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NHL Capsules

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Thomas Vanek scored 1:16 into overtime to cap a two-goal comeback and the Buffalo Sabres clinched a playoff berth with a 4-3 victory over the slumping Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.

Vanek finished with a goal and two assists, while Nathan Gerbe scored twice, including a highlight reel spin-around goal that tied it midway through the third period. Jason Pominville also scored for the Sabres, who had already secured a post-season spot by earning a point when the game entered overtime.

With the win, they've clinched at least seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell had a goal and assist, and Kris Versteeg also scored for Philadelphia, 0-3-2 in its past five games. The Flyers late-season skid has prevented them from clinching the Atlantic Division title, and they've now fallen into a tie with Pittsburgh. With 104 points, both teams have one game left, though the Flyers have the tiebreaker edge on their cross-state rivals.

The Flyers loss also allowed Washington to clinch the top spot in the East.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Patric Hornqvist scored two goals and had an assist, and Nashville clinched its sixth playoff berth in seven seasons with a victory over Columbus.

Matt Halischuk and Sergei Kostitsyn also scored to help Nashville extend the NHL's longest active home winning streak against one team with its 17th straight over Columbus.

The Predators will wrap up the regular season Saturday night in St. Louis with a chance to earn the Western Conference's fourth seed and start the playoffs at home—where they went 24-9-8 this season. Washington and Vancouver are the only other NHL teams with fewer than 10 regulation losses at home.

Derick Brassard scored for Columbus. The Blue Jackets have lost five straight.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Teemu Selanne scored his second goal of the game with 14:06 left in the third period, Dan Ellis made 23 saves in place of the injured Ray Emery, and Anaheim clinched a playoff spot marking the first time that both Southern California teams will be in the playoffs in the same year.

It was Ellis' 10th start for the Ducks and first since March 20, when he stopped 37 shots in a 5-4 overtime win over Calgary. The four-year veteran was obtained from Tampa Bay in a trade Feb. 24 and started the Ducks' next eight games in the wake of Jonas Hiller's bout with vertigo, then lost the No. 1 job to Emery.

Ryan Smith scored his 22nd goal and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves for the Kings, who earned their second straight post-season berth Wednesday night with a 3-2 shootout win over Phoenix.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—Shane Doan had a goal and an assist, Ilya Bryzgalov made some tough saves late and Phoenix clinched a playoff spot by holding off San Jose,

Phoenix had lost eight straight to San Jose and limped toward the end of the season, putting its playoff chances in doubt. The Coyotes seemed to be rolling toward ending both dilemmas, building a three-goal lead early in the third period. But San Jose came charging back on Joe Thornton's goal for his 1,000th career point and Danny Heatley's 26th goal of the season with 3:39 left.

Bryzgalov finished it off to become Phoenix's career wins leader, sending the Coyotes to the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1999-2000. Ray Whitney and Andrew Ebbett also scored, and Radim Vrbata had a goal in his 600th career game for Phoenix.

Ian White had a first-period goal for San Jose.

ATLANTA (AP)—Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu each had a goal and two assists and Carolina beat Atlanta to move closer to an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Carolina needs a home win Saturday over Tampa Bay or a regulation loss by the New York Rangers to make the playoffs for the first time since advancing to the Eastern Conference finals in 2009.

Erik Cole, Joni Pitkanen, Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen alsoscored for Carolina. Cam Ward, who shut out Detroit 3-0 on Wednesday night, was just 39 seconds from earning his second straight shutout and the 17th of his career before Bryan Little's 18th goal made it 6-1.

The Hurricanes have won two straight and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. They got a big assist Thursday night when the Thrashers beat the Rangers 3-0 in New York.

DENVER (AP)—Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist, Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson also scored and Dallas stayed alive in the playoff race.

Dallas has 95 points and trails Chicago by two points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with one game remaining for each team Sunday. The Stars can clinch the eighth seed with a regulation or overtime win against Minnesota and a regulation loss by the Blackhawks to Detroit.

Kari Lehtonen had 15 saves for the Stars.

Brandon Yip had two goals, Jonas Holos two assists and Peter Budaj made 25 saves for the Avalanche, assured of finishing with their lowest point total since moving to Colorado in 1995.

Before the game, Colorado defenceman Adam Foote announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP)—Chris Kunitz scored the only goal in the shootout and Pittsburgh beat New York to avenge a record-setting, fight-filled loss.

The Penguins seemed to have things well in hand until Travis Hamonic got the Islanders even at 3 with just 35 seconds left in regulation with a shot from the left point that got past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after New York pulled goalie Al Montoya for an extra skater.

Mark Letestu, Mike Rupp and Zbynek Michalek scored for Pittsburgh in the highly anticipated rematch with the Islanders after the brawl-marred previous meeting on Feb. 11, won 9-3 by New York.

Blake Comeau had two goals for the Islanders.

DETROIT (AP)—Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa each had a goal and an assist for Chicago.

Ben Smith and Brian Campbell also scored for Chicago, fighting for a playoff spot a year after winning the Stanley Cup. Patrick Kane had two assists, and Corey Crawford made 26 saves.

Drew Miller and Tomas Holmstrom scored for Detroit, third in the Western Conference.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Vincent Lecavalier had two goals, including one on a penalty shot for Tampa Bay.

Lecavalier put the Lightning up 3-1 when he deked goalie Scott Clemmensen to ice and lifted home a wrist shot on his penalty shot at 1:27 of the second. The Tampa Bay captain also had a first-period power-play goal.

Ryan Malone and Pavel Kubina also scored for the Lightning.

Jason Garrison and Mike Santorelli scored Florida. The Panthers have lost 10 in a row (0-7-3).

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Jose Theodore made 28 saves and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu assisted on all three Minnesota goals in the Wild's victory over Edmonton.

Brent Burns, Jared Spurgeon and Andrew Brunette scored for Minnesota.

Teemu Hartikainen scored for Edmonton.


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