Sunday's NHL: Ovechkin injured, UM's Blankenburg scores first goal
Washington — Alex Ovechkin was injured, and the Washington Capitals missed a major opportunity to move up in the standings on Sunday by blowing a lead and losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ovechkin crashed hard into the boards early in the third period after tripping on the stick of Toronto’s goalie and was ruled out with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Capitals coughed up a two-goal lead they build not long after Ovechkin left the game in obvious pain. They left with just a point after Toronto’s Alex Kerfoot scored to end the seven-round shootout.
Ovechkin’s uncertain status is the most alarming situation facing the Capitals with the playoffs beginning in just over a week.
Ilya Mikheyev scored in the third period to cut Toronto’s deficit in half, and Jason Spezza tied it with 57.3 seconds left. The Maple Leafs inched closer to wrapping up home-ice advantage in the first round.
(At) Columbus 5, Edmonton 2: Rookie Nick Blankenburg (Michigan) scored his first NHL goal and added an assist to help Columbus beat Edmonton, breaking a five-game losing streak and keeping the Oilers from clinching second place in the Pacific Division.
"It's a dream come true, just to score a goal at home against Edmonton to go up 3-2 with 10 minutes left," Blenkenburg said. "That's very special for me."
Eric Robinson and Jack Roslovic also scored, Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and two assists, and Cole Sillinger added a goal and an assist for Columbus.
Jakub Voracek notched three assists and ex-Red Wing Gus Nyquist had two helpers for Columbus, while Elvis Merzlikins stopped 33 shots in his 26th win.
Evander Kane and Leon Draisaitl scored for Edmonton, and Mikko Koskinen stopped 26 shots.
Tampa Bay 8, (at) Florida 4: Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had two goals and two assists, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots and Tampa Bay snapped Florida’s franchise-record 13-game winning streak.
Victor Hedman had four assists for Tampa Bay. Nicholas Paul scored twice and Brayden Point and Cal Foote also scored for the Lightning, who remained alive in the race with Toronto for the No. 2 spot behind Florida in the Atlantic Division.
And even though Tampa Bay’s next game is home on Tuesday, the Lightning weren’t heading home after the game. They’re off to Washington, invited by President Joe Biden to visit the White House on Monday in celebration of their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup victories.
Sam Reinhart scored his 30th and 31st goals for Florida, which also got goals from Brandon Montour and Mason Marchment. Spencer Knight left in the second period after allowing five goals on 17 shots, and Sergei Bobrovsky played the final 27 minutes in net for the Panthers.
(At) Winnipeg 4, Colorado 1: Adam Lowry, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor (Michigan) all scored in a span of 3:21 in the third period to help Winnipeg beat Colorado, handing the Avalanche their season-high fourth straight loss.
Nikolaj Ehlers also scored a late third-period goal for the Jets, who halted a four-game losing skid.
J.T. Compher scored early in the third period for the Avalanche, who have lost all four of those games in regulation. Darcy Kuemper stopped 40 shots for the Central Division champions and top seed in the Western Conference.
Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce Township) made 30 saves for Winnipeg in his 65th game of the season and 380th with the team. That set a franchise record (Atlanta/Winnipeg) for games played by a goaltender, one more than Ondrej Pavelec.
Carolina 5, (at) N.Y. Islanders 2: Max Domi scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Carolina got help from a rookie goaltender, boosting their Metropolitan Division lead by beating New York.
The Hurricanes won their fourth in a row and extended their edge over the second-place New York Rangers by four points. Carolina has two games left, including a visit to Madison Square Garden to face the Rangers on Tuesday night. New York has three games remaining.
Carolina tied franchise records for victories (52) and points (112). Both marks were set in the 2005-06 season, which culminated in the team’s sole Stanley Cup championship. Seth Jarvis, Derek Stepan, Jesper Fast, and Brendan Smith also scored for the Hurricanes.
