Tomas Fleischmann scored twice for the Washington Capitals in a 6-1 thrashing of fellow division leaders Colorado Avalanche. Fleischmann netted his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the first two periods where the Capitals took a 5-0 lead to cruise to an easy away win. Mike Knuble, David Steckel and Matt Bradley were on target early on for the Southeast Division leaders, and Fleischmann said he and his teammates had been keen to push on after throwing away a two-goal lead against Toronto in their last game to lose 6-3.
"We knew if we didn't keep playing like we did in the first period, it might end up like the last game," he said. Colorado's TJ Galiardi grabbed a goal in the third before Nicklas Backstrom capped the scoring on a power play. The Avalanche still remain two points clear in the Northwest Divison. The Washington goaltender Jose Theodore made 27 saves against his former team while their defenceman Mike Green left the game in the second after being checked into the glass and sustaining a cut near his eye.
In other NHL action the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Stanley Cup holders, improved their hopes of returning to the post-season by taking top spot in the Atlantic Division with a 6-1 victory at home to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins centre Jordan Staal took his goals tally into double figures for the season with a brace while Sidney Crosby hit his 21st of the campaign. Bill Guerin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeni Malkin were also on target.
Daniel Carcillo scored the Flyers' solitary goal in the first period as the Penguins extended their winning streak to three and climbed above the New Jersey Devils. The Nashville Predators moved level on points with the Chicago Blackhawks at the top of the Central Division as they hit five in the second period to win 7-4 at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Florida side led after the first period as Vincent Lecavalier put them 2-1 in front on a power play but the Predators were rampant in the second as David Legwand, Ryan Jones, Patric Hornqvist, JP Dumont and Dan Hamhuis were on target.
Kurtis Foster and Lecavalier cut the deficit back to two before Martin Erat added the Predators' seventh. The Calgary Flames failed to take advantage of Colorado's woes as they lost 4-3 at Central Division strugglers St Louis. TJ Oshie scored the winner for the Blues. The Los Angeles Kings regained top spot in the Pacific Division with a 3-2 win at Edmonton as Sean O'Donnell grabbed their decisive third, while the Minnesota Wild came from behind to claim a 2-1 home win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have now lost three in a row.