Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Blue Jackets make play-offs for first time

AP , CHICAGO

Defenseman Fedor Tyutin scored the lone goal in the shootout as the Columbus Blue Jackets earned their first playoff berth in franchise history on Wednesday, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3.

Columbus, which entered the NHL in 2000-2001, was the only active team that had not qualified for the postseason.

Columbus’ Rick Nash scored his 39th goal with 5:30 left in regulation to tie it at 3 and set up overtime. The Blue Jackets’ Antoine Vermette also scored and assisted on Jason Williams’ goal in regulation.

Brent Seabrook, Dave Bolland and Martin Havlat scored in regulation for the Blackhawks, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Chicago needs one point to clinch fourth place in the Western Conference and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks will make their first postseason appearance since 2002 and only their second in 11 seasons.

Columbus goalie Steve Mason made 24 saves. Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 19 in his fifth straight start and the 10th in the last 11 games.

SABRES 3, MAPLE LEAFS 1

At Toronto, Ryan Miller made 32 saves to help Buffalo keep its slim playoff hopes alive as Toronto’s Curtis Joseph tied the NHL career record for losses.

Joseph was tagged with his 452nd loss, tying him with the late Gump Worsley for most in NHL history. With Martin Gerber expected to get the start in the season finale at home tomorrow against Ottawa, the 41-year-old Joseph — fourth on the career victory list with 454 — probably started his last game for the Maple Leafs.

Austrian winger Thomas Vanek broke a 1-1 tie at 8:09 of the third period, and Paul Gaustad scored 26 seconds later.

The 25-year-old Vanek deked Joseph one way and pulled the puck the other way to slip it into an open side of net and Gaustad shoved a rebound behind the fallen Joseph.

Jeff Finger opened the scoring in the first period, and Jason Pominville countered for the Sabres in the second.

Buffalo is four points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, and two points behind ninth-place Florida. All three teams have two games remaining.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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