Philadelphia Flyers\' Claude Giroux, top, and Washington Capitals\' Alexander Semin, of Russia, collide during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 22, 2011, in Philadelphia. Washington won 5-4 in an overtime shootout. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
PHILADELPHIA - Alexander Semin's shootout goal lifted the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night and pulled them within one point of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Playing without star forward Alex Ovechkin for the first time this season, the Capitals took an early three-goal lead and seemed on their way to tying Philadelphia for the top spot.
But the Flyers scored four straight and earned a point by going into overtime.
Semin beat Brian Boucher with a nifty move and backhanded a shot into the top corner for the winner. Ville Leino, whose shootout goal gave the Flyers a victory at Dallas on Saturday night, scored on the first shot. Matt Hendricks answered for the Capitals.
Claude Giroux was next and he couldn't get a shot off on Michal Neuvirth. Nicklas Backstrom then beat Boucher. Danny Briere kept the Flyers alive when he scored, but Semin ended it.
NEW YORK (AP)—Brandon Dubinsky broke up a scoreless game 7:49 into the third period and Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves as the New York Rangers used defence to beat the Florida Panthers and stretch their winning streak to a season-high five games.
New York had been surging on the strength of its newly found offence that produced 17 goals in the previous three games—including at least five in each win. The Rangers have won seven of eight overall, scoring 34 goals in that stretch.
Lundqvist was hardly tested in earning his NHL-best 10th shutout of the season—second over Florida—and 34th of his career. He showed no ill-effects of a sore neck sustained Friday in a win over Montreal. He followed that with a victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
MONTREAL (AP)—Ryan Miller made 31 saves for his fourth shutout and Nathan Gerbe scored twice to lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Montreal Canadiens.
Miller recorded his 21st career shutout, his first since a 36-save effort in a 3-0 win over San Jose on Jan. 6.
Gerbe scored for the third game in a row in the second period before adding an empty-net goal for Buffalo, which is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 81 points.
The Sabres remained three points ahead of ninth-place Carolina, which beat Ottawa. Buffalo was unable to gain ground on seventh-place New York as the Rangers shut out Florida 1-0 to retain their three-point lead over the Sabres.
BOSTON (AP)—Zdeno Chara broke a tie midway through the second period and Milan Lucic scored his 30th goal of the season late in the third as the Boston Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils, who committed one penalty in their previous two games, were called for five in the first two periods, and the Bruins' struggling power-play unit finally came through. Boston had scored just twice on its previous 34 power-play opportunities entering the game.
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead on Ilya Kovalchuk's 27th goal at 11:05 of the first period. Shawn Thornton tied it less than six minutes later.
Boston won for just the second time in eight games after winning seven straight. New Jersey is 1-3 after going 23-3-2 in its previous 28 games.
RALEIGH, N.C (AP)—Chad LaRose scored two goals and Cam Ward made 36 saves to lead the Carolina Hurricanes past the Ottawa Senators.
Tuomo Ruutu also scored, and Cory Stillman added a goal in the third period for Carolina, which began the night three points behind eighth-place Buffalo in the Eastern Conference.
LaRose scored late in the first and second periods to help the Hurricanes recover from a 2-0 first-period deficit.
The Hurricanes scored four times on their first 19 shots against Curtis McElhinney despite continued struggles on the power play. Carolina was scoreless on three man-advantages Tuesday, dropping to four for its last 77 on the power play.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Al Montoya made 36 saves, helping the New York Islanders to a victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nate Thompson put Tampa Bay ahead 61 seconds in, lifting a rebound past Montoya.
But, the Islanders scored four straight goals before Thompson helped set up a goal by Dominic Moore with the Lightning holding a two-man advantage midway through the third period.
Josh Bailey scored first for New York with 10 seconds left on a power play midway through the opening period, depositing a rebound off a shot by Milan Jurcina.
The Islanders took the lead when Kyle Okposo redirected a shot past former teammate Dwayne Roloson at 5:16 of the second.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—David Legwand scored a goal and added an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers.
Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist also scored for Nashville, which has won four straight.
Jordan Eberle scored for Edmonton, which has dropped seven in a row.
The Predators pelted Devan Dubnyk with 15 shots in the first period while holding Edmonton to five shots on goal.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Rookie goaltender James Reimer made 29 saves for his third career shutout Tuesday as Toronto beat Minnesota, stretching the Wild's winless streak to seven games.
Reimer won his third straight start, improving to 7-0-1 in his last eight road games and helping Toronto keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski each scored goals to get Toronto's top two lines going.
The 10th-place Maple Leafs, the NHL's second-youngest team, are a long shot with eight games to go and eighth-place Buffalo still five points ahead. But they passed last year's points total and raised their record after the all-star break to 14-6-5, a sign of progress for general manager Brian Burke's group.
DENVER (AP)—Milan Hejduk scored the only goal in the shootout and the Colorado Avalanche rallied late in regulation to pull out a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Matt Duchene had two goals, Ryan O'Reilly and Daniel Winnik had one each and Brian Elliott had 29 saves for the Avalanche, who snapped a nine-game home losing streak and have won two straight after dropping 20 of their last 21.
R.J. Umberger had two goals, including one short-handed. Derek MacKenzie also scored a short-handed goal and added an assist for the Blue Jackets. Rick Nash had a goal and Steve Mason made 28 saves for the Blue Jackets.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—Lauri Korpikoski had a goal and an assist, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 29 shots and Phoenix rallied after a sluggish start to beat St. Louis.
Phoenix was booed by the small hometown crowd late in a lackadaisical first period and was again sluggish to start the second. The Coyotes righted themselves after a timeout by coach Dave Tippett midway through the second, getting goals from Ray Whitney and Korpikoski.
Radim Vrbata had assists on both goals, helping Phoenix move within a game of San Jose in the Pacific Division and win 40 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.
Kevin Shattenkirk scored for the Blues in their fourth loss in five games.