Bruins beat Senators to preserve chances for East’s top spot
BOSTON (AP) David Pastrnak and Tommy Wingels scored 51 seconds apart in the second period, and Boston beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Saturday night, preserving the Bruins‘ chances for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who host Florida on Sunday night in a game postponed by a winter storm Jan. 4. Boston trails Tampa Bay, which lost in overtime at Carolina, by one point for the top spot in the East and the Atlantic Division.
Defensemen Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie scored, while captain Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Nieto added empty-netters for the Avalanche, who won the West’s second wild card and head to the postseason for the first time since 2013-14. They will face top-seeded Nashville in the opening round a season after recording a league-low 48 points.
Game No. 82 for these two boiled down to a winner-take-all scenario, though the Avalanche had to win in regulation.
FLYERS 5, RANGERS 0
Giroux finished with 34 goals and 102 points. He extended his career highs in points and goals while becoming the sixth player in franchise history to reach 100 points in a season.
Michael Raffl and Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers, who are returning to the playoffs after missing out last year, and will be vying for their third Stanley Cup. The club won back-to-back titles in 1973-74 and 1974-75.
Brian Elliott made 17 saves in his second game in goal after returning from a 25-game absence because of core muscle surgery on Feb. 13.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Elias Lindholm scored 49 seconds into overtime, and Carolina prevented Tampa Bay from clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Justin Williams had a goal and an assist, Jordan Staal scored a deflected goal and Phil Di Giuseppe had two assists for the Hurricanes. They had lost three straight and four of five down the stretch during their ninth straight season without making the playoffs – tied for the third-longest such drought in NHL history.
Ondrej Palat scored the tying goal with 8:49 left and Ryan Callahan also scored for Tampa Bay. But with star Steven Stamkos out for a third straight game with an upper-body injury, the Lightning earned one point for going to OT but relinquished control of the Atlantic Division race to Boston.
The Bruins, who beat Ottawa 5-2 on Saturday night, will win the division and claim the top spot in the East if they beat Florida on Sunday night.
The Leafs still have to wait one more day to find out their first-round playoff opponent. A win by the Bruins on Sunday against Florida would see Boston move into first in the Atlantic Division and set up a meeting between Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Anything else would set up a Leafs-Bruins matchup.
Rakell added an assist and scored for the 12th time in his last 19 games. He led the playoff-bound Ducks with a career-high 34 goals and 69 points this season.
Miller earned his fourth shutout of the season and 43rd of his career. It was also his 370th career win, moving him past Tom Barrasso for second place on the all-time list among U.S.-born goalies.
The Panthers’ slim playoff hopes ended when Philadelphia beat the New York Rangers 5-0 earlier in the day. Florida took out its frustration on the Sabres, going ahead 3-0 in the first period en route to its franchise-record 27th home victory.
Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo. Chad Johnson allowed three goals on 12 shots in the first period and was replaced to start the second with Adam Wilcox. Wilcox finished with 14 stops in his NHL debut.
PREDATORS 4, BLUE JACKETS 2
The Predators accepted their first Presidents’ Trophy before the game from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and captain Roman Josi grabbed the trophy with his left hand before the rest of the team joined him on the ice for photos. Fans then chanted ”We want the Cup” for the defending Western Conference champs who lost the Stanley Cup in six games to Pittsburgh last June.
Nashville followed up the trophy presentation by winning its franchise-record 53rd game this season to finish with 117 points.
Josh Anderson and Brandon Dubinsky scored for Columbus.
DETROIT (AP) – John Tavares scored 3:16 into overtime as New York rallied for a win in the season finale.
Ryan Pulock’s power-play goal with 29.7 seconds left in regulation tied it after Detroit led 3-1. Anders Lee got his 40th goal and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Islanders (35-37-10), who are missing the playoffs for the second straight year and eighth in the last 11. Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots.
Mathew Barzal had two assists for the Islanders to give him 63, tying Bryan Trottier’s franchise record for a rookie set in 1975-76.
Hellebuyck made 30 saves to pick up his 44th win, surpassing Tom Barrasso’s 1992-93 run with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dustin Byfuglien and Kyle Connor also scored for the Jets (52-20-1), who have won five straight and a franchise-record nine in a row at Bell MTS Place. The Jets, who relocated from Atlanta in 2011, also set franchise records for wins, points and home wins (21).
Winnipeg opens the NHL playoffs next week at home against the Minnesota Wild.
Serenaded by chants of ”We want 50,” Ovechkin wrapped up his seventh Maurice ”Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal-scorer and came one short of his eighth 50-goal season. Ovechkin scored for the third consecutive game and is the oldest player to lead the NHL in goals since Phil Esposito in 1974-75.
By beating the Devils in regulation, the Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals ensured they wouldn’t face them in the first round of the playoffs. Playing without MVP front-runner Taylor Hall, New Jersey fell to the second wild card in the Eastern Conference and will open on the road against the Atlantic Division winner – either Boston or Tampa Bay.
WILD 6, SHARKS 3
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Jason Zucker scored twice in the second period, Eric Staal matched the franchise record for goals in a season and Minnesota denied San Jose home-ice advantage in the first round.
Mikael Granlund scored the tiebreaking goal 28 seconds before Zucker got his first and Jonas Brodin and Matt Cullen also scored for the Wild, who were locked into the third seed in the Central Division. Staal added an empty-net goal to tie Marian Gaborik’s franchise record for goals in a season with 42.
Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves. Minnesota finished the season with 101 points, going over the 100-point mark for the second straight season and fourth time in franchise history.
It was Benn’s second hat trick in three games and the fourth of his career. Benn has seven goals during a three-game scoring streak.
Alec Martinez scored twice and Jonathan Quick made 14 saves for the Kings, who will play Vegas in the first round of the playoffs after finishing as the first wild-card team from the Western Conference.
Spencer Foo, Garnet Hathaway and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for the Flames, who had only nine goals while losing eight of their previous nine. Calgary finished the season 37-35-10, and will miss the playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons. A big factor was its 17-20-4 home record, the worst since going 12-18-11 in 2000-01.
Cody Eakin scored for Vegas (51-24-7), which will open the playoffs on home ice after finishing first in the Pacific in its inaugural season. The Golden Knights, who will play Los Angeles in the first round, are the first modern-era expansion team in any of the four North America pro spots to win their division.
- Anaheim Ducks
- Boston Bruins
- Buffalo Sabres
- Colorado Avalanche
- Dallas Stars
- Florida Panthers
- Minnesota Wild
- Nashville Predators
- New Jersey Devils
- New York Islanders
- Ottawa Senators
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Washington Capitals
- Winnipeg Jets