NEWARK, N.J. – Rookie Michal Neuvirth stopped 33 shots for his fourth shutout and the Washington Capitals put another dagger in the New Jersey Devils’ playoff hopes with a 3-0 victory on Friday night.
Defenceman Jeff Schultz broke an 81-game goal drought and Alex Ovechkin made a pair of fantastic passes to set up goals by goals by Mike Knuble as the Capitals bounced back from a loss to Detroit and won for the 13th time in 16 games, despite putting only 12 shots on goal.
The win gave the Capitals 94 points, tying them for first place in the Eastern Conference with idle Philadelphia. The Flyers have three games in hand and one more win.
The loss was the second in as many nights for New Jersey and left it six points behind idle Buffalo in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East with 11 games to play.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan scored 1:18 apart on the same power play late in the third period, backup Jason LaBarbera made 46 saves, and Phoenix beat Vancouver.
Canucks defenceman Christian Ehrhoff spoiled LaBarbera’s shutout on a rebound just over two minutes later, but Lee Stempniak scored into an empty net with 1:05 left.
Luongo finished with 26 saves for the league-leading Canucks, who had their winning streak snapped at seven games by their former backup goalie.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Rangers 6, Montreal 3; Washington 3, New Jersey 1; and Carolina 3, N.Y. Islanders 2 (OT).
NEW YORK (AP)—Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle scored 1:07 apart in the Rangers’ highest-scoring first period in more than 11 years, and New York held on for a key victory.
The Rangers and Canadiens, fighting for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference with about three weeks left in the season, staged a post-season-like show at Madison Square Garden.
New York, in seventh place, moved within five points of sixth-place Montreal with 10 games left for both teams. More importantly, the Rangers are four points ahead of Buffalo and Carolina.
Henrik Lundqvist held off the Canadiens late and finished with 22 saves to reach 30 wins for the sixth straight season.
P.K. Subban, Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski scored for Montreal.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—Joni Pitkanen scored at 3:58 of overtime to give Carolina a win.
Erik Cole set up the extra period for the Hurricanes with a tying goal at 15:23 of the third.
Jeff Skinner scored his 25th goal and had an assist on Pitkanen’s winner for Carolina, giving him an NHL rookie-leading 52 points. The win ended a two-game home losing streak and put the Hurricanes in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 76 points. Eighth-place Buffalo also has 76 points and two games in hand.
Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. Grabner’s goal, his fourth in seven games, was his NHL rookie-leading 29th.