Home Team in Caps
COLUMBUS 4, NY Islanders 3 (SO)
Washington 5, MONTREAL 4 (SO)
OTTAWA 2, Tampa Bay 1 (OT)
Boston 3, DETROIT 2
FLORIDA 6, Carolina 1
ST. LOUIS 4, Calgary 1
NY Rangers 3, MINNESOTA 2
CHICAGO 3, Vancouver 1
LOS ANGELES 8, Edmonton 2
BLUES CLINCH FOURTH STRAIGHT PLAYOFF BERTH
Jaden Schwartz, Paul Stastny, Jori Lehtera and Patrik Berglund all had 1-1—2 to help the St. Louis Blues sweep their three-game season series with the Calgary Flames, winning 4-1 and clinching a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 39th time in franchise history.
* The Blues also pulled within two points of the idle Nashville Predators (47-22-9, 103 points) for first place in the Central Division, where the top three teams are separated by three points.
* The Blues (47-23-7, 101 points), who will make their fourth straight trip to the postseason, also reached 100 points for the seventh time in franchise history, including three times in the past four seasons.
* Schwartz ranks third on the club with 25-33—58 this season (70 GP), matching and surpassing career highs for goals and points, respectively, established in 2013-14 (25-31—56 in 80 GP).
* Stastny scored his 30th career game-winning goal and sixth this season, equaling a career high set during his rookie season in 2006-07 (w/ COL).
* Jake Allen made 17 saves to improve to 3-0-1 in his past four starts (1.25 goals-against average, .948 save percentage) and 20-6-4 this season. Elias says his 20 wins are the most in one season by a Blues rookie goalie, besting the previous mark of 19 (Brent Johnson, 2000-01). He also shares the NHL lead for wins among rookie goaltenders (w/ Michael Hutchinson, WPG).
* Brian Elliott (24-14-3) also has 20 wins for the Blues this season. This is the second time in franchise history that two Blues goaltenders have earned at least 20 wins in the same season. Elliott (23-10-4) and Jaroslav Halak (26-12-7) also accomplished the feat in 2011-12 when they shared the William M. Jennings Trophy.
BLACKHAWKS TO MAKE SEVENTH STRAIGHT TRIP TO POSTSEASON
Jonathan Toews broke a deadlock in the third period and Marcus Kruger added an insurance goal 2:27 later to power the Chicago Blackhawks to their third straight win, 3-1 against the Vancouver Canucks, and their seventh consecutive berth in the playoffs.
* Chicago will play in the postseason for the 60th time in franchise history. At 47-24-6 (100 points), the Blackhawks sit in third place in the Central Division behind the Blues (47-23-7, 101 points) and Predators (47-22-9, 103 points). Chicago and St. Louis face off two more times this season: Sunday at CHI and April 9 at STL.
* Toews (26-38—64) pulled into a tie with Patrick Kane (27-37—64) for the team scoring lead. He has 7-7—14 in his past 14 games, including 3-1—4 in his past four.
* Toews scored his 42nd career game-winning goal; he shares the team lead (w/ Brandon Saad) with six game-winning goals this season.
* Kruger (1-1—2) had multiple points for the second time this season (Dec. 11 at BOS: 0-2—2). Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford made 35 saves to improve to 32-17-5 this season (54 GP); he is one win shy of his career high set in 2010-11.
RANGERS CLAIM METROPOLITAN DIVISION, SET FRANCHISE ROAD RECORD
J.T. Miller scored his third career game-winning goal just 55 seconds after the Minnesota Wild erased a two-goal deficit to help the New York Rangers win 3-2, sweep their two-game season series and clinch the Metropolitan Division.
* The Rangers won their eighth division title in franchise history and first since 2011-12 when they finished atop the standings in the former Atlantic Division. At 49-21-7 (105 points), they pulled within two points of the idle Anaheim Ducks (50-22-7, 107 points) in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. New York holds two games in hand and owns the ROW tiebreaker (NYR: 45, ANA: 42).
* The Rangers improved to 26-11-2 (54 points) as visitors this season. Their 26 road wins and 54 road points pace the NHL and are franchise records.
* Rick Nash matched a career-high and moved into second in the League with his 41st goal of the season; he also scored 41 goals in 2003-04 w/ CBJ. Dominic Moore scored the other Rangers goal, while Ryan McDonagh had two assists.
OVECHKIN SETS FRANCHISE RECORDS AS CAPITALS CLIMB STANDINGS
Alex Ovechkin and Joel Ward each scored twice in regulation and Troy Brouwer tallied the game-deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout to lift the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 win, their first of the season against the Montreal Canadiens (WSH: 1-0-2, MTL: 2-0-1), and to their seventh victory in their past nine games.
