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WASHINGTON (AP) -Bidding for a third consecutive MVP award, Alex Ovechkin took over the NHL lead in goals and points Friday night, scoring twice to reach 50 goals and adding an assist in the Washington Capitals' 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Ovechkin set up Nicklas Backstrom's goal in the first period, then scored himself in the second and third. With one regular-season game left, Ovechkin leads Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby by one goal, and Vancouver's Henrik Sedin by one point. Neither the Penguins nor the Canucks played Friday.

Backstrom and Jason Chimera scored in the third period for the Capitals.

Evgeny Artyukhin and Clarke MacArthur scored in the second for Atlanta.

NEW YORK (AP) - Marian Gaborik broke a second-period tie with his 42nd goal and the Rangers stayed alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race in the first half of a home-and-home series that will determine both teams' postseason prospects.

Gaborik converted Chris Pronger's turnover in the Philadelphia zone into a drive that hit Flyers defenseman Matt Carle and caromed past goalie Brian Boucher to give the Rangers a 4-3 edge with 3:06 left in the second.

Henrik Lundqvist made that stand up, setting up a one-game showdown Sunday in Philadelphia on the final day of the regular season.

Mike Richards scored two goals and Daniel Briere had one for the Flyers.

Chris Drury, Jody Shelley and Brandon Dubinsky also scored for the Rangers.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Todd Bertuzzi scored on a backhand in the fourth round of the shootout to lift Detroit past Columbus and give the Red Wings at least 100 points for the 10th year in a row.

Rick Nash scored in the first round and Pavel Datsyuk followed him with a matching goal before the goaltenders stopped the next two shooters for each team. After Jimmy Howard turned aside Columbus' R.J. Umberger, then Bertuzzi, 4 of 8 in shootouts this season, faked the forehand and netted the backhander past Steve Mason for the decisive goal.

Howard, a top Calder Trophy candidate as the NHL rookie of the year, had 22 saves. Mason, last year's Calder winner, had a season-high 45 saves.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Keith Tkachuk set up the tying goal in his home finale and assisted on an insurance goal, adding meaning to the St. Louis Blues' postgame tribute to the 38-year-old forward.

Jay McClement scored the go-ahead goal with 3:50 to go and Andy McDonald scored 23 seconds later off Tkachuk's shot from a tough angle for the Blues, who rallied from a 3-2 deficit after two periods to finish with a six-game winning streak at home. They wound up at 18-18-5 at home, still among the worst in the NHL and the biggest reason they couldn't repeat last season's playoff drive.

Rookie Matt Beleskey scored twice for the first time and Bobby Ryan got his 35th goal and added an assist for the Ducks, who had gone to a shootout the previous four games. Anaheim also is out of the playoff race.

DENVER (AP) - Colin Fraser scored twice, Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist and Chicago moved closer to clinching the top seed in the Western Conference.

Antti Niemi had 30 saves, Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg also scored and Tomas Kopecky had two assists for Chicago. The Blackhawks moved into a tie with San Jose for first in the Western Conference with 111 points and both teams have one game remaining.

Chicago can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win Sunday against Detroit or by tying the Sharks in points. Chicago holds the tiebreaker by having more wins than San Jose. The Sharks host Phoenix on Saturday.

Ryan Stoa and Darcy Tucker scored for Colorado.

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