AVALANCHE RALLY (AGAIN) FOR KEY POINTS IN WILD CARD RACE
Carl Soderberg (1-0-1) tied the game at 9:09 of the third period and Mikkel Boedker (0-1-1) scored the lone goal in the shootout to help the Colorado Avalanche overcome deficits of 1-0 and 3-1 and earn their fifth victory in seven games.
* The Avalanche, who moved three points ahead of the idle Minnesota Wild for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, play the Wild once more in their remaining 10 games: March 26 at Pepsi Center. Minnesota has won three of their first four head-to-head matchups this season (MIN: 3-0-1, COL: 1-3-0).
* Via the Elias Sports Bureau, the Avalanche won a game in which they trailed by any margin for the 13th time this season. That includes a League-high five instances in which they overcame a multiple-goal deficit to win (tied w/ the Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins).
* Boedker, who scored the decisive tally in Colorado's 3-1 victory Wednesday at the Vancouver Canucks, had his sixth career game-deciding goal (14th overall). He has 3-3-6 in eight games since joining the Avalanche.
CAPITALS INCH CLOSER TO REGULAR-SEASON TITLES, FRANCHISE RECORDS
The Washington Capitals scored four unanswered goals, powered by Evgeny Kuznetsov (0-3-3) and Daniel Winnik (0-2-2) - to improve to 4-1-1 in their past six games overall and 21-3-1 in their past 25 games at Verizon Center.
* At 51-14-5 (107 points), the League-leading Capitals hold leads of 19 and 18 points in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference, respectively. Their 51 victories rank second in franchise history; they won 54 games in 2009-10, when they won the Presidents' Trophy.
* The Capitals also lead the NHL in home wins (28) and points (58). Their 28 victories at Verizon Center are two shy of matching the franchise record for home wins in one season established in 1985-86 and equaled in 2009-10.
* Kuznetsov had his eighth three-point game of the season and extended his assist/point streak to five games (0-7-7). He is tied for third in the NHL scoring race with 73 points (20-53)
* Winnik scored his first goals with the Capitals (8 GP) and had his first multiple-goal game since Jan. 21, 2013, when he scored twice against the Calgary Flames while playing for the Anaheim Ducks, to reach 200 career points.
GUIDED BY THE GOALIE
Three goaltenders had shutouts to backstop their clubs to victories:
* Cam Talbot made 40 saves, including 16 in each of the final two periods, for his 11th career shutout and third this season, helping the Edmonton Oilers to their second straight win. Talbot improved to 13-0-1 in his NHL career when making 35 or more saves in a game (1.56 GAA, .960 SV%, 2 SO); he is 6-0-0 when facing at least 40 shots (2.00 GAA, .953 SV%, 1 SO).
* Frederik Andersen stopped 38 shots, including 16 in the second period, for his fifth career shutout, helping the Ducks to a 10-1-1 in their past 12 games at Honda Center. Andersen improved to 20-9-6 this season (2.17 GAA, .924 SV%, 2 SO) and is 15-1-1 in his last 17 decisions dating to Jan. 13.
* Scott Darling stopped all 28 shots he faced, highlighted by a sprawling cross-crease stop to preserve a scoreless tie, to help the Chicago Blackhawks end a four-game losing streak (0-3-1). Darling had his second career shutout exactly one year after his first one (at the New York Rangers on March 18, 2015).
DID YOU KNOW?
Forward Sam Reinhart tallied 1-1-2, including his 20th goal of 2015-16, to help the Buffalo Sabres improve to 2-0-1 in their past three games. Reinhart shares third among rookies in goals, behind Chicago's Artemi Panarin (25) and teammate Jack Eichel (22). Eichel and Reinhart became the third pair of Sabres rookies to each reach the 20-goal milestone in the same season. The others: Gilbert Perreault (38) and Steve Atkinson (20) in 1970-71 and Danny Gare (31) and Peter McNab (22) in 1974-75.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (1-1-2) had his eighth game-winning goal to move into a share of second in the League behind the San Jose Sharks' Joe Pavelski (10). … Capitals forward T.J. Oshie (1-0-1) established and tied career highs for goals (22) and game-winning goals (5) in a season (70 GP), surpassing and equaling marks set with the St. Louis Blues in 2013-14 (21 G, 5 GWG in 79 GP). … Oilers forward Connor McDavid (0-1-1) shares second place in the NHL with 9-18-27 in 24 games since returning from a broken collarbone on Feb. 2. … Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (20 SV) earned his League-leading 43rd win of the season. … Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd , who received a standing ovation in his return to Winnipeg, scored in the third period to reach the 20-goal milestone for the fifth time in his career. Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano and forward Freddie Hamilton scored shorthanded goals 30 seconds apart, the third-fastest such goals in club history. … ICYMI: Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec sprawled out for a tremendous glove save. … Ducks forward Jamie McGinn (1-0-1) established a career high with his fourth game-winning goal of the season. … The Department of Player Safety suspended Philadelphia Flyers forward Chris VandeVelde for two games for elbowing Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews .