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WASHINGTON – Goalie Cam Talbot and the New York Rangers moved atop the Metropolitan Division by beating the Washington Capitals 3-1 Wednesday night, while overcoming Alex Ovechkin's league-leading 45th goal.
Martin St. Louis, Carl Hagelin and J.T. Miller each scored a goal for the Rangers.
Talbot made 28 saves, including one particularly spectacular glove grab of a close-in shot from Nicklas Backstrom during a scoreless 5-on-3 chance for the Capitals that lasted 78 seconds.
Talbot snatched the puck right at the goal line. The play was reviewed and the original ruling of no-goal stood.
A night after a 2-1 victory at the New York Islanders, the Rangers moved a point ahead of their city rivals with exactly a month left in the regular season.
Talbot, getting most of the work in net while Henrik Lundqvist is on injured reserve with a hurt neck, is 4-0-1 in his past five games.
The Rangers were on the second half of a back-to-back during a season-long five-game road trip and the Capitals have been resting since Saturday during a season-long five-game homestand. Still, the visitors looked much more active and fresh.
New York outshot Washington 24-13 through the first two periods, including 12-4 in the second.
New York went ahead 1-0 after less than 8 1/2 minutes when Hagelin used his chest to knock down a cross-ice pass from Kevin Hayes before batting his 15th goal past Braden Holtby. What turned out to be the go-ahead goal came with 3 1/2 minutes left in the opening period, when new Capitals defenseman Tim Gleason's poor clear attempt was intercepted by Hayes, who set up Miller to break a 1-1 tie.
St. Louis added insurance with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the third period, putting the puck in after Chris Kreider stole it from Washington defenseman John Carlson.
Earlier, with Dan Boyle in the penalty box for interference, Ovechkin — no surprise there — made it 1-all at the 11:43 mark. Dropping his right knee to the ice, Ovechkin ripped a one-timer that was redirected past Talbot off the stick of New York's Jesper Fast.
The Rangers had been 8 for 8 on penalty kills over their previous two games. But the Capitals have a power-play goal in each of their last five games, and 13 such scores in their last 12 games. And no one is as good as Ovechkin at converting with a man-advantage these days.
His 21 power-play goals lead the league and the Russian has four seasons with at least 20. Only one player in NHL history has more — Brett Hull, with five.
Ovechkin also became one of only five players with at least seven seasons of 45 goals or more — and he joins quite a group. The others, according to the Capitals: Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux and Marcel Dionne.
NOTES: Capitals C Jay Beagle headed to the locker room in the second period after taking a big hit along the boards from Rangers D Dan Girardi. Beagle returned briefly, but he didn't play in the third period, and the Capitals said he has an upper-body injury that will be re-evaluated Thursday. ... The Rangers are off until Saturday, when they play at Buffalo; the Capitals host Dallas on Friday. ... Capitals D Mike Green sat out with an upper-body injury. ... Washington recalled D Cameron Schilling from Hershey of the AHL on Wednesday; he appeared in his fourth game this season. ... The Rangers and Capitals face each other twice more: March 29 at the Rangers, and April 11 at the Capitals in a regular-season finale.