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Capitals head into break No. 1 in league

NEWARK, N.J. — Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice, Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist, and the Capitals beat the Devils 5-2 on Thursday night to head into the All-Star break with the most points in the NHL.

The Capitals have 72 points in 49 games as they seek their second straight President's Trophy.

Stefan Noesen and Adam Henrique scored for New Jersey, which is tied with Detroit for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.

Washington never trailed after Ovechkin picked the pocket of defenseman Kyle Quincey at the New Jersey blue line, skated in on goalie Keith Kinkaid and roofed a backhander into the top of the net at 6:14 of the first period.

Tortorella out for family issue: Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella returned to Ohio because of a family emergency that kept him out of Thursday night's game at Nashville and will keep him from Sunday's All-Star Game this weekend in Los Angeles.

"My family is fine," Tortorella said in a statement. "We are dealing with a situation that is personal and very important to us, but I will leave it at that. I'll be back with the team very soon."

Assistants Brad Larsen and Brad Shaw took over in Tortorella's absence. Columbus lost to the Predators 4-3.

Tortorella had been set to coach the Metropolitan Division at the All-Star Game.

Game highlights: Brad Marchand scored twice in a three-goal Boston second period and the host Bruins beat the Penguins 4-3. … Marian Gaborik and Trevor Lewis scored 38 seconds apart late in the third, sending the Kings to a 3-0 win over the host Hurricanes, who lost their fifth straight. … Andrew Ladd scored twice to lead the host Islanders to a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens. New York improved to 5-0-1 in its past six. … Roman Lyubimov scored late in the third period to lift the host Flyers to their third straight win, 2-1 over the Maple Leafs.

Around the league: Bruins forward Brad Marchand was fined $10,000 for a dangerous trip of Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall on Tuesday. … Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov will have season-ending hip surgery in an effort to fix a lingering groin issue. Colorado entered Thursday last in the league.

Capitals head into break No. 1 in league 01/26/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 26, 2017 10:56pm]
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