CAPITALS PUNCH TICKET TO 2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Alex Ovechkin scored at 1:38 of overtime as the Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 and became the first team to clinch a berth in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their 26th postseason appearance in franchise history and their eighth in the past nine seasons.
* At 50-14-5 (105 points), the League-leading Capitals reached the 50-win mark for the fourth time in franchise history and first since 2009-10, when they set franchise records for wins and points in a season (54-15-13, 121 points) en route to winning the Presidents' Trophy. They also reached the 50-win milestone in 1985-86 (50-23-7, 107 points) and 2008-09 (50-24-8, 108 points).
* Ovechkin scored his second overtime goal of the season (also Jan. 9 at NYR) and leads the NHL with 42 goals. He extended his franchise records for game-winning goals (87) and overtime goals (17), the most in the NHL in each category since 2005-06 (his first season in the League).
* Braden Holtby (25 saves) picked up his League-leading 42nd victory of the season (56 GP) to eclipse his career high and club record achieved in 2014-15 (73 GP).
Video: CAR@WSH: Holtby makes pad save to keep it scoreless
DID YOU KNOW?
The Capitals became the first team to clinch a berth in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, doing so in their 69th game of the season. The Rangers were the first team to clinch a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, doing so in their 73rd game of the season.
Home Team in Caps
PITTSBURGH 2, NY Islanders 1 (SO)
WASHINGTON 2, Carolina 1 (OT)
PHILADELPHIA 4, Detroit 3
TORONTO 4, Tampa Bay 1
Florida 4, MONTREAL 1
OTTAWA 3, Minnesota 2 (OT)
Los Angeles 5, DALLAS 2
SAN JOSE 3, Boston 2
AROUND THE RINKS
* Five different members of the Los Angeles Kings scored, including a highlight-reel goal by Anze Kopitar (1-1-2) in the first period, in a 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars that extended their point streak to five games (4-0-1). At 42-22-5 (89 points), the Kings increased their lead to four points over the idle Anaheim Ducks (38-21-9, 85 points) for first place in the Pacific Division. They also moved within two points of the Stars (41-21-9, 91 points) for the top record in the Western Conference. These clubs will close their three-game season series on April 2 at Staples Center.
* Al Montoya made 27 saves and Vincent Trocheck had 1-1-2 to power the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens, their third win in their past four games (3-1-0). At 39-22-9 (87 points), the Panthers passed the Boston Bruins (39-24-8, 86 points), who lost in regulation, to reclaim first place in the Atlantic Division. With 39 victories through 70 games this season, the Panthers also eclipsed their 82-game total of 38 from 2014-15 (38-29-15, 91 points).
* Brent Burns (1-1-2) and Joonas Donskoi (1-1-2) each recorded a goal and an assist to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win against the Bruins, their fourth win in their past five games (4-1-0). Burns (26-38-64) scored his 26th goal of the season, tops among all defensemen, and added an assist to tie the franchise record for goals, assists and points in a season by a defenseman (Sandis Ozolinsh in 1993-94). At 39-24-6 (84 points), the Sharks climbed within a point of the idle Ducks (38-21-9, 85 points) for second place in the Pacific Division.
* Kris Letang scored the decisive goal in the shootout to power the Pittsburgh Penguins to their third straight win, 2-1 against the New York Islanders. Marc-Andre Fleury (25 saves) denied all three shooters in the shootout to improve to 30-16-6 this season (2.32 goals-against average, 922 save percentage, five shutouts), reaching the 30-win plateau for the eighth time in his 12 NHL seasons (all w/ PIT). At 37-24-8 (82 points), the Penguins moved within three points of the idle Rangers (39-23-7, 85 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Islanders forward Kyle Okposo tied the game with 5:25 left in regulation.
