The Associated Press
Mar. 16, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime and the Washington Capitals picked up their 50th win of the season and became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 Tuesday night.
Ovechkin scored his seventh game-winner of the season 1:38 into overtime after the Capitals clinched a playoff spot by picking up a point.
It's their eighth playoff appearance in nine seasons and one that has been inevitable for a long time as they've skated away from the rest of the field.
Justin Williams also scored for Washington, which got 25 saves from Braden Holtby.
Hurricanes goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Jordan Staal scored for Carolina, which had its dim playoff hopes take another hit.
PENGUINS 2, ISLANDERS 1, SO
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh's Kris Letang scored the only goal of the shootout with a pretty backhand past New York Islanders rookie goalie Jean-Francois Berube to lift the Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares in the shootout as Pittsburgh strengthened its hold on the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Fleury finished with 25 saves for the Penguins. Chris Kunitz scored his 14th goal of the season in the 800th game of his career. Sidney Crosby picked up the secondary assist to extend his points streak to nine games.
Berube made 33 stops in his third NHL start, including several in the extra period. Okposo's score at 14:35 of the third sent the game to overtime, but the Islanders couldn't pick up the additional point when they failed to solve Fleury in the shootout.
FLYERS 4, RED WINGS 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Raffl scored two goals and Philadelphia got a key win in its playoff push.
The Flyers have 78 points and pulled within one point of the Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card playoff berth.
The Flyers dominated the Red Wings early and outshot Detroit 23-3 in the first period. They held on after Detroit's Tomas Tatar scored with 3:46 left in the game to make it 4-3.
Raffle and Wayne Simmonds both scored in the first to give the Flyers a lead they would never relinquish. With 14 games left this season, the Flyers need every point possible to reach the playoffs.
It's crunch time: Philadelphia also plays Pittsburgh three times and is at Detroit on April 6. The Flyers are only four points behind the Penguins.
SHARKS 3, BRUINS 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Joonas Donskoi scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 13:23 remaining after an offensive zone penalty by Boston's Jimmy Hayes and San Jose beat Boston.
Brent Burns helped set up Donskoi's goal and scored one of his own, tying Sandis Ozolinsh's franchise records for goals and points in a season by a defensemen.
Melker Karlsson also scored as San Jose won consecutive home games for the first time in two months to move within one point of Anaheim for second place in the Pacific Division.
James Reimer made 21 saves on his 28th birthday for his first home win with San Jose.
David Krejci, Loui Eriksson scored for the Bruins, who had their streak of seven straight games with a point snapped. Boston fell one point behind Florida in the Atlantic Division. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves.
KINGS 5, STARS 2
DALLAS (AP) — Tyler Toffoli scored again a night after ending a long goal drought and Los Angeles capped an impressive back-to-back with another win.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who scored 23 seconds in and had a 4-1 lead early in the second period a night after dominating another top Western Conference team in a 5-0 win over Chicago. Los Angeles improved to 9-1-1 on the second night of back-to-back.
The Kings won for the fourth time in five games and are up to 89 points, two behind Dallas and St. Louis atop the West and four points clear of Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles has 13 games remaining to 11 for the Stars and Blues. Chicago has 88 points with 12 games to play.
PANTHERS 4, CANADIENS 1
MONTREAL (AP) — Vincent Trochek scored a goal and set up one by Jiri Hudler and Florida beat injury-riddled Montreal.
Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov also scored for Florida, which has won three of its past four games to stay in the tight battle for first place in the Atlantic Division with Tampa Bay and Boston.
Alex Galchenyuk, with his 12th goal in 10 games, scored for Montreal, which lost a second in a row at home.
Trocheck has two goals and six assists in his past four games. Jaromir Jagr got his 1,111th career assist on Barkov's goal.
SENATORS 3, WILD 2, OT
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Erik Karlsson scored at 4:29 of overtime to lift Ottawa past Minnesota.
Mike Hoffman and Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Senators as Craig Anderson, making his 55th start of the season, made 23 saves.
Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Carter scored for the Wild, who have a one-point lead on the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Devan Dubnyk stopped 17 shots.
The Senators were looking to carry momentum from a 4-0 win over Toronto on Saturday, but struggled against the stingy Wild.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, LIGHTNING 1
TORONTO (AP) — Ben Smith and Connor Carrick scored their first goals of the season and Toronto beat Tampa Bay.
With the win, the Leafs have won back-to-back games and picked up points in four of their past five.
Zach Hyman and P.A. Parenteau added empty-net goals while Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves for his ninth win of the season.
Brian Boyle scored for Tampa Bay. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 20 shots in the loss.