SENATORS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH IN POTENTIAL FIRST-ROUND PREVIEW
Alexandre Burrows , acquired via trade on Feb. 27, scored the tying goal and Craig Anderson made 28 saves through overtime to help the Ottawa Senators clinch a playoff berth for the 16th time in franchise history.
* At 43-27-10 (96 points), the Senators moved one point ahead of the Boston Bruins (44-30-7, 95 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa holds a game in hand on Boston, a potential first-round opponent, and swept the season series for the first time in franchise history (OTT: 4-0-0, BOS: 0-3-1).
* Ottawa is back in the playoffs after missing last season. All of Ottawa's 16 playoff appearances have come in the past 20 seasons. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the Detroit Red Wings (19) and San Jose Sharks (17) are the only teams that have qualified for the postseason more times in that span.
Video: Senators clinch playoff spot in 2-1 shootout win
Home Team in Caps
Ottawa 2, BOSTON 1 (SO)
Pittsburgh 7, NEW JERSEY 4
NY Islanders 3, CAROLINA 0
Winnipeg 5, COLUMBUS 4
Tampa Bay 4, TORONTO 1
St. Louis 6, FLORIDA 3
Nashville 7, DALLAS 3
Minnesota 4, COLORADO 3
ARIZONA 4, Vancouver 3
ANAHEIM 4, Chicago 0
Calgary 4, LOS ANGELES 1
Edmonton 4, SAN JOSE 2
ISLANDERS, LIGHTNING STAY ALIVE IN RACE FOR FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT
The New York Islanders (39-29-12, 90 points) and Tampa Bay Lightning (40-30-10, 90 points) earned victories in must-win games on the road to stay in the race for the 16th and final berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay's win came against the Toronto Maple Leafs (39-26-15, 93 points), who lead the Islanders and Lightning by three points for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
* Brock Nelson (GWG) scored 87 seconds into the game and Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves as the Islanders extended their win streak to four games. Halak registered his second shutout of the season to extend his personal winning streak to five games and improve to 5-1-0 since rejoining the Islanders on March 24 (1.51 GAA, .949 SV%, 1 SO).
* Nikita Kucherov (GWG) scored his 39th goal of the season (tied for second in the NHL) to help the Lightning improve to 6-1-1 in their past eight games overall and finish their season series against Toronto with a 2-1-1 record (TOR: 2-2-0). Victor Hedman tallied 0-3-3 to take the League lead for assists among defensemen and become the first defenseman in Lightning history to reach the 70-point mark in a season (15-55-70).
Video: Point's two-goal game powers Lightning past Leafs
Remaining Games for Teams in Playoff Contention
Toronto: Saturday vs. PIT, Sunday vs. CBJ
NY Islanders: Saturday at NJD, Sunday vs. OTT
Tampa Bay: Friday at MTL, Sunday vs. BUF
DUCKS, OILERS EARN WINS IN PURSUIT OF PACIFIC DIVISION TITLE
The Pacific Division title will be decided within the final two days of the regular season following wins by the Anaheim Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) and Edmonton Oilers (45-26-9, 99 points):
* John Gibson (37 saves) had his sixth shutout of the season and Corey Perry scored the game-winning goal to help the Ducks extend their point streak to 13 games (10-0-3) dating to March 12. Anaheim, which has clinched home ice in the opening round, is 8-0-1 in its past nine games at Honda Center.
* Milan Lucic (3-0-3) had a natural hat trick in the third period to help the Oilers rally past the San Jose Sharks (45-29-7, 97 points) and stay in the race for first place in the division. Connor McDavid (1-1-2) reached the 30-goal mark for the first time to extend his point streak to 12 games (7-15-22) and open a nine-point lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy (30-67-97).
* Edmonton has a home-and-home set against the Canucks on the weekend; Anaheim hosts the Kings in their regular-season finale on Sunday. The Ducks hold a 42-41 advantage in ROW, but the Oilers lead the season-series tiebreaker.
Video: Gibson, Rakell lead Ducks to 4-0 win over Blackhawks
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEEDING TO BE DECIDED ON FINAL WEEKEND
The St. Louis Blues (44-29-7, 95 points), Calgary Flames (45-32-4, 94 points) and Nashville Predators (41-28-12, 94 points) won to maintain their positions in the Western Conference playoff picture. St. Louis owns the ROW tiebreaker against each (STL: 43, CGY: 41, NSH: 39).
* Jaden Schwartz collected 1-2-3 to help the Blues improve to 13-2-2 in their past 17 games and strengthen their grip on third place in the Central Division. St. Louis plays Saturday at Carolina and Sunday vs. Colorado; the Blues need one point to clinch the No. 3 seed.
* Jon Gillies, a third-round pick (No. 75) in the 2012 draft, made 27 saves in his NHL debut to help the Flames maintain their hold on first wild card in the Western Conference. Calgary plays its final game of the regular season on Saturday at San Jose.
* Viktor Arvidsson (2-2-4) established a career high for points in a game as the Predators raced to a 5-0 lead en route to victory. Nashville closes the 2016-17 regular season on Saturday at Winnipeg.
PENGUINS LOCK UP HOME ICE AGAINST BLUE JACKETS
The Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth straight game to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division and home ice in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
* The Penguins (50-19-11, 111 points) reached the 50-win mark for the fourth time in franchise history (also 1992-93, 2011-12 and 2013-14). They will finish with the second-best record in the NHL and the second-most points in franchise history; in 1992-93, they established franchise records for wins (56) and points (119) in a season.
* Sidney Crosby (0-2-2) collected 5-5-10 in the five-game season series against the Devils and shares second in the NHL with 43-45-88 (74 GP).
Bryan Little (1-3-4) matched a career high for points in a game and Eric Comrie made 35 saves in his NHL debut as the Winnipeg Jets extended their win streak to six games, their longest such run since relocating to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011-12. …. San Jose's Brent Burns , who leads NHL defensemen with 29-46-75 (81 GP), matched his own single-season team record for points by a defenseman (27-48-75 in 2015-16). He is the first defenseman to record back-to-back 75-point seasons since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers did it in 1995-96 and 1996-97. … Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot earned his 41st win to establish a single-season franchise record, surpassing the mark set by Grant Fuhr (40 in 1987-88). … Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk became the first goaltender in franchise history to win 40 games in a season. … Oscar Klefbom (0-4-4) became the first Oilers defenseman to have four assists in a game since Chris Pronger (0-4-4) on Dec. 31, 2005. … Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler (0-1-1) extended his point streak to seven games (3-7-10). … Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel (1-1-2) scored for a fourth straight game. … Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games for spearing Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin. … Denver will face Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four on Saturday. … The Blues announced that forward Vladimir Sobotka will return to the team and has signed a three-year contract extension.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Tampa Bay @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, SNE, RDS