Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves to tie the Peguins franchise record for career wins and host Pittsburgh clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers Thursday night.
Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang each had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which will be the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference for the fourth consecutive season. The Penguins will play the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round.
Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov scored for the Rangers, who were playing for the first time since clinching the top seed in the conference. New York entered the day tied with the Vancouver Canucks with the most points in the NHL (109).
Flyers 2, Sabres 1 - Matt Read and Marc-Andre Bourdon each scored goals to lead host Philadelphia over Buffalo, eliminating the Sabres from the playoff race.
The Sabres needed to beat the Flyers and have Florida top Washington to keep their faint playoff hopes alive heading into their final game of the season. The Sabres failed to handle the Flyers and the Capitals beat Florida, 4-2.
Capitals 4, Panthers 2 - Florida ended one of the longest playoff droughts in major North American sports despite a loss to host Washington, which also earned a postseason bid to complete the eight-team field for the Eastern Conference.
Still to be determined is the winner of the Southeast Division. The Panthers are in the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, but they also will win their first division title in franchise history if they gain at least a point at home against Carolina or if the Capitals lose to the Rangers on Saturday, the final day of the regular season.
Sharks 6, Kings 5 - Joe Pavelski scored the only shootout goal, and San Jose pulled even with host Los Angeles atop the Pacific Division with two days left in the regular season.
Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe each had a goal and an assist as the Sharks won a phenomenal game between California rivals featuring seven power-play goals, multiple fights and two rough goaltending performances. The game even had a bit of astonishing gamesmanship when Clowe got away with playing the puck from his seat on the San Jose bench late in the third period.
Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 1 - Eric Staal scored in the shootout to lead Carolina past visiting Montreal.
Chad LaRose scored a power-play goal, and Cam Ward made 30 saves before stopping the Canadiens cold in the tiebreaker to give the Hurricanes their second straight victory and first win in a shootout this season.
Blue Jackets 5, Avalanche 2 - Cam Atkinson scored three goals and Steve Mason stopped 35 shots, helping visiting Columbus put an end to Colorado’s postseason aspirations - and put San Jose in the playoffs.
Rick Nash added two goals for the suddenly surging Blue Jackets, who have won four of five but are still guaranteed to finish with the worst record in the NHL.
Flames 3, Canucks 2 - Michael Cammalleri scored twice in the third period in host Calgary’s comeback victory over Vancouver.
The Canucks missed a chance to take a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for the top spot in the overall standings.
Ducks 3, Oilers 2 - Ryan Getzlaf scored in overtime as Anaheim gave Edmonton fans an unhappy final look at their team at home this season.
Andrew Cogliano and Bobby Ryan also scored for the Ducks who ended a three-game winless streak and moved up to 23d in the NHL with one game to play this season.
Islanders 5, Jets 4 - Michael Grabner scored his second go-ahead goal of the third period with just 46.8 seconds left, John Tavares helped set up two others to reach 50 assists, and New York wrapped up its home schedule with a win over Winnipeg.
Grabner, who had given the Islanders a short-lived 4-3 lead with a penalty-shot goal with 8:15 remaining, deflected a shot-pass from defenseman Travis Hamonic to finally put New York ahead for good. The Islanders led, 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 before putting the Jets away.
Devils 2, Red Wings 1 - Petr Sykora broke a tie with 8:40 left, Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored, and Martin Brodeur made 23 saves as New Jersey won in Detroit.
Maple Leafs 3, Tampa Bay 2 - Steven Stamkos scored his 59th goal of the season, but Dion Phaneuf scored the game-winner in overtime for host Toronto.
Wild 2, Blackhawks 1 - Cal Clutterbuck’s tying tip-in with 3:12 left in regulation and Devin Setoguchi’s shootout goal lifted host Minnesota over Chicago.
Predators 2, Stars 0 - Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for his fifth shutout of the season, Francis Bouillon scored at 4:28 of the third period, and Nashville beat visiting Dallas to regain control of its playoff slot with its third win in four games.