COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chris Higgins had a two goals and an assist and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Sunday to reach 50 victories for the first time in their 40-year history.
Canucks backup Cory Schneider made 39 saves to improve to 15-3-2 and help the NHL-leading Canucks run their road winning streak to eight, matching the franchise record set in early 2004.
Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver. Mason Raymond added three assists and Ryan Kesler had two. The Canucks have won 10 of 11 overall and seven in a row against Columbus.
R.J. Umberger scored for Columbus with just under 10 minutes remaining to spoil Schneider’s shutout bid.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Atlanta 5 Ottawa 4 (SO); Pittsburgh 2 Florida 1 (SO); and Boston 2 Philadelphia 1.
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Alex Kovalev and James Neal scored in the shootout, Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves and Pittsburgh set an NHL record by winning via shootout for the fourth consecutive game, beating Florida.
Ben Lovejoy scored in regulation for the Penguins, two points behind Philadelphia in the race for the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference leads. The Penguins, tied with Washington for second in the conference with 98 points, have won six of seven and are 9-2-2 in their past 13.
Fleury set a team record for time elapsed between goals allowed (150 minutes, 14 seconds). He also stopped Mike Santorelli and Niclas Bergfors in the shootout.
Ryan Carter scored for Florida. The Panthers have lost five straight.
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Brad Marchand scored a power-play goal with 3:43 left in regulation, and Nathan Horton also scored to help Northeast Division-leading Boston clinch a playoff spot.
Tim Thomas made 27 saves for the Bruins, allowing only Kris Versteeg’s early goal.
Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia was unbeaten in regulation in its previous nine games. They are two points ahead of Washington and Pittsburgh for the top spot.
ATLANTA (AP)—Andrew Ladd scored the deciding shootout goal and Blake Wheeler and Ben Maxwell each had a goal and an assist for Atlanta, nine behind eighth-place Buffalo for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Bryan Little and Mark Stuart also scored for the Thrashers. Marek Svatos had two goals and Chris Neil and Erik Condra also scored for Ottawa.