Blue Jackets knock Capitals off Metro Division perch

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Blue Jackets knock Capitals off Metro Division perch

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson each had a goal and two assists, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Monday night.

Columbus scored four goals in the first period -- two of them on power plays -- in winning their second game in three days and the first in four tries against the Capitals this season. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist, and Sonny Milano and Mark Letestu -- acquired by the Blue Jackets in a trade Sunday -- also tallied.

Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves for the Blue Jackets, who held onto the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with a knot of teams still in contention.

Alex Ovechkin got his league-leading 39th goal for Washington. Braden Holtby had 12 saves for the Capitals in the first period, and Philipp Grubauer had 18 in the last two (see full recap).

Point strikes again in SO for Lightning
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brayden Point scored the deciding goal in a shootout for the second consecutive game, lifting the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Tyler Johnson, Chris Kunitz and Adam Erne scored in regulation for the NHL-leading Lightning, who played most of the game without Nikita Kucherov after the league's top scorer was injured. Still, the Atlantic Division leaders edged second-place Toronto hours after acquiring defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller in a blockbuster deal with the New York Rangers just before the NHL trade deadline.

Tampa Bay parted with forward Vladimir Namestnikov, two prospects and two draft picks -- a first-round selection in 2018 and a conditional first-rounder in 2019.

James van Riemsdyk, Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak had the goals for Toronto, which played without injured star Auston Matthews. Frederik Andersen stopped 39 shots.

Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 27 saves for Tampa Bay. He denied Marner on a penalty shot with 6:02 left in the third period to keep the score tied (see full recap).

MacKinnon, Avalanche take care of Canucks
DENVER -- Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, Mikko Rantanen added a goal and an assist and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Monday night.

Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves and came within 1:16 of his third shutout this season. Colorado won for the 11th time in 12 home games and moved within two points of idle Calgary for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

Daniel Sedin scored and Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots for the Canucks.

Vancouver, which entered Monday 18 points out of a playoff spot, traded a couple of veterans before the NHL deadline. The Canucks acquired forwards Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen from Columbus for Thomas Vanek and later sent defenseman Philip Holm to Vegas for forward Brendan Leipsic.

The Avalanche shipped Chris Bigras to the New York Rangers for 22-year-old Ryan Graves in a minor deal.

General manager Joe Sakic said he didn't want to trade one of his young assets for a rental player even though Colorado is chasing a postseason berth. He also didn't want to deal away a veteran and disrupt team chemistry with a chance at making the playoffs.

"If we were 10 points out we probably would have had a different approach," Sakic said before the game (see full recap).

Ducks help Flyers out by downing Devils

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Ducks help Flyers out by downing Devils

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Brandon Montour scored a power-play goal, helping lift the Anaheim Ducks into third place in the Pacific Division with a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night.

Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell each had a goal and an assist, and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks, who lead Los Angeles by two points in the division. Anaheim won its third straight game and is 6-1-0 in its last seven at home.

John Gibson made 15 saves, improving to 9-2-0 in his last 11 starts.

Kyle Palmieri had a power-play goal and Patrick Maroon also scored for the Devils, who had won the first three games of their six-game road trip. Keith Kinkaid made 32 saves, ending a four-start winning streak.

New Jersey holds the second wild-card in the Eastern Conference, five points ahead of Florida (see full recap).

Karlsson's hat trick helps Vegas beat Flames
LAS VEGAS -- William Karlsson scored a natural hat trick to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

Colin Miller also scored as Vegas snapped a four-game home losing streak and improved to 25-9-2 at T Mobile Arena.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who made his 20th start in 21 games, made 42 saves. In getting his 48th career shutout and fourth of the season, Fleury moved into a tie with Chris Osgood for 12th all-time amongst goaltenders at 401.

Vegas improved to 3-0-0 against Calgary while outscoring the Flames 15-5. The teams meet once more, in the regular-season finale at Calgary on April 7 (see full recap).

Laine scores twice, matches Ovechkin for NHL goal lead
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Patrik Laine scored twice to extend his point streak to 15 games and tie Alex Ovechkin for the NHL goal lead, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Sunday night to match the franchise wins record at 43.

The second-year sniper has 43 goals, matching the total from Ovechkin, the Washington star and Laine's boyhood favorite. Laine's point streak is the longest active run in the NHL and adds to his league record for the longest point streak by a teenager. The streak includes 18 goals and eight assists.

Ben Chiarot also scored and Blake Wheeler added an empty-netter for Winnipeg.

Mattias Janmark and Jamie Benn each scored for Dallas (see full recap).

Oskar Lindblom quiets Flyers’ chirps in weekend of firsts

Oskar Lindblom quiets Flyers’ chirps in weekend of firsts

If there was an NHL handbook on how to score goals in the most competitive hockey league in the world, you would have thought Oskar Lindblom would have read it forward and backward, on the charter to the Flyers' next road game and at night before bedtime.

From effort to playing at both ends of the ice, Lindblom had done everything to score a goal, except actually score one.

Prior to Saturday’s game against Carolina, Lindblom had played his first 12 games without registering a single point and it was starting to become a source of playful dissing and mockery in the Flyers' locker room.

“Teammates keep him loose,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think Alex Lyon was giving him the gears. I think Alex should have had an assist last night (in Carolina). I don’t know if he was credited with one or not, but I think Alex was chirping (Oskar) about having more points per game than he did, and that’s what guys do.”

However, the official scoresheet from the 4-2 win in Carolina had Lindblom credited with his first NHL assist and Lyon still looking for one. Prior to that, the zeroes next to Lindblom’s game were starting to add up and Hakstol sensed the 21-year-old rookie was taking notice.  

“I don’t remember the game last week, but he had a great opportunity off a rebound at net front,” Hakstol said. “That was the first time I saw a little bit of frustration creep in where he let it show. Oskar is a good offensive player. He wants to help by doing his part offensively, but I think what he just continued to concentrate on is just playing good hockey.”

Sunday that first goal finally arrived in the form of a snapshot that beat Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer up high. It gave the Flyers a lead they never relinquished in a 6-3 win over Washington.

“I don’t want to think about it anymore,” Lindblom said. “Got the first one today and it was a huge one in the game so it was good.”

And with that, the Swede slipped on the Ric Flair victory robe for the first time, handed down from the Finnish Valtteri Filppula, who was presented the feather-laced garment the night before in Carolina. 

Prior to that, the only thing Lindblom had received was encouragement and support from his teammates who knew his time would eventually come. With an easy-going smile and a personality to match, Lindblom’s fellow Flyers couldn’t help but root for him. 

“We’re all happy for him," Travis Konecny said. “It’s been paying off for him. He deserves it. He works hard at both ends of the ice. I’m personally happy for him.

“He’s got that offensive skill that’s far and few between that a lot of guys don’t have. He just has a knack around the net, he’s always around the puck. We all knew it was coming sooner or later.”

Apparently, everyone seemed to know and especially Jake Voracek, who’s been assisting in every way possible.

“He talks to me a lot,” Lindblom said. “He tried to calm me down a little bit. It’s good for me.”