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NHL: Thrashers Beat Capitals


Atlanta's Marian Hossa scored twice and had two assists to help the Thrashers beat the Washington Capitals 5-3 in National Hockey League action Thursday.

The win put Atlanta two points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington's Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal, becoming the fourth player to reach 50 goals in his first NHL season. The Russian is also the second rookie to reach 50 goals and 100 points in his maiden campaign.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime. Toronto is now just three points behind Tampa Bay in the playoff hunt.

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 for their ninth consecutive win. The Devils and the Flyers are now tied for fifth place in the Eastern standings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins downed the New York Rangers 5-3, denying New York a chance to win the Atlantic Division title. Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby scored a goal and three assists, leaving him three points shy of becoming the second 18-year-old in NHL history to record 100 points in a season.

The Rangers' Jaromir Jagr scored his 54th goal of the season. Jagr is tied with Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks with 122 points on the season. Thornton had three assists Thursday to help San Jose defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. The loss eliminated Vancouver from playoff contention.

Vancouver's loss assured a spot in the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers, who scored a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

The Ottawa Senators clinched the Eastern Conference's Northeast Division title despite a 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers. In the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames shut out the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 to win the Northwest Division.

The Nashville Predators secured the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference -- and home-ice advantage in the first round -- with a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

In other games, the Montreal Canadiens downed the Boston Bruins 4-3 to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Saint Louis Blues 4-1. The Detroit Red Wings downed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3, and the Phoenix Coyotes shut out the Los Angeles Kings 3-0.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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