WASHINGTON – After finishing a four-game homestand with a third victory Friday night, the Washington Capitals said they haven’t been as good as recent results suggest.
Dmitry Orlov scored with 5:04 remaining after Alex Ovechkin got a tying goal earlier in the period to help Washington close the homestand with a 3-2 comeback win over the Minnesota Wild.
The NHL-leading Capitals won despite another slow start, and they think their 17-point lead over their nearest conference rival is providing a motivational challenge.
“It’s human nature, when you know you’re in a good spot and you don’t need to push it,” said Ovechkin, who scored his league-best 40th goal. “But as soon as they score one goal or two goals, it’s ‘OK, we have to wake up and play our game.’ “
Brooks Orpik also scored, and Braden Holtby made 30 stops for Washington after he was pulled early in the second period of a loss Wednesday night to Montreal.
Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter scored for Minnesota. Koivu tied a club record by playing in his 743rd NHL game, all with the Wild. Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves.
Bruins 4, Hurricanes 1
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Matt Beleskey scored goals in the first and third periods, leading Boston over Carolina.
It was the 388th regular-season victory for Boston coach Claude Julien, who needs two wins to tie Art Ross as the Bruins’ career leader. Lightning 4, Devils 0
In Newark, New Jersey, Steven Stamkos extended his goal-scoring streak to a season-high five games and Tampa Bay beat the fading Devils for its fifth straight win. Ducks 2, Oilers 1 (OT)
In Anaheim, Rickard Rakell scored 1:24 into overtime to give the Ducks a win over Edmonton.
Rakell put a backhander past Cam Talbot seconds after a change on the fly, using some gorgeous puck handling to keep Oilers center Leon Draisaitl flatfooted and leave the goaltender baffled. Sabres 3, Sharks 1
In San Jose, Zach Bogosian scored on a ricochet with 7:24 remaining in regulation and Buffalo beat the Sharks for the ninth time in 10 meetings.