Sun, Apr 06, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Smith’s last-gasp goal puts Chicago over Columbus

AP and Reuters, COLUMBUS, Ohio

Ben Smith tapped in a rebound with 3.7 seconds left on a wild scrum to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in their NHL game on Friday night.

With time running out, Duncan Keith threw the puck on net and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocked it with his arm, but it popped out of his reach. While he and two teammates scrambled to get to the loose puck, Smith pushed it into the net.

Jeremy Morin, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also had goals for Chicago, while Keith had three assists and Antti Raanta made 24 saves.

Bobrovsky had 34 saves, while Derek MacKenzie, Ryan Johansen and Artem Anisimov scored for Columbus, who are fighting for the playoffs and in dire need of points.

With 85 points to start the night, the Blue Jackets held a tenuous grasp of the second wild-card spot in the East, a point behind Detroit, who held the first wild card.

Stanley Cup champions Chicago have already locked up their sixth straight playoff appearance.

Midway through the third with the game tied at three-all, Raanta made the stop of the match when Matt Calvert intercepted a pass and zoomed in all alone, only to have his shot deflected, leaving the game tied.

Bobrovsky then stopped a blast by Bryan Bickell and smothered Morin’s shot with his knees in the slot with less than 5 minutes remaining, before the wild finish sealed the win for Chicago.

In Anaheim, Mike Fisher had two goals and an assist, while Colin Wilson also scored twice to help the Nashville Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2.

Patric Hornqvist also scored and had two assists, while Matt Cullen added two more as Nashville ended a six-game losing streak to the Ducks and preserved their playoff chances with five games remaining. Hornqvist has 13 points (six goals and seven assists) from his past 10 games.

Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots for the Predators, who led 4-1 in the first period, while Kyle Palmieri and Daniel Winnik scored for Anaheim.

In Montreal, Max Pacioretty had a hat-trick as the Montreal Canadiens scored seven straight goals to rally to a 7-4 win over the Senators.

Andrei Markov, Mike Weaver, Lars Eller and David Desharnais also scored for Montreal, who trailed 3-0 less than 6 minutes into the game, which saw Peter Budaj stop 39 shots for his 10th win of the season.

Zack Smith had two goals for Ottawa, while Ales Hemsky and Mika Zibanejad also scored, and Craig Anderson stopped 16 of 23 shots.

In Newark, Ryan Carter’s third period goal gave the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals to keep the home team’s slim hope of reaching the playoffs alive.

The Capitals and Devils each have five games left, but trail Detroit and Columbus in the race for the final two playoff berths. New Jersey are three points behind Columbus and Washington four adrift.

In Arizona, Sam Gagner scored with 40.4 seconds left to tie the game, beofre scoring the only goal in a four-round shootout to lift the Edmonton Oilers to an improbable 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The loss gave the Coyotes a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot, but Dallas have two games in hand on Phoenix.

Elsewhere on Friday, Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, as Mike Cammalleri scored the tiebreaker in the second period to lead the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

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