Thu, Mar 06, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Avalanche tighten Central race with Chicago victory

AP, CHICAGO

The Colorado Avalanche tightened the already-close race in the NHL Central Division with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, with Tyson Barrie scoring the tiebreaking power-play goal with 7 minutes, 10 seconds left.

The win moved the Avalanche within a point of the second-placed Blackhawks, though the St Louis Blues stayed ahead with a home win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Among other games, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators to stay three points clear in the fight for the top of the Eastern Conference, while the San Jose Sharks suffered a costly defeat against the Carolina Hurricanes, giving up a goal in the last minute of overtime.

Colorado reached 40 victories faster than any team in franchise history. They also improved to 3-1 against the Blackhawks this season.

Ryan O’Reilly and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Avalanche, while Paul Stastny completed the scoring with an empty-netter in the final minute.

O’Reilly has three goals and three assists in his past four games.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon got an assist on Stastny’s 20th goal, extending his point streak to 12 games and tying Wayne Gretzky’s record for an 18-year-old player, set in 1979-1980.

Ben Smith and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago, who were without injured veteran forward Marian Hossa.

St Louis moved clear at the top of the Central Division with a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay, with Alexander Steen scoring the go-ahead goal early in the third period.

T.J. Oshie tied the game in the second period and he assisted on Steen’s 29th goal of the season. Patrik Berglund had started the comeback with his third goal in two games, while Vladimir Tarasenko’s empty-net score cinched it with half a minute to go.

Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson scored for the Lightning, who missed a chance to go second in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh ended a three-game losing skid by winning 3-1 at Nashville, with Matt Niskanen scoring twice.

Niskanen and the Penguins helped ruin the return of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne in his first game since Oct. 22 last year following an E. coli infection in his surgically repaired left hip.

Chris Kunitz also scored for the Penguins, while Sidney Crosby had three assists to add to his NHL-leading points total.

Patric Hornqvist scored for the Predators and Rinne made 16 saves.

Carolina won for the first time since the Olympic break, with a last-gasp 3-2 victory at San Jose.

Jay Harrison scored with 41.2 seconds remaining in overtime, while Jiri Tlusty and Elias Lindholm also scored for the Hurricanes.

Marty Havlat and Brent Burns scored for the Sharks, who lost in their first home game since Feb. 7.

The Columbus Blue Jacets held off a third-period Dallas rally and beat the Stars 4-2, with Artem Anisimov scoring twice.

The Blue Jackets have won three in a row and are vying for only their second post-season appearance since joining the NHL in 2000.

Columbus scored on the first shot of the game and bolted to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals by Boone Jenner, R.J. Umberger and Anisimov.

Defensemen Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley had goals early in the third period for the Stars.

Boston’s David Krejci scored a hat-trick to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

Veteran New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur helped the Devils beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in what may have been his last game for the team, with speculation of a move before yesterday’s trade deadline.

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