The New York Rangers clinched the top seed in the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in 18 years by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 on Tuesday.
Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov scored as part of a four-goal first period that set up a win which gave the Rangers their best chance to win the Stanley Cup since their last title in 1994.
New York, who lead the overall NHL standings with 109 points, are assured of home-ice advantage until at least the Stanley Cup finals.
The Rangers victory also secured their first season sweep of the Flyers in 40 years, winning all six games this season.
Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle also scored to help the Rangers storm to a 4-0 lead. Marian Gaborik added his 41st goal.
Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell had goals for the Flyers.
PENGUINS 5, BRUINS 3
In Boston, Pittsburgh extended their lead in the race for fourth place in the East by beating Boston.
Sidney Crosby had two goals and an assist, while James Neal scored the go-ahead goal on a power play for the Penguins, who lead Philadelphia by three points.
Paul Martin and Aaron Asham also scored for Pittsburgh.
Benoit Pouliot, Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley scored for the Bruins, who have already clinched the Northeast Division title.
CANUCKS 5, DUCKS 4, SO
In Vancouver, the hosts moved equal top of the NHL standings with the Rangers by beating Anaheim in a penalty shootout.
Max Lapierre’s shootout goal gave the West-leading Canucks their seventh straight win, moving them three points ahead of St Louis and tied with New York with two games remaining in the regular season.
Alex Burrows had two goals in regulation, while Lapierre and Chris Higgins also scored as the Canucks rallied from two goals down in the second period.
Ryan Getzlaf, Cory Perry, Rod Pelley and Devante Smith-Pelly scored for the Ducks.
SHARKS 5, STARS 2
In Dallas, San Jose recorded a vital win that moved them three points ahead of Dallas in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot.
Logan Couture’s power-play goal put the Sharks in front late in the second after teammate T.J. Galiardi had netted the tying goal earlier in the period.
Daniel Winnik, Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe also scored for San Jose.
Brenden Morrow and Alex Goligoski had goals for Dallas.
PREDATORS 2, WILD 1, SO
In Nashville, Tennessee, the hosts moved back into fourth place in the West by beating Minnesota in a shootout.
The Predators, who have two games left, reached 100 points for the second time in three seasons and moved back into fourth, one point over idle Detroit and two over Chicago.
Alexander Radulov scored the lone goal in the shootout, while Gabriel Borque netted in regulation.
Dany Heatley had the sole goal for Minnesota.
DEVILS 3, ISLANDERS 1
In Newark, New Jersey inched closer to nailing down at least the No. 6 seed in the East with a victory over New York.
Travis Zajac broke a tie early in the second period with a power-play goal, Patrik Elias added a goal and an assist, while Ilya Kovalchuk scored into an empty net in the final minute to help the Devils win their third straight.
Matt Moulson scored for the Islanders, who have lost three straight.
JETS 5, PANTHERS 4, OT
In Sunrise, Florida, the hosts’ hopes of clinching the Southeast Division title were frustrated by Winnipeg.
Andrew Ladd scored twice, including the overtime winner, while Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane also scored for the Jets.