NEWARK, N.J. – Craig Anderson made 33 saves in his third shutout of the season, and the Ottawa Senators sent the sliding New Jersey Devils to their ninth straight loss with a 2-0 victory Friday night.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Milan Michalek second-period goals for the Senators, who won for the second straight night, following a five-game skid, to boost their playoff chances.
Ottawa, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, leads ninth-place Winnipeg by four points. New Jersey is 10th, eight points behind Ottawa and four behind the New York Rangers and the post-season cutoff with seven games to play.
The Senators will finish a season-high, seven-game trip at Boston on Monday.
The defending East champion Devils dropped to 0-5-4 without injured star forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The slide is one game shy of the franchise mark, set early in the 1983-84 season.
Despite outshooting the Senators 23-9 in the opening 40 minutes and getting an early two-man advantage, the Devils trailed 2-0 heading into the third period.
BLACKHAWKS 3, RED WINGS 2, SO
CHICAGO (AP)—Brandon Saad scored in the fifth round of the shootout after Jonathan Toews tied the game late in regulation, and Chicago clinched the Central Division title with a victory over Detroit.
With St. Louis losing to Columbus earlier Friday, the Blackhawks wrapped up the Central race for the first time since 2010 when they won the Stanley Cup. Chicago also increased its lead over Anaheim for the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs to seven points.
The shootout was tied 1-1 when Saad beat Jimmy Howard with a backhand shot. Corey Crawford then stopped Johan Franzen, sealing the win and giving the Blackhawks a four-game season sweep over Detroit.
Viktor Stalberg also scored for Chicago. Two quick goals by Franzen and Cory Emmerton late in the second period gave Detroit a 2-1 lead, but the Blackhawks answered down the stretch, winning their final game against the Red Wings as division foes.
BLUE JACKETS 4, BLUES 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves as Columbus snapped St. Louis’ season-high, six-game winning streak.
Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Marian Gaborik also had goals for Columbus, which continued its climb from cellar-dweller to playoff contention. The Blue Jackets, 11-1-3 in their last 15 home games, were last in the NHL after a 5-12-2 start but have earned points in 18 of 22 games since (13-4-5).
Kevin Shattenkirk made it 1-0 for the Blues, who went with rookie Jake Allen in goal instead of Brian Elliott, who has posted three shutouts in a row.
The Blue Jackets are 10th in the Western Conference with 43 points, two behind eighth-place Detroit. The Blues are sixth with 48 points.
Bobrovsky improved to 11-3-5 with a 1.68 goals-against average at home this season.
STARS 5, PREDATORS 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Rookie Alex Chiasson scored two goals, and Dallas beat Nashville for its fourth straight win.
Ray Whitney had a power-play goal and an assist, and Erik Cole and Tom Wandell had a goal apiece. Vern Fiddler also had two assists for the Stars, who are ninth in the Western Conference—two points behind eighth-place Detroit and the post-season cutoff. Dallas is tied in points with Phoenix and Columbus.
Richard Bachman stopped 26 shots and improved to 5-3. He started in place of Kari Lehtonen, who was scratched because of a lower body injury.
Taylor Beck and Bobby Butler scored for Nashville, which has lost five straight and eight of nine.
Dallas also snapped a four-game skid against Nashville and avoided being swept this season by their future division rival.
FLAMES 3, COYOTES 2, OT
CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—Mark Giordano scored the winning goal 4:36 into overtime, and Calgary snapped a three-game home losing streak with a victory over Phoenix.
Curtis Glencross and Mikael Backlund combined to set up Giordano just inside the blue line. While goalie Mike Smith was screened, Giordano put a shot just inside the goal post. Smith shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t see the puck.
Jiri Hudler and Lee Stempniak also scored for Calgary (15-21-4), which had lost six of seven.
Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle scored for Phoenix (18-16-7), which earned three of six points on a three-game trip.