NEWARK, N.J. – Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the fourth straight game and Johan Hedberg made 15 saves to give the streaking New Jersey Devils a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
New Jersey won its season-high sixth straight and improved to 14-1-2 in its past 17 games to at least enter the post-season discussion.
Even with the surge, the Devils are still double-digit points behind eighth place and will need to jump over five teams to make the playoffs with only 24 games remaining. They trailed the seventh-place Rangers by 31 points on Jan. 8, but are now 14 points behind.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Ty Conklin stopped 25 shots to lead St. Louis shortly after the Blues traded captain Eric Brewer to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
T.J. Oshie had a goal and assist to enjoy his first two-point outing since he returned Jan. 18 after missing 31 games with a broken left ankle. David Backes and Vladimir Sobotka, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Blues, who won their second in a row and improved to 4-1-2 in their past seven.
The Sabres, coming off a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, lost two straight for the first time during a 21-game stretch in which they’re now 13-6-2. They also squandered a chance to move two points ahead of idle 10th-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings.
OTTAWA (AP)—Brad Marchand scored twice and Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist to lead Boston.
Tuukka Rask made 32 saves and Dennis Seidenberg also scored for the Bruins, who acquired three-time all-star defenceman Tomas Kaberle from Toronto in one of two trades completed by GM Peter Chiarelli earlier in the day.
Kaberle made his Bruins debut along with former Senators centre Chris Kelly, who was acquired in a trade with Ottawa on Tuesday.
Bobby Butler scored for a third straight game early in the second to give the Senators a brief 1-0 lead. Alex Kovalev scored a power-play goal with 1:30 left in the third to draw Ottawa within two.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Todd Bertuzzi had two goals, including the winner with 7:32 remaining, to lift Detroit.
Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary also scored for the Red Wings, who matched their longest winning streak of the season with their fourth consecutive victory. Henrik Zetterberg had two assists, giving him eight in his last five games.
Joey MacDonald, making his first start in goal since Feb. 3, stopped 29 shots for Detroit. He made a spectacular glove save on Stephen Weiss’s slapshot with 27.8 seconds left.
Weiss had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who have lost seven of eight at home. Radek Dvorak and Dennis Wideman had Florida’s other goals.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Matt Cullen scored a short-handed goal, Eric Nystrom scored his first career power-play goal and Minnesota beat Anaheim.
Mikko Koivu, Kyle Brodziak and Martin Havlat also scored for the Wild, who had scored just two goals in their last two games.
Corey Perry scored for the Ducks, who lost on the road for the first time in seven games. Anaheim remains three points behind Phoenix in the Pacific Division, and is tied with three other teams for sixth place in the Western Conference standings. The Wild are 10th, one point back.
Koivu left the game after one period with an upper body injury.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—Erik Cole scored with 3:03 left to lift Carolina past Philadelphia.
Chad LaRose and Jeff Skinner scored early goals about 2 1/2 minutes apart for the Hurricanes, who played before a packed house and seemed inspired by a pre-game ceremony to retire former captain Rod Brind’Amour’s No. 17 jersey.
Carolina allowed the Flyers to rally late but used Cole’s clutch goal to deny Philadelphia its second straight season sweep and a 10th straight win in the series.
Jussi Jokinen found Cole with a cross-ice pass, and the Carolina veteran fired the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove for the go-ahead goal.
Braydon Coburn tied it 2-2 with 5:11 to play after Blair Betts scored a short-handed goal for the Flyers.
CHICAGO (AP)—Antoine Vermette, Derek MacKenzie and Anton Stralman scored in a span of 5:54 in the second period and Columbus held on to beat Chicago.
Matt Calvert added a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight and have climbed back into the congested Western Conference playoff race.
Patrick Sharp scored twice and assisted on a goal by Patrick Kane as the Blackhawks’ top line—along with Jonathan Toews—accounted for all of Chicago’s offence. Kane and Toews both had two assists.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville missed his second straight game after being admitted into hospital Wednesday morning with gastrointestinal bleeding caused by an ulcer.