* The Philadelphia Flyers scored four goals on the strength of 46 shots, including two by Michael Raffl (2-0-2), to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 and improve to 7-1-1 in their past nine games. Raffl had his second career multigoal game (also Oct. 25, 2014 vs. DET: 2-1-3). At 33-23-12 (78 points), the Flyers climbed within a point of the Red Wings (34-25-11, 79 points) for the final wild card spot into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Video: DET@PHI: Raffl buries two goals in Flyers' win
* Mika Zibanejad (1-1-2) tied the game with 7.1 seconds left in regulation and Erik Karlsson (1-2-3) scored with 30.4 seconds remaining in overtime as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2, picking up their second straight win on the heels of a three-game slide (0-2-1). Karlsson scored his second overtime goal of the season (also Dec. 5 vs. NYI) and continues to lead the NHL with 60 assists and all defensemen with 13-60-73 this season. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first defenseman in franchise history to score multiple overtime goals in a season.
* Zach Hyman (1-1-2), Ben Smith (1-1-2) and Martin Marincin (0-2-2) each had two points to guide the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, their third victory in their past four games (3-1-0). Hyman had the first multipoint game of his NHL career. Smith scored his first goal in a Maple Leafs uniform (9 GP), which stood as the game-winner. Connor Carrick also scored his first goal as a member of the Maple Leafs (9 GP).
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Lindy Ruff of the Stars coached his 1,400th career game, tying Pat Quinn for sixth on the all-time list.
* Kings forward Vincent Lecavalier (0-1-1) became the 11th active player to play in 1,200 games. Penguins forward Chris Kunitz scored while skating in the 800th NHL game. Kings forward Kyle Clifford (0-1-1) skated in his 400th NHL game.
* Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha, a first-round selection (No. 20) in the 2013 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut (14:45 TOI). Hurricanes defenseman Trevor Carrick, a fourth-round selection (No. 115) in 2012, made his NHL debut (16:34 TOI).
* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (0-1-1) extended his point streak to nine games (4-10-14). He is tied for fifth in the NHL with 29-41-70 overall this season (68 GP), including a League-high 23-28-51 dating to Dec. 18 (38 GP). Crosby reached the 70-point mark for the eighth time in his 11 NHL seasons (all w/ PIT).
* Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk (1-0-1) has scored 12 times in his past 10 games (12-1-3). With 26-21-47 this season (70 GP), he eclipsed his career high of 20-26-46 from 2014-15 (80 GP).
* Sharks forward Joe Thornton (0-1-1) has registered at least one point in 35 of his past 40 games dating to Dec. 15 (12-39-51).
* Kings forward Milan Lucic (0-1-1) extended his point streak to seven games (3-6-9), one shy of his career high from Dec. 8-22, 2008 w/ BOS (4-4-8 in 8 GP).
* Senators forward Mark Stone (0-1-1) stretched his point streak to six games (2-6-8).
* Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau (0-1-1) extended his point streak to five games (2-6-8).
* Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (1-0-1) has scored in three consecutive games (3-1-4).
Video: FLA@MTL: Barkov buries Huberdeau's feed to pad lead
Per Elias, the Senators scored a game-tying goal in the final eight seconds of regulation and won for the first time since April 1, 2010 vs. CAR when Erik Karlsson scored at 19:52 of the third period en route to a 4-3 shootout win. … The Flyers recorded 23 shots on goal in the first period. Per Elias, Philadelphia's 23 shots were two shy of the franchise record for most in any period (25) from April 1, 1976 vs. WSH (second period), Jan. 29, 1984 at CHI (first period) and Feb. 13, 1988 at TOR (second period). … Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov (0-1-1) is tied for fifth in the NHL with 20-50-70 this season. … Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (1-0-1) continues to lead rookie defensemen with 16 goals and 39 points this season. … The Flyers have won 11 consecutive home games vs. DET dating to March 14, 1998 (DET: 0-11-0). … Sharks goaltender James Reimer (21 saves) earned the win while celebrating his 28th birthday. … Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout has been suspended for one game, without pay, for punching an unsuspecting opponent, Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.