WASHINGTON (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes gave the Washington Capitals something to think about if the division rivals meet in the playoffs.
Martin Necas scored twice, Sebastian Aho added his 29th goal and the Hurricanes routed the Capitals 6-1 on Monday night in a potential first-round preview that got heated. Carolina’s first victory in four meetings this season came with a cost after center Jesperi Kotkaniemi was injured on a hit with 1.8 seconds left.
Before Kotkaniemi limped off from a penalized hit by Lars Eller, the highlight of the night was a heavyweight fight between Brendan Smith and Tom Wilson after tensions simmered for half the game.
Carolina, which leads the Metropolitan Division, moved one point ahead of Florida in the back-and-forth race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, which would likely mean a series against the Capitals.
Derek Stepan, Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei also scored for the Hurricanes, who extended their point streak to four games. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves.
Vitek Vanecek was pulled to start the third period after allowing five goals on 23 shots.
BLUES 4, CANUCKS 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist to lead St. Louis over Vancouver.
Tarasenko has 23 goals this season and 500 points in his NHL career.
David Perron and Marco Scandella also scored for the Blues, who had lost three of four. Robert Thomas had two assists.
Ville Husso rebounded after allowing five goals Saturday and made 35 saves.
Brad Hunt scored for the Canucks. Jaroslav Halak stopped 25 shots against his former team.
KRAKEN 6, KINGS 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Wennberg scored 14 seconds into the game, Jared McCann got his team-leading 24th goal and Seattle dominated Los Angeles on both ends of the ice.
Chris Driedger stopped 36 shots for the expansion Kraken, who have won four of six.
Seattle had 14 of its 18 skaters record a point. Adam Larsson, Victor Rask, Jordan Eberle and Daniel Sprong also scored, and Vince Dunn had two assists.
Arthur Kaliyev scored and Cal Petersen made 32 saves for the Kings. It was the 1,000th regular-season NHL game for Todd McLellan, making him the seventh active coach to reach the milestone.
The Kings are two points ahead of Edmonton for second place in the Pacific Division.
SABRES 6, BLACKHAWKS 5
CHICAGO (AP) — Tage Thompson scored the tiebreaking goal on a fortunate bounce with 10.6 seconds left and Buffalo rallied from four down to beat Chicago.
Victor Olofsson had two goals and an assist to help the Sabres win for the first time in three games. Kyle Okposo, Vinnie Hinostroza and Alex Tuch also scored for Buffalo.
Thompson, the team leader with 28 goals, broke his stick on a shot from left wing. The puck caromed off the boards behind the net and hit Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen’s left skate before going in.
Tuch forged Buffalo’s second tie of the night with a slot deflection of Olofsson’s pass with 2:14 to play.
Alex DeBrincat gave Chicago a 5-4 advantage midway through the third period with his 38th goal, but the Blackhawks blew yet another lead.
Calvin de Haan, Sam Lafferty, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones also scored for Chicago, which led 4-0 in the second.
OILERS 6, COYOTES 1
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Ryan McLeod had two goals and an assist as Edmonton beat Arizona.
Connor McDavid, Warren Foegele, Zach Hyman and Leon Draisaitl also scored for the Oilers, who have won seven straight home games. Mikko Koskinen made 31 saves.
Clayton Keller scored for the Coyotes, who lost their sixth in a row and were eliminated from playoff contention with a record of 20-41-5.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism