Anaheim’s Brad Staubitz scored the winning goal as the Ducks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Thursday in a clash of NHL Western Conference division leaders.
Staubitz’s goal gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead that held up after 40 minutes, before a Vancouver rally fell short in the third period.
Elsewhere, New Jersey won their final home game of the season by beating high-flying Pittsburgh, Montreal beat a Winnipeg team who saw their playoff hopes ended and Ottawa sealed their place in the post-season with victory over Washington.
Anaheim’s game against Vancouver was respectively their last road and home games. The defeat ended the Canucks’ run of eight straight home victories.
Matt Beleskey, also in the second period, and Andrew Cogliano, with a short-handed empty-netter in the final minute, scored for the Ducks, while Jason Garrison netted for the Canucks.
New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored his first goal since injuring a shoulder last month, giving the Devils a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kovalchuk’s goal with 6 minutes, 10 seconds remaining helped New Jersey overcome a 2-0 deficit and win their home finale.
Penguins star Sidney Crosby missed his 10th straight game because of a broken jaw, but he was cleared by medical personnel to return to hockey-related activity.
The Montreal Canadiens’ 4-2 win over Winnipeg came immediately after the Jets learned their playoff hopes were over.
Wins by the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators saw them clinch the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens broke out of a slump in which they had lost five of six.
Ottawa’s 2-1 overtime win over the Washington Capitals was enough to put the Senators into the playoffs.
Sergei Gonchar scored 47 seconds into overtime after Erik Karlsson had set up Ottawa’s first goal in his sooner-than-anticipated return from a torn Achilles tendon.
Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington, the Southeast Division champions, who had nothing at stake.
The Senators, who have two games remaining, moved up to sixth in the East. If they remain there, Ottawa would face the Capitals, who have won 10 of 12 overall — with the only losses against the Senators.
Philadelphia’s Oliver Lauridsen and Danny Briere scored to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders, who dropped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Lauridsen scored only his second career NHL goal as the Flyers — who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007 — won their home finale.
The Islanders are headed to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. They dropped to eighth place after failing to earn a point for the first time in 12 games.
The Columbus Blue Jackets stayed alive in the Western Conference playoff race with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars.
Cam Atkinson scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves for the Blue Jackets, who are level on points with eighth-placed Minnesota, but the Wild hold the tiebreaker.
To make the playoffs, Columbus needs to beat Nashville today and have the Stars beat Detroit in regulation, or have the Wild earn no more than one point in their two remaining games.
Before the game ended, the Stars were eliminated from playoff contention when Detroit defeated Nashville.
The Boston Bruins kept in control of the tight race for the Northeast Division title by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0.
The Bruins and Montreal are tied with 61 points, but Boston have two games remaining, while the Canadiens only have one.
Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille scored in the second period, while goalie Tuuka Rask took care of the rest as the Bruins won, despite being outshot 30-24.
St Louis’ Ryan Reaves scored twice in the Blues’ 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames, while goalie Brian Elliott earned his NHL-leading 10th win this month.
New York captain Ryan Callahan scored the overtime winner as the Rangers rallied to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 and clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Detroit moved closer to a 22nd straight playoff appearance by beating the Nashville Predators 5-2, with Pavel Datsyuk having a goal and two assists for the Red Wings.
Toronto’s Phil Kessel scored twice to lead the playoff-bound Maple Leafs to a 4-0 win over the last-placed Florida Panthers.