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Jets clinch playoff berth with shootout win over Predators

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Jets clinch playoff berth with shootout win over Predators

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Mark Scheifele scored the only goal in a shootout and the Winnipeg Jets clinched a playoff spot with a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

The Jets are in the postseason for the first time since 2014-15 and just the second time since their relocation from Atlanta before the 2011-12 season. The franchise hasn't won a playoff series since 2007.

Jets rookie Kyle Connor scored a power-play goal and had two assists, giving him seven goals in six games. That includes a pair of overtime goals in Winnipeg's previous two games and gives him 29 on the season. That's tied with Vancouver's Brock Boeser for the rookie goal scoring lead. Boeser's season ended March 5 with a fracture in his lower back.

Dustin Byfuglien also scored on the power play, and Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler each added a goal and an assist for Winnipeg (see full recap).

Marchand scores in OT to lift Bruins over Wild
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Brad Marchand scored 28 seconds into overtime to lift the Boston Bruins over the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday night.

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and David Pastrnak also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 47-17-10.

Marchand got his second goal in two games and his third in a four-game span. His 33rd of the season was his eighth game-winner, tying a career high. Marchand also assisted on the first goal.

Boston appeared to score first when Noel Acciari found the back of the net early in the second period. However, the goal was waved off after officials reviewed it and ruled that Boston's Riley Nash ran into goalie Alex Stalock.

Just over a minute later, the Bruins beat Stalock on one that counted. Pastrnak notched his 30th of the season — and second in two games — when his one-timer on a feed from Patrice Bergeron sailed past Stalock (see full recap).

Rare power play goals power Canucks past Stars
DALLAS — Reid Boucher and Nic Dowd scored rare goals on the power play, and the Vancouver Canucks rallied to beat the reeling Dallas Stars 4-1 on Sunday night.

Dallas' Mattias Janmark started the scoring with a short-handed goal in the first period, but Boucher tied it on the same man advantage. It was Boucher's third goal this season, all coming over two games in Dallas.

Dowd scored his third goal with one second left on a four-minute power play in the second period.

Jake Virtanen added a third-period goal and Tyler Motte scored into an empty net for Vancouver, which won for only the second time in 10 games.

The Stars are on an 0-6-2 skid and have all but fallen out of playoff contention. With six games remaining, they are five points behind St. Louis for the second wild card from the Western Conference. The eight-game losing streak is the longest since the Stars moved to Dallas in 1993 (see full recap).

Blues put an end to Blue Jackets' 10-game winning streak

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Blues put an end to Blue Jackets' 10-game winning streak

COLUMBUS, Ohio —The St. Louis Blues got things going early and put an end to the Columbus Blue Jackets' 10-game winning streak with a big victory over their own.

Jake Allen made 33 saves, Alexander Steen scored on St. Louis' first shot of the game, and the Blues beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Saturday night.

"It was a huge win for us, especially when Colorado wins this afternoon," Allen said. "Points are crucial right now. Let's just take it one step at a time. And we will figure out the standings at the end."

St. Louis has 89 points - one behind Colorado, which beat Vegas 2-1 in a shootout, and Minnesota, which played Saturday night.

"Approaching every game like the season is on the line," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "The challenge for us now is to make sure that doesn't change. I am very pleased and very proud of the group. There is an awful lot of character inside our locker room, and I love that it's on full display right now." (See full recap.)

Capitals tighten grip on 1st in Metro
MONTREAL —  Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom had four assists as the Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 on Saturday night.

Jay Beagle and T.J. Oshie also scored for Washington (44-24-7), which strengthened its grip on first place in the Metropolitan Division. Backstrom posted his 20th career game with at least four points and second this season.

Charles Hudon scored twice for Montreal (27-37-12), which was coming off a 3-0 win at Buffalo on Friday night. Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal for the Canadiens, who are 2-8-2 in their last 12 games (see full recap).

Kinkaid saves 35 shots as Devils pick up key win over Lightning 
NEWARK, N.J. — While Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier have been getting much of the credit for New Jersey's surprising playoff push, goaltender Keith Kinkaid has been the one carrying the Devils back to the postseason the past two weeks.

Kinkaid made 35 saves and the Devils took another major step toward making the playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Hischier and Kyle Palmieri scored for New Jersey, which has elevated its playoff chances with wins in five of seven games - including outstanding efforts in beating the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning on consecutive nights.

"Keith has been a difference maker," Devils coach John Hynes said of Kinkaid, who had 75 saves the past two nights. "He has really come in and played well. He has made key saves at key times. He obviously won quite a few games and been a real important factor for us in remaining competitive in the playoff race. We would like to see him continue that at that level, as well." (See full recap.)

Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

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Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

PITTSBURGH -- Taylor Hall beat Matt Murray on a breakaway 27 seconds into overtime to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Hall was all alone when Nico Hischier found him with a long lead pass. Hall then slipped the puck between Murray's legs for his 33rd goal of the season as New Jersey picked up two vital points in the race for one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Hall added two assists for New Jersey. Hischier finished with a goal and an assist, and Blake Coleman and Will Butcher also scored for the Devils. Keith Kincaid made 40 stops for the Devils, who finished a season-high six-game road trip 4-2.

Sidney Crosby scored his 25th of the season for Pittsburgh. Brian Dumolin and Phil Kessel scored in the third period as the Penguins erased a two-goal deficit. Murray finished with 30 saves as the Penguins lost for just the second time in their last 17 home games.

New Jersey's drive to end a six-year playoff drought has stalled since the All-Star break. A lopsided loss in San Jose dropped the Devils to just 13-12 since Jan. 30 and skated onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena with a tenuous grasp on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see full recap).

Bruins win on Pastrnak’s last-second goal
DALLAS -- David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card (see full recap).

Berglund, Blues push win streak to 4
ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund scored twice and the surging St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Dmitrij Jaskin also scored for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 19 saves in his eighth straight start as the Blues won for the sixth time in seven games.

Sam Gagner scored for Vancouver, which has lost eight of nine. Anders Nilsson stopped 21 shots.

The Blues swept the season series and have won their last five games against the Canucks.

Tarasenko extended the lead to 3-1 just 14 seconds into the third period, slipping Jaden Schwartz's pass between Nilsson's legs. Tarasenko missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury.

Jaskin's sixth goal of the season with 2:29 left sealed it for St. Louis (see full recap).