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NHL Capsules

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WASHINGTON (AP) -Capitals goalie Brent Johnson shut down the Eastern Conference's top offense, and Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexandre Giroux scored, leading Washington to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Boston, which has the most goals and the best record in the East, had won five consecutive games and 14 of 16.

The Southeast Division-leading Capitals improved to 11-1-1 at home, thanks to Johnson. The only goal he allowed came with 35 seconds left in the second period, when Phil Kessel passed the puck to a wide-open Milan Lucic.

By then, though, Backstrom and Giroux had given the Capitals a 2-0 lead. Ovechkin, the NHL's reigning MVP, added an empty-netter in the final minute for his 15th goal.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Scott Clemmensen made 26 saves, Travis Zajac scored the first goal and New Jersey kept rolling by beating Pittsburgh.

Clemmensen, who has emerged as the Devils go-to goalie with Martin Brodeur sidelined, improved to 7-1 in his last eight starts.

Zajac, Zach Parise, Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias provided the scoring for the Devils, who won for the eighth time in nine games. They avenged the lone loss in that span, a 4-1 defeat in Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.

Matt Cooke scored for Pittsburgh, ending Clemmensen's shutout bid with 3:58 remaining. The Penguins' losing streak reached three as they were beaten in regulation in New Jersey for the first time in seven games (5-1-1).

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Thomas Vanek scored twice, including his NHL-leading 22nd goal, in Buffalo's comeback win over Tampa Bay. It was the Lightning's ninth straight defeat.

Vanek snapped a 2-2 second-period tie with his second goal of the game on the power play, sending the Sabres to their third straight win.

Jason Pominville had a goal and two assists, and Drew Stafford also scored for Buffalo (14-11-3). Ryan Miller made 26 saves in his fifth straight start.

Martin St. Louis and Mark Recchi scored for Tampa Bay (6-14-8), which blew a 2-0 first-period lead. The Lightning, who have an NHL-low 20 points, dropped to 0-7-2 during their skid.

Tampa Bay is 1-7-4 since firing Barry Melrose in mid-November.

ATLANTA (AP) - Scott Gomez scored 15 seconds into overtime and the New York Rangers snapped a two-game losing streak by beating struggling Atlanta.

Gomez took advantage of goaltender Johan Hedberg's mishandling of the puck, and put in a backhander.

The Thrashers have lost five straight at home and have just two victories in 11 games.

Despite eight victories in their last 13, the Rangers have only one win in regulation. They led 2-1 on Ryan Callahan's short-handed goal with 18:40 remaining in regulation.

Ilya Kovalchuk, who was trailing Callahan on his goal, redeemed himself 1:29 later by scoring his 10th of the season and second in two games.

Colton Orr gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with his first goal in 83 games. Atlanta rookie Joey Crabb tied it with his first NHL tally.

DETROIT (AP) - Nicklas Lidstrom scored 3:50 into overtime to complete Detroit's comeback from a two-goal deficit against Calgary.

Brian Rafalski had a goal and an assist, and Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for Detroit. Johan Franzen added two assists, and Ty Conklin made 29 saves.

David Moss posted a goal and an assist, and Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow each chipped in a goal for Calgary. Curtis McElhinney stopped 35 shots.

Lidstrom beat McElhinney with a slap shot from the high slot area.

CHICAGO (AP) - Cristobal Huet stopped 23 shots to earn his first shutout with Chicago and Patrick Kane scored an early goal as the Blackhawks beat Ottawa.

It was Huet's first NHL shutout since March 29 against Florida when he was with Washington.

Kane scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the circle, 5:17 into the game, against backup goalie Martin Gerber, who also played well after the early score. Chicago got its second goal on an empty-netter from Troy Brouwer with 40 seconds left.

The Senators, who were 4-1-3 in their previous eight games, entered tied with Tampa Bay for the fewest goals in the NHL.

DALLAS (AP) - Martin Hanzal scored twice, including the third-period tiebreaking goal, and Phoenix beat Dallas a few hours after Stars officials met to discuss what to do with suspended forward Sean Avery.

Olli Jokinen also notched two goals for the Coyotes after being activated off the injured list. Jokinen had missed six games due to a shoulder injury.

Steven Reinprecht added an empty-netter with 23.7 seconds left.

Trevor Daley, and rookies Fabian Brunnstrom and James Neal scored for Dallas.

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