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Islanders beat NHL-leading Predators to claim East lead

February 20, 2015

UNIONDALE, New York (AP) — The New York Islanders took a share of the NHL Eastern Conference lead by beating league-leading Nashville 5-2 on Thursday, with Nick Leddy contributing a goal and two assists.

The Islanders moved level atop the East with Montreal, which picked up a point in a shootout loss to Florida, and opened a five-point lead in the Metropolitan Division from the cross-town New York Rangers — who also were beaten in a shootout against Vancouver — and Washington, which comfortably defeated Winnipeg.

The Islanders were leading by a goal in the third period when Leddy and Josh Bailey scored 1:39 apart to break the game open.

Brian Strait, John Tavares and Johnny Boychuk scored in the first while goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves for his 32nd win of the season, equaling a team period.

New York lost Mikhail Grabovski in the first period after a hit from Eric Nystrom, but still went on to notch its sixth win in seven games.

Filip Forsberg and James Neal scored for the Predators, who remained six points clear atop the Western Conference.

Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and had an assist to lead the Capitals to a 5-1 victory over Winnipeg.

Backstrom, who has 16 assists in as many games, moved into a tie with Chicago’s Patrick Kane atop the NHL scoring list with 63 points.

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin added his league-leading 38th goal and an assist — pushing his point streak to six games — while Troy Brouwer had an empty-net goal and an assist, and John Carlson also scored.

Toby Enstrom had the sole goal for the Jets.

Vancouver’s Alexandre Burrows and Radim Vrbata scored in the shootout to give the Canucks a 5-4 win at the Rangers.

Henrik Sedin scored twice for the Canucks, including a tying tally on a rebound with 2:00 left in regulation.

Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin scored for the Rangers, who had won their previous five against Vancouver.

Florida’s Dave Bolland scored in the sixth round of the shootout, lifting the Panthers to a 3-2 victory at Montreal.

Tomas Fleischmann and Steven Kampfer scored in regulation for the visitors.

Brendan Gallagher scored both of Montreal’s goals in the second period. The Canadiens outshot the Panthers 39-21 and blew a 2-0 lead.

San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins scored two second-period goals to lead the Sharks to a 5-2 win at Dallas.

Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky poked the puck past a sprawled Marc-Andre Fleury with 2:17 remaining, sending the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 victory at Pittsburgh.

Buffalo’s Brian Flynn scored the clinching goal in the shootout, leading the Sabres to a rare road win, beating Philadelphia 3-2.

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