Even though he went scoreless in his return, the surging Pittsburgh Penguins welcomed back captain Sidney Crosby.
Crosby, who missed the previous seven games and 28 of the past 31 with a high ankle sprain, played on a line with Marian Hossa, took three shots in his first game since March 9 and the Penguins upended the New York Islanders 3-1 on Thursday night.
"(The ankle) feels a lot better," said Crosby, who played in three games earlier this month but then sat out when his ankle was subsequently sore. "My timing's still not there, but as far as the ankle goes, it feels OK.
"(The ankle) won't be an issue."
In other NHL games, it was Boston 4, Toronto 2; the New York Rangers 3, New Jersey 2; Washington 4, Tampa Bay 3 in overtime; Buffalo 4, Ottawa 3 in a shootout; San Jose 3, Dallas 2 in overtime; Atlanta 3, Florida 2; and Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 0.
Evgeni Malkin scored his 45th goal of the season as the Penguins won their sixth consecutive home game and seventh of nine overall, extending their lead in the Atlantic Division to six points.
Jarkko Ruutu had a goal and two assists and Georges Laraque had a goal and an assist.
Josef Vasicek scored for the Islanders, who lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
Hossa left the game with 16:23 to play after he was clipped during a blind mid-ice collision with the Islanders' Sean Bergenheim. Hossa, who previously had left the game briefly during the second after a hit on his knee, was on the ice for a few minutes. He did not return. The team classified it as an upper-body injury and said he was day to day, further jeopardizing the pairing of former 100-point scorers Hossa and Crosby.
Tim Thomas made 30 saves, Phil Kessel and Peter Schaefer each had a goal and an assist and host Boston eliminated Toronto from playoff contention.
The Bruins moved into a seventh-place tie with idle Philadelphia, while Toronto missed the playoffs for the third straight year. It was the first time since the 1926-28 seasons the Maple Leafs have gone three years without a playoff appearance.
Marco Sturm and Glen Murray also scored for Boston.
Pavel Kubina scored a power-play goal for the Maple Leafs.
Nigel Dawes scored the tiebreaking goal while sliding on his back into Devils goalie Martin Brodeur late in the third period and host New York beat New Jersey for the seventh straight time this season.
The Devils lost their fifth straight (0-4-1). The teams are tied in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 91 points, but New Jersey is still ahead because it has more wins than New York.
Tomas Fleischmann scored with 2:33 left in overtime and visiting Washington remained two points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley and Alexander Semin also scored for the Capitals, who trail Southeast Division-leading Carolina, which has a game in hand, by two points.
Alexander Ovechkin, who has a league-leading 61 goals and 107 points, didn't get a point. He had several scoring chances in the first, including a shot from the slot that went just wide of the net midway through the period
Jeff Halpern, Alexandre Picard and Michel Ouellet had the Tampa Bay goals.
Jason Pominville and Derek Roy scored in the shootout for visiting Buffalo.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stopped Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson before Jason Spezza scored on Ottawa's third attempt.
Paul Gaustad scored with 1:26 remaining in the third to send the game to overtime.
Maxim Afinogenov and Jochen Hecht scored in the first period for Buffalo, which is 10th overall in the East with 83 points.
Joe Thornton banked a power-play goal off the Dallas defense with 2:02 left in overtime, and host San Jose inched closer to a Pacific Division title, snapping a six-game home losing streak against the Stars.
Thornton also scored the tying goal early in the third period and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves, as the Sharks earned a point in their 17th consecutive game.
San Jose needs three points from its last five games to clinch the third division title in franchise history and a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Stars lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Mark Recchi scored with 6:13 left in the third period to help visiting Atlanta snap a five-game losing streak.
Nathan Horton and Radek Dvorak scored for Florida, which lost its second in a row after going 8-0-1 in its previous nine games.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists and Erik Ersberg made 38 saves and host Los Angeles shut out Phoenix.
Ersberg earned his second career shutout in his 10th NHL start.
Kopitar assisted on goals by Kevin Dallman and Dustin Brown around his 30th goal of the season as the Kings scored three times during a 6:11 stretch of the second period to take control of the game. Rob Blake added a goal in the third period.