Predators beat Avalanche 4-2 to clinch playoff spot
DENVER (AP) — Colton Sissons and Filip Forsberg each scored twice, backup goaltender Juuse Saros stopped 33 shots and the Nashville Predators became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Friday night.
The streaking Predators are 13-0-1 in their last 14 games and haven’t lost in regulation since Feb. 17 against Detroit.
Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog had the goals for an Avalanche team that returned home after earning two straight road wins, including Thursday in St. Louis. The loss snapped Colorado’s string of nine straight games with a point. The squad still remains in the thick of the playoff chase.
Semyon Varlamov turned back 24 shots as he started both games of a back-to-back for the first time this season.
CAPITALS 6, ISLANDERS 3
WASHINGTON (AP) — T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Matt Niskanen scored as Washington swept a home-and-home set against slumping New York.
Alex Chiasson had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who hammered the Islanders 7-3 in New York on Thursday. Jakub Vrana’s goal gave Washington a 5-1 lead with 9:04 remaining. Lars Eller added an empty-netter, and Braden Holtby made 22 saves.
Washington broke a tie with idle Pittsburgh for sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals’ four-game winning streak is their longest since taking five in a row from Dec. 28 to Jan. 9.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington’s second-leading scorer, left in the second period and did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury.
Holtby, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goaltender, had lost seven of eight and did not play in the previous four games.
Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who have lost 10 of 11.
WILD 4, GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jason Zucker, the only NHL player raised in Nevada, scored a goal and assisted on another to lead Minnesota over Vegas.
The Wild, who had lost two in a row and four of seven, completed a 3-0 season sweep of the Pacific Division leaders. Charlie Coyle, Matt Dumba and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild, and Alex Stalock stopped 26 shots.
Erik Haula and Ryan Carpenter scored for the Golden Knights, who dropped to 24-9-2 at home and have lost four straight in T Mobile Arena.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who fell to 2-8-0 in 10 starts against the Wild, made 26 saves. It was the first time Fleury lost back-to-back games in regulation this season.
DUCKS 4, RED WINGS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Corey Perry scored a tiebreaking goal late in the second period, John Gibson made 28 saves and Anaheim defeated skidding Detroit.
Nick Ritchie, Derek Grant and Ryan Kesler each had a goal for the Ducks, tied with Los Angeles for third place in the Pacific Division. Anaheim has 84 points — also the same amount as Colorado and Dallas, which hold the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference.
Gustav Nyquist scored in his third straight game for the Red Wings, who lost their ninth in a row to match their longest slide since dropping nine straight in February 1986. Mike Green also had a goal and Jimmy Howard made 32 saves in Detroit’s eighth consecutive road loss.
SHARKS 7, FLAMES 4
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Evander Kane scored four goals to lead San Jose past Calgary.
Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won three straight and four of five. Kevin Lebanc and Eric Fehr also scored, and Martin Jones made 30 saves.
It was the first NHL hat trick for Kane, acquired from Buffalo just before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Micheal Ferland had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who are four points out of a playoff spot. Troy Brouwer, Mark Jankowski and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for Calgary.
Three nights after stopping all 28 shots he faced against the Oilers, Calgary goalie Mike Smith had a rough outing as he made just 14 saves before being replaced by David Rittich early in the third period.
SENATORS 3, STARS 2, OT
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Mike Hoffman scored at 3:26 of overtime and Ottawa beat Dallas to win its third game in a row for just the second time this season.
Marian Gaborik and Matt Duchene also scored for the Senators, and Craig Anderson made 23 saves. Ottawa won on home ice for the first time since Feb. 17.
Tyler Seguin and Tyler Pitlick had the goals for the Stars. Ben Bishop, who stopped 22 shots, made his first start since missing five games with a knee injury sustained March 5 against the Senators. Bishop has a 9-0-4 career record against Ottawa.
Dallas has lost four straight, its longest skid of the season.
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