL with 13 goals.

Fast tied the score 9:37 into the third after ex-Capitals forward Paul Carey won a puck battle behind the net and fed it in front to the delight of the many Rangers fans in attendance.

Niskanen gave Washington the lead back when he put in a quick pass from Wilson on the rebound of Alex Ovechkin’s shot for his first goal of the season.

BLUE JACKETS 5, DEVILS 3: Artemi Panarin had five primary assists, setting up Columbus’ win in New Jersey.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Lukas Sedlak, Scott Harrington, Alexander Wennberg and Zach Werenski scored for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves.

Brian Boyle, Marcus Johansson and Blake Coleman had the New Jersey goals. Cory Schneider stopped 23 shots.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4, PREDATORS 3: Malcolm Subban won a matchup of siblings, making 41 saves and then denying all six shootout attempts to lead visiting Vegas over star defenseman P.K. Subban and Nashville.

Reilly Smith scored the only goal of a six-round shootout for the Golden Knights. William Karlsson, James Neal and Erik Haula scored in regulation to help Vegas win its third straight game.

Nate Schmidt had two assists, and Haula forced overtime when he scored with 40 seconds left in the third period after the Golden Knights pulled Subban.

Calle Jarnkrok, Viktor Arvidsson and Nick Bonino had the goals for Nashville, which had won three in a row.

BLACKHAWKS 3, SABRES 2: Gustav Forsling scored on a screened shot from the blue line with 4.9 seconds left in overtime, and Chicago rallied to beat visiting Buffalo to snap a five-game losing streak.

Forsling, who had two assists in regulation, fired a low drive between Robin Lehner’s pads with Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen blocking the goalie’s view.

Sabres star Jack Eichel failed to score on a penalty shot at 1:31 of overtime when Corey Crawford dropped and made a stick save. The attempt was awarded after Forsling held and hooked Eichel from behind as he broke in.

Chicago’s Tommy Wingels scored a short-handed goal with 3:22 left in the third period to tie the game at 2. Blackhawks rookie Alex DeBrincat scored his 12th goal in the second period.
Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo scored in regulation for the Sabres, who got 48 saves from Lehner.


SALARY CAP: NHL teams will be allowed to spend more next season.

Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters at the conclusion of the league’s board of governors meeting that the projected salary cap for 2018-19 will be somewhere between $78 million and $82 million, up from the current $75 million.

RED WINGS: Detroit recalled forward Tyler Bertuzzi from Grand Rapids of the AHL.

Bertuzzi has five goals and four assists in 12 games with the Griffins this season. He was chosen the most valuable player of last season’s AHL playoffs. He also made his NHL debut in 2016-17, playing seven games with the Red Wings.

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