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Ovechkin hat trick lifts Caps over Wings

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) In his first season as a Stanley Cup champion, Alex Ovechkin is enjoying hockey as much as ever.

It showed again Tuesday night, when he scored his 21st hat trick and first this season to lift the Washington Capitals over the Detroit Red Wings 6-2.

The 33-year-old Ovechkin entered the night in a familiar spot as the NHL's goal leader. He has 25 following his hat trick, halfway to a potential eighth 50-goal season. His team has won three straight, and 10 out of 12.

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Backes takes skate to face, returns

BOSTON (AP) Boston Bruins forward David Backes rushed himself off the ice Tuesday night after taking a skate blade to the face late in the first period but returned at the start of the second and finished the game.

Backes pushed Oliver Ekmann-Larsson near the side of the net and the Arizona defenseman went to the ice, kicking up his left skate on the way down. It caught Backes in the face, and he went down before skating on his own quickly to the bench and out the tunnel.

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Oilers beat Avs for fourth straight win

DENVER (AP) The Edmonton Oilers broke the ice with a four-goal second period. As for the shattered glass in the penalty box, it wasn't their fault.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice in the decisive second period, Mikko Koskinen stopped 39 shots and the Oilers extended their winning streak to four games with a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

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Preds down Sens, move to 9-0-0 vs. East

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Pekka Rinne was beaten early, but never again.

Ryan Ellis scored his first game-winning goal of the season, Rinne made 25 saves and the Nashville Predators defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Tuesday night.

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Jets hand Blackhawks 8th loss in row

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Kyle Connor wasn't too disappointed about falling short of his first career hat trick.

The third-year forward scored twice as the Winnipeg Jets beat Chicago 6-3 on Tuesday night to give the Blackhawks their eighth straight loss.

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Dumba scores twice, Wild rout Canadiens

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Matt Dumba scored twice, Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves and the Minnesota Wild took out some recent frustrations on the Montreal Canadiens in a 7-1 victory Tuesday night.

The Wild scored four times in the second period to recover from a lousy swing through Western Canada, when Minnesota dropped two of three and lost captain Mikko Koivu to injury.

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Pens G Murray practices, nears return

CHICAGO (AP) Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is nearing a return from a lower-body injury that has sidelined him since mid-November.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner practiced with his teammates on Tuesday for the first time since going on injured reserve last month. The 24-year-old has struggled this season when able to play. He is 4-5-1 with a 4.08 goals-against average in 11 appearances but declined to use the injury as an excuse for his shaky performance.

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Nylander, Maple Leafs handle Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) William Nylander can't make up for lost time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. That's not going to stop the right wing from trying.

He had a pair of assists and was active all over the ice Tuesday night in Toronto's 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

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Sabres rally for OT win over Kings

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Rather than lament another sloppy performance after being booed off the ice at the end of the second period, Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres decided to do something about it.

Eichel scored and had a hand in setting up Jeff Skinner's power-play goal 1:49 into overtime, and the Sabres overcame a two-goal deficit in the third to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Tuesday night.

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Bruins beat Coyotes with 4 goals in 2nd

BOSTON (AP) In a span of five minutes, the Boston Bruins turned a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.

David Krejci was just happy to be along for the ride.

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