Antti Raanta made 17 saves on 18 shots before appearing to suffer an injury in the second period. The Hurricanes are now missing their top two goaltenders after Frederik Andersen suffered an injury on April 16.
Ross Johnston and Ryan Pulock scored for the Islanders, who lost their fifth straight game. Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves on 32 shots.
St. Louis 6, (at) Anaheim 3: Ryan Getzlaf scored his final NHL point with a behind-the-back pass to Adam Henrique for a goal with 2:41 to play, and the longtime Anaheim captain wrapped up a 17-year career spent entirely with the Ducks in a loss St. Louis.
With one last bit of playmaking brilliance from one of the top centers of his era, Getzlaf finished his prolific career with 1,019 points, the 88th-most in league history.
The sellout crowd at Honda Center repeatedly roared for Getzlaf from his first step on the ice to his final, teary departure. After the final whistle, he stepped under a spotlight on the center circle in the darkened arena and gave his thanks to the crowd and his family. He will not play in Anaheim’s final two games.
Jordan Kyrou, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist apiece during a dominant second period by the Blues, who fell behind 2-0 in the first period before rallying for their 14th win in 16 games.
Minnesota 5, (at) Nashville 4 (OT): Dmitry Kulikov scored with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime to give Minnesota a win over Nashville
Joel Eriksson Ek had two power-play goals and an assist, Nick Bjugstad and Kevin Fiala also scored, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for Minnesota. The Wild have won five straight as they battle with the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division and home ice for the teams’ first-round playoff series.
Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists, and Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Dante Fabbro also scored for Nashville. David Rittich made 42 saves and Mikael Granlund had three assists for the Predators, who have lost three of four but remain in the top wild-card position in the Western Conference. Nashville moved one point ahead of Dallas in the standings.
Boston 5, (at) Montreal 3: Erik Haula scored twice and Boston beat Montreal on the night the Canadiens paid tribute to the late Guy Lafleur.
The Canadiens celebrated the Hall of Famer, who died Friday at age 70, with a ceremony before the game.
A video of Lafleur’s goals and of him lifting the Stanley Cup played at the Bell Centre before fans gave him a standing ovation that lasted more than 10 minutes. Canadiens players saluted Lafleur’s retired No. 10 following the final buzzer.
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron had two goals, including an empty-netter, and an assist. Charlie McAvoy scored the eventual winner. Jeremy Swayman made 23 saves.
Josh Anderson, Mike Hoffman and Nick Suzuki scored for Montreal. Jeff Petry had two assists and Samuel Montembeault made 37 saves.
(At) Philadelphia 4, Pittsburgh 1: Noah Cates had two goals and an assist and Martin Jones made 37 saves in Philadelphia’s win over Pittsburgh.
Morgan Frost added a goal and an assist and Travis Konecny scored an empty-netter for the Flyers, who won their second straight after losing six in a row.
Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins.
The Penguins entered in third place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of Washington. Pittsburgh has two games remaining and would play the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs by staying in third place. If Washington jumps ahead of the Penguins, Pittsburgh would meet the Eastern Conference-leading Florida Panthers in the opening round.
San Jose 5, (at) Las Vegas 4 (SO): Thomas Bordeleau scored the only goal in a shootout and San Jose snapped an 11-game losing streak against Vegas.
Vegas squandered a 4-2 lead with a little more than two minutes left in regulation, as Nick Bonino scored his second goal of the game at 17:54 of the third period and Timo Meier added the equalizer with 0.9 seconds remaining.
The loss severely damaged Vegas’ playoff hopes with three games left in the season. Dallas can eliminate the Golden Knights by beating them in regulation Tuesday.
Tomas Hertl also scored for San Jose. James Reimer stopped 42 shots.
Chandler Stephenson and Nic Roy each had a goal and an assist, and Max Pacioretty and William Carrier also scored for Vegas. Logan Thompson made 25 saves.