NHL: Washington 5, Detroit 3

March 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM

DETROIT, March 19 (UPI) -- Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the first period Monday and the Washington Capitals kept pace in the NHL playoff race with a 5-3 victory over Detroit.

Jason Chimera and Mike Knuble each registered a goal and an assist for the Caps, who maintained their two-point lead over Buffalo in the competition for the eighth and final Eastern Conference postseason berth.

The Sabres routed Tampa Bay 7-3 Monday.

Braden Holtby turned aside 30 shots for the Capitals, who also pulled to within three points of Florida atop the Southeast Division with the victory.

The Red Wings fell to 0-4-1 in their last five games but remained tied with Nashville for the fourth spot in the West.

Todd Bertuzzi, Kyle Quincey and Danny Cleary scored while Jimmy Howard logged 17 saves for Detroit.

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