Capitals beat Devils to take lead in Metropolitan Division

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, from Sweden, comes to bench to celebrate his empty net goal in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson had a goal and two assists each, Alex Ovechkin had three assists and the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday night to move atop the Metropolitan Division.

Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots as Washington won its eighth straight home game. Christian Djoos had a goal and an assist, and Tom Wilson and Matt Niskanen also scored for the Capitals.

New Jersey had gone eight games without a regulation loss. John Moore scored ate in the first period and Travis Zajac midway through the third. Corey Schneider stopped 30 shots.

Marcus Johansson played in his first game as a visitor in Washington after seven seasons with the Capitals and assisted on both goals.

PREDATORS 3, WILD 0

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Juuse Saros made 29 saves for his second shutout this season, P.K. Subban scored his ninth goal and Nashville beat Minnesota.

Subban also had an assist, and Scott Hartnell and Viktor Arvidsson also scored. Calle Jarnkrok had two assists for the Predators, who have won two of three.

Alex Stalock made 26 saves, and the Wild lost a night after beating Nashville in Minnesota.

Following his hat trick Friday, Mikael Granlund paced all Minnesota players with seven shots on goal Saturday.

PANTHERS 2, CANADIENS 0

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – James Reimer stopped 37 shots for his second shutout in three games and Florida beat Montreal.

It’s been a busy month for Reimer since starter Roberto Luongo was injured Dec. 4, and he capped December with another stellar show. He also beat Ottawa 1-0 a week ago with a 38-save effort.

Vincent Trocheck and Connor Brickley scored for the Panthers, who won their fifth straight game with Reimer in goal. Brickley also had an assist.

Carey Price made 32 saves for Montreal, which has lost four straight. The Canadiens have been held to one goal or fewer in four straight games.

BLUES 3, HURRICANES 2

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Scottie Upshall broke a tie midway through the third period and St. Louis held off Carolina.

Kyle Brodziak and Partrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis, and Carter Hutton made 23 saves. The Blues won for the third time in 10 games and snapped Carolina’s four-game winning streak.

Derek Ryan and Lucas Wallmark scored for Carolina. Scott Darling stopped 26 shots in his first start since allowing eight goals in an 8-1 loss to Toronto on Dec. 19.

BRUINS 5, SENATORS 0

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) – Ryan Spooner scored twice and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in Boston’s victory over Ottawa.

Noel Acciari, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins, 5-1 winners over the Senators on Wednesday night in Boston. Rask had his second shutout of the season and 40th overall.

Mike Condon stopped 29 shots for the Senators. Ottawa was shut out five times in December, going 4-8-2 in the month. The Senators have been outscored 14-6 in their past three games.

KINGS 4, CANUCKS 3

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Drew Doughty scored early in the third period to lift Los Angeles over Vancouver.

Kyle Clifford scored the tying goal 2:22 into the third to set up Doughty’s winner, and Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik also scored for Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves.

Troy Stecher, Nikolay Goldobin and Nic Dowd scored for Vancouver, which got 32 saves from Jacob Markstrom. Ben Hutton had two assists.

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