Ovechkin scores as Capitals clinch playoff berth

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, celebrates his game winning goal in the overtime period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Washington. The Capitals won 2-1 in overtime. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP

WASHINGTON (AP) Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime and the Washington Capitals picked up their 50th win of the season and became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 Tuesday night.

Ovechkin scored his seventh game-winner of the season 2:38 into overtime after the Capitals clinched a playoff spot by picking up a point.

It's their eighth playoff appearance in nine seasons and one that has been inevitable for a long time as they've skated away from the rest of the field.

Justin Williams also scored for Washington, which got 25 saves from Braden Holtby.

Hurricanes goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Jordan Staal scored for Carolina, which had its dim playoff hopes take another hit.