Kyle Connor recorded his first career hat trick, Kevin Hayes tallied four points, Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves and the Winnipeg Jets notched a 5-0 shutout over the visiting Nashville Predators on Saturday.
The victory clinched a postseason berth for Winnipeg, which is in the Stanley Cup playoffs for just the fourth time in the 19-season history of the Thrashers/Jets franchise. Winnipeg (45-26-4, 94 points) also extended its Central Division lead over Nashville to four points as the Jets chase their first-ever division title.
Nashville (42-28-6, 90 points) has lost two in a row and missed a chance to clinch its own playoff spot.
Hellebuyck now has shutouts in consecutive starts. He improved to 4-0-0 with a .959 save percentage over his last five appearances.
Bruins 7, Panthers 3
Visiting Boston scored five times in the second period en route to defeating Florida.
With the win, the Bruins surpassed 100 points for the second straight season and clinched a playoff spot for the third straight year.
Boston, which has won four straight games, got goals from Noel Acciari, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Karson Kuhlman, Steven Kampfer, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron (empty-netter). Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak, who took a 5-0 beating from the Panthers on Dec. 4, made 31 saves to earn the win.
Blues 4, Lightning 3
Vladimir Tarasenko capped a three-goal surge in 75 seconds as host St. Louis completed a season sweep of Tampa Bay.
Robert Thomas and Alexander Steen also scored in the first period, and Brayden Schenn tallied in the second for the Blues, who improved to 4-0-1 in their last five games. Rookie Jordan Binnington finished with 39 saves.
Brayden Point scored his team-leading 40th goal and Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos also tallied for the Lightning, whose seven-game winning streak came to an end. Tampa Bay remained four wins shy of Detroit’s NHL record of 62 victories in 1995-96 with six contests to go.
Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 2
Colin Wilson scored the go-ahead goal on a 5-on-3 advantage in the second period as host Colorado beat Chicago in Denver in the opener of a home-and-home series.
Wilson added an assist on Sven Andrighetto’s goal in the third period, and J.T. Compher and Derick Brassard also tallied for the Avalanche, who have won four in a row heading into Sunday’s rematch in Chicago. Philipp Grubauer finished with 29 saves on Saturday and has turned aside 131 of 135 shots in his last four starts.
Colorado (34-29-12, 80 points) moved into sole possession of the Western Conference’s final wild-card spot, with Arizona and Minnesota each a point behind.
Hurricanes 5, Wild 1
Teuvo Teravainen had a goal with two assists, and Jordan Staal recorded one of each as Carolina beat Minnesota in Raleigh, N.C.
Brett Pesce, Andrei Svechnikov and Lucas Wallmark also scored for the Hurricanes, who bounced back from Thursday’s 6-3 home loss to Tampa Bay. A winner in five of seven, Carolina (41-26-7, 89 points) owns the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Minnesota (35-32-9, 79), meanwhile, fell to 2-5-1 over its last eight.
Devils 2, Coyotes 1 (SO)
Pavel Zacha scored the decisive goal in the sixth round of the shootout for New Jersey, which edged Arizona in Newark, N.J.
After neither team scored in the first four rounds of the shootout, the Devils’ Blake Coleman and the Coyotes’ Conor Garland traded goals in the fifth round. Zacha then fired a shot between Darcy Kuemper’s legs for his first career shootout goal, and New Jersey locked up the victory when Richard Panik’s shot rang off the post.
Drew Stafford scored in the first period for the Devils, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood recorded 24 saves.
Penguins 3, Stars 2
Jared McCann scored twice, including a short-handed goal off a spin move to break a third-period tie, to pace visiting Pittsburgh in a win over Dallas.
Jake Guentzel also scored, and Phil Kessel had two assists for the Penguins (41-24-11), who have won two straight. They also have points in seven of eight and kept pace in points (93) with the second-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.
Tyler Seguin and Andrew Cogliano scored for Dallas (38-31-6, 82 points), which finished a five-game homestand 1-3-1 and remains in the top wild-card spot in the West.
Islanders 4, Flyers 2
Josh Bailey scored the tie-breaking goal with 3:57 remaining and added an insurance goal 83 seconds later as New York rebounded from a pair of shutout losses and edged host Philadelphia.
Bailey recorded his first goal in 13 games since Feb. 26. The clutch tally moved the Islanders to within one point of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division and lowered their magic number for clinching a postseason spot to eight.
The win also occurred after the Islanders came off a 5-0 loss to Boston Tuesday and a 4-0 loss at Montreal two nights later.
Canadiens 7, Sabres 4
Max Domi and Tomas Tatar each had a goal and two assists, and Montreal rode a four-goal second period to a win over visiting Buffalo.
Brendan Gallagher scored twice and had an assist, Andrew Shaw had a goal and an assist, and Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen added goals for Montreal, which won its third straight and fourth in the past six games.
The victory increased the Canadiens’ lead to three points over the idle Columbus Blue Jackets in the race for the second wild card in the East.
Flames 3, Canucks 1
Mark Giordano scored a goal and assisted both of his team’s other tallies as visiting Calgary beat Vancouver.
The Western Conference-leading Flames (47-21-7) posted their sixth win in seven games. The Canucks (32-33-10) saw their win streak end at three games.
Garnet Hathaway and Andrew Mangiapane also scored for the Flames.
Red Wings 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Anthony Mantha scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as Detroit snapped Vegas’ six-game home winning streak.
Mantha’s game-winner, his 19th of the season, came just 19 seconds into overtime. Dylan Larkin intercepted a Reilly Smith pass in front of the Vegas goal and then backhanded a pass to Mantha, who beat Malcolm Subban with a wrist shot from the slot on the glove side.
Luke Glendening also scored a goal and Andreas Athanasiou had two assists for Detroit, which won for just the fourth time in 17 games. Jimmy Howard had 28 saves for the Red Wings, who picked up their eighth overtime win of the season.
Rangers 2, Maple Leafs 1 (OT)
Ryan Strome scored his 15th goal of the season at 1:48 of overtime, and visiting New York defeated Toronto to end a five-game losing streak.
After the Maple Leafs had a good chance in the Rangers’ zone, Strome and Boo Nieves broke out. Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made the save on the first shot, but Nieves got the puck back to Strome for the winning goal.
Pavel Buchnevich also scored for the Rangers. Zach Hyman tied the score for Toronto with a third-period goal. The Maple Leafs have lost five of their past seven.
Senators 4, Oilers 3 (OT)
Brady Tkachuk scored twice, including the winner 2:09 into overtime, as Ottawa dented host Edmonton’s playoff hopes.
Bobby Ryan and Brian Gibbons also scored for the Senators, who never trailed. Goaltender Craig Anderson made 26 saves to snap a 14-game winless streak (0-13-1).
Alex Chiasson, Connor McDavid and Colby Cave scored for the Oilers, who dropped to 2-4-0 in their past six games. The Oilers remained six points out of the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Kings 4, Ducks 3 (SO)
Los Angeles defeated visiting Anaheim in a shootout to claim consecutive wins for the first time since the opening week of February.
Kyle Clifford, Jeff Carter and Carl Grundstrom scored for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick made 17 saves and stopped all three attempts in the shootout. Anze Kopitar scored the lone goal in the shootout for Los Angeles.
Carter Rowney scored short-handed, Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell also scored, and Ryan Miller made 27 saves for the Ducks, who avoided postseason elimination by reaching overtime.
—Field Level Media