WASHINGTON — Brian Pothier's slap shot with 15:30 remaining proved to be the winning goal in the Washington Capitals' 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday night.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 52nd and 53rd goals and added two assists for the Capitals, who blew a 3-1 first-period lead before holding on to beat the Lightning for the 10th straight time. Nicklas Backstrom scored his 20th and 21st goals. Ovechkin reached 100 points for the season with his second goal, an empty-netter with 7 seconds to play.
Pothier's career was in jeopardy after he was checked into the board by Boston's Milan Lucic on Jan. 3, 2008. The 31-year-old defenseman had headaches and dizziness for nearly a year, and he wasn't able to skate until a specialist fitted him with glasses that fixed his vision problems. He made his NHL return March 16.
Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vaclav Prospal scored for the Lightning.
Sabres 5, Maple Leafs 3
At Buffalo, New York, Paul Gaustad scored midway through the third period to help Buffalo down Toronto.
Ryan Miller stopped 33 shots — including the first 16 he faced — in his return after missing 13 games because of a sprained left ankle.
Tim Connolly scored twice, Jochen Hecht had a goal an assist, and Daniel Paille also scored for Buffalo, 10th in the Eastern Conference — five points behind Montreal.
Matt Stajan, Nikolai Kulemin and Boyd Devereaux scored for Toronto.
Blackhawks 3, Devils 2, OT
At Chicago, Brent Seabrook beat Martin Brodeur from the blue line at 3:36 of overtime to give Chicago its third straight victory.
Seabrook also had an assist, and Martin Havlat had a goal, and set up Kris Versteeg's power-play score in regulation and Seabrook's winner.
Zach Parise scored his 42nd goal of the season, and Paul Martin also scored for the Devils, 0-2-1 in their last three.
Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 28 shots to help Chicago end a 12-game winless streak against New Jersey. Brodeur finished with 39 saves.
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Oilers 5, Ducks 3
At Anaheim, California, Dustin Penner scored twice against his former teammates and Dwayne Roloson made 51 saves as Edmonton passed Anaheim in the playoff race.
Ending a three-game losing skid and snapping the Ducks' winning streak at five, Edmonton moved into seventh with 81 points in the race for the eight Western Conference playoff spots. Anaheim and Nashville are tied for eighth with 80 points.
Fernando Pisani, Kyle Brodziak and Ales Kotalik also scored for Edmonton.
Ryan Getzlaf led the Ducks with two goals and an assist, and Corey Perry also scored. The set a regular-season franchise record with 54 shots on goal.
Islanders 2, Red Wings 0
At Detroit, Joey MacDonald made 42 saves for his first NHL shutout, and Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey scored goals as New York blanked Detroit.
New York, which broke a three-game losing streak, has the worst record in the NHL, while Stanley Cup champion Detroit is tied with San Jose for the league lead.
MacDonald, making his 62nd appearance in an NHL career that began with the Red Wings in 2006-07, made 14 saves in the second period and 19 in the third.
Canucks 4, Avalanche 1
At Denver, Jason LaBarbera made 22 saves, and twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin scored goals to help Vancouver hand Colorado its sixth consecutive loss.
Pavol Demitra and Alexander Edler also scored for Vancouver. The Canucks beat Colorado for the second straight time after losing eight straight in the series.
T.J. Galiardi scored his first NHL goal for Colorado.