WASHINGTON (AP) Filip Forsberg scored during a three-goal first period and had two assists as the Nashville Predators became the first Western Conference team to clinch a playoff berth with a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
Mattias Ekholm, Mike Fisher and Forsberg, a first-round pick by Washington in 2012, scored during a 5-minute span midway through the first period for a 3-0 lead. Mike Ribeiro added a goal with an assist by Forsberg after Washington’s Troy Brouwer scored twice earlier in the second period.
The Predators have won four straight after losing nine of 11.
Washington holds the East’s top wild-card spot, five points ahead of Ottawa and Boston, who were tied for the second and final spot.
Mike Green tallied the Capitals’ third goal 20 seconds into the third period.
DUCKS 3, ISLANDERS 2
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) – Frederik Andersen made 29 saves, and Anaheim used a two-goal second period to beat the struggling Islanders and clinch a Western Conference playoff berth.
Rickard Rakell gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the first, and Kyle Palmieri and Andrew Cogliano stretched the advantage in the second for Anaheim, which leads the NHL with 103 points. Anaheim secured its postseason spot minutes after Nashville became the first team in the West to secure a berth.
It was the second straight win for the Ducks, who conclude a five-game trip Sunday at New Jersey.
The Islanders dropped to 0-6-1 in their last seven games at Nassau Coliseum and 2-6-2 in their last 10 overall.
BRUINS 4, RANGERS 2
BOSTON (AP) – Milan Lucic scored twice in the first 10 minutes, Carl Soderberg also scored in the first period, and Boston spoiled Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s return after a long layoff.
Reilly Smith added a goal for the Bruins, who snapped a six-game winless stretch (0-3-3) and entered the day tied with Ottawa for Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.
Boston goalie Tuukka Rask left the game 10 seconds into the second period after stopping shots 14 shots. There was no announcement why Rask left the game and he didn’t return to the bench. Backup Niklas Svedberg made 16 saves in relief.
Lundqvist missed seven weeks after a puck hit his neck. He stopped 26 shots in his return.
Rick Nash scored his team-leading 40th goal for New York and Matt Hunwick scored in the final minute.
PENGUINS 3, COYOTES 2
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Daniel Winnik, Steve Downie and Sidney Crosby scored in a 4-minute, 8-second stretch of the third period to rally Pittsburgh.
Crosby’s 25th goal stood as the game-winner and he also had two assists to increase his league-leading scoring total to 78 points. Thomas Greiss stopped 22 shots against his former team to help the Penguins end a two-game skid overall, and a three-game winless stretch at home.
Pittsburgh welcomed Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist back to the lineup, but lost defenseman Kris Letang in the second period because of injury. The Penguins moved into a tie with the New York Islanders for second place in the crowded Metropolitan Division.
Tye McGinn scored his second and Tobias Rieder provided a late goal – his 13th – for the Coyotes, and Mike Smith made 43 saves.
SHARKS 3, FLYERS 2, SO
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Matt Irwin and Joe Pavelski scored in regulation, and Brent Burns got the winning goal in the shootout to lead San Jose.
Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux scored and Jakub Voracek had a pair of assists for the Flyers, who fell to 3-10 in shootouts this season. Voracek upped his total to 76 points – falling two points behind league-leading Sidney Crosby, who had three points in Pittsburgh’s win.
The game pitted two perennial postseason teams who likely will be out of the playoffs this season. Philadelphia began Saturday 11th in the East, nine back of a wild-card spot, while the Sharks were eight points out of a berth in the West. San Jose hasn’t missed the postseason since 2003, and the Flyers and Sharks last missed the postseason in the same year in the 1992-93 season.
RED WINGS 4, LIGHTNING 0
DETROIT (AP) – Petr Mrazek made 23 saves for his fourth career shutout and Detroit won in regulation for the first time in six games.
Mrazek replaced Jimmy Howard in the middle of Thursday’s 6-4 loss to San Jose, and coach Mike Babcock gave him the start against Tampa Bay. Mrazek kept the league’s highest-scoring team at bay, and the Lightning were blanked for the first time all season.
