RALEIGH, N.C. – The New York Islanders clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot despite a 4-3 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
With the point they received by reaching overtime, coupled with a loss by the Winnipeg Jets at Washington, the Islanders secured a place in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
John Tavares tied it with 1:01 left in regulation. Josh Bailey and Brad Boyes also scored, and Evgeni Nabokov made 29 saves for the Islanders.
Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner scored in the shootout to give the Hurricanes the victory.
Carolina’s Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist, Patrick Dwyer and Alexander Semin added goals, and Dan Ellis made 36 saves before stopping Frans Nielsen and Boyes in the shootout.
The Islanders earned a point for the 11th straight game (8-0-3).
CAPITALS 5, JETS 3
WASHINGTON (AP)—The Washington Capitals clinched the Southeast Division title, completing a stark turnaround in a lockout-shortened season with a win over Winnipeg.
The Capitals blew a two-goal lead, survived a pair of replay reviews and exhaled deeply when defencemen John Erskine cleared two shots off the goal line. They also had to kill a late power play, but they held to win for the 10th time in 11 games.
Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 31st goal—an empty-netter in the final minute—and Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom and Mathieu Perreault also scored. Braden Holtby made 24 saves.
Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Nik Antropov scored for the Jets, who had won six of seven but were playing the second half of a road back-to-back after beating Buffalo on Monday.
BLUES 3, AVALANCHE 1
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Chris Stewart reached career milestones of 100 goals and 100 assists and St. Louis clinched a playoff berth with two games to spare, beating Colorado.
Brian Elliott made 17 saves two nights after getting yanked in a 5-3 loss at Colorado that squandered the Blues’ first chance at clinching. St. Louis, which entered the game needing a point to qualify, scored two power-play goals for the first time in 32 games since Feb. 15 in the home-and-home rematch.
Patrik Berglund and Andy McDonald beat Semyon Varlamov on consecutive shots in the second period to make it 3-0. Together, that duo had two assists in 14 games.
The Blues have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2003-04. They have won four in a row at home to match their season best.
Cody McLeod scored his eighth of the season and fifth in five games for the Avalanche, who are an NHL-worst 3-16-4 on the road. Varlamov made 31 saves.
SHARKS 3, STARS 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored goals 30 seconds apart late in the third period to help San Jose clinch its ninth straight playoff berth with a come-from-behind victory over Dallas.
Raffi Torres also scored for the Sharks, who moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with Los Angeles with two games remaining in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round. The Sharks visit the Kings in the season finale on Saturday.
Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, whose playoff hopes were dealt a serious blow. Dallas remains two points behind ninth-place Detroit and three behind eighth-place Columbus in the race for the final playoff spot. The Red Wings have a game in hand over both teams. The Stars end the season with home games against Columbus and Detroit.
PANTHERS 3, RANGERS 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Marcel Goc and Drew Shore scored third-period goals, and Florida prevented the New York Rangers from clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Goc broke a tie, and Drew Shore added a short-handed, empty-net goal to give Florida a 3-1 lead before the Rangers got back within a goal.
Tomas Fleischmann netted the first goal and added an assist, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 36 shots for the Panthers, who have the fewest points in the NHL and snapped a six-game losing streak.
Derick Brassard and Taylor Pyatt scored for the Rangers (24-18-4) and Henrik Lundqvist made 13 saves. The Rangers, who had won three straight, have a one-point lead over Winnipeg with two games left.
DEVILS 3, CANADIENS 2
NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—Patrik Elias scored his 375th NHL goal, Martin Brodeur made 19 saves for his 669th victory and New Jersey beat Montreal.
New Jersey, which was eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, dealt a blow to Montreal’s hopes of winning the Northeast Division. The Devils (18-18-10) won for the third time in four games following a 10-game losing streak.
The sputtering Canadiens (27-14-5) lost for the fifth time in six games. They trail Boston by two points in the Northeast with only two games remaining.
Elias gave the Devils a 1-0 lead in the first period, Jacob Josefson netted his first of the season in the opening frame, and Steve Sullivan made it 3-0 in the second.
Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller both had second-period goals for Montreal.
FLYERS 5, BRUINS 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Matt Read and Oliver Lauridsen scored goals 7 seconds apart to lead Philadelphia over Boston.
Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek and Simon Gagne also scored for the Flyers, who failed to make the playoffs this season.
Wade Redden and David Krejci had goals for the Bruins. The Bruins are second in the Eastern Conference and lead the Northeast Division. But the Bruins and Montreal both have 59 points.
The Flyers paid tribute to Boston in the Bruins’ first road game since the Boston Marathon bombings.
SABRES 4, PENGUINS 2
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Thomas Vanek scored twice, Ryan Miller stopped 40 shots and Buffalo topped Pittsburgh.
Steve Ott gave Buffalo the lead for good when he batted a rebound out of the air past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with 2:34 left. Vanek added an empty-netter in the final minute.
Jochen Hecht also scored for the Sabres, who never trailed and snapped the Penguins’ seven-game winning streak.
Chris Kunitz scored his 22nd goal for Pittsburgh and Jarome Iginla scored in his fourth straight game, but it wasn’t enough. Fleury made 29 saves.
Pittsburgh centre Evgeni Malkin assisted on Iginla’s goal to pick up a point in his return after missing four games with a shoulder injury.
WILD 2, KINGS 1
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Charlie Coyle and Cal Clutterbuck scored 16 seconds apart late in the first period, helping Minnesota break its five-game home losing streak and hang on for a win over Los Angeles.
Jeff Carter’s slap shot whizzed past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom with 0.8 seconds left in the second period, pulling the Kings within one.
Slava Voynov’s shot from the far edge of the right circle was stopped by a sprawling Backstrom with 11 seconds remaining in the game to preserve the lead.
With a 3-7-1 record in the last 11 games since this month began and that playoff spot still unsecured, the Wild badly needed a victory.
The Kings failed to earn a point for only the third time in 15 games. They fell to 4-1-1 in their last six games. Jonathan Bernier, in the net for the first time in seven games in relief of Jonathan Quick, made 23 saves.
Backstrom stopped 22 shots.
PREDATORS 4, FLAMES 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Austin Watson and Matt Halischuk scored 1:23 apart in the third period to lead Nashville over Calgary.
David Legwand and Nick Spaling had the other goals for Nashville, which ended the franchise’s longest losing streak at eight games. Shea Weber added two assists.
Roman Cervenka scored two goals, and T.J. Brodie had the other goal for Calgary, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.