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Rick Nash, Martin St Louis steer New York Rangers to seventh heaven

Rick Nash and Martin St Louis doubles helped the New York Rangers to a seventh straight NHL victory on Tuesday.

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The Rangers defied a Washington Capitals comeback to post a 4-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, to climb above their Metropolitan rivals into third spot.

The two franchises are level on 40 points with the Rangers third given they have two games in hand on the Caps.

The Rangers scored early in each period to open up a 3-0 lead with less than 15 minutes to play, before Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin goals put Washington within one strike of forcing an extra period.

But St Louis' second of the game - duly assisted by Nash - in the 17th minute of the final stanza helped continue the Rangers' winning streak.

The rampaging Rangers have two games in hand on their closest rivals, including Metropolitan leaders the Pittsburgh Penguins (49 points).

The Penguins fell 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, launching a comeback but falling short of securing a point.

Tampa Bay led 4-0 in just the third minute of the second period, with Tyler Johnson netting a hat-trick.

Patric Hornqvist (one goal, one assist) and Evgeni Malkin (two assists) led the Penguins resistance, but they could not find an equaliser after closing to within a goal with 91 seconds of regulation to play.

The Rangers also gained on city rivals the New York Islanders (46 points), who led early only to lose 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canadiens (46 points) top the Atlantic division, from Tampa Bay (46) and the Detroit Red Wings (45).

The Red Wings reached 100 goals for the season in style, piling on four third-period goals to down the Buffalo Sabres 6-3.

The Sabres led 3-1 late in the second period but the Red Wings stormed home - with Tomas Tatar's second of the game taking Detroit into three figures.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (43 points) are fourth in Atlantic, after goaltender Jonathan Bernier saved 43 shots in their 4-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars.

Brad Marchand broke a scoring drought that reached six games, striking twice in the Boston Bruins' 5-3 victory over Nashville Predators.

The Bruins (39) sit fifth behind the Maple Leafs.

The Stars were relegated to last place in the Central standings, after the Colorado Avalanche strung together three straight victories to move one point above them.

The Avalanche routed the St Louis Blues 5-0.

The Philadelphia Flyers coughed up a two-goal lead at the Minnesota Wild, but recovered to post a 5-2 victory.

Chris Terry was the only player on target in the shoot-out as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

The Arizona Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets had respective 5-1 wins over the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks respectively.

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