Alexander Semin beat the goaltender Tim Thomas with a 70-footer just 22 seconds into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in a game between the top two sides in the Eastern conference. The Capitals (40-18-5), who think they can catch Boston for first overall in the East, climbed within eight points of the Bruins (42-12-9).
The Bruins did come away with a point as Zdeno Chara's power-play goal - the 100th of his career - with 4.37 remaining in the third period forced the overtime. Pavel Kubina, the defenceman, tied the score late in the third period and netted the winner 33 seconds into overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs posted their fourth straight victory with a 4-3 triumph over the Ottawa Senators in the "Battle of Ontario".
Jamal Mayers scored and the rookie Tim Stapleton netted his first career goal for Toronto, who played in their sixth straight overtime contest. Daniel Alfredsson, Ryan Shannon and Jarkko Ruutu also tallied and the rookie Brian Elliott finished with 34 saves for Ottawa, who are 1-3-2 in their last six contests. Zach Parise is taking dead aim on becoming the first 50-goal scorer in New Jersey Devils' history as he scored his 37th and 38th goals to help his side coast to a 7-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.
John Tortorella collected his first win as coach of the New York Rangers as Ryan Callahan and Nikolai Zherdev scored in the first 68 seconds of the contest to help struggling franchise to a 6-1 victory over the slumping Colorado Avalanche. Scott Gomez scored a goal and had two assists and All-Star Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves for the Rangers, who broke a four-game losing streak with their highest scoring output of the season.
Andrei Markov, the All-Star defenceman, and captain Saku Koivu recorded a goal and an assist apiece as the Montreal Canadiens scored three times in the first period and held on for a 3-2 triumph over the San Jose Sharks. The defenceman Tom Gilbert scored a goal and set up another as the Edmonton Oilers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild, while the Atlanta Thrashers rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in a battle of Southeast Division rivals.
Elsewhere, Teemu Selanne scored his 20th goal of the season with 9.39 remaining in the third period as the Anaheim Ducks rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Yann Danis made 31 saves for his second shutout in three games and Sean Bergenheim scored a pair of goals as the New York Islanders posted a 2-0 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres. Finally, the captain Jason Arnott recorded a hat-trick and Steve Sullivan and JP Dumont notched three assists apiece as the Nashville Predators cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, and David Perron netted a power-play goal early in the third period as the St Louis Blues recorded a 3-1 triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes.
* PA Sport