Ovechkin on target as Caps take 2-0 lead

Alex Ovechkin was amongst the scorers as Washington Capitals defeated Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to open up a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven NHL play-off series.

John Carlson, Jason Chimera, and Nicklas Backstrom also scored for the Capitals, while netminder Braden Holtby kept the Flyers at bay with 41 saves.

“They came out hot out of the gates,” Capitals’ forward T. J. Oshie said. “We had a pretty good full 60 minutes there.

“I think our special teams were really good tonight; they had some big plays, a lot of guys sacrificing the body on the penalty kill.

“Holtby, as always, played a really good game. We found a way to win, so hopefully we can take this momentum into Philly.”

Ovechkin now has 37 goals and 71 points in 74 career NHL play-off games.

Elsewhere, the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, are 2-1 down in their series with St Louis after the Blues came from behind in the final period of Game 3 to seal a 3-2 victory.

Colton Parayko, Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz got the goals for the Blues, with goalie Brian Elliott producing 44 saves.

The Blackhawks hadn’t lost in regulation when leading after two periods since May 2014, when Los Angeles won 6-2 at the United Center in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

The Detroit Red Wings shut-out Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2-0 win to breathe new life into their play-off bid.

Andreas Athanasiou and Henrik Zetterberg scored, while Petr Mrazek made 16 saves to give the Red Wings their first victory after three games.

Red Wings’ boss Jeff Blashill said: “I thought we did a good job from the start of the game tonight all the way through – I thought we played well on both sides of the puck.”

New York Rangers produced the perfect road performance to level the series with Pittsburgh Penguins at one game each.

Keith Yandle, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider were all on the scoresheet, with netminder Henrik Lundqvist adding a solid 29-save performance.

Rangers out-hit the Penguins 57-25 and Lundqvist believes their added physicality was a key factor on the night.

“I think when you go into the play-offs, you’re not going to play the team one time,” Lundqvist said.

“You have to earn it many times. It’s so important that you play a physical game and make it hard, especially on their top guys. It should not be easy for them to create anything.”

Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators lead 2-0 in their respective series against Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, while New York Islanders are 2-1 up against Florida Panthers.