Minnesota ended a long run of defeats at the hands of St Louis by winning 4-2 on Thursday, preventing the slumping Blues from reclaiming the NHL Western Conference lead.
The loss saw St Louis fall into a tie for the Central Division lead with Colorado, who beat Vancouver by the same scoreline.
Among other results, league-leading Boston lost in a shootout at Winnipeg, while Tampa Bay won at home against Philadelphia in a game with big playoff implications for both teams.
Minnesota had lost their previous nine games against St Louis, but two goals from Kyle Brodziak and 43 saves by John Curry in his Wild debut ended that run. Nino Niederreiter added a goal and an assist as Minnesota made it six wins from seven games.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Jaden Schwartz scored for the Blues, who dropped their fourth straight and also lost star T.J. Oshie to a head-high blow from Wild enforcer Mike Rupp in a chaotic second period. Rudd was ejected, while a bloodied Oshie eventually got up after five minutes on the ice.
Winnipeg’s Bryan Little scored in the shootout to give the Jets a 2-1 victory over Boston in their last home game of the season.
Winnipeg’s Evander Kane had tied the game with 1 minute, 57 seconds left in regulation.
Brad Marchand scored the opening goal in the first period for the Bruins.
Colorado’s Tyson Barrie scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Avalanche defeated Vancouver 4-2.
Paul Stastny added two goals and John Mitchell added a late empty netter for Colorado, who are only a point behind Anaheim for the Western Conference lead.
Henrik Sedin and David Booth scored for Vancouver.
Tampa Bay moved within a point of second place in the Atlantic Division by beating Philadelphia 4-2.
Tyler Johnson opened the Lightning’s account and Richard Panik, Eric Brewer and Steven Stamkos all netted in the third period for Tampa Bay, who were without injured goalie Ben Bishop.
Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers, who missed a chance to move clear third in the Metropolitan Division.
The New York Islanders inflicted a costly 2-0 defeat on Montreal.
The loss, combined with Tampa Bay’s win over Philadelphia, hurt the Canadiens’ chances of starting the playoffs on home ice.
Montreal are second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points and one game left to play, while the Lightning have 97 points with two games remaining.O
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his fourth shutout this season, and Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power-play goals late in the second period for the Islanders.
Nashville too had a 2-0 win which inflicted damage on the playoff hopes of their opponents, beating Phoenix.
Pekka Rinne made 29 saves, and Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Predators.
The loss hurt Phoenix’s quest for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. The Coyotes entered the day two points behind Dallas in the wild-card race. Both teams have two games remaining, including tomorrow’s season finale when Dallas visits Phoenix.
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson scored the winner in the shootout to lift the Senators to a 2-1 win over New Jersey.
Washington’s Troy Brouwer scored twice as the Capitals won 5-2 at Carolina.
Los Angeles ended a run of three-straight outs by winning 3-0 at Edmonton, with Marian Gaborik having two goals and an assist.
Florida’s Nick Bjugstad had two goals and an assist to lift the Panthers over Toronto 4-2.