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WASHINGTON (AP) -Matt Bradley broke a third-period tie with his first goal in 2 1/2 months and the Washington Capitals snapped a three-game losing streak, delivering a blow to the Atlanta Thrashers' playoff hopes with a 2-1 victory Thursday night.

Bradley gathered the puck in the right corner and skated in to put a backhander between Ondrej Pavelec's legs with 10:14 remaining. It was Bradley's ninth goal of the season and first since Jan. 19.

In a possible preview of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, the Capitals put aside of week of spotty play and moved closer to clinching the Presidents' Trophy for best overall record. Nicklas Backstrom scored his 30th goal, Alex Ovechkin had an assist for his 102nd point, and Semyon Varlamov improved his bid to be the No. 1 goalie for the postseason by making 19 saves.

The win was No. 50 for the Capitals, tying the club record. Washington has also had Atlanta's number this season, winning all five meetings by a combined score of 24-11.

Tim Stapleton scored for Atlanta.

OTTAWA (AP) - Alex Kovalev and Jason Spezza scored in a shootout to cap Ottawa's dramatic victory after the Senators clinched a playoff spot in regulation.

Erik Karlsson scored his second goal of the game with 7.7 seconds remaining in regulation to draw the Senators even at 3. The tie through regulation assured Ottawa of at least one standings point, which clinched the playoff spot.

Brian Elliott made 28 saves, and Anton Volchenkov also scored for Ottawa, which won its sixth in a row. Brandon Sutter, Jamie McBain and Chad LaRose scored for Carolina.

BOSTON (AP) - Scott Clemmensen stopped 36 shots for his fifth career shutout, Keith Ballard scored and Florida beat Boston to prevent the Bruins from getting comfortable in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Bruins remained in a three-way tie with Montreal and Philadelphia for sixth place in the East. But the Bruins couldn't help themselves, giving up Ballard's goal 7:15 into the game and then, despite controlling the puck much of the game, failing to beat Clemmensen. Tuukka Rask stopped 19 shots for Boston.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Steve Sullivan scored the go-ahead goal at 6:05 of the third period, and Nashville moved within a point of clinching a playoff berth.

The Predators trailed 0-2 in the second before breaking a home-scoring drought that had stretched over eight periods. Dustin Boyd and Colin Wilson scored in the second period, and Patric Hornqvist had three assists.

Alexander Steen and Andy McDonald scored for St. Louis.

DETROIT (AP) - Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist for Detroit in the Red Wings' season-high seventh straight victory.

Todd Bertuzzi also scored, and Jimmy Howard made 20 saves for Detroit, 14-2-1 in its last 17 games. Andrew Murray and R.J. Umberger scored for Columbus.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Blake Comeau scored twice in New York's three-goal first period, and the Islanders snapped a 15-game losing streak to Philadelphia.

Comeau gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead 2:11 in and doubled the advantage 5:06 later - both off assists from rookie John Tavares. Frans Nielsen made it a three-goal edge 28 seconds after Comeau's second on New York's eighth shot on goalie Brian Boucher.

Frans Nielsen, Sean Bergenheim, Trent Hunter, and Jon Sim also scored, and former Flyers goalie Martin Biron made 31 saves. Arron Asham, James van Riemsdyk, Danny Briere and Darroll Powe had goals for the Flyers, 1-5-1 in their last seven.

TORONTO (AP) - Luke Schenn's long shot ricocheted high over goalie Ryan Miller at 8:30 of the third period to help Toronto beat Buffalo.

It was the first time all season Toronto managed to beat Miller and the Sabres despite outshooting them in all six meetings.

Viktor Stalberg, Garnet Exelby and Fredrik Sjostrom also scored for the Maple Leafs. Derek Roy and Steve Montador scored for Buffalo.

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