NHL Scores: Alex Ovechkin powers Capitals; Rangers heating up; Predators knock off Lightning; and more

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Apr 13, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals dominated the Flyers from start to finish to claim sole possession of first in East by a 6-1 score. Anthony Mantha picked up two points (1G, 1A) in his debut while the captain Alex Ovechkin notched goal 728 on the power play.

Capitals blow away Flyers; Rangers quietly one of the better teams over last month

It was close in Washington up until the midway point of the first period. Tom Wilson broke a 1-1 tie on the power play assisted by Mantha and the Caps were off to the races. By the end of the period they were up 4-1. Mantha tacked on a goal in the second and Ovechkin notched their third PPG of the game to seal the deal. Ovechkin is just three goals back of Marcel Dionne for fifth on the All-Time goals list.

“Obviously when a team comes to get you, you want to look the best you can, and I think tonight was just a step forward for myself and kind of calmed the nerves a little bit,” Mantha said. “Have a good first game, and then just try and build confidence for the following games.”

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Meanwhile, Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves for his first ever NHL shutout as the Rangers blanked the Devils 3-0. Goals by Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Pavel Buchnevich helped his cause. Buchnevich’s empty-netter was the 20,000th in franchise history. Since March 14th, the Rangers are quietly tied for fourth in the NHL for most points(23), just one behind the Capitals. They remain four points out of the last playoff spot in the East as the Bruins edged the Sabres 3-2 in shootout. Taylor Hall did not score in his debut.

Predators remain hot and beat Lightning; Panthers win cause 3-way tie for first

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Apr 13, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) celebrates the goal of right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of hot teams over the last month; the Nashville Predators are 13-4-0 for 26 points. Only the Avalanche with 30 points have been hotter since March 14th. Last night the Preds lit up the Lightning 7-2 with Viktor Arvidsson scoring twice. The forward now has five goals in his last four games and is helping the Preds achieve their playoffs objective. Nashville is four points up on the Chicago Blackhawks for the last spot.

“We started really well,” Preds captain Roman Josi said. “We got a couple of goals, [and] obviously that helps. I thought they made a push in the second and were the better team for most of the second, but [Saros] was great. He made a lot of huge saves. I liked our response in the third. It’s a big win for us against a really good team.”

The Florida Panthers knocked off the Dallas Stars 3-2 in OT. Frank Vatrano scored the game-winner in OT putting the Panthers in a 3-way tie at the top of the Central along with the Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes.

Finally, in North Division action the Flames outlasted the Maple Leafs 3-2 in OT. Johnny Gaudreau scored 36 seconds into the extra session to beat his former teammate David Rittich who was making his first start for the Leafs after being traded on Monday.