Alex Ovechkin produced his first hat trick in more than two years on Saturday, leading the struggling Washington Capitals to a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Ovechkin entered the game with five goals in 16 games this season, only good enough to be tied for third on his own team, which began the day with a 5-10-1 record and 11 standings points, the fewest in the 30-team NHL.
However, the two-time NHL MVP broke out in a big way, turning in his first three-goal game since a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Jan. 22, 2011.
KINGS 4, AVALANCHE 1
In Los Angeles, Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter scored first-period goals, Trevor Lewis added his first career short-handed goal as Los Angeles Kings won their third straight victory.
Anze Kopitar also scored and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who won for the fifth time in six games after beginning the day 11th in the Western Conference and two points out of a playoff spot.
FLYERS 5, JETS 3
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wayne Simmonds scored a go-ahead goal about halfway through the third period as Philadelphia beat Winnipeg.
Brayden Schenn scored two goals and Claude Giroux added one for the Flyers, who scored three on the power play. Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen and Alexander Burmistrov scored for the Jets, whose road-game winning streak ended at two.
Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell, who had missed the last 16 games with a broken foot, was a last-minute addition to the team’s lineup. Not even his surprise return was enough for the Flyers to hit the ice with any energy.
OILERS 3, COYOTES 2
In Edmonton, Alberta, Jordan Eberle scored in regulation and in the shootout as Edmonton Oilers snapped a two-game slide.
Sam Gagner also scored in the shootout and Teemu Hartikainen had the other goal in regulation for the Oilers, who rallied from a two-goal deficit to close out their five-game homestand 2-3.
In other NHL play, it was:
‧ Red Wings 4, Predators 0
‧ Canadiens 3, Rangers 0
‧ Islanders 4, Sabres 0
‧ Lightning 5, Hurricanes 2
‧ Stars 3, Sharks 1
‧ Blues 2, Blue Jackets 1
‧ Flames 3, Wild 1
‧ Senators 3, Maple Leafs 2