WASHINGTON - Bruce Boudreau became the Washington Capitals' coach yesterday when the NHL team dropped the "interim" tag from his title.

The announcement came hours before the Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2, to improve to 8-5-3 under Boudreau, who took over for the fired Glen Hanlon on Thanksgiving.

"We didn't score the first goal, but we kept on coming and kept on coming, and we were rewarded," Boudreau said after his team twice overcame one-goal deficits.

David Steckel had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, including one on Matt Bradley's game-winner with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left.

Vincent Lecavalier scored both Tampa Bay goals.

Senators 5, Sabres 3

BUFFALO - Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists, and Martin Gerber made 29 saves as conference-leading Ottawa beat the Sabres, snapping Buffalo's six-game winning streak.

"They're one of the better teams in the conference, and I think that they think that we are also," Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "Both teams can use this as a measuring stick."

Alfredsson, Wade Redden, Antoine Vermette, and Mike Fisher also scored for Ottawa, which has won eight of its last 10 games. Redden's goal was the 100th of his career.

Islanders 4, Maple Leafs 3

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Mike Comrie scored with 9.6 seconds left in overtime, and Wade Dubielewicz made 22 saves in relief of the injured Rick DiPietro as New York beat Toronto.

DiPietro made the start for New York, but lasted only one period. He didn't come out of the dressing room after the first intermission because of an undisclosed knee injury.

After playing in 16 straight games, Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala was unavailable because of a groin injury. The Maple Leafs recalled goalie Scott Clemmensen from the American Hockey League.

Red Wings 5, Blues 0

ST. LOUIS - Nicklas Lidstrom celebrated his two-year contract extension with a first-period goal, and Detroit went on to shut down St. Louis.

Lidstrom also had an assist for Detroit. Valtteri Filppula contributed a pair of second-period goals, and Chris Osgood stopped 20 shots for his 45th career shutout.

Rangers 4, Hurricanes 2

NEW YORK - Jaromir Jagr scored twice to end a slump, and Brendan Shanahan set up a pair of third-period power-play goals to help New York defeat Carolina.

Chris Drury and Dan Girardi also scored for the Rangers, who won for only the third time in their last 11 games.

Stars 8, Wild 3

DALLAS - Dallas got goals from seven players in thrashing Minnesota. Brenden Morrow was the only Star to score twice as Dallas had its biggest scoring game since a 9-1 win over Chicago on Nov. 4, 2005.

Blackhawks 5, Predators 2

CHICAGO - Robert Lang scored two goals in the third period as Chicago defeated Nashville for its fourth straight victory. Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal and assist for Chicago.

Blue Jackets 2, Thrashers 0

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Pascal Leclaire made 21 saves for his league-leading seventh shutout as Columbus topped the Thrashers. Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk, the league's top goal scorer with 29, was held to two shots.