Alex Ovechkin did something he's never done before in his impressive NHL career and helped the Washington Capitals climb back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Ovechkin snapped an 0-for-5 career slump in penalty shots by beating Ray Emery with a backhand move as the Capitals piled on the goals again Sunday with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The goal came on Ovechkin's 2,000th shot. He is by far the fastest player to reach that plateau since the NHL started keeping track of shots in 1967. He's done it in 4Â? seasons - no one else has done it in six. He's had 249 of them go into the net.
The penalty shot statistic doesn't include shootouts - he's 1-for-5 in those tiebreakers this year.
His first successful penalty shot was Washington's fifth goal of the game, which triggered a promotion that gave wings to all the fans in attendance.
"We just want to give fans free chicken wings and give them free food, you know?" Ovechkin said with a smile.
Brooks Laich broke out of a slump to score twice, including a short-handed goal in the third period, and Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin also had goals as the league's highest scoring team scored at least four times for the seventh straight game, improving to 6-1 during that stretch.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: New York Rangers 6 Montreal 2; Anaheim 5 Calgary 4; and Chicago 4 Detroit 3 (SO).
At Washington, Jose Theodore made 30 saves to go 2-for-2 in his first set of consecutive starts since mid-December. The save of the game, however, was made by Washington defenceman Tom Poti. With the Capitals scrambling to kill a penalty in the second period, Poti perched next to Theodore and got his right skate in front of Jeff Carter's point-blank shot that would have tied the game at three. Carter was so sure the puck had gone in that he raised both arms to celebrate.
Carter and James van Riemsdyk scored in the first period, and Danny Briere scored in the game's final minute for the Flyers, who outshot the Capitals 33-22.
In addition to Poti's stop on Carter, Philadelphia's other near-misses came when Mike Richards hit the right post during a 4-on-4 stretch in the second period and when Scott Hartnell had a third-period goal waived off because he kicked the puck into the net with his right skate.
"They've got a good hockey team," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. "You want to get more chances, but you've got to do the work and do the right things to get them, so it's difficult. But I thought we had our looks, they had their looks - they put 'em in."
Emery, playing his first game since having abdominal surgery Dec. 9, made 17 saves for the Flyers, who have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak. Emery's last game had also been against the Capitals, an 8-2 loss in Philadelphia on Dec. 5 that also happened to be the first game for Laviolette after John Stevens was fired.
The game was tied at two after the first period. Semin gave Washington the lead for good in the second when he put in the rebound on a power play. Laich made it a two-goal lead while killing a penalty in the third, picking Richards' pocket and scoring on a breakaway for his first two-goal game since Nov. 1.
"He is a very intense young man," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Sometimes he likes to do too much. We just looked over his video - his shifts, his goals - we saw if there was anything we could find that he was doing different. We had a good talk, and I was so happy when he scored."
Rangers 6 Canadiens 2
At New York, Ryan Callahan had two goals and two assists and Brandon Dubinsky added two goals and an assist to lead the Rangers over Montreal.
Ducks 5 Flames 4
At Anaheim, Calif., Bobby Ryan scored the go-ahead goal with 7:17 left and the Ducks overcame Calgary's three breakaway goals.
Blackhawks 4 Red Wings 3 (SO)
At Detroit, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp scored in the shootout to lead Chicago over the Red Wings.