STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF RACE
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Home Team in CAPS
BUFFALO 4, Carolina 3
NY RANGERS 4, Columbus 3 (OT)
Winnipeg 2, MINNESOTA 0
VANCOUVER 2, Los Angeles 1 (SO)
Dallas 5, SAN JOSE 1
STEPAN POWERS RANGERS TO OVERTIME WIN AGAINST BLUE JACKETS
Facing a 3-2 deficit, Derek Stepan (2-1-3) tied the game with 27.5 seconds left in regulation and potted the overtime-winner with 49.6 seconds remaining in extra time to power the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers, who have won four straight games, are 51-21-7 (109 points) and moved two points ahead of the idle Anaheim Ducks (50-23-7, 107 points) for the top spot in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
* The 51 wins and 109 standings points are tied for the second-highest single-season totals in Rangers history; they also registered 51 wins in 2011-12 and earned 109 standings points in 1970-71, 1971-72 and 2011-12. The only season in which the Rangers earned more than 51 victories and 109 standings points was 1993-94 (52-24-8, 112 points).
* The Rangers have earned at least 25 wins at home (25-10-5) and on the road (26-11-2) in the same season for the first time.
* Stepan had his 39th assist to record his sixth three-point game of the season. Stepan’s second marker was his third game-winning goal of the season and his first overtime goal. Stepan has posted five points in his past two games (3-2-5).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stepan is the first member of the Rangers to tally a game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation and score the game-winning goal in overtime since the current overtime format was implemented in 1983-84.
* Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves through regulation and overtime and is 29-12-3 with a 2.26 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Lundqvist has won four consecutive decisions (4-0-0).
* Chris Kreider (0-2-2) registered two assists and extended his point streak to a career-high four games (1-4—5).
* The Rangers announced goaltender Cam Talbot as the winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award during a pre-game ceremony. The award is presented to the member of the
which has been given annually since the 1987-88 season, bears the name of New York City Police officer Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986.
JETS RECLAIM WILD CARD SPOT WITH SHUTOUT WIN AGAINST WILD
Ondrej Pavelec stopped all 32 shots he faced to backstop the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-0 shutout victory against the Minnesota Wild. The Jets are 41-26-12 (94 points) and leapfrogged the Los Angeles Kings (39-25-15, 93 points) to take sole possession of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
* Pavelec recorded his third shutout and is 21-16-7 this season with a 2.39 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Pavelec is 8-2-0 in his past 10 games.
* Blake Wheeler (1-0—1) opened the scoring on a power play with his 26th goal of the season. The tally was also Wheeler's second power-play goal and his sixth game-winner, which tied him for the Jets lead in the latter category.
HIGGINS NETS SHOOTOUT-WINNER TO LIFT VANCOUVER PAST LOS ANGELES
Chris Higgins netted the lone goal of the shootout to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings. The Canucks, who rank second in the Pacific Division standings, are 46-29-5 (97 points) and moved four points ahead of the idle Calgary Flames, who rank third in the division with a record of 43-29-7 (93 points).
* Higgins has converted on three of five shootout attempts this season, with two of the markers standing as game-deciding goals.
* Eddie Lack made 36 saves through 65 minutes and stopped all three shooters in the shootout to earn his career-high 17th win of the season. Overall, Lack is 17-13-4 with a 2.52 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Lack is 4-2 in shootouts this season, where he has stopped 12 of 16 shooters for a .750 shootout save percentage.
* Henrik Sedin (0-1-1) registered his 51st assist of the season, which also stood as the 700th in the NHL. Sedin is the Canucks’ all-time leader in assists and became the 52nd player in NHL history to reach the milestone.
LINDBACK BACKSTOPS BUFFALO PAST CAROLINA WITH CAREER PERFORMANCE
Anders Lindback made a career-high 49 saves to backstop the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes.
* Lindback stopped all but three of a career-high 52 shots he faced and is 6-14-2 with a 3.16 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
* Tyler Ennis (1-1-2) scored his 20th goal and had his 25th assist to post his eighth multi-point performance of the season. The marker was also the second game-winning goal of the season for Ennis, who reached the 20-goal plateau for the second consecutive season and for the third time in his career.
* Brian Gionta (1-1-2) scored his 12th goal and had his 21st assist to record his eighth multi-point game of the season. Five of Gionta’s eight multi-point performances have come during his past eight games, where he has recorded 11 points (5-6-11).
* Johan Larsson (1-1-2) scored his sixth goal and added his 10th assist to record his second multi-point game of the season.
* Zach Bogosian (0-2-2) had two assists.
BENN LEADS DALLAS PAST SAN JOSE
Jamie Benn (2-1-3) scored a power-play goal, an even-strength goal and had his team-leading 48th assist to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks. Dallas has won seven of their past eight road games (7-1-0).
* Benn’s seventh three-point performance of the season allowed him to reach a career-high 80 points (32-48-80); he eclipsed his previous best of 79 points (34-45-79) from 2013-14. Benn ranks tied for second among League-leaders in points and has nine points (5-4-9) in his past five games.
* Jason Spezza (0-2-2) and Tyler Seguin (0-2-2) each had two assists. Seguin extended his point streak to five games (4-5-9).
* Patrick Eaves (1-0-1) scored his 12th goal of the season on a power play. The marker was the fifth power-play goal of the season for Eaves, which matched his career-high from his 2005-06 rookie season when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators. The tally stood as Eaves' career-high second game-winning goal.
* Jhonas Enroth saved all but one of 24 shots he faced and is 16-26-2 with a 3.18 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Enroth is 3-0-0 in three career games against the Sharks.
Carolina forward Eric Staal (1-1-2) had his 10th multi-point game of the season. ... Carolina defenseman John-Michael Liles (0-2-2) had two assists. ... Columbus’ franchise-record winning streak ended at nine consecutive games, although the Blue Jackets have earned a point in 10 straight games (9-0-1). ... Columbus’ franchise-record road winning streak ended at eight consecutive games, although it has earned a point in nine straight (8-0-1). ... Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had his personal winning streak end at eight consecutive decisions, which was one win shy of his career-high and the Blue Jackets record from Nov. 29, 2013-Jan. 23, 2014. ... Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky (1-0-1) extended his point streak to a career-high five games (3-4-7). ... Columbus forward Nick Foligno (0-1-1) extended his point streak to four games (4-2-6). ... Columbus forward Artem Anisimov (0-1-1) extended his point streak to three games (0-3-3). ... Columbus forward Boone Jenner skated in the 100th game of his NHL career. ... Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault (0-1-1) extended his point streak to three games (0-5-5). ... Los Angeles forward Dwight King (1-0-1) extended his point streak to three games (2-1-3). ... Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter (0-1-1) extended his point streak to three games (2-3-5). ... Los Angeles forward Tyler Toffoli (0-1-1) extended his point streak to three games (0-3-3). ... San Jose forward Chris Tierney (0-1-1) extended his point streak to a career-high four games (2-3-5). ... Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, Philadelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno were named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending April 5. ... A new camera was installed in the goal posts during the game between the New York Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.