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Rangers clinch playoff berth, Blues continue to roll

NHL News and Notes @NHLdotcom


Chris Kreider  and Derek Stepan  each had 1-1-2 to help the New York Rangers clinch a berth in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their sixth consecutive postseason appearance and 10th in the past 11 seasons.

* At 44-26-9 (97 points), the Rangers climbed within three points of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins (46-25-8, 100 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

* Kreider (20-21-41) and Stepan (20-29-49) reached the 20-goal mark, joining teammates Derick Brassard  (27-31-58), Mats Zuccarello  (26-33-59) and J.T. Miller  (22-21-43).

* Per Elias, five Rangers players reached the 20-goal mark in a season for the first time since 2010-11 (Brandon Dubinsky : 24, Ryan Callahan : 23, Marian Gaborik : 22, Derek Stepan : 21 and Brian Boyle : 21).

* Down 2-0, the St. Louis Blues scored five unanswered goals to rally past the Arizona Coyotes and pick up their seventh victory in their past eight games (7-1-0). Vladimir Tarasenko (1-1-2) scored the game-winning goal and had an assist to extend his point streak to six games (3-5-8). With 37 goals in 2015-16, Tarasenko (37-34-71) ranks fourth in the NHL and matched his single-season career high from 2014-15. At 48-23-9 (105 points), the Blues tied the idle Dallas Stars (48-23-9, 105 points) - in terms of points - for the top record in the Western Conference. Dallas, however, owns the ROW tiebreaker (DAL: 46, STL: 43).

Rocco Grimaldi (2-0-2) had the first multi-goal game of his NHL career and Aleksander Barkov  scored the go-ahead goal at 9:30 of the third period to lead the Florida Panthers to a 5-1-0 record in their past six road games, including three straight wins. Barkov moved into a share of second place in the NHL with eight game-winning goals this season, trailing Joe Pavelski  (10). At 45-25-9 (99 points), the Panthers established a franchise record for points in a season, eclipsing the previous total from 1999-00 (43-27-12, 98 points), and increased their lead to four points over the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-29-5, 95 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division.

* John Tavares  had 1-2-3 to lead the New York Islanders to a 10-2-1 record in their past 13 home games and prevent the Lightning from clinching a playoff spot. Tavares (30-34-64) registered his fourth three-point game of the season and reached the 30-goal mark for the third time in his NHL career (also 2014-15: 38 and 2011-12: 31). At 43-26-9 (95 points), the Islanders remained two points back of the Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

* Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter became the 15th head coach in NHL history to coach 1,200 career regular-season games.

* The Panthers earned their 700th regular-season victory in franchise history.

* Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gregory Campbell  skated in the 800th game of his NHL career.

* Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell  played in his 373rd consecutive game with the team to tie Olli Jokinen for the longest such streak in franchise history.

* Defenseman T.J. Brennan scored his first goal as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ryan Miller  made 40 saves and the Vancouver Canucks overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to defeat the Kings 3-2, their third straight win on the heels of a nine-game slide (0-8-1). ... Blues goaltender Brian Elliott  (25 saves) extended his personal point streak to 12 games dating to Feb. 6 (11-0-1), including wins in his past 10 decisions. ... Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair  (20-24-44) scored to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career. Per Elias, he became the second Coyotes rookie to score 20 goals in a season since the club relocated to Arizona (Peter Mueller: 22 in 2007-08). ... Kings forward Tyler Toffoli  (30-26-56) scored to reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career. He became the first Kings player to score 30 goals in a season since Anze Kopitar  (34) in 2009-10. ... Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno  (2-0-2), Blues forward Kyle Brodziak  (2-0-2) and Maple Leafs forward Colin Greening  (2-0-2) each scored two goals. ... Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau  (0-1-1) extended his point streak to six games (6-3-9). ... Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov  (30-35-65) had one assist to match his single-season career high of 29-36-65 from 2014-15. ... The Blues have earned points in 12 consecutive games vs. ARI/PHX dating to March 7, 2013 (11-0-1), including eight straight wins. ... The Rangers have won seven consecutive games vs. CBJ dating to Jan. 16, 2015 (CBJ: 0-5-2). ... The Islanders have earned points in nine consecutive home games vs. TBL dating to Dec. 22, 2010 (8-0-1). ... Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin , Sharks defenseman Brent Burns  and Penguins goaltender Matt Murray have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending April 3. ... Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri  has been suspended for four games, without pay, for cross-checking Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening  in Toronto on Saturday, April 2.

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