SAN JOSE, Calif. – Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture scored second-period goals and the San Jose Sharks clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Thursday night.
Antti Niemi made 26 saves and the Sharks overcame a first-period deficit to move within a point of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks still have two games in hand and the inside track on the top spot.
Jordan Nolan scored the lone goal for the Kings, who had their eight-game road losing streak snapped by their first loss away from home since Jan. 28 in Phoenix. Martin Jones made 19 saves as starter Jonathan Quick got rest a night after shutting out the Coyotes to clinch a playoff berth.
The Kings are locked into third place in the division after the loss. Of more immediate concern was an upper-body injury that knocked star defenceman Drew Doughty out midway through the first period. Doughty appeared to hurt his left shoulder while checking Tyler Kennedy.
BLUES 2, SABRES 1
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Brian Elliott stopped 24 shots, and the Blues set a franchise record with their 52nd victory.
Maxim Lapierre and Brenden Morrow scored as St. Louis improved to 14-2-0 in their last 16 games against Buffalo. The previous record for wins in a season belonged to the 1999-2000 Blues, who won 51 games on their way to their last Presidents’ Trophy.
Elliott improved to 18-5-2 overall and 10-1 at home this season. He was coming off a 1-0 win at Pittsburgh when he had 33 stops.
St. Louis (52-17-7) also moved into a tie with Boston for the most points in the league with 111. The Bruins lost 4-3 to Toronto in overtime.
Buffalo’s Cody Hodgson scored a power-play goal at 19:04 of the third period.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, BRUINS 3, OT
TORONTO (AP)—Nazem Kadri scored 2:51 into overtime, giving Toronto the win.
Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston, which lost back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 26 and March 1. Chad Johnson made 27 saves.
Bergeron tied it at 12:51 of the third against backup goalie James Reimer, after Lucic scored 5:03 into the final period.
Paul Ranger, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored for Toronto, which finished the game without goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
It remains to be seen how severe Bernier’s injury is. He left 7:22 into the third period after Ranger pushed Patrice Bergeron into him.
AVALANCHE 3, RANGERS 2
DENVER (AP)—Colorado’s Tyson Barrie scored in the final minute of regulation, and then scored again in the shootout.
Semyon Varlamov had 29 saves for Colorado, which has won five in a row. Varlamov also stopped each of New York’s attempts in the shootout.
The Avalanche maintained a three-point lead on the Blackhawks for second place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks beat Minnesota in a shootout but still lag behind Colorado with 10 days left in the season.
Henrik Lundqvist had 35 saves for the Rangers, who gained a point on Philadelphia despite the loss. Derek Stepan and John Moore scored for New York.
BLACKHAWKS 3, WILD 2, SO
CHICAGO (AP)—Marian Hossa scored the lone goal in the shootout, and the banged-up Blackhawks stopped a three-game slide.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves through overtime, and then stopped all three Minnesota attempts in the shootout. Hossa connected on the Blackhawks’ second attempt in the tiebreaker by powering a shot through Ilya Bryzgalov.
It was Chicago’s first game since coach Joel Quenneville said captain Jonathan Toews would miss the rest of the regular season due to an upper-body injury. The Blackhawks also were without Patrick Kane, another star forward who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of a lower-body injury.
Chicago did get Bryan Bickell back from an injury, and he scored a tiebreaking goal in the third period. Ben Smith also scored for the Blackhawks.
Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula scored for Minnesota.
BLUE JACKETS 2, FLYERS 0
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 37 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, leading Columbus to its first win in Philadelphia.
James Wisniewski and Brandon Dubinsky scored for the Blue Jackets, who were 0-5-1 in Philadelphia since the franchise’s inception in 2000.
Led by Bobrovsky, a former Flyer, the Blue Jackets moved closer to clinching their second-ever playoff berth. They closed within two points of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Flyers have lost three straight and were shut out for the second straight time.
PENGUINS 4, JETS 2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP)—Paul Martin returned after an 18-game absence and scored the winner to help Pittsburgh eliminate Winnipeg from playoff contention.
Martin, who was out with a broken hand, made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 7:42 of the third period.
With Jets defenceman Mark Stuart in the penalty box for hooking, James Neal sent a pass into the slot for Martin, who fired a one-timer by goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
Brian Gibbons added an insurance goal when the Jets turned over the puck and he beat Pavelec with a low shot at 16:24.
Pittsburgh (49-23-5) won the NHL’s Metropolitan Division title before the game was over because Philadelphia lost to Columbus earlier in the evening.
HURRICANES 4, STARS 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—John-Michael Liles had a goal and two assists to lead Carolina to the win.
Liles, Eric Staal and Justin Faulk scored during a run of three goals in a 4:36 span of the second period.
Riley Nash added a key late goal and Chris Terry had his first two NHL assists to help the Hurricanes win their second straight game. Carolina has the league’s second-worst power play but scored twice with the man advantage.
Anton Khudobin made 33 saves to help Carolina beat Dallas for the first time since 2009.
Tyler Seguin scored for Dallas, which had won three in a row. Kari Lehtonen made 13 saves but was pulled after allowing three goals. Tim Thomas took over and finished with 15 stops.
FLAMES 4, LIGHTNING 1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Karri Ramo had 31 saves for the Flames, and Mike Cammalleri and Kevin Westgarth scored 15 seconds apart in the first period.
Calgary’s Curtis Glencross scored twice in the final two minutes, including an empty-netter with 16 seconds left.
Ondrej Palat scored in the second period for the Lightning, who are locked in a tight race with Montreal for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Ben Bishop had 21 stops.