Joakim Andersson, Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit in the second period, and Luke Glendening added an empty-net goal in the third.
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing five games with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
HURRICANES 3, DEVILS 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Eric Staal and Justin Faulk scored in the third period to lead Carolina past New Jersey.
Patrik Elias gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, but the Hurricanes tied it late in the second. Chris Terry scored on a rising shot from inside the right circle that caught the upper far corner. It came with 1:27 left in the period and was Terry’s ninth goal of the season.
Cam Ward finished with 21 saves for Carolina, while New Jersey backup Keith Kincaid made 29 saves.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, SENATORS 3, OT
TORONTO (AP) – Eric Brewer scored 3:17 into overtime to lift Toronto.
Tyler Bozak had a hat trick – all in the third period – and added an assist on Brewer’s winning goal as the Maple Leafs rallied from two down twice in the final period to snap a seven-game skid. James Reimer stopped 22 shots to improve to 11-3-1 in his career against Ottawa.
Mark Stone, Curtis Lazar and Kyle Turris scored for the Senators, who began the day tied with Boston for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but fell a point behind as the Bruins won earlier Saturday.
Craig Anderson made 27 saves for Ottawa.
With Toronto trailing 3-1 midway through the third period, Bozak had a power-play goal with 8 1/2 minutes remaining and then tied with 1:24 to go.
CANADIENS 3, PANTHERS 2, OT
MONTREAL (AP) – Max Pacioretty scored in overtime as Montreal clinched a playoff berth for the third straight year.
Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk scored in regulation for the Canadiens, and Carey Price stopped 21 shots for his 41st win of the season.
Aleksander Barkov had two goals for the Panthers, while Roberto Luongo made 21 saves.
After a scoreless third period, Pacioretty scored the winner on the power play just seconds after Florida’s Vincent Trocheck took a penalty for high sticking.
The Canadiens have appeared in seven of the last eight postseasons.
BLUE JACKETS 4, BLUES 2
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Boone Jenner scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period, and Cam Atkinson had an empty-netter late in the third to lead Columbus to its eighth straight road win.
William Karlsson and Jack Johnson also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky had 29 saves to help Columbus win its sixth straight overall. The Blue Jackets have won nine of their last 10, including three wins in shootouts and one in overtime.
Patrik Berglund tied the score at 1-1 in the opening minute of the second period and Vladimir Tarasenko evened it at 2-2 with 5:16 to go in the middle period for St. Louis, which was coming off a 3-1-2 road trip
WILD 4, KINGS 1
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu each scored two goals, and Devan Dubnyk had 31 saves in his 34th straight start with Minnesota to lead the Wild past Los Angeles.
Niederreiter had a power-play goal with 3:03 left to play and Koivu added an empty netter with 1:22 remaining to seal Minnesota’s fifth straight win.
The Wild snapped the Kings’ three-game winning streak and are a league-best 26-6-2 since Jan. 15. They have an NHL-leading 49 points in 30 games since the All-Star break.
Dwight King scored his 11th goal of the season for Los Angeles, and Martin Jones made nine saves on 10 shots in relief of Jonathan Quick, who was pulled after giving up two goals on nine shots in the first period.
AVALANCHE 5, SABRES 3
DENVER (AP) – Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists, Jarome Iginla had three assists and Colorado kept its slim playoff hopes alive.
John Mitchell scored for the second straight game, and Marc-Andre Cliche, Tyson Barrie and Brad Stuart also had goals as the Avalanche won their second in a row.
Colorado has gone 12-6-1 since losing four straight in early February. The Avalanche trail Winnipeg by eight points for the last wild-card slot with seven games remaining.
Andrej Meszaros had two goals and fellow defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.
STARS 4, CANUCKS 3, OT
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – John Klingberg scored 4:13 into overtime as the Dallas Stars edged the Vancouver Canucks.
Jamie Benn, Patrick Eaves, and Tyler Seguin scored in regulation for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves.
Eddie Lack stopped 36 shots for the Canucks, who got goals from Nick Bonino, Chris Higgins and Radim Vrbata. Christopher Tanev recorded his first two-point game since Jan. 30.