* The victory propelled the Capitals (43-25-10, 96 points) from the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference to second place in the Metropolitan Division, where only one point separates the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds.
* Ovechkin scored his 473rd and 474th career goals to surpass Peter Bondra (472) for first place on the Capitals all-time goals list. He also holds the franchise records for points (893), power-play goals (175) and game-winning goals (80).
* Ovechkin scored both goals on the power play, marking the second time this season (Nov. 16 at NYI) and 16th time in his career he has scored multiple goals with the man advantage in a game.
* Overall, he established a franchise record with his 15th multigoal game of the season. It was the 100th such performance of his career, tying Alexander Mogilny for 23rd in NHL history; Wayne Gretzky ranks first with 189.
* Via Elias, Sidney Crosby was the last player to record multiple goals in a game at least 15 times in one season (15 in 2009-10). Brett Hull set the NHL record with 26 such games in 1990-91.
* Braden Holtby made 23 saves through overtime and denied all four shootout attempts to win his fourth straight decision and improve to 6-0-2 in eight career games against the Canadiens (1.33 GAA, .950 save percentage, two shutouts). He picked up his 39th win of the season to move within two of the League lead and of the single-season franchise record, set by Olie Kolzig in 1999-00.
* Ward (19-15—34) has scored in his past two games after going nine straight games without a goal. John Carlson had three assists.
* Coach Barry Trotz earned his 600th career victory behind a NHL bench.
KINGS CLIMB BACK INTO PLAYOFF PICTURE
Six different players found the back of the net, including multigoal games by Marian Gaborik (2-1—3) and Jeff Carter (2-0—2), as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 8-2, improving to 11-0-3 in their past 14 games against the Oilers dating to Jan. 15, 2012 and climbing back into the Western Conference playoff picture.
* At 38-25-14 (90 points), the Kings passed the idle Winnipeg Jets (39-26-12, 90 points) for the second wild card into the playoffs in the West.
* The Kings moved within one point of the Flames (42-29-7, 91 points) and five points back of the Canucks (45-28-5, 95 points) in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles faces each club once more this season: Monday at VAN and Thursday at CGY.
* Gaborik had his second three-point game of the season (Dec. 18 vs. STL: 2-1—3); he has 4-3—7 in his past seven games. Carter leads the Kings with 28 goals this season, his most since 2010-11 when he scored 36 w/ PHI.
* Drew Doughty (1-1—2), Anze Kopitar (0-2—2) and Justin Williams (0-2—2) had multipoint games for the Kings, who had 15 of 18 skaters find the score sheet. The club scored at least eight goals in a game for the first time since April 1, 2010 (8-3 win vs VAN).
* Jonathan Quick made 28 saves to improve to 14-1-5 with a 1.56 GAA and .939 save percentage in 20 games vs. EDM.
* The Kings have won a franchise-record six consecutive home games against the Oilers (6-0-0) dating to April 2, 2012.
LATE RALLY HELPS BRUINS ADVANCE PLAYOFF POSITION
Down two in the third period, the Boston Bruins scored three unanswered goals, capped by Zach Trotman's first NHL goal with 2:08 left in regulation, to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, picking up their fourth straight victory and sweeping the three-game season series.
* At 40-25-13 (93 points), the Bruins tied the Red Wings (40-24-13, 93 points) in terms of points for third place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit, however, holds one game in hand.
* The Elias Sports Bureau says the Bruins overcame a multigoal third-period deficit to win in regulation for the first time since Jan. 10, 2011 at PIT.
* Trotman (25 GP) is the sixth player to score his first NHL goal for the Bruins this season, following Seth Griffith, Joe Morrow, Craig Cunningham, David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner. The previous time the Bruins had that many players score their first NHL goal in the same season was 2005-06.
* Carl Soderberg (1-1—2) extended his point streak to four games (2-4—6). Reilly Smith had two assists to reach 100 career points (36-64—100 in 199 GP). Spooner stretched his point streak to five games (3-3—6).
* Tuukka Rask made 35 saves, including 14 in the first period, to improve to 33-19-12 in 66 appearances this season. Byron Dafoe (1998-99: 68 GP) and Ed Johnston (1963-64: 70 GP) are the only goaltenders to play in more games in one season for the Bruins.
* The Bruins are 8-1-0 in their past nine games against the Red Wings dating to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round in 2014.
SENATORS, PANTHERS WIN TO STAY IN RACE
The Ottawa Senators (39-26-12, 90 points) and Florida Panthers (36-27-15, 87 points) won Thursday to keep pace with the Bruins (40-25-13, 93 points) for the second wild card spot into the playoffs from the East.
