The Montreal Canadiens gained a critical victory in their playoff chase with a 4-2 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
The win brings the Canadiens (43-29-8, 94 points) even on points with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second Eastern Conference wild-card slot. Both teams have 94 points, though Columbus is still ahead on a tiebreaker. The Carolina Hurricanes are only a point ahead of Montreal and Columbus for the first wild-card position.
After falling behind twice in the game, Montreal finally took the lead on Artturi Lehkonen’s goal 7:47 into the third period. A looping shot from Victor Mete was batted out of the air by Lehkonen, then knocked in on his second attempt for his 11th goal of the season.
Lehkonen also had an assist in the game, while Jordie Benn contributed two assists for the Canadiens. The Lightning must win their final two games to equal the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in a single season.
Hurricanes 4, Maple Leafs 1
Dougie Hamilton had two goals as visiting Carolina defeated Toronto to leap to the front of the East wild-card chase.
Justin Williams and Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes (44-29-7, 95 points), who won for only the second time in a five-game stretch. Staal and Hamilton each scored in the third period, including the final one into an empty net by Hamilton. Staal also recorded an assist.
John Tavares scored for the Maple Leafs (46-27-7, 99 points), who secured a playoff spot Monday night with a victory at the New York Islanders.
Bruins 6, Blue Jackets 2
Jake DeBrusk scored two goals, including one of the luckiest he’ll ever tally, and Brad Marchand reached the century mark for points as visiting Boston routed Columbus.
The Bruins (48-23-9, 105 points) solidified their claim for second place in the Atlantic Division, while the Blue Jackets (45-31-4, 94 points) saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
DeBrusk’s opening tally 118 seconds into the affair set the tone for the rest of the game for both teams. From the slot, he swung at a cross-ice pass and watched as the puck bounced off the top of the net, off the back of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and into the cage.
Stars 6, Flyers 2
Alexander Radulov had two goals, including the game-winner, and two assists, as Dallas rolled past visiting Philadelphia to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2016.
The win was the fourth in the past five games for the Stars (42-31-7, 91 points), who held on to their three-point cushion as the first wild-card team in the Western Conference with two games to play in the regular season: Friday at Chicago and Saturday at home versus Minnesota.
Dallas goalkeeper Anton Khudobin recorded 32 saves in the win. Esa Lindell and Jason Dickinson each had a goal and an assist.
Avalanche 6, Oilers 2
Alexander Kerfoot scored two goals, Tyson Barrie had a goal and an assist, and Colorado scored six unanswered goals to beat Edmonton in Denver.
Nathan MacKinnon, Colin Wilson and Sven Andrighetto also scored, and Semyon Varlamov had 27 saves for Colorado (37-29-14, 88 points).
The Avalanche took firm control of the second wild-card spot in the West, as the Arizona Coyotes (84 points) lost to Los Angeles later Tuesday. With two games remaining for both teams, Arizona must win out while Colorado loses out to get into the postseason on a tiebreaker.
Kings 3, Coyotes 1
Arizona’s playoff hopes took a major hit, and the team also lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an eye injury in a loss to visiting Los Angeles.
Trevor Lewis gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with a goal at 3:29 of the third period. Lewis was bumped from behind by Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton just as the puck crossed the goal line, and his stick blade went through Kuemper’s mask and struck him in the face near his right eye.
Kuemper lay on the ice in pain while being treated by trainers, before departing with a towel held to his face. He was replaced by Cal Pickard, though head coach Rick Tocchet expressed optimism about Kemper’s status after the game.
Wild 5, Jets 1
Zach Parise scored twice in his return from a four-game injury absence as Minnesota completed a five-game season sweep of Winnipeg with a victory in Saint Paul, Minn.
Victor Rask, Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno also tallied for the Wild (37-34-9, 83 points), who recorded just their third win in 15 home outings (3-8-4). However, it was not enough to keep Minnesota in playoff contention, as Colorado’s win over Edmonton officially eliminated the Wild.
Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, who made 32 saves on Tuesday, turned aside 114 of 120 shots en route to defeating Winnipeg four times this season. The Jets (46-30-4, 96) have dropped four of their last five games and are even in points atop the Central Division with Nashville (45-29-6), though Winnipeg holds the tiebreaker.
Predators 3, Sabres 2
Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal 6:32 into the third period, and visiting Nashville handed reeling Buffalo a season-high eighth straight loss.
P.K. Subban had a goal with an assist for the Predators, who have clinched a playoff spot and are 6-2-1 in their last nine games. Pekka Rinne notched 26 saves.
Meanwhile, the Sabres (31-39-10, 72 points) are mired in their longest losing streak since 2014-15. Eliminated from playoff contention, Buffalo is 3-18-3 since Feb. 15.
Red Wings 4, Penguins 1
Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha scored two goals apiece, and host Detroit prevented Pittsburgh from clinching a playoff berth.
The Penguins needed a victory or a Montreal loss to Tampa Bay to secure a spot in the postseason. Pittsburgh (43-26-11, 97 points) has two games remaining.
Bertuzzi set a franchise record with his fourth consecutive three-point game. Mantha followed his first career hat trick against Boston on Sunday with two third-period goals. The other member of Detroit’s first line, Dylan Larkin, collected three assists as the Red Wings (32-38-10, 74 points) notched their season-high sixth straight victory.
Canucks 4, Sharks 2
Markus Granlund’s goal at 13:39 of the third period gave Vancouver a comeback home-ice victory over San Jose.
Granlund gave the Canucks an insurmountable 3-2 lead, tapping in a rebound off the post during a scramble, as they rallied from a 2-1 deficit with goals two minutes and 21 seconds apart. Granlund emerged the hero for the second straight game, after also scoring the shootout winner Saturday against Dallas.
The Canucks, who have missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season, posted their third straight home win as they played their final game of 2018-19 at Rogers Arena. The Sharks suffered their ninth loss in 10 games.
—Field Level Media