NHL: Alex Ovechkin hat-trick sees Washington Capitals beat Florida Panthers and stay top of division
Last Updated: 07/04/13 8:06am
Alex Ovechkin: Celebrates with the Capitals
Alex Ovechkin fired a hat-trick as the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 to strengthen their position at the top of the Southeast Division.
A third straight win, and a ninth victory in their last 11 outings, confirmed the Capitals' impressive form which has taken them rapidly from the foot of the division to the top.
Ovechkin scored the opener in the first period and added two more goals in the second to complete his treble, with Peter Mueller also on target.
The New York Islanders were 4-2 winners on home ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Matt Martin scoring the tie-breaking goal and Andrew McDonald firing into an empty net with seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Earlier, Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey netted for the Islanders, with Matt Carle and Richard Panik on target for Tampa Bay.
Elsewhere, the Nashville Predators suffered a 1-0 home reverse to the Chicago Blackhawks, with Bryan Bickell the scorer, and goals from Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty helped the Los Angeles Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1.
The New York Rangers also won by a 4-1 margin, condemning the Carolina Hurricanes to a seventh straight home loss, while the Winnipeg Jets prevailed by the same score in their home game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Toronto Maple Leafs overcame the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in Newark, the Montreal Canadiens were 2-1 winners against the Boston Bruins, the Phoenix Coyotes toppled the Colorado Avalanche 4-0, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the out-of-form Calgary Flames 5-2.