Dec 31 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Saturday’s National Hockey League games:
Capitals 5, Devils 2
Three defensemen scored goals as the Washington Capitals continued their dominance of the New Jersey Devils with a 5-2 victory on Saturday that propelled them into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Blueliners Christian Djoos, John Carlson and Matt Niskanen scored for Washington while Braden Holtby made 25 saves, improving to 14-3-2 versus the Devils. Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom (empty-netter) also scored for the Capitals.
John Moore and Travis Zajac — in his 800th NHL game — scored for New Jersey, which suffered its first regulation loss since Dec. 9. Cory Schneider made 30 saves for the Devils, who fell one point behind Washington.
Bruins 5, Senators 0
Ryan Spooner had two goals and an assist, and David Krejci had a goal and an assist to lead Boston.
After having a five-game winning streak snapped in a shootout on Thursday at Washington, the Bruins have points in eight straight games.
Noel Acciari and Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for his second shutout of the season.
The Senators continue to struggle with a fifth loss in their last six games and have only seven wins in 25 games since the start of November. Mike Condon made 29 saves.
Predators 3, Wild 0
Scott Hartnell and P.K. Subban broke a scoreless tie with third-period goals as Nashville shut out Minnesota to take over first place in the Central Division.
In a matchup of backup goalies, the Predators’ Juuse Saros (4-3-2) outdueled Alex Stalock (7-8-1).
Saros stopped 29 shots for his second shutout this season and the third of his career. Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal after hitting a post and a crossbar earlier in the game.
Stalock bagged 26 saves for the Wild.
Blues 3, Hurricanes 2
Scottie Upshall scored midway through the third period to break a tie as St Louis cooled off Carolina.
The win was only the second in their last seven games by the Blues and snapped a season-high four-game winning streak by the Hurricanes.
Upshall’s goal marked the first time St Louis scored three goals in regulation without an empty-netter in their last 11 games.
Lucas Wallmark, playing his first game of the season for Carolina, scored his first NHL goal.
Kings 4, Canucks 3
Defenseman Drew Doughty scored 6:49 into the third period to break a tie as Los Angeles defeated Vancouver.
Tyler Toffoli had a goal and two assists for the Kings while Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist.
Kyle Clifford also scored, and Trevor Lewis added two assists for the Kings, who are 3-3-2 in their last eight games. Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots.
Nic Dowd, Nikolay Goldobin and Troy Stecher scored for the Canucks. Vancouver is 2-8-1 in the last 11 games. Defenseman Ben Hutton had two assists. Jacob Markstrom made 32 saves.
Panthers 2, Canadiens 0
James Reimer made 38 saves to lead Florida to its season-high fifth straight victory.
Connor Brickley and Vincent Trocheck scored for the Panthers, while Mark Pysyk, Mike Matheson, MacKenzie Weegar and Brickley posted assists. Reimer notched his second shutout in his last three starts.
Carey Price recorded 31 saves for the Canadiens, who lost their fourth straight and finished 2-5-0 on their road trip. (Editing by John O’Brien)