BOESER SCORES WINNING GOAL DURING DEBUT IN HOME STATE
After signing his first NHL contract on Saturday morning, Brock Boeser scored the game-winning goal when he made his League debut to help the Canucks to victory.
* Boeser (Burnsville, Minnesota), the 23rd pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, played his final NCAA game with the University of North Dakota on Friday before making his NHL debut in his home state. The 20-year-old started at right wing for the Canucks, who welcomed Boeser's parents into the locker room before the game to read the starting lineup.
Video: Boeser scores in debut, Marchessault records three
Vancouver 4, MINNESOTA 2
COLUMBUS 1, Philadelphia 0
Calgary 3, ST. LOUIS 2 (OT)
BUFFALO 5, Toronto 2
MONTREAL 3, Ottawa 1
FLORIDA 7, Chicago 0
Carolina 3, NEW JERSEY 1
Boston 2, NY ISLANDERS 1
WASHINGTON 4, Arizona 1
NASHVILLE 7, San Jose 2
EDMONTON 4, Colorado 1
NY Rangers 3, LOS ANGELES 0
WILD CLINCH FIFTH CONSECUTIVE POSTSEASON BERTH
The Wild clinched a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Rangers defeated the Kings in regulation. It marks the fifth consecutive postseason appearance for the Wild and eighth in franchise history.
EASTERN CONFERENCE WILD CARD RACE INTENSIFIES
The Bruins and Hurricanes each won to gain ground in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, where five teams are separated by six points:
* Riley Nash scored twice when the Bruins (39-30-6, 84 points) defeated the Islanders (35-27-12, 82 points) to leapfrog them into sole possession of the final wild card spot. Nash, who signed with Boston in July after five seasons in Carolina, posted his first multi-goal game of the season, and Anton Khudobin (18 saves) improved to 5-0-0 in his past five decisions.
* Jeff Skinner (GWG) scored for a fifth straight game (7-1-8) to hit the 30-goal mark and help the Hurricanes (33-27-13, 79 points) extend their point streak to 10 games (7-0-3), their longest streak since 2008-09 (9-0-1). Sebastian Aho, who has points in six straight games (3-5-8), scored twice for Carolina, who hold at least one game in hand over each team ahead of them in the wild card race, including two games on Boston.
Video: CAR@NJD: Skinner puts Canes ahead with superb goal
WESTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS BOLSTER PLAYOFF HOPES
The Oilers and Flames each won to gain ground in the Pacific Division, where the top four teams are separated by three points:
* Leon Draisaitl scored the game-winning goal to help the Oilers (41-25-9, 91 points) improve to 6-1-0 in their past seven games and move into a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division. Draisaitl (4-10-14) and Connor McDavid (3-10-13) each extended his point streak to seven games - McDavid continues to lead the NHL with 26-62-88 this season and Draisaitl hit the 70-point mark for the first time (27-43-70). They are the first pair of Oilers teammates to reach the 70-point mark in a season since 2005-06, when Ales Hemsky (19-58-77) and Shawn Horcoff (22-51-73) did so.
* Sean Monahan (1-1-2) scored in the final seconds of overtime to lift the Flames (42-29-4, 89 points) to a 14-3-1 record in their last 18 games increasing their lead to two points for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. Monahan scored his seventh career regular-season overtime goal to pass Jarome Iginla (six) for the most in franchise history. Brian Elliott made 29 saves against his former team to improve to 13-1-1 in his last 15 appearances.
Nashville used a seven-goal outburst to leapfrog from the second wild card spot into third place in the Central Division (overtaking St. Louis):
* Colton Sissons and James Neal each scored twice and Colin Wilson and Craig Smith each had three assists when the Predators (38-25-11, 87 points) improved to 8-1-1 in their past 10 home games.
