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Elliott's shutout helps Blues clinch playoff berth

NHL News and Notes @NHL

Brian Elliott (15 saves) had his third consecutive shutout to lead the St. Louis Blues to their ninth victory in 11 games and clinch their fifth consecutive playoff berth.

* At 44-22-9 (97 points), the Blues also moved pulled even with the idle Dallas Stars (44-22-9, 97 points) in terms of points for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. Dallas holds the ROW tiebreaker (DAL: 42, STL: 39).

* Elliott, who had his 34th career shutout and fourth of the season, has back-to-back-to-back shutouts for the third time in his career (also March 22-27, 2012 and April 7-11, 2013).

Tweet from @NHL: Ticket punched to the 2016 #StanleyCup Playoffs. See you April 13, @StLouisBlues.

* Via the Elias Sports Bureau, Elliott is the only active goaltender to have three straight shutouts at least three times in his career. Roberto Luongo is the only other active goaltender with at least two such streaks (Nov. 25-29, 2007: 3 SO and Nov. 4-8, 2008: 3 SO).

* Elliott, who leads the League in goals-against average (1.95) and save percentage (.934), has won three straight appearances since returning from injury on March 19. He has a 20-7-6 record in 33 games played.

Braden Holtby made 22 saves, including 12 in the third period and overtime, and John Carlson scored at 2:17 of OT to help the Washington Capitals to their fourth win in five games. 

* At 53-15-5 (111 points), the Capitals moved within one victory of equaling their single-season franchise record, established in 2009-10 when they won the Presidents' Trophy (54-15-13, 121 points). Washington can clinch the top record in the NHL and home ice throughout the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday when they host the Blues at Verizon Center. 

* The Capitals improved to 25-9-3 (53 points) as visitors to establish a franchise record for road wins in one season, besting the mark they set in 2009-10 (24-10-7, 55 points). 

* Carlson scored his first career overtime goal (446 GP) in his return to the lineup following a 13-game absence. 

* Holtby, who had his 23rd career shutout and third this season, is 10-3-1 with three shutouts in 14 career games against the New Jersey Devils (1.99 GAA, .926 SV%). Holtby is 45-9-4 in 60 appearances in 2015-16 (2.21 GAA, .922 SV%); he's the sixth goaltender in NHL history to have 45 wins in a single season: 

Most Wins in a Single Season, NHL History 
48 - Martin Brodeur (78 GP) in 2006-07 w/ NJD 
47 - Bernie Parent (73 GP) in 1973-74 w/ PHI 
47 - Roberto Luongo (76 GP) in 2006-07 w/ VAN 
46 - Evgeni Nabokov (77 GP) in 2007-08 w/ SJS 
45 - Braden Holtby (60 GP) in 2015-16 w/ WSH 
45 - Miikka Kiprusoff (76 GP) in 2008-09 w/ CGY 
45 - Martin Brodeur (77 GP) in 2009-10 w/ NJD 

Tied 4-4 with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored three unanswered goals, two in 23 seconds by Tyler Johnson (1-0-1) and Jason Garrison (1-2-3), to earn their third consecutive victory and move back into first place in the Atlantic Division.

* The goals by Johnson and Garrison marked the second set of Lightning goals scored less than 30 seconds apart in the game. Nikita Kucherov (1-1-2) and Vladislav Namestnikov (1-0-1) scored nine seconds apart in the first period to match the fastest two goals in franchise history, achieved twice before: Jan. 9, 2004 at New Jersey (Dave Andreychuk and Fredrik Modin) and Jan. 14, 2014 at the New York Rangers (Victor Hedman and Kucherov).

* Kucherov scored for the fourth consecutive game (4-3-7) and has matched a career high with 29 goals this season (72 GP), equaling his total from 2014-15 (82 GP).

* Garrison matched a career high for points in a game, also achieved with the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 13, 2013 vs. Edmonton (0-3-3). Ondrej Palat (0-3-3), Andrej Sustr (1-1-2) and Jonathan Marchessault (0-2-2) also had multiple points.

* Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson, a second-round selection (No. 46) in the 2011 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal (60 GP).

* Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner played in his 500th career game (all w/ Washington).

Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood (25 saves), who saw his shutout streak end at 159:34, has earned a point in each of his first three NHL appearances (2-0-1). He has stopped 91 of 93 shots he's faced. … Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (1-0-1) scored for the sixth time in his past six games (6-3-9). He shares fourth in the League with 35 goals (tied w/ Joe Pavelski). … Blues forward Kyle Brodziak scored his third game-winning goal of 2015-16 to match a career high achieved in three straight seasons from 2007-10 (w/ Edmonton and Minnesota). … ICYMI: The NHL fined Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson $2,486.56, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for an inappropriate gesture aimed at Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri.

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