NHL: Rangers clinch berth
New York Rangers' Derek Stepan (21) and Ryan Callahan (24) celebrate Stepan's goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
RALEIGH, N.C. — Rangers captain Ryan Callahan scored 2:55 into overtime, and New York rallied to clinch a third straight Eastern Conference playoff berth by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 Thursday night.
Brad Richards tied it for the Rangers with 2:57 remaining in regulation after New York blew an early 2-0 lead and fell behind already-eliminated Carolina.
Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard staked the Rangers to the lead in the first period, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 18 shots for New York, which jumped over the rival Islanders and into seventh place in the East with one game left.
Jiri Tlusty had two goals and Tuomo Ruutu also scored for Carolina, which played without injured forward Alexander Semin. Dan Ellis finished with 34 saves for Carolina.
SENATORS 2, CAPITALS 1, OT
WASHINGTON — Sergei Gonchar scored 47 seconds into overtime, Erik Karlsson set up Ottawa’s first goal in his sooner-than-anticipated return from a torn Achilles tendon, and the Senators clinched a playoff berth by beating Washington.
Craig Anderson made 19 saves. The only shot that got past him was Alex Ovechkin’s NHL-leading 32nd goal, which tied the game 8½ minutes into the third period.
But ex-Capitals defenseman Gonchar put the winner past Michal Neuvirth, who made 39 saves.
Jakob Silfverberg deflected in Karlsson’s shot 12:35 into the second period against the Southeast Division champion Capitals, who had nothing at stake.
The overtime wins by the Senators and New York Rangers eliminated the Winnipeg Jets from the playoff chase.
The Senators, who have two games remaining, moved up to sixth in the East. If they remain there, Ottawa would face the Capitals, who have won 10 of 12 overall — with the only losses against the Senators.
FLYERS 2, ISLANDERS 1
PHILADELPHIA — Oliver Lauridsen and Danny Briere scored to lead Philadelphia over the New York Islanders, who dropped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Lauridsen scored his second career NHL goal on a slap shot high above the circle late in the third period to lift the Flyers to a win in their home finale. They will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who are headed to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. They dropped to eighth place after failing to earn a point for the first time in 12 games.
CANADIENS 4, JETS 2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Winnipeg Jets saw their playoff hopes end on the scoreboard before they were beaten by Montreal.
The Jets were ahead 2-1 as they started the third but already knew whatever they did wouldn’t be enough.
Both the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators won to clinch the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
David Desharnais netted two goals, and Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher also scored as the Canadiens broke out of a slump in which they had lost five of six.
James Wright and Blake Wheeler scored for the Jets, who finished the season 24-21-3.
RED WINGS 5, PREDATORS 2
DETROIT — Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists, and Detroit moved a step closer to its 22nd straight playoff appearance by beating Nashville.
The Red Wings, who moved into seventh place in the Western Conference, need one more point to secure their spot in the postseason. They own the longest current playoff streak in North American professional sports.
Detroit has one regular-season game remaining.
Johan Franzen had a goal and an assist, and Valtteri Filppula, Patrick Eaves and Justin Abdelkader also scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard stopped 20 shots.
Mike Fisher and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist for Nashville, which got 33 saves from Chris Mason.
The Red Wings scored three times in the second period to take a 4-2 lead.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, PANTHERS 0
SUNRISE, Fla. — Phil Kessel scored two goals to lead playoff-bound Toronto over last-place Florida.
Clarke MacArthur and Leo Komarov also scored for the Maple Leafs. James Reimer stopped 34 shots for his fourth shutout of the season. Nazem Kadri had a pair of assists.
Jacob Markstrom made 13 saves for Florida, which played its final home game of the season. The Panthers clinched the worst record in the NHL for the first time in franchise history.
Toronto snapped out of a 1-3, scoring four goals on just 17 shots. The Maple Leafs can’t finish lower than sixth in the Eastern Conference.
BRUINS 2, LIGHTNING 0
BOSTON — Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots for his second shutout in two starts and Boston beat Tampa Bay, keeping the Bruins in control of the tight race for the Northeast Division title.
The Bruins and Canadiens are tied with 61 points, but Boston has two games remaining while Montreal has only one.
Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille scored in the second period, and Rask took care of the rest as the Bruins won despite being outshot 30-24.
Rask’s previous start was a 3-0 shutout against Florida on Sunday, when he faced just 28 shots. He was tested by the Lightning, who entered the game with the NHL’s top two scorers in Martin St. Louis (58 points) and Steven Stamkos (56 points).
Anders Lindback had 22 saves for the Lightning.
BLUES 4, FLAMES 1
ST. LOUIS — Ryan Reaves scored twice and Brian Elliott earned his NHL-leading 10th win in April in St. Louis’ win over Calgary.
St. Louis, which has won five of six, moved into fourth place in the Western Conference. The Blues have 58 points, one ahead of Los Angeles and San Jose. They can clinch the No. 4 seed and home ice in the opening round of the playoffs with a victory over Chicago on Saturday.
The Blues have won a season-high five straight home games.
Calgary will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Elliott made 18 saves in improving to 10-2 in April. He has three shutouts in the month and has allowed only 15 goals.
Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen also had goals for St. Louis, which scored three times in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. It was the Blues’ first three-goal period since the second period of a 6-3 win at Phoenix on March 7.
Chris Stewart and Adam Cracknell added two assists each for the Blues, who scored more than three goals for the first time in 11 games.