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NHL Capsules

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 10:35 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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NHL Capsules

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Evgeni Malkin scored twice, James Neal had four assists and the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff spot with a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis also scored to help Pittsburgh pull within a point of the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining. Marc-Andre Fluery made 29 saves for his NHL-leading 40th victory.

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was held without a goal for the 12th straight game and failed to score a point, but it hardly stopped the Penguins from winning their ninth straight home game.

Nashville's Alexander Radulov scored in his return to the NHL after four years in Russia, but the Penguins picked apart Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. The league saves leader allowed two goals in the first 5 minutes.

FLYERS 2, CAPITALS 1, SO

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds scored shootout goals to lift Philadelphia past Washington.

Claude Giroux scored his 27th goal for the Flyers, and Alex Ovechkin had his 33rd for the Capitals.

Read scored on the first shot of the shootout against Braden Holtby, and Matt Hendricks beat Ilya Bryzgalov on Washington's first attempt. Giroux and Ovechkin were both denied and another round came up empty for both teams. Simmonds scored, and Bryzgalov stuffed Troy Brouwer to preserve the win.

Bryzgalov stopped 30 shots and improved to 9-1-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average in March.

The Capitals did pick up a point and have 81, putting them one ahead of Buffalo for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

WILD 3, FLAMES 2, SO

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Devin Setoguchi scored in the fourth round of a shootout in Minnesota's comeback victory over Calgary.

Dany Heatley and Darroll Powe scored in regulation for the Wild. Josh Harding stopped 27 shots and all four Calgary shots in the shootout to hand the Flames their fourth straight loss

Lee Stempniak and Anton Babchuk scored for Calgary, which failed to gain ground in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Powe tied it at 2 with 7:37 left in the third when his shot trickled over the goal line. Officials originally ruled no-goal, but changed the call after a replay review.

Setoguchi beat Miikka Kipprusoff with a wrist shot on the stick side, and Harding stopped Blake Comeau to seal the victory.

LIGHTNING 3, OILERS 2, SO

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Teddy Purcell scored in the sixth round of a shootout, and Tom Pyatt had two goals in regulation in Tampa Bay's victory over Edmonton.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis also scored in the extra session.

Ladislav Smid pulled Edmonton even at 2 with 3:47 left in regulation with his first goal in 38 games.

Linus Omark also scored for the Oilers. It was the first time that Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin, who stopped 19 shots, played in Tampa since Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals, when he helped the Lightning beat Calgary 2-1 to win the team's only NHL championship.

CANUCKS 2, STARS 1

DALLAS (AP) — Cory Schneider stopped Mike Ribeiro's penalty shot and finished with 25 saves, and Mason Raymond and Kevin Bieksa scored in Vancouver's victory over Dallas.

The Canucks were without Daniel Sedin, the team leader with 30 goals, sidelined indefinitely because of a head injury. Sedin is back in Vancouver after taking an elbow to the head from Chicago's Duncan Keith in the first period of the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win over the Canucks on Wednesday night.

Vernon Fiddler scored for Dallas.

Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals