Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews scored in quick succession in the first period to set up the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday — their penultimate game in the NHL regular season.
Marcus Kruger added a goal in the third period for the Blackhawks, who are 11-1-2 in their past 14 games.
Also on Friday, Buffalo beat the New York Islanders in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford was sharp in making 25 saves and keeping the Blackhawks in the lead throughout. The only goal he allowed was Chris Butler’s short-handed tally — Butler’s first goal in 65 games.
Kane and Toews both have a team-leading 23 goals. Kruger’s score was his first goal in 32 games.
Buffalo’s Austrian star Thomas Vanek scored the lone goal in the shootout to at least give the Sabres a positive note to finish the season on, beating the New York Islanders 2-1.
Ryan Miller made 30 saves before the tiebreaker. Playing his 500th game with the Sabres, Miller sealed the win when he stopped John Tavares in the third round of the shootout. Brian Flynn scored in regulation for the Sabres.
The point was enough to move the Islanders up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Buffalo missed the playoffs for the second straight season and head into the offseason with questions about the futures of general manager Darcy Regier, interim coach Ron Rolston, and Miller, who is entering the final year of his contract.
Edmonton’s Corey Potter and Nail Yakupov both scored twice as the Oilers routed Minnesota 6-1, preventing the Wild from clinching a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Minnesota entered yesterday’s season finale at Colorado tied with Columbus for eighth place in the West, one point behind seventh-place Detroit. Minnesota owned the tiebreaker and could secure a postseason spot with a win.
Colorado’s Matt Duchene scored in a shootout and had three assists, helping the Avalanche beat Phoenix 5-4 in what may be the Coyotes’ final home game in the desert.
The Coyotes will head into a fourth straight offseason without an owner and with ongoing speculation about relocating.
Additional reporting by staff writer