WASHINGTON (AP) Sonny Milano recorded his first hat trick in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin scored again and the Washington Capitals ended the Carolina Hurricanes' winning streak at five with a 7-6 shootout victory Friday night that could play a pivotal role in their playoff pursuit.

Ovechkin's goal was the 846th of his NHL career, while Milano scored one of his three juggling the puck off his stick and batting it into the net in front of a fired-up crowd in the nation’s capital. Fans chanted “Ovi! Ovi!” after he scored for the sixth time in four games to reach 24 this season, a run that has upped his chances of breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record, and finally threw hats on to the ice after the announcement of Milano's third goal of the back-and-forth game.

“Fun game,” Milano said. “We just kept putting the puck in the net, so it was definitely a real fun game to be a part of.”

John Carlson scored early in the third period to jumpstart the rally, Connor McMichael scored minutes later and Dylan Strome had the only goal in a five-round shootout.

It all added up to a fourth win in five games for the Capitals, who moved one point back of Detroit for the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and two behind Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division. They've played one fewer game than either of those teams, and their postseason hopes are very much alive.

That's thanks in large part to goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who was solid in relief of starter Darcy Kuemper, who was pulled after two periods for allowing four goals on 22 shots. Lindgren made seven saves in the third and overtime.

A possible first-round opponent, Carolina lost for just the second time since acquiring Jake Guentzel from Pittsburgh and Evgeny Kuznetsov from Washington at the trade deadline. Sebastian Aho had a hat trick of his own to reach 30 goals this season, Jaccob Slavin, Brady Skjei and Seth Jarvis also scored for the Hurricanes and Guentzel had three assists.

“It was just a weird game," said Guentzel, who has 11 points in seven games with the Hurricanes. "Just one of those weird games you’re going to play in.”

Pyotr Kochetkov gave up six goals on 25 shots, starting the second half of a back to back after Frederik Andersen beat the Flyers in overtime Thursday night.

Back in his old arena two weeks after being traded, Kuznetsov got a standing ovation during and after an emotional video tribute early in the game.

“That’s special," Kuznetsov said. "It means the world for any player. I want to say thanks for all the good and bad memories. It was an amazing atmosphere. I spent a lot of years here, so it was all happy today.”

The Capitals were again without injured forwards T.J. Oshie and Aliaksei Protas and played their first game without winger Tom Wilson, who began serving a six-game suspension for swinging his stick and hitting an opponent in the face with it late in a 7-3 loss to Toronto on Wednesday night.


Hurricanes: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Capitals: Host Winnipeg on Sunday in the fifth and final stop on the Jets’ road trip.


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