x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Caps top the NHL as Ovechkin breaks his duck against Brodeur

Alex Ovechkin scored against goaltender Martin Brodeur for the first time in four years to help the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1.

Alex Ovechkin scored against goaltender Martin Brodeur for the first time in four years to help the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 and take over as overall leaders in the NHL. The Russian ended his nine-game drought against Brodeur when he scored early in the first period then had two assists as Matt Bradley, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green also found a way past the Canadian netminder.

Washington dominated much of the game and peppered Brodeur's goal with so many shots the goaltender was not surprised by the scoreline. "These guys had 40 shots on net," Brodeur said. "They're explosive offensively. When you give that kind of a team that many good scoring chances, with that talent, they'll put the puck in the net." The Devils (26-9-1) suffered their first loss in six games despite 36 saves from Brodeur, who set the all-time NHL record for regular season shut-outs on Monday.

Washington's third straight win improved their season record to 24-8-6 and lifted them to the top of the league standings, one point clear of New Jersey, the Chicago Blackhawks, the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Western Conference leaders Chicago were 4-1 winners against the Nashville Predators. Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Kane, Andrew Ladd and Patrick Sharp were all on target, with Martin Erat briefly bringing Nashville level before they were overrun.

The Sharks trounced the Anaheim Ducks 5-2, taking their foot off the pedal after opening up a five-goal lead in the second period. Patrick Marleau scored twice early in the game - his first the 300th of his career - and later strikes from Dany Heatley, Ryane Clowe and Jamie McGinn sealed the win. The Colorado Avalanche brushed aside the Dallas Stars, with Chris Stewart netting twice in a 4-1 victory. Chris Durno and Milan Hejduk were also on target, with the consolation goal for Dallas coming from Steve Ott.

It took a shoot-out for the Ottawa Senators to see off the Buffalo Sabres, after goals from Ottawa's Ryan Shannon and Chris Neil were cancelled out by Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. All the goals came in the second period. Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher scored in the shoot-out to secure a 3-2 victory for Ottawa. An all-New York clash went to overtime as the Islanders beat the Rangers 3-2, thanks to Kyle Okposo's winning goal.

Frans Nielsen and Blake Comeau had scored in regulation time for the Islanders, with Brandon Dubinsky netting twice in reply to force the extra period. Two goals from Todd Bertuzzi gave the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and a double from Guillaume Latendresse helped the Minnesota Wild beat the St Louis Blues 4-3. The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-3 and the Philadelphia Flyers were also 4-3 winners over the Carolina Hurricanes after a shoot-out in which Mike Richards and Danny Briere scored.

Andrei Kostitsyn got the overtime winner as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2, while the Vancouver Canucks inflicted a fifth straight defeat on the Edmonton Oilers with goals by Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin. * With agencies