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Capitals 4, Panthers 2 @NHLdotcom

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -The Florida Panthers stopped Washington's record-setting defenseman - but got beat by the NHL's top goal-scorer.

While Mike Green's NHL-record goals streak for defensemen ended at eight games, Alex Ovechkin scored three times in Washington's 4-2 victory Sunday.

"Arguably the best player in the game made some big-time plays," Florida coach Pete DeBoer said. "That's what beat us."

Ovechkin broke a tie with 2:31 left, and completed his third hat trick of the season and the eighth overall with an empty-netter.

The NHL leader with 41 goals, Ovechkin said after the game he told Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun during the warmups that he would score two goals off him.

"I'm sure he tells every goalie that, and when it comes true, he's telling you guys," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.

On the winner, Ovechkin took a long pass from Nicklas Backstrom, made a quick move back and fired a wrist shot from the wing that went through All-Star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and beat Vokoun through the 5-hole.

"I tried to use my speed just a little, use my body and after that I just tried to shoot the puck and it was in," Ovechkin said.

His power-play goal opened the scoring in the first period.

Green had four shots on goal. His best scoring chance came in the second period on a power play, but Vokoun stopped his one-timer from the high slot.

"It has to come to an end," Green said. "Couldn't score for the rest of the year, but it would have been nice. But as long as we get the win, that's all that matters."

Green fell one short of tying the overall Washington record for consecutive games with a goal, set by Alan Haworth (1985-86) and matched by Mike Gartner (1986-87).

Eric Fehr also scored for Washington, 9-2-2 in its last 13 games and 13 points ahead of second-place Florida in the Southeast Division.

Michael Frolik and Nathan Horton scored for Florida. The Panthers lost in regulation for only the fourth time since Jan. 1 (12-4-3).

Washington's Jose Theodore stopped 29 shots. Vokoun also made 29 saves.

At Newark, N.J., David Clarkson scored a power-play goal - his second goal of the game - with 3:32 left and New Jersey completed a sweep of the Western Conference leaders.

Brian Gionta, Brian Rolston, Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored to help the Devils win for the 13th time in 15 games. The latest win came just two days after a 1-0 victory over NHL-leading Boston.

Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau and Rob Blake scored for San Jose, 1-1-3 on its five-game trip.

At Detroit, Jordan Leopold scored in the fifth round of a shootout, and Andrew Raycroft stopped 40 shots and allowed only Henrik Zetterberg's goal in the tiebreaker.

Wojtek Wolski also scored in the shootout to help Colorado end a four-game losing streak. Ian Laperriere had a goal and an assist, and Ruslan Salei, Marek Svatos, Ben Guite and Milan Hejduk also scored in regulation for the Avalanche.

Marian Hossa, who has 33 goals, and Dan Cleary each had two goals, and Jiri Hudler scored for Detroit.

At Anaheim, Calif., Ilya Kovalchuk scored three goals in a 6:51 span of the second period and had an assist in Atlanta's first win over Anaheim since December 2003.

Rich Peverley, Bryan Little, Colby Armstrong, Colin Stuart and Niclas Havelid also scored, and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves. Teemu Selanne had two goals for Anaheim, and Bobby Ryan and Andrew Ebbett also scored.

At New York, Mike Richards' short-handed goal sparked a four-goal second period, and rookie Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists for Philadelphia.

Richards, who leads the NHL with five short-handed goals this season, became the first NHL player to score three career 3-on-5 goals.

Glen Metropolit, Matt Carle and Mike Knuble also scored for the Flyers. Lauri Korpikoski and Nikolai Zherdev scored for New York, 1-5-2 in its last eight.

At Vancouver, British Columbia, identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin each had a goal and an assist, and Roberto Luongo made 25 saves to help Vancouver jump from ninth to fifth in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Canucks have won five of six since snapping an eight-game losing streak.

Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for Montreal, which has lost five of its last six games and 10 of 13.

At Buffalo, N.Y., Cam Ward made 36 saves for his third shutout in 10 starts, and Eric Staal had a goal and two assists for Carolina.

Chad LaRose and Sergei Samsonov also scored to help the Hurricanes bounce back from a 5-1 home loss to Columbus on Saturday night. Ward has four shutouts overall this season and 10 in his NHL career.

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