When Alex Ovechkin took an errant stick to the face that made him bleed, his Washington Capitals teammates knew it wouldn't be good for the New Jersey Devils.
A fired-up Ovechkin came back from the bloody mouth to record his 25th career hat trick and lead the host Capitals past the Devils 5-2 on Thursday night. Ovechkin knew New Jersey's Miles Wood didn't mean to high-stick him and the referees didn't see it, but that didn't stop him from exacting some revenge with his second consecutive multigoal game.
"He always plays better when he's a little [angry], so there you go," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "It was drawn up like that. He came back, got a little mad, scored two and then he was just waiting for the third.
"That's just the story of Ovi."
Ovechkin reached 31 goals this season and joined Mike Gartner as the only players to score 30 or more in each of his first 15 NHL seasons. He has five over his past two games to get to 689 total, one back of Mario Lemieux for 10th on the NHL's career list.
"It never gets old, but without my team, without my teammates, I'd never reach that milestone, I'd never reach those numbers," Ovechkin said. "[Lemieux was] one of my idols when I'm growing up. I get lucky I have a time to play against him, was on the ice with him a couple times. It's huge."
Boston 4, Pittsburgh 1: Patrice Bergeron scored his 20th goal, Karson Kuhlman and David Pastrnak both had two assists, and the host Bruins beat the Penguins. Sean Kuraly and Par Lindholm also scored for the Bruins and Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal in the final minute. Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins only 24 seconds into the game, but Jaroslav Halak (29 saves) shut out Pittsburgh the rest of the way.
Vegas 4, Ottawa 2: Mark Stone scored a goal and picked up an assist in his return to Ottawa, leading Vegas over the Senators in Peter DeBoer's debut as Golden Knights coach. The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Knights, who fired Gerard Gallant on Wednesday. Stone, playing his first game in the city where he spent most of his first eight NHL seasons, was traded to Vegas last February.
Rangers 3, Islanders 2: Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal with 25 seconds left to lift the Rangers over the rival Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y.
Calgary 2, Toronto 1: Matthew Tkachuk scored the only goal of the shootout, leading the Flames past the host Maple Leafs.