Blue Jackets earn playoff berth; Blackhawks roll
NEW YORK (AP) — Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout and the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
The Blue Jackets, 8-2-2 in their past 12 games, secured their third straight playoff berth and hold the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Columbus pulled within one point of Carolina for the first wild card heading into the final day of the regular season on Saturday. The Blue Jackets close the season at Ottawa, while the Hurricanes play at Philadelphia.
Chris Kreider scored early in the second period and Pavel Buchnevich tied it in the closing seconds of regulation for the Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev finished with 39 saves in New York’s third straight loss and 16th in the past 20 (4-10-6) heading into the finale at Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
After Panarin beat Georgiev in the second round of the shootout, Bobrovsky denied Tony DeAngelo on the Rangers’ last attempt to secure the win.
Dylan Strome, Chris Kunitz and Dominik Kahun also scored for Chicago, which earned its second straight win and improved to 3-0-2 in its past five. Slater Koekkoek added his second of the season, and Brent Seabrook had two assists.
Dallas (42-32-7) clinched a playoff spot with Tuesday night’s 6-2 victory over Philadelphia, but it needs at least one more point to secure the Western Conference’s top wild card.
The Stars host Minnesota in their season finale, and Colorado is just one point back heading into its final game at San Jose later Saturday night.
Captain Jamie Benn, goaltender Ben Bishop, forward Mats Zuccarello and defenseman Roman Polak skipped the trip to Chicago. Bishop remained sidelined by a lower-body injury, and Benn, Zuccarello and Polak got a chance to rest.
Joel L’Esperance scored for Dallas in the third period, and Anton Khudobin made 26 stops.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Korbinian Holzer scored his first NHL goal in just over two years, Sam Steel added a short-handed goal and Anaheim punctuated a miserable hockey season in Southern California with a victory over Los Angeles.
Both teams are missing the Stanley Cup playoffs in the same season for the first time since 2004, and the Ducks missed the postseason for the first time in seven years despite 11 wins in their final 17 games.
Rookie Max Jones had two assists in his first career multi-point game for the Ducks (35-37-10), who surged to finish with 80 points, matching the franchise’s lowest total in a full season since 2004.