Bruins Clinch Top Spot in East
Boston — Johnny Boychuk scored the tiebreaking goal with 6:06 left in the third period, Milan Lucic had two goals and the Boston Bruins clinched the Eastern Conference’s best record with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
David Krejci also scored for the Bruins and Patrice Bergeron extended his consecutive point streak to 11 games, setting up Boychuk’s go-ahead score.
Wayne Simmonds and Jay Rosehill scored for the Flyers, who are in a tight race with a group of teams for a playoff spot.
Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots for the Bruins, who had lost their past two games.
Ray Emery made 37 saves for the Flyers. Philadelphia has lost three straight.
Bergeron won a faceoff cleanly back to Boychuk, who fired a slap shot past Emery’s glove for the go-ahead goal. Lucic scored less than a minute later and Chris Kelly added an empty-netter with 21 seconds to play.
“You work so hard for that all season, it’s nice we could do it here,” Lucic said
The teams were tied 2-2 entering the third period after the Flyers came back twice.
Trailing 1-0, the Flyers snapped a lengthy scoreless stretch on Simmonds’ power-play goal 14:36 into the second when he gained possession of a shot off the back boards and slipped a backhand behind Rask.
Philadelphia was shut out in its past two games, and it halted the scoreless stretch at 165:01.
But Boston regained the lead 19 seconds later when Krejci circled the net and fed Lucic, who one-timed a shot past Emery from the slot.
Philadelphia then tied it at 2 when Rosehill collected Michael Raffl’s pass alone at the bottom of the right circle, spun quickly and beat Rask inside the far post at 16:21.
Krejci’s goal 15:56 into the first period gave Boston a 1-0 lead. He scored off the rebound of Loui Eriksson’s shot, collecting the puck and shifting to his right before firing a wrist shot into the open side of the net.
Avalanche 4, Blues 0
St. Louis — Semyon Varlamov tied the franchise single-season record for goalie wins held by Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy and Paul Stastny had another big game in his hometown in a penalty-filled victory over St. Louis.
Stastny had a goal and two assists and Nathan Mackinnon had a goal and an assist for Colorado, which has won six in a row and has 106 points, third-most in franchise history. Roy became the fifth coach in NHL history to win 50 games in his first season.
Capitals 4, Islanders 3, SO
Uniondale, n.y. — Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout to lift the Capitals over the New York Islanders, and keep Washington’s playoff hopes alive.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped all three Islander attempts in the shootout and Washington snapped a five-game losing streak and moved within two points of Columbus for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Devils 3, Hurricanes 1
Raleigh, n.c. — Dainus Zubrus scored two goals as the New Jersey Devils beat Carolina.
Travis Zajac scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period to help the Devils earn a point in their seventh straight game.
They improved to 4-0-3 during a stretch that has given their playoff chances a significant boost.
Jeff Skinner scored for Carolina, which had its two-game winning streak snapped. The Hurricanes had kept their faint playoff hopes alive by earning points in their previous five games.
Stars 5, Lightning 2
Tampa, Fla. — Jamie Benn had two goals and an assist to lead the Stars over Tampa Bay.
Tyler Seguin had his team-leading 35th goal, and Vernon Fiddler and Antoine Roussel also scored for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots.
Steven Stamkos and Andrej Sustr scored for Tampa Bay, aand Ben Bishop finished with 23 saves.
Senators 3, Rangers 2
New York — Robin Lehner made 41 saves and held off a furious late push by New York to lift Ottawa to a victory that prevented the Rangers from clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
The Rangers needed only one point to secure a postseason spot for the fourth straight year, but were shut down by the Senators, who hold only faint playoff chances.
Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad scored in the first, and Jason Spezza made it 3-1 in the second for Ottawa, which squandered a 3-0 lead in a 7-4 loss to Montreal on Friday.