* Patrick Wiercioch scored his first career overtime goal with 16.9 seconds left to lift the Senators to a 2-1 win against the Lightning. It was their second straight win and earned them a split of the four-game season series.
* Mark Stone (1-1—2) extended his point streak to four games (2-3—5). Stone (20-36—56) became the second Senators rookie to reach the 20-goal milestone this season, following Mike Hoffman (26-21—47). Elias says the only other time the Senators had multiple rookies with at least 20 goals in the same season was 1993-94: Alexei Yashin (30) and Alexandre Daigle (20).
* Kyle Turris (22-35—57) had two assists to move within one point of his career high in a season (2013-14: 26-32—58 in 82 GP). He has 8-14—22 in 18 games vs. TBL.
* Andrew Hammond made 28 saves to improve to 16-1-1 with a 1.80 GAA and .940 save percentage. He has allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of his 20 career appearances.
* Roberto Luongo made 31 saves -- but fell 1:19 short of his third shutout of the season -- to record his 400th NHL victory and lead the Panthers to a 6-1 win and a sweep of their three-game season series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
* Luongo became the 11th goaltender in NHL history to record 400 wins and moved within one victory of tying Chris Osgood for 10th place in NHL history. He leads active goaltenders in wins, games played (861) and shutouts (68).
* Jaromir Jagr (721-1,077—1,798) had 1-1—2 to tie Ron Francis (549-1,249—1,798) for fourth place on the NHL's all-time points list. He moved within two assists of Adam Oates (1,079) for sixth place in NHL history.
* Vincent Trocheck (2-1—3) had his first career multi-goal game and second three-point game (Dec. 2 at DET: 1-2—3). Brandon Pirri scored his 19th goal in his past 26 games dating to Jan. 19; he had 16 goals in his first 75 games. Aleksander Barkov (1-1—2) and Willie Mitchell scored the other goals, while Jonathan Huberdeau and Jimmy Hayes each had two assists.
* The previous three games between the clubs featured a shutout, including 1-0 and 2-0 wins by Florida earlier this season. The Hurricanes' goal at 18:41 of the third period was their first against the Panthers since March 27, 2014, ending Florida's head-to-head shutout streak at 214:14.
Ryan Johansen scored with 3:43 left in regulation and scored in the shootout to help the Columbus Blue Jackets rally from a late two-goal deficit for their eighth consecutive victory, 4-3 against the New York Islanders, matching a franchise record established last season (Jan. 6-23, 2014) . . . Johansen extended his point streak to nine games (4-8—12); he posted 10-game and 13-game point streaks earlier this season (Oct. 9-31 and Dec. 18-Jan. 17, respectively) . . . Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves and denied two shootout attempts to pick up his seventh consecutive victory and improve to 11-2-0 in his past 13 decisions . . . Via Elias, Sean Monahan (20 years, 172 days) became the youngest player in Flames history to score 30 goals in one season. Only two other players have scored at least 30 goals in a season for the Flames before turning 21: Kevin LaVallee (32 goals in 1981-82) and Dan Quinn (30 goals in 1985-86) . . . Islanders forward Eric Boulton scored his first goal since Dec. 12, 2013 at PHX . . . John Tavares (35-44—79) had 1-1—2 to move within two points of his career high established in 2011-12. His 79 points are tied for second in the League this season . . . Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (1-2—3) had his 12th career three-point game and fifth this season. He ranks third among defensemen with 15-42—57 . . . Wild forward Thomas Vanek scored his 21st goal of the season; he has 8-4—12 in his past 12 games . . . Defenseman Matt Dumba assisted on both Wild goals . . . Red Wings defenseman Marek Zidlicky had his 400th NHL point . . . Kings forward Tanner Pearson and Oilers forward Anton Lander each signed two-year contract extensions . . . Oilers forward Jordan Eberle scored his 23rd goal of the season; he has 6-8—14 in his past 11 games . . . Oilers goaltender Tyler Bunz made his NHL debut in relief . . . The Department of Player Safety suspended Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for four games for cross-checking Rangers forward J.T. Miller . . . Rangers coach Alain Vigneault coached his 965th career game, surpassing Jack Adams and Sid Abel into 23rd place in NHL history . . . Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards won his 200th game behind an NHL bench . . . Linesman Jean Morin, a Sorel, Quebec native, skated in his final NHL game when the Capitals visited the Canadiens at Bell Centre. He finishes his 24-year NHL career with 1,427 regular-season games and 211 playoff games to his credit. Members of the Capitals congratulated Morin after the game.