WASHINGTON Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice to raise his NHL-best total to 19 goals and added two assists Wednesday night, leading the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals, who have the NHL's fewest points and are off to its slowest start in 26 years.
Washington's 3-0 start to the season is a distant memory. The Capitals have lost five consecutive games, nine of 10, and 15 of 18. At 6-14-1 for 13 points, the team has its lowest 21-game point total since having 12 in the 1981-82 season.
Atlanta's Tobias Enstrom had three assists, Niclas Havelid posted a goal and assist, and Bobby Holik contributed his first goal in 15 games. Eric Perrin also scored for the Thrashers.Alex Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead 1-0 with a power-play goal 2 1/2 minutes into the second period.
CANADIENS 4, ISLANDERS 1: At Uniondale, N.Y., Steve Begin scored twice and Long Islander Christopher Higgins added a goal and assist to lead Montreal.
Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, and Cristobal Huet made 43 saves falling 3:50 short of shutout.Mike Comrie scored late for the Islanders, who got 29 saves from Rick DiPietro. New York lost for the first time at home in five games (4-1). Also, itsNHL-record streak of regulation one-goal decisions was snapped at seven, a span in which the Islanders were 5-2.
FLYERS 6, HURRICANES 3: At Raleigh, N.C., Daniel Briere scored three goals in the third period to lead Philadelphia. Briere added an assist during his third career hat trick and first with the Flyers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Mike Knuble had a goal and two assists, Kimmo Timonen also scored and Scott Hartnell added an empty-netter for Philadelphia, which snapped a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time this season when trailing after one period.Martin Biron stopped 32 shots but allowed the NHL's second-best power-play unit to connect three times. The Flyers entered having allowed one power-play goal in six games.
PANTHERS 5, BLUE JACKETS 2: At Columbus, Ohio, Rostislav Olesz had two goals and an assist as Florida earned its third win in four following a four-game skid.Ruslan Salei, Bryan Allen and Jay Bouwmeester had goals for Florida, which scored three times on the power play and broke the game open in the final period. Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton each had two assists.
RED WINGS 3, BLUES 0: At Detroit, Chris Osgood made 12 saves for his 44th career shutout, and Dan Cleary had a goal and an assist to give Detroit a win.
Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for Detroit, which snapped St. Louis' four-game winning streak.Manny Legace stopped 35 shots for the Blues.
SABRES 4, SENATORS 2: At Buffalo, N.Y., Derek Roy and Drew Stafford had a goal and assist each, and Buffalo scored three times in the first period en route to a victory against NHL-leading Ottawa.
Ales Kotalik and Michael Ryan also scored for the Sabres, who have won two straight after a three-game losing streak.
Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley scored for the Senators, losers in two of three. Ottawa, which has an NHL-high 32 points, lost for just the fourth time overall.
The game marked the first meeting in Buffalo since Alfredsson's overtime goal in Game 5 of last season's Eastern Conference finals sent the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals.Ryan Miller, making his seventh consecutive start, finished with 27 saves 15 in the second period for Buffalo.
RANGERS 2, LIGHTNING 1: At Tampa, Fla., Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves to lead the New York Rangers.
Fedor Tyutin and Colton Orr scored for the Rangers, who have won five straight road games. New York has won six of seven overall.Tampa Bay center Vincent Lecavalier had his team-record streak of eight multipoint games snapped. He had seven goals and 21 points over the stretch.
DEVILS 2, PENGUINS 1: At Pittsburgh, Zach Parise scored two power-play goals to support New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur's 501st career victory.
Parise has five points and three goals in his last two games and seven points, including three goals, in four games against Pittsburgh.Evgeni Malkin got the Penguins back in the game 7:11 into the third, scoring his eighth goal and extending his point streak to 14 games.
VANCOUVER 4, MINNESOTA 2: At St. Paul, Minn., Markus Naslund scored three goals and Vancouver beat Minnesota.
Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, 6-0-2 in their last eight games. Vancouver has gone 9-0-2 against Northwest Division opponents this season and moved into a first-place tie with Minnesota.
Marian Gaborik scored twice for the Wild, who lost for the first time in four home games.Vancouver, 7-2-1 on the road, scored twice in 22 seconds to take a 2-0 lead in the first period.
STARS 2, DUCKS 1: At Dallas, Mike Modano notched his 513th career goal during a third-period power play to extend his record for U.S.-born NHL players, and Niklas Hagman scored 41 seconds later on the same advantage as Dallas ended Anaheim's four-game winning streak.
The Stars honored Modano in pregame ceremonies for surpassing Phil Housley's points record of 1,232 for U.S.-born players. The tying goal against the Ducks stretched Modano's career points total to 1,239. Modano tied it at 1 with his sixth goal.