Capitals 2, Islanders 0
Tom Wilson scored early, Alex Ovechkin added an empty-net goal late, and Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves to lead the Washington Capitals to a 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Vanecek picked up his seventh win of the season and his third career shutout as the Capitals snapped a four-game skid (0-2-2).
"The guys were buzzing today," Vanecek said. "They were not making mistakes. They helped me a lot with the blocked shots."
Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves in only his fifth start for the Islanders since allowing four goals against the New York Rangers in late November.
Wilson opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the slot at 4:35 of the first period. The Islanders lost track of Wilson when the Capitals broke over the blue line and a spinning Aliaksei Protas zipped a pass to Wilson, who was all alone between the circles. Washington outshot the Islanders 16-7 in the first 20 minutes.
"First goal really helps settle you in on an early game," Wilson said. "That helps us play the game we want to play. If you are chasing the game, you get away from some of your habits and the stuff that it takes to win."
The Islanders' best opportunity came midway through the first period when defenseman Noah Dobson fired a wrist shot off the post after making a nifty move to create space in the slot.
"We got to find a way to get the puck to the net, especially late," Islanders captain Anders Lee said. "We got to find a way to bear down and get something greasy."
Vanecek preserved the shutout when he denied Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom on a stuff-in opportunity with 2:30 remaining in the third period. The 26-year-old goaltender is in his second season with Washington after the organization selected him in the second round of the 2014 NHL draft. The Czech goalie has collected 28 career victories in 55 appearances with the Capitals.
The Islanders were 0-3 on the power play and fell to 5-10-2 when they fail to capitalize on the man advantage.
"I often think specialty teams are a reflection of your five-on-five play," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "Our guys were dialed in, that means the penalty killers were dialed in. They won the battles, executed their routes, caught the clears, blocked shots and did all the little things that can make a penalty kill successful."
Ovechkin sealed the victory with his 755th career goal in the final seconds.
Lane Lambert led the Islanders behind the bench while coach Barry Trotz remains in COVID-19 protocol.
"We knew the magnitude of the game and we didn't get the result," Lambert said.
Hurricanes 4, Canucks 1
Martin Necas had a goal and an assist on his 23rd birthday and Carolina stopped a two-game skid.
Vincent Trocheck also had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who regained their scoring touch after being shut out for the first time this season two nights earlier. Sebastian Aho and Steven Lorentz had the other Carolina goals and Andrei Svechnikov posted two assists. Frederik Andersen made 30 saves.
Bo Horvat scored in the first period for Vancouver, which has lost the first three games of a five-game trip. Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots.
Panthers 9, Blue Jackets 2
Carter Verhaeghe and Anton Lundell each scored twice, MacKenzie Weegar tied a career-best with four points and NHL-leading Florida Panthers scored early and often.
Aaron Ekblad had three assists for Florida. Weegar, Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair, Sam Bennett and Ryan Lomberg all had goals for the Panthers. Florida is 26-7-5 overall and 21-3-0 at home, both of those marks the best in the NHL.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots against his former club.
Elvis Merzlikins made 11 saves on 15 shots for Columbus, and Joonas Korpisalo stopped 31 of 36 shots in relief. Gustav Nyquist and Boone Jenner each scored in the third period.
Red Wings 4, Sabres 0
Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists, and Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 22 shots for his fourth career shutout as Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak.
Rookie Lucas Raymond had his first goal since Dec. 1, and Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen also scored for the Red Wings, who were 0-2-2 during their skid and won for just the second time in eight games. Dylan Larkin had two assists.
Aaron Dell had 35 saves for the Sabres, who are 0-3 against the Red Wings this season.
Lightning 3, Stars 1
Ross Colton had the tiebreaking goal on a breakaway midway through the third period, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 19 shots, and Tampa Bay handed Dallas its seventh consecutive road loss.
Brayden Point and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay, and Nikita Kucherov had two assists.
Esa Lindell scored for Dallas, and Anton Khudobin had 26 saves.
Maple Leafs 6, Blues 5
Ilya Mikheyev scored the go-ahead goal with 3:15 remaining to lifting Toronto.
Timothy Liljegren, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Michael Bunting also scored for the Maple Leafs. Jack Campbell stopped 20 shots.
Jordan Binnington made 34 saves for St. Louis, which lost for the first time in regulation at home since Nov. 16 — a stretch during which it was 12-0-1. Ryan O'Reilly scored twice, and Niko Mikkola, Robert Thomas and Brandon Saad also had goals for the Blues.
Blackhawks 3, Ducks 0
Marc-André Fleury stopped 37 shots for his third shutout of the season and Chicago won its fourth straight.
Brandon Hagel, Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik scored goals, and Alex DeBrincat had two assists to help the Blackhawks improve to 14-9-3 under interim coach Derek King.
The 37-year-old Fleury recorded his 70th career shutout.
Lukas Dostal made 33 saves as the depleted Ducks lost their third straight and fell to 2-6-2 in their last eight.
Avalanche 5, Coyotes 0
Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals each, Darcy Kuemper had 20 saves for his first shutout of the season, and Colorado improved to 7-0-1 in its last eight games.
Nazem Kadri also scored as Colorado had three goals in a 3:41 span of the second period. The Avalanche also beat the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout at home on Friday.
MacKinnon also had an assist to help Colorado earn a point for the 15th time in 16 games (13-1-2). Kadri has 24 points in his last 15 games and is fifth in the league with 49 points.
Karel Vejmelka had 26 saves for Arizona, which is 4-11-2 in its last 17 games.