Flyers beat Rangers 4-2, keep playoff hopes alive

MUCH-NEEDED BOOST::Philadelphia’s victory came despite solid goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist, while the Islanders beat Florida to move closer to a playoff berth

AP, PHILADELPHIA

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 19

Brayden Schenn, Erik Gustafsson and Kimmo Timonen scored to give Philadelphia’s faint playoff hopes a boost as the Flyers beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Tuesday night for their second win in two nights.

Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan scored for the Rangers, who have a tenuous hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are tied with Winnipeg, five points ahead of the 11th-place Flyers.

Jakub Voracek added an empty-net goal in the final seconds to seal the victory for Philadelphia.

Steve Mason got the spot start over Ilya Bryzgalov and made 38 saves.

New York’s Henrik Lundqvist was solid with 18 saves, but two goals off the post doomed the Rangers.

ISLANDERS 5, PANTHERS 2

In Uniondale, New York, Michael Grabner scored twice and Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves as the New York Islanders moved closer to a playoff berth with a victory over Florida.

The Islanders earned their ninth win in 12 games while playing their final regular-season home game. The Islanders, 10-11-3 at home after starting 2-8-1, will begin a season-ending, five-game trip today in Toronto.

With a 14-5-3 mark since March 1, the Islanders hold seventh place in the Eastern Conference. New York, seeing their first post-season appearance since 2007, have allowed two goals or fewer in nine straight games.

Matt Moulson, Mark Streit and Radek Martinek also scored for the Islanders.

Dmitry Kulikov and Marcel Goc had goals for the Panthers (13-23-6), who own the NHL’s worst record.

CAPITALS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 1

In Washington, Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 28th goal, and Washington enjoyed a rare feeling of dominance outside their division, winning their eighth straight by topping Toronto.

Jack Hillen, Martin Erat, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson also scored, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the Southeast Division-leading Capitals.

The Capitals have moved into playoff position by feasting on the weak Southeast, going 14-3 within the division, but they entered Tuesday’s game just 9-14-2 against the rest of the Eastern Conference. All but two of those nine wins were by one goal.

The Maple Leafs had won four of five. Toronto were down 4-0 before Mikhail Grabovski scored in the third period.

Ovechkin has 19 goals in 18 games.

JETS 4, LIGHTNING 3, SO

In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Andrew Ladd scored twice in regulation and added the decisive goal in a shootout as Winnipeg stayed in the thick of the playoff hunt with a victory over Tampa Bay.

Ladd also earned an assist, and defenseman Zach Bogosian had a pair of assists. Blake Wheeler scored once and added two assists for Winnipeg (22-19-2), who are on a season-high, four-game winning streak.

The Jets are tied in points with the eighth-place New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Winnipeg have five games remaining, one fewer than New York.

Martin St Louis, Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Steven Stamkoswith his 27th goalscored for Tampa Bay (17-22-4).

Mike Santorelli also beat Lightning goalie Ben Bishop in the shootout. No Tampa Bay skaters scored on Ondrej Pavelec.

SHARKS 3, KINGS 2, SO

In San Jose, California, Antti Niemi stopped Jeff Carter on a two-on-one in overtime and then was perfect in the shootout to help San Jose move into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with a victory over Los Angeles.

Raffi Torres scored the only goal of the shootout in the third round, and Brent Burns scored one goal and assisted on another by T.J. Galiardi on a productive second-period shift for the Sharks, who followed Monday night’s win in Phoenix with a home victory against the Kings.

Niemi made 41 saves, including the key pad stop on Carter in overtime.

Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown scored for Los Angeles, who fell into a tie with San Jose in the battle for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves as the Kings lost their fourth straight road game.

BLUES 2, CANUCKS 1, SO

In St Louis, Missouri, Jay Bouwmeester tied it midway through the third period, and Andy McDonald and Alex Steen scored in the shootout to lead St Louis over Vancouver.

Brian Elliott made 21 saves through overtime and stopped Derek Roy and Alexandre Burrows in the shootout, solidifying the Blues’ chances in a tight Western Conference race. Bowmeester’s goal was his first since joining the Blues in a trade-deadline deal.

Alexander Edler scored on a power play late in the second period for Vancouver. Cory Schneider made 35 saves, but surrendered two goals on three shootout chances.

The Canucks played for the third time in four nights, all on the road, and had trouble generating much offense coming off a 5-2 victory at Nashville on Monday.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock earned his 600th career NHL win against the franchise he beat for his first victory, when Dallas won in Vancouver on Jan. 22, 1996.

SENATORS 3, HURRICANES 2

In Ottawa, Craig Anderson made 32 saves to help Ottawa beat Carolina for their third straight win.

Mika Zibanejad, Cory Conacher and Chris Neil all scored as Ottawa remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the New York Islanders.

Justin Faulk and Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes, who got 31 saves from Justin Peters.

The Senators returned to Ottawa from Boston amid tightened security measures a day after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Their game against the Bruins, postponed on Monday, was rescheduled for April 28.

Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen played his first game since undergoing hip surgery in November last year that was expected to end his season.

WILD 5, OILERS 3

In Edmonton, Alberta, Kyle Brodziak scored a pair of goals, and Minnesota earned another late-season win by topping Edmonton.

Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild (24-16-3), who are 2-0-1 in their past three games after losing five of six. Minnesota remained in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

Nail Yakupov, Magnus Paajarvi and Shawn Horcoff had goals for the Oilers (16-19-7), whose slim playoff hopes took another hit. Edmonton have lost six in a row on the heels of a five-game winning streak.