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Penguins sink struggling Capitals, Rangers win NY battle

8 February 2013 05:53

The Pittsburgh Penguins went top of the NHL Eastern Conference with a comprehensive 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

The Penguins have played two more games than the second-placed Boston Bruins, but still hold a slender lead in first place after they scored five times within 13 second-period minutes on Thursday.

Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Matt Cooke and Sidney Crosby all scored at the Consol Energy Center as the Penguins won their fifth consecutive game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning fell to a third straight defeat, losing to the New Jersey Devils 4-2 at Prudential Center.

Tampa Bay were 6-1 earlier in the season but a slump has seen their lead atop the Southeast division cut to two points, as they look to hold onto a Conference seeding place.

The Devils, meanwhile, have won three on the trot, and despite having three more points on the table than the Lightning, New Jersey sit in fourth spot as they are not top of their own division - led by Pittsburgh.

Elsewhere in East, the Buffalo Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in a shootout, while the Florida Panthers edged out the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 when they converted two of their penalties after overtime finished all square.

The New York Rangers smashed rivals the New York Islanders 4-1, while the Carolina Hurricanes rallied past the Ottawa Senators 3-2 after an extra period.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had seven fewer shots on goal than the Winnipeg Jets, but still held on to beat their Canadian counterparts 3-2 courtesy of two late goals.

In the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks went five points clear with a 6-2 thrashing of the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Calgary Flames won back-to-back games for the first time this season, claiming a 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets - resigning the losers to bottom place on the table.

Columbus and Calgary are two of four teams level on eight points, but the Blue Jackets have played more games than their nearest rivals to leave them in last place.

The Detroit Red Wings inflicted a third straight loss on the St Louis Blues with a 5-1 away win to move within one point of the sixth-placed Blues.

The Nashville Predators shut out the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 with Colin Wilson scoring a double, while the Vancouver Canucks comfortably handled the Minnesota Wild 4-1.

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