The Washington Capitals clinched their second consecutive NHL Southeast Division title despite losing 5-4 to the Buffalo Sabres on Jason Pominville’s breakaway goal 1:51 into overtime on Friday.
The point awarded for getting to overtime was enough to give the Capitals a nine-point cushion ahead of No. 2 Carolina, who have four games left.
Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Clarke MacArthur and Maxim Afinogenov also scored for Buffalo, which is hanging onto faint hopes of earning a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Sergei Fedorov scored twice for Washington, Alex Ovechkin raised his NHL-leading goal total to 55 and Alexander Semin netted his 30th.
BLACKHAWKS 3, PREDATORS 1
At Chicago, Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves and Jonathan Toews scored his team-leading 32nd goal as Chicago clinched its first playoff berth in seven years by beating Nashville.
Samuel Pahlsson scored in the first period and Martin Havlat added an empty-net goal for the Blackhawks, who qualified for the postseason for only the second time in 11 seasons.
Chicago moved one point ahead of Calgary and into fourth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
Rookie Cal O’Reilly scored for the Predators, whose second straight loss kept them in ninth place in the West. Nashville is one point behind St Louis and the playoff cutoff with four games remaining.
DEVILS 5, LIGHTNING 4, OT
At Newark, New Jersey, Martin Brodeur made seven saves in a rare relief role and Zach Parise scored in overtime as New Jersey edged Tampa Bay to snap a six-game losing streak.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored twice, Brendan Shanahan nailed a penalty shot and Jay Pandolfo also tallied for the Devils, who swept the four-game season series.
Tampa Bay had goals from Evgeny Artyukin, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Martins Karsums.
WILD 4, FLAMES 0
At St Paul, Minnesota, the Wild finally figured out Miikka Kiprusoff with three goals on 10 shots in the first period and shut out Calgary.
Andrew Brunette, Cal Clutterbuck and Owen Nolan scored in the first for the 10th-place Wild, who moved within two points of idle eighth-place St Louis and the postseason cutoff in the Western Conference.
Marian Gaborik polished things off in the third period and Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves for his eighth shutout of the season, the second most in the NHL.
THRASHERS 3, PANTHERS 1
At Sunrise, Florida, Rich Peverley scored his second goal of the game in the third period to break a tie and lift Atlanta over Florida.
Todd White added a goal for the Thrashers with 1:03 left as Panthers goalie Craig Anderson headed to the bench. Colby Armstrong had two assists for Atlanta.
Florida missed a chance to tie the eighth-place New York Rangers in points at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
FLYERS 8, MAPLE LEAFS 5
At Philadelphia, Jeff Carter scored three goals and Danny Briere had a goal and three assists as the home team beat Toronto.
Simon Gagne, Randy Jones, Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell also had goals for the Flyers, who scored five in the first period and passed Carolina for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Carter’s first NHL hat-trick gave him 44 goals. Only Alex Ovechkin has more this season.
Luke Schenn, Boyd Devereaux and Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Leafs in the last four minutes of the second period to cut a 6-0 deficit in half.