NEW YORK (AP)Chris Kreider scored twice, Artemi Panarin added a goal and two assists and the New York Rangers routed the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on Saturday night to clinch their first postseason berth since 2017.
Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp also had goals and Igor Shesterkin needed just 21 saves to thwart the Senators as the surging Rangers improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine and moved into a tie with Carolina atop the Metropolitan Division with 100 points. The Rangers have nine games left, while the Hurricanes have 10. The teams meet Tuesday night in New York.
Shesterkin improved to 34-10-4, becoming the fourth goalie in franchise history with 34 victories in a season, joining Henrik Lundqvist, Ed Giacomin and Mike Richter.
Austin Watson scored the lone goal for the Senators, who led 1-0 early in the first period.
MAPLE LEAFS 3, CANADIENS 2
TORONTO (AP) – Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 57th and 58th goals 27 seconds apart in the first period to help Toronto edge Montreal, wrap up a playoff spot for the sixth straight straight season and hit 100 points in the standings.
Matthews’ opener marked his 50th goal in his last 50 games, making him the first player to accomplish the feat since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96. Matthews extended his points streak to 16 games (21 goals, 10 assists). Linemate Mitch Marner has a 13-game run (eight goals, 20 assists).
John Tavares also scored for Toronto, and Erik Kallgren made 24 saves.
Cole Caufield and Joel Edmundson scored for Montreal. Jake Allen stopped the first 14 shots he faced before leaving with an apparent leg injury as he stretched for Matthews’ first goal. Sam Montembeault made 23 stops the rest of the way.
CAPITALS 6, PENGUINS 3
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Tom Wilson broke a tie with 8:25 left and Washington beat Pittsburgh.
Alex Ovechkin tied it for Washington on a power play at 4:49 of the third period with his 44th goal of the season, and Wilson matched his career high with his 22nd – sending a wrist shot over Tristan Jarry’s glove from the left circle during a two-on-one.
The Capitals have won two second straight to move four points behind Pittsburgh for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Washington has won five road games in a row.
Marcus Johansson, Dmitry Orlov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Martin Fehervary also scored for Washington, and Ilya Samsonov stopped 29 shots to become the 10th goalie in team history with 50 career victories.
Bryan Rust, Jeff Carter and Brian Boyle scored for Pittsburgh, and Jarry made 39 saves. The Penguins have lost four in a row and and seven of nine.
PANTHERS 4, PREDATORS 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Anton Lundell scored the winning goal in the second period, and Florida beat Nashville for its seventh straight victory.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Gustav Forsling scored empty-net goals 17 seconds apart, and Carter Verhaeghe also had a goal, and Forsling had an assist as Florida split the season series with Nashville.
Rookie Spencer Knight made 24 saves for a victory in his fourth straight appearance.
With the victory, the Panthers padded their margin atop the Eastern Conference and in the Atlantic Division. They also added another victory to the club record with No. 51 of the season.
Ryan Johansen scored a goal as the Predators snapped a two-game winning streak. Nashville still has a two-point lead over Dallas, a 3-1 loser to the Devils earlier Saturday, for the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
BLUES 6, ISLANDERS 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Justin Faulk scored twice in a 96-second span in the second period and Jordan Binnington made 29 saves to lift St. Louis to its fifth straight victory with a win over New York.
Nick Leddy, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Robert Thomas also had goals for St. Louis.
Binnington, who lost the No. 1 spot to Ville Husso, recorded his first win since Feb. 27 and improved to 14-13-4.
Grant Hutton scored his first NHL goal for the Islanders, who had won five of their previous six.
DEVILS 3, STARS 1
DALLAS (AP) – Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha scored 10 seconds apart in the third period in New Jersey’s victory over Dallas.
Ty Smith also scored in the third period, and Nico Daws made 27 saves to help New Jersey end a five-game losing streak.
Dallas defenseman Ryan Suter scored his 100th NHL goal.
FLAMES 4, KRAKEN 1
SEATTLE (AP) – Noah Hanifin had four assists and Calgary beat Seattle for its fourth straight victory.
Blake Coleman, Trevor Lewis and Michael Stone scored off primary assists from Hanifin; he also had a secondary assist on a goal from Tyler Toffoli.
The teams will conclude the home-and-home series Tuesday night in Calgary.
Toffoli added a short-handed, empty-net goal to cap the scoring, and Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves.
Karson Kuhlman scored for Seattle, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 25 shots.
DUCKS 5, FLYERS 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Trevor Zegras scored two goals to lead Anaheim past Philadelphia.
Sonny Milano, Zach Aston-Reese and Derek Grant also scored for the Ducks. They opened a four-game trip by winning for just the second time in the last 15 contests.
Travis Sanheim, Ronnie Attard and Ivan Provorov scored for the Flyers.
The game pitted a pair of teams near the bottom of their conference standings. The Flyers entered 14th of 16 teams in the Eastern Conference with 57 points while the Ducks were 12th of 16 clubs in the West.
BLUE JACKETS 5, RED WINGS 4, OT
DETROIT (AP) – Jack Roslovic had three goals, including the winner at 3:19 of overtime, and added an assist to lead the Columbus past Detroit.
Cole Sillinger and Justin Danforth also scored for Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins made 34 saves.
The Red Wings got goals from Dylan Larkin and Jakub Vrana, his second of the game, in the final few minutes of regulation to tie it at 4. Sam Gagner also scored for Detroit. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 28 shots.
AVALANCHE 2, OILERS 1, SO
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Nathan MacKinnon scored the shootout winner after having Colorado’s lone goal in regulation, leading the Avalanche to their sixth straight victory.
Darcy Kuemper made 49 saves for the Avalanche, who are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games and tied a franchise record with their 52nd win of the season.
Warren Foegele scored for the Oilers, whose six-game winning streak ended. Edmonton’s nine-game streak at home was also snapped.
CANUCKS 4, SHARKS 2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist, Thatcher Demko made 34 saves for his career-high 30th win and Vancouver kept its slim playoff hopes alive with a victory over San Jose.
Jason Dickinson, Conor Garland and Luke Schenn also scored for the Canucks, who moved within four points of Dallas and Vegas for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Tomas Hertl and Nick Bonino had goals for San Jose. Kaapo Kahkonen made 35 saves, but dropped to 0-3-0 since he was acquired from Minnesota at the March 21 trade deadline.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6, COYOTES 1
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Brayden McNabb scored a goal and assisted on two others and Vegas beat Arizona.
With the win, the Knights moved within two points of third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division. Both Vegas and LA have nine games remaining.
The Knights, who have won six of their last seven, moved into an eighth-place tie with Dallas in the Western Conference, each with 84 points. Dallas, however, has two games in hand.
Zach Whitecloud, Max Pacioretty, Evgenii Dadonov, Jake Leschyshyn and Jack Eichel also scored for Vegas, while Robin Lehner made 29 saves.
Barrett Hayton scored the lone goal for the Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka stopped 33 shots.
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