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Capitals stymie Devils' run

NEWARK, N.J. — Rookie Michal Neuvirth stopped 33 shots for his fourth shutout and the Capitals put another dagger in the Devils' playoff hopes with a 3-0 victory Friday.

Neuvirth was the difference in the game as the Devils outshot the Capitals 33-12. He stopped Ilya Kovalchuk with three great glove saves, the last on a breakaway with 2:57 to go that had the Russian slamming his stick into the end boards.

"His confidence is everything," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I could tell early on that it was going to be tough to get anything by him."

The win tied the Capitals and Flyers for most points in the East with 94. The Flyers have three games in hand and two more nonshootout wins, the first tiebreaker for playoff spots. In the Southeast Division, first-place Washington moved six points ahead of the idle Lightning.

The loss was the second in as many nights for New Jersey and left it six points behind idle Buffalo in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East.

"This is the adversity we are facing right now, and we need to get back on track," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "We have to do it quickly because we don't have much time left."

Game highlights: Joni Pitkanen scored at 3:58 of overtime to give the host Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Islanders, helping them inch closer to a playoff spot in the East. … Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle scored 1:07 apart in the host Rangers' five-goal first, their highest-scoring first period in more than 11 years, and New York beat the Canadiens 6-3.

Canucks: Forward Rick Rypien, on personal leave since November after he grabbed a fan in the stands in Minnesota, was scheduled to return to play Friday with AHL Manitoba. "I'm very excited, and it should be fun," Rypien, a cousin of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, said before the game.

Predators: The league fined forward Patric Hornqvist $2,500 but did not suspend him for his elbow to the head of the Bruins' Tyler Seguin on Thursday. The fine is the maximum allowed in the collective bargaining agreement. Hornqvist got a five-minute major for elbowing and was kicked out of the game. Seguin stayed in the game.

Red Wings: Forward Pavel Datsyuk has a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. Datsyuk left in the third period Thursday against the Blue Jackets.

Capitals 1 1 1 3
at Devils 0 0 0 0

First Period1, Wash., Schultz 1 (Knuble, Wideman), 6:10. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period2, Wash., Knuble 18 (Carlson, Ovechkin), 15:58. PenaltiesAlzner, Was (tripping), 3:50; Wideman, Was (delay of game), 12:56; Hendricks, Was, double minor (high-sticking), 16:51.

Third Period3, Wash., Knuble 19 (Ovechkin, Carlson), 11:24. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalWash. 2-6-4—12. N.J. 12-8-13—33. Power-play opportunitiesWash. 0 of 0; N.J. 0 of 4. GoaliesWash., Neuvirth 23-11-4 (33 shots-33 saves). N.J., Brodeur 20-22-2 (12-9).

at Hurricanes 1 0 1 1 3
Islanders 1 1 0 0 2

First Period1, Carolina, Skinner 25 (Jokinen, Ruutu), 16:33. 2, NYI, Nielsen 10 (Grabner, Martinek), 17:52. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period3, NYI, Grabner 29 (Hamonic, Nielsen), 3:10. PenaltiesHaley, NYI (interference), 4:26; Harrison, Car (hooking), 6:58; Gleason, Car (cross-checking), 16:43.

Third Period4, Carolina, Cole 20 (Stillman), 15:23. PenaltiesGleason, Car (roughing), 1:00; LaRose, Car (hooking), 8:41; Tavares, NYI (interference), 12:17.

Overtime5, Carolina, Pitkanen 3 (Skinner, E.Staal), 3:58. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalNYI 13-17-6-1—37. Carolina 11-8-14-2—35. Power-play opportunitiesNYI 0 of 4; Carolina 0 of 2. GoaliesNYI, Montoya 7-3-4 (35 shots-32 saves). Carolina, Ward 30-24-9 (37-35).

at Rangers 5 0 1 6
Canadiens 1 1 1 3

First Period1, NYR, Anisimov 17, 5:28. 2, Montreal, Subban 8 (Pouliot, Desharnais), 7:11. 3, NYR, Girardi 4 (Christensen, Zuccarello), 10:25. 4, NYR, Callahan 22 (Anisimov, Dubinsky), 17:09. 5, NYR, Gaborik 21 (Christensen, Prospal), 17:41. 6, NYR, Boyle 21 (Staal, Prust), 18:16. PenaltiesMoen, Mon, major (fighting), :01; Prust, NYR, major (fighting), :01; Subban, Mon (roughing), 7:37; Prust, NYR (interference), 7:37; Hamrlik, Mon (cross-checking), 8:16; Staal, NYR (high-sticking), 19:50.

Second Period7, Montreal, Wisniewski 9 (Hamrlik, Gionta), 4:13. PenaltiesChristensen, NYR (holding), 10:03; Eller, Mon (tripping), 12:45; Subban, Mon, served by Palushaj (goaltender interference, roughing), 17:00; Sauer, NYR (roughing), 17:00; Callahan, NYR (roughing), 19:07.

Third Period8, Montreal, Gionta 26 (Wisniewski, Cammalleri), :54 (pp). 9, NYR, Prospal 5 (Girardi, Staal), 17:15 (pp). PenaltiesEller, Mon (roughing), 1:52; McCabe, NYR (holding), 2:43; Pouliot, Mon (goaltender interference), 16:21.

Shots on GoalMontreal 9-9-7—25. NYR 13-9-9—31. Power-play opportunitiesMontreal 1 of 4; NYR 1 of 5. GoaliesMontreal, Price 34-24-6 (12 shots-7 saves), Auld (18:16 first, 19-18). NYR, Lundqvist 30-24-4 (25-22).

Playoff chase

With nonshootout wins (first tiebreaker in determining final playoff spots) and games left. Division winners get top three seeds:

East Pts. Wins GR

1. Flyers94 41 12

2. Capitals94399

3. Bruins88 37 12

4. Penguins 90 36 11

5. Lightning88 33 11

6. Canadiens85 36 10

7. Rangers803010

8. Sabres 76 29 12

9. Hurricanes762910

10. Maple Leafs72 27 10

11. Thrashers72 26 11

12. Devils70 30 11

West Pts. Wins GR

1. Canucks-y* 103 43 10

2. Red Wings94 39 11

3. Sharks903610

4. Coyotes*87 34 10

5. Kings85 33 11

6. Stars84 33 11

7. Blackhawks84 33 11

8. Flames83 29 9

9. Predators82 30 11

10. Ducks 81 34 12

11. Wild77 33 11

12. Blue Jackets74 28 12

y -Clinched division title

* Late result not included

Capitals stymie Devils' run 03/18/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 19, 2011 1:01am]
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