Ovechkin ejected, Caps still stage big rally in Chicago

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Down 3-0, Washington puts together comeback that results in 4-3 OT victory

Alex Ovechkin was kicked out early and the Washington Capitals fell behind 3-0, but that's when they showed why they have the NHL's best record and highest-scoring offence, even without their captain.

Nicklas Backstrom scored unassisted with 1:50 left in overtime - his second goal of the game - to give the Capitals a 4-3 comeback victory Sunday.

Washington Capitals' captain Alex Ovechkin (top) looks at Chicago Blackhawks' defenceman Brian Campbell after he checked him during the first period of their NHL game in Chicago on Sunday. Ovechkin got a game misconduct and five-minute major for knocking

Alex Ovechkin was kicked out early and the Washington Capitals fell behind 3-0, but that's when they showed why they have the NHL's best record and highest-scoring offence, even without their captain.

Nicklas Backstrom scored unassisted with 1:50 left in overtime - his second goal of the game - to give the Capitals a 4-3 comeback victory Sunday.

"It's a strong sign, especially now at the end of the season," Backstrom said. "We know he (Ovechkin) is a key to our team and he scores a lot of goals. We have shown that we can play, that our other key players can, play, too."

After his sprint up the side, Backstrom manoeuvred around Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook in the left circle and beat Antti Niemi.

Ovechkin, the two-time MVP and the league's leading scorer this season, got a game misconduct in the first period for knocking Chicago's Brian Campbell into the boards.

"There's nothing I can do right now. He just fell and this happens," Ovechkin said.

Jonathan Toews had two goals and John Madden scored once for the Blackhawks, who had their second crushing defeat in as many days.

They lost 3-2 in Philadelphia on Saturday, giving up two goals in the final two minutes, including the game winner with two seconds to go.

Down 3-0 in the third Sunday without their top player and with Niemi playing well, the Capitals dominated play.

Brooks Laich scored on a power play at 5:29 to make it 3-1. A couple of seconds after the Caps' 5-on-3 power play had elapsed, Backstrom converted a rebound at 7:32. Thirteen seconds later, Eric Fehr scored from just outside the crease, tying the game, silencing the crowd at the United Center and forcing Chicago to take a timeout.

The Capitals had an 11-1 shots-on-goal advantage in the third period.

Ovechkin raced up the ice and from behind drove Campbell into the boards with 7:44 left in the first period.

Campbell stayed down for several minutes before he was able to leave the ice with a trainer at his side and then headed to the locker room. He did not return to the game. He has an upper-body injury and will not make the Blackhawks upcoming road trip to the West Coast.

Ovechkin went to the penalty box after being assessed a five-minute boarding penalty and then into the locker room after being given a game misconduct.

"I don't think it was a real good check. He just kind of fell and it was a dangerous moment. It was not a hard hit. I just wanted to push him," Ovechkin, the two-time MVP, added.

"I didn't hit him hard. I pushed him, but he fell bad. It probably looks bad. I thought it was going to be two minutes, but the linesman came to me and said 'Game over."'

Ovechkin was given two game misconducts earlier this season, the first for a shoulder check and the second one for a kneeing incident that eventually led to a two-game suspension.

"The league will do what they do," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. "Soupy (Campbell) is going to be out for a bit here. It was a dangerous hit."

Slanders 4 Maple Leafs 1

At Uniondale, N.Y., Richard Park scored a short-handed goal and added an assist, and Martin Biron made 26 saves for the Islanders, who moved seven points clear of the Leafs and the Eastern Conference cellar.

Tim Jackman, Frans Nielsen and Matt Moulson also scored, and Blake Comeau added three assists for the Islanders. Nikolai Kulemin scored for Toronto, which had a season-high winning streak snapped at three.

Penguins 2 Lightning 1

At Tampa, Fla., Pascal Dupuis and Sergei Gonchar scored in a 2:57 span in the third period, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for Pittsburgh.

Gonchar scored the winning goal on a power at 5:17, blasting a slap shot past Antero Niittymaki from just inside the blue line.

Lightning centre Vincent Lecavalier opened the scoring with his fifth goal in six games at 8:09 of the second period.

Rangers 3 Flyers 1

At New York, Sean Avery returned from a one-game benching to score twice and help the Rangers climb within a point of eighth-place Boston in the Eastern Conference.

Avery returned to the lineup and raised his agitating style to the level coach John Tortorella demanded. He got the Rangers even in the second period and drew three Philadelphia penalties, including two resulting in power plays.

Michal Rozsival had the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 17 saves for New York. Danny Briere scored for Philadelphia.

Coyotes 3 Thrashers 2 (SO)

At Atlanta, Adrian Aucoin scored the shootout winner, Lee Stempniak had his sixth goal in five games with Phoenix, and the Coyotes won their fifth straight.

Phoenix has won 13 of its last 17 games. After setting a Coyotes single-season record with a 4-0 win Saturday at Carolina, Phoenix has 42 victories, one away from tying the franchise mark set by Winnipeg in 1984-85 - when overtime ties were not broken in shootouts.

Matthew Lombardi also scored for Phoenix. Maxim Afinogenov and Nik Antropov scored for Atlanta.

Predators 3 Kings 2

At Los Angeles, Patric Hornqvist scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:31 to play for Nashville.

Steve Sullivan and Colin Wilson also scored in the Predators' seventh straight victory over Los Angeles. Anze Kopitar scored his career high-tying 32nd goal, and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings.

Wild 4 Blues 2

At St. Paul, Minn., Josh Harding made 36 saves, and Mikko Koivu had a power-play goal and two assists, propelling the Wild past St. Louis.

Andrew Brunette and Guillaume Latendresse also scored in a three-goal first period for Minnesota, which pulled within a point of 10th-place St. Louis in the Western Conference. Patrik Berglund and Paul Kariya scored for St. Louis, which finished 4-2 on its six-game trip to surge back into contention.

Avalanche 5 Stars 3

At Dallas, Craig Anderson made 48 saves, Paul Stastny scored twice, and Colorado rallied to beat the Stars.

Chris Stewart, Darcy Tucker and Milan Hejduk also scored for the Avs. Brandon Segal scored twice in a 1:22 span in the second, and Jamie Benn added a goal for Dallas,.

Ducks 4 Sharks 2

At Anaheim, Calif., Teemu Selanne scored his 599th goal, and Jonas Hiller made 31 saves to help the Ducks snap a five-game winless streak.

Selanne gave the Ducks a scare early in the third period, when his head and left shoulder slammed into the boards after he failed to convert a pass from Saku Koivu and lost his balance. Selanne remained on the ice hunched over for a couple of minutes before making it back to the dressing room under his own power, but did not return.

Organizations: Washington Capitals, Blackhawks, NHL United Center Islanders Colin Wilson Kings

Geographic location: Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix West Coast New York St. Louis Atlanta Uniondale Richard Park Los Angeles Toronto Tampa, Fla. Pittsburgh Dallas Boston Winnipeg Nashville St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota Colorado Anaheim, Calif.

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