PITTSBURGH — Nic Dowd scored twice for the first multi-goal game of his career, Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots and the Washington Capitals dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Saturday.

Nicklas Backstrom, Richard Panik and TJ Oshie also scored for the Capitals, who created a little breathing room over their longtime rivals in the scramble atop the Metropolitan Division. First-place Washington moved five points clear of third-place Pittsburgh with less than a month to go in the regular season.

Sidney Crosby scored for the third straight game for Pittsburgh and Evgeni Malkin added his 22nd. Matt Murray finished with 21 saves for the Penguins but was undone by some sloppy defense in front of him during Washington’s three-goal, first-period blitz. Pittsburgh has dropped 7 of 9 to fall a little off the pace in the NHL’s most competitive division.

The Penguins had hoped a two-game winning streak following a six-game slide was a sign they had turned the corner. Yet they mustered little for long stretches against Washington. They had just nine shots through the game’s first 35 minutes despite an extended two-man advantage in the first period and by the time Crosby scored his 16th of the season 5:09 into the third, the Capitals were firmly in control.

Dowd hadn’t scored in two months but gave Washington the lead 1:52 into the first.

FLYERS 3, SABRES 1: Claude Giroux scored two goals and Carter Hart made 38 saves to lead host Philadelphia to its ninth straight victory.


Joel Farabee also scored and Jakub Voracek and Travis Sanheim each had a pair of assists for Philadelphia, which remained tied for first place with Washington in the Metropolitan Division.

HURRICANES 3, ISLANDERS 2: Vincent Trocheck scored early in overtime and visiting Carolina ended a four-game losing streak.

Trocheck notched his first goal with the Hurricanes on a power play 1:36 into the extra session, sending the Islanders to their sixth loss in a row.

During a scramble in front of the New York net, Trocheck knocked the puck past goaltender Thomas Greiss after teammate Andrei Svechnikov appeared to possibly tap the puck off the crossbar with a high stick.

The goal was confirmed after a lengthy review by the officials. It looked as though Svechnikov’s stick was above the crossbar, but the league ruled his stick was below his shoulders and therefore a good goal.

PREDATORS 1, STARS 0: Juuse Saros shut out Dallas for the second time in three days, Ryan Ellis gained a measure of revenge with the only goal and Nashville won in Dallas.


Saros made 37 saves after stopping 33 in a 2-0 victory in Nashville on Thursday night. He has four shutouts this season and 11 overall, and is 6-0-1 against the Stars.

KINGS 7, WILD 3: Dustin Brown had three goals and an assist as Los Angeles beat Minnesota for its fifth straight win.

Blake Lizotte and Trevor Moore scored 53 seconds apart in the second period, Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists and Gabriel Vilardi added a goal to help the Kings improve to 8-2-1 in their past 11 games.

SENATORS 2, SHARKS 1: Chris Tierney scored 35 seconds into overtime after missing an earlier chance on a penalty shot, and Ottawa won the opener of a five-game road trip.

DEVILS 6, RANGERS 4: Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each scored twice as New Jersey won at New York.


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