Video: SJS@NSH: Neal finishes tic-tac-toe play for PPG
METROPOLITAN TEAMS MOVE AHEAD IN RACE FOR PRESIDENTS' TROPHY
The Capitals (49-17-8, 106 points) and Blue Jackets (48-19-7, 103 points) each won to move ahead in the race for the Presidents' Trophy:
* Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring with his 30th goal of the season to help the League-leading Capitals establish a single-season franchise record with their 31st home win (31-6-2, 64 points). The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Ovechkin, who has reached the 30-goal mark in each of his first 12 NHL seasons, became the third player in League history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first 12 seasons, joining Mike Gartner (15) and Wayne Gretzky (13).
* Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves for his seventh shutout of the season (one off the League lead) when the Blue Jackets extended a franchise record with their 27th home win of the season (27-10-1, 55 points). Bobrovsky, who leads the League in wins, improved to 8-0-1 in March (0.99 GAA, .970 SV%, four SO) to become the first goaltender in Blue Jackets history to hit the 40-win mark in a season.
Video: Top Shelf: NHL's best plays of Saturday night
Andrei Markov had 2-1-3 when the Canadiens (42-24-9, 93 points) defeated the Senators (41-25-8, 90 points) for the third time in a week, opening a three-point lead atop the Atlantic Division . . . Jonathan Marchessault (3-0-3) had natural hat trick when the Panthers matched a season high with seven goals en route to victory over the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks. Marchessault has 28 goals this season after having eight goals in his first 49 career games . . . Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (30 saves) earned his fourth shutout of the season (30 GP), equaling his total from his first 64 career appearances . . . Auston Matthews scored his 34th goal of 2016-17 to tie the Maple Leafs franchise record for goals by a rookie (Wendel Clark in 1985-86) and equal Patrik Laine for the rookie lead in goals and points (61) . . . Sabres forward Jack Eichel (2-1-3) has 23-30-53 in 54 games this season . . . William Nylander (4-9-13 in 11 GP), Elias Lindholm (4-7-11 in 10 GP), John Tavares (3-4-7 in 6 GP) and Mike Hoffman (1-6-7 in 6 GP) each extended point streaks . . . The NHL Centennial Fan Arena began its two-day stay in New Jersey . . . The Predators honored goaltender Pekka Rinne for recently appearing in his 500th NHL game; he later reached the 30-win mark for a third consecutive season and sixth time in his NHL career.
Video: SJS@NSH: Predators honor Rinne for 500th career game
All Times Eastern
Minnesota @ Detroit, 12:30 p.m., NBC
Dallas @ New Jersey, 5 p.m., MSG+, FS-SW
Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., NBCSN
Vancouver @ Winnipeg, 8 p.m., SN
NY Rangers @ Anaheim, 9 p.m., PRIME, MSG
PLAYOFF PUSH CONTINUES ON NBC'S STAR SUNDAY DOUBLEHEADER
NBC Sports' Star Sunday doubleheader will feature the playoff-bound Penguins (46-17-11, 103 points) and Wild (44-24-6, 94 points). In the NHL Game of the Week at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Zach Parise leads Minnesota - who clinched their fifth consecutive postseason berth on Saturday - into Detroit to face Henrik Zetterberg and the Red Wings (29-32-12, 70 points). At 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Sidney Crosby looks to gain ground in the scoring race when the Penguins - who are headed to the playoffs for the 11th straight season - host Claude Giroux and the Flyers (34-32-8, 76 points) for their final meeting of 2016-17.
HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR STOPS IN MANITOBA
The Canucks (30-35-9, 69 points) visit the Jets (33-35-7, 73 points) on Rogers Hometown Hockey, which will showcase the city of Portage La Prairie, Man. Throughout the 2016-17 season, Sunday games will be broadcast from a different community rink in various towns across Canada. Included in each telecast will be local NHL player profiles, grassroots stories and local entertainment features. The tour will wrap up with two stops in Ontario over the final two weekends of the regular season - in Guelph (April 1 & 2) and Hamilton (April 8 & 9).