WASHINGTON (AP)Veteran defenseman Marc Staal ended a 75-game goal drought, captain Aleksander Barkov also scored and the Florida Panthers held on to beat the Washington Capitals 6-3 Thursday night in a big game in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

Florida pulled even with Washington at 62 points. The Capitals are ahead in the standings because they’ve played one fewer game.

Along with Staal scoring for the first time since March 15, 2022, when he was with Detroit, fellow defenseman Gustav Forsling and Colin White beat Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 34 shots. Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart each added an empty-netter to seal it. Sergei Bobrovsky had 29 saves.

Dylan Strome scored in the second period to get Washington on the board, and Nicklas Backstrom got one on the power play in the third. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored with 2:32 remaining in regulation with Kuemper pulled for an extra attacker.

Washington played without captain and leading goal-scorer Alex Ovechkin, who is away after the death of his father, Mikhail.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Jeremy Swayman made 29 saves for his second shutout of the season and seventh of his career, Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist and Boston defeated Nashville.

Brad Marchand, Craig Smith, Derek Forbort and Trent Frederic also scored for the Bruins, winners of three of four. Nick Foligno and Hampus Lindholm each had two assists.

Juuse Saros made 25 saves for Nashville. The Predators have dropped three of four coming out of the All-Star break. Nashville’s hopes of getting back into contention for a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference are fading.


CALGARY, Alberta (AP) – Dominik Kubalik scored twice, Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists and Detroit extended its winning streak to a season-best five games.

Robby Fabbri and Pius Suter also scored for Detroit (26-20-8). Dylan Larkin had three assists, extending his point streak to six games (six goals, six assists). Magnus Hellberg made 33 saves.

Elias Lindholm and Dillon Dube scored for Calgary (25-19-11). Dan Vladar stopped 19 of 24 shots.


ST. LOUIS (AP) – Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and an assist and St. Louis extended its winning streak to three games with a win over New Jersey.

Pavel Buchnevich and Alexey Toropchenko also scored for the Blues, who swept the two-game season series and won for the ninth time in 10 homes games against the Devils. Robert Thomas had a pair of assists. Jordan Binnington made 33 saves.

Dawson Mercer and Erik Haula scored for the Devils, who had their five-game point streak snapped (4-0-1). Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Kent Johnson’s third-period goal was the tiebreaker, Joonas Korpisalo had 36 saves and Columbus rallied to beat Winnipeg.

The Blue Jackets overcame a terrible first period, tying a season-low with just two shots on goal in the frame. They tied the game in the second period and moved ahead at 9:40 of the third with Johnson’s shot through a screen seconds after a power play had ended.

Patrik Laine also scored for Columbus, and Boone Jenner scored into an empty net with 3 seconds left in the game.

Kyle Connor scored for the Jets, and David Rittich had 21 saves.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Seth Jarvis had his first career hat trick and Carolina scored three times in the first five minutes of the third period in a win over Montreal.

Jarvis scored in the first and third periods for his first multigoal game of the season and capped his night with a short-handed goal with 19.8 seconds left.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, winner of nine of their last 10 games. Antti Raanta made 20 saves.

Michael Pezzetta and Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored for the Canadiens, whose three-game winning streak ended in the opener of a four-game trip. Sam Montembeault stopped 20 shots.


LAS VEGAS (AP) – William Carrier scored with 17.7 seconds left and Vegas extended its winning streak to four games by beating San Jose.

Paul Cotter also scored for Vegas, and Adin Hill made 26 saves.

San Jose’s Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 36 shots. Alexander Barabanov scored off a rebound with 2:56 left in the period to give the Sharks an early lead.


SEATTLE (AP) – Yanni Gourde had two goals and an assist and Seattle dealt Philadelphia its third straight loss.

Five Seattle players scored for the Kraken, who outshot Philadelphia 30-19, including 12-1 in the first period.

Jared McCann, Justin Schultz, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Matty Beniers also scored for Seattle. Philipp Grubauer had 17 saves.

Travis Konecny scored twice and Noah Cates had two assists for Philadelphia. Ivan Provorov also had an assist. Carter Hart (15 saves) allowed four goals on 19 shots before giving way to Samuel Ersson (nine saves) in the second period.

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports