NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Stepan scored with 28 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, then got the winner late in the extra period in the New York Rangers’ 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
With their fourth straight win, the Rangers improved to a league-best 109 points. With three games remaining, the Rangers are two points ahead of Anaheim for the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Rangers have won the Presidents’ Trophy once in their 88-year history, in the 1993-94 season — the last time the club won the Stanley Cup.
Columbus, the NHL’s hottest team, had won nine in a row, but won’t make the playoffs.
SABRES 4, HURRICANES 3
BUFFALO, New York (AP) — Tyler Ennis scored his 20th goal and the Sabres avoided clinching a last-place overall finish in the NHL this season — at least for another game.
Mikhail Grigorenko, Brian Gionta and Johan Larsson also scored for Buffalo, which entered the game a loss away from guaranteeing the best odds at the first pick in June’s NHL draft. The Sabres have 54 points, two points behind Edmonton.
Anders Lindback made 49 saves.
Alexander Semin, Eric Staal and Patrick Dwyer scored for Carolina, which nearly erased a four-goal deficit in the defeat. Carolina out shot Buffalo in every period en route to a 52-25 advantage for the game.
JETS 2, WILD 0
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford scored and Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves as Winnipeg gave its playoff push a big boost and prevented Minnesota from clinching a wild-card spot.
The Wild stayed stuck on 96 points after their first loss by more than one goal in 34 games since Jan. 19. They must finish the regular season on the road, where they’ve won 10 straight games to set a club record, with visits to Central Division rivals Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis.
The Jets reached 94 points, keeping the pressure on not only the Wild but the Pacific Division teams that haven’t secured one of the three playoff berths on the other side of the tough Western Conference.
CANUCKS 2, KINGS 1, SO
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Chris Higgins scored in the shootout and Eddie Lack made 36 saves to lead Vancouver.
Daniel Sedin scored in regulation as the Canucks solidified second place in the Pacific Division with 97 points, four ahead of Calgary and the Kings.
Dwight King scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, who moved into a third-place tie at 93 points with Calgary. However, the Flames own a tiebreaker with more regulation and overtime wins.
Los Angeles also dropped one point behind Winnipeg for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
STARS 5, SHARKS 1
SAN JOSE, California (AP) — Jamie Benn scored twice and Colton Sceviour scored in the first 30 seconds as Dallas beat San Jose on a night when both teams were eliminated from the playoff race.
Patrick Eaves and Ryan Garbutt also scored for the Stars, who have won seven of their last eight road games and seven of 10 overall.
Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, who failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03.
Jhonas Enroth stopped 23 of 24 shots to improve to 3-0 in four career appearances against the Sharks. Alex Stalock made 20 saves.