Hurricanes end Caps' home win streak

WASHINGTON — Victor Rask scored a tiebreaking, unassisted goal with 9:06 left in regulation, and Sebastian Aho added an empty-net goal as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the host Washington Capitals 3-1 on Thursday.

The Hurricanes snapped a three-game losing streak, while the Capitals saw their five-game winning streak end. Washington had won 10 straight at home, the longest streak of that type in the NHL this season.

Jordan Staal also scored for Carolina, which got 27 saves from goalie Scott Darling. Lars Ellers collected Washington's only goal.

On a historically significant day for the franchise, the Carolina Hurricanes picked up an important regulation victory that helped them move up the standings, hours after the team's sale to Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon was finalized.

The two points helped Carolina leapfrog the idle Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins to move into a playoff position after 43 games. "Two points in regulation is the only way you can really make up any ground," coach Bill Peters said. "You better make hay when the sun shines, and it was a nice day here in Washington today."

It'll be an even nicer day Friday in Raleigh when Dundon, Commissioner Gary Bettman and previous majority owner Peter Karmanos discuss the sale that should at least temporarily quiet relocation speculation. The NHL on Thursday announced Dundon had completed his purchase of the Hurricanes, who are expected to stay put for the foreseeable future.

Flames 5, Lightning 1

Johnny Gaudreau, Micheal Ferland and Mark Jankowski each had a goal and an assist as visiting Calgary topped NHL-leading Tampa Bay.

Making the night even worse for the Lightning was losing defenseman Victor Hedman due to a lower-body injury midway through the second period. Hedman, one of the NHL's best blue-liners, collided with Calgary forward Garnet Hathaway as they went to play the puck, and Hedman's left leg twisted awkwardly.

Mike Smith was sensational in Calgary's net for the first half of the game in his 33-save performance at Amalie Arena, including a penalty shot stop on Cedric Paquette. However, the real key was the opportunistic offensive surge by a Flames team that has won five straight and jumped into a playoff spot.

With the pace both teams maintain, it was to be expected goals could come fast and furious. They certainly kicked off each period.

The Flames face the Florida Panthers on Friday in the third game of their four-clash road swing.

Vasilevskiy stopped 19 shots for the Lightning, who lost in regulation time on home ice for just the fourth time this season.

Sabres 3, Blue Jackets 1

Kyle Okposo and Jack Eichel each notched a goal and an assist, and rookie goalie Linus Ullmark stopped 44 shots to lead host Buffalo past Columbus. The Sabres recorded their first victory of 2018, snapping a five-game losing skid as they enter their bye week. Benoit Pouliot also scored for Buffalo.

Ullmark lost his shutout bid late in the game on an Artemi Panarin goal, but he was tremendous all night, stopping 33 shots over the final two periods while the Blue Jackets pushed.

Benoit Pouliot and Jack Eichel, with an empty-netter, also scored for Buffalo (11-24-9), which sits last in the Eastern Conference standings while generating an NHL-low 99 goals.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots and could only shake his head in describing how helpless he felt watching Okposo score. "Nothing I've got to add," he said. — Agencies