Alex Ovechkin hits milestone as Capitals top Lightning

Alex Ovechkin reached 50 goals — again. And, then he added another for good measure while leading the visiting Washington Capitals to a big victory.

The Washington star scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season in a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

He has 658 career goals, moving past Brendan Shanahan for 13th on the all-time list. Ovechkin also hit the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career — a total surpassed only by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy, who had 50 or more nine times.

“I’ve had a couple of chances in previous years to score 50, but I didn’t,” Ovechkin said. “You always want to do something special, obviously, but sometimes it’s hard. I’m happy to get it done.”

T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom also scored twice and Braden Holtby finished with 28 saves as the Capitals won their fourth consecutive game. They hold a three-point lead over the New York Islanders for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov scored his 39th goal o increase his league-leading points total to 122. Tyler Johnson and J.T. Miller also scored for the Lightning in their final home game of the regular season. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 31 shots as the Lightning suffered their 15th regulation loss of the season.

Ovechkin hit the 50-goal mark at the 14:35 mark of the third period, one-timing a cross-ice pass from Oshie at the bottom of the right circle past Vasilevskiy. He added his second of the game 1:40 later on the power play.

With a four-goal lead on Edmonton’s Leon Draisatl for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer, Ovechkin is attempting to top the NHL in that category for the eighth time in his career — which would be an NHL record.

“It’s the milestone as a goal scorer,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who has reached the 50-goal mark twice in his career. “He’s done it plenty of times. That’s why he’s been the best goal scorer in the last 10, 15 years for a reason and he did it again tonight.”

Canadiens 3, Jets 1: Joel Armia, Jeff Petry and Jordan Weal scored and visiting Montreal beat Winnipeg to improve its playoff hopes. Carey Price made 23 saves for the Canadiens, who along with Carolina and Columbus are contending for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Mathieu Perreault scored for the Jets and Connor Hellebuyck made 40 saves.

Panthers 4, Bruins 1: Troy Brouwer scored a shorthanded goal and Roberto Luongo stopped 30 shots to help visiting Florida hand Boston its first loss at home since January. Noel Acciari scored and Tuukka Rask made 19 saves for the Sabres, who have already clinched a playoff berth.

Hurricanes 5, Flyers 2: Host Carolina broke a long power-play drought and moved closer to securing a playoff berth. Teuvo Teravainen and Dougie Hamilton scored 21 seconds apart in the first period, and the Hurricanes beat Philadelphia, eliminating the Flyers from playoff contention.

Senators 4, Maple Leafs 2: Anthony Duclair scored twice and Craig Anderson made 42 saves to help last-place Ottawa beat visiting Toronto.The Maple Leafs missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth, falling to 3-5-2 in their past 10 games. Magnus Paajarvi and Cody Ceci also scored for the Senators. Auston Matthews and Connor Brown scored for Toronto.

Blues 3, Devils 2: Defenseman Vince Dunn scored in close 2.8 seconds before overtime was to expire and visiting St. Louis beat New Jersey for its 11th straight victory over the Devils. Robert Thomas and Tyler Bozak also scored for the Blues, and Jake Allen made 25 saves.

Islanders 5, Sabres 1: Anthony Beauvillier scored two goals as host New York clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2016. Michael Dal Colle and Ryan Pulock also scored for the Islanders, who have 99 points in their first season under coach Barry Trotz and secured a postseason spot in March for the first time since 1990.

Blue Jackets 5, Predators 2: Cam Atkinson scored twice and Artemi Panarin had four assists to lead visiting Columbus to victory over Nashville for its fourth straight win. David Savard, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Boone Jenner also had goals, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves for the Blue Jackets, who maintained their hold on the final wild-card spot in the East.

Ducks 5, Oilers 1: Rickard Rakell had three goals in the second period for his second career hat trick as visiting Anaheim prevailed.

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