Artemi Panarin scored the only goal in the shootout Friday night for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who clinched the last open NHL playoff spot by edging the host New York Rangers, 3-2.
With their sixth win in the last seven games, the Blue Jackets (46-31-4, 96 points) assured themselves of one of the wild-card berths in the Eastern Conference and eliminated the Montreal Canadiens (94 points) from contention.
The Blue Jackets are headed to the playoffs for the third straight season after making the postseason just twice in their first 15 seasons. They will enter the final day of the season as the second wild card, but they would move up to the first wild card if they beat the Ottawa Senators and the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Panarin’s shootout tally capped an evening of roller-coaster emotions for the Blue Jackets, who trailed 1-0 after two before tying the game and going ahead in a span of a little more than 12 minutes in the third period on goals by Ryan Dzingel and Panarin — only to see Pavel Buchnevich tie the game with seven seconds left in regulation.
Blackhawks 6, Stars 1
Patrick Kane scored twice, and Chicago got goals from five different players as it thumped visiting Dallas, keeping its Central Division rivals from clinching the first wild-card spot in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Stars (42-32-7, 91 points) have already sewn up a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2016, but they need one point in their final game, at home on Saturday against Minnesota, to secure the seventh overall seed in the Western Conference.
Chicago (36-33-12, 84 points) was eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday and will miss the playoffs for a second straight season.
Ducks 5, Kings 2
Korbinian Holzer scored his first NHL goal in more than two years, and rookie Sam Steel also tallied as Anaheim concluded a disappointing season with a home-ice victory over Los Angeles.
John Gibson made 44 saves — 20 of them in the third period — for Anaheim.
While the 30 other teams will play on Saturday, the Ducks (35-37-10, 80 points) are the first club to finish their campaign. Anaheim will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. The Kings (30-42-9, 69 points) will finish at the bottom of the Western Conference.
—Field Level Media