The Washington Capitals finished off a month’s worth of role reversal Thursday night, winning their sixth straight and extending the Carolina Hurricanes’ losing streak to seven with a 3-1 home victory.
Troy Brouwer and Mike Green scored second-period goals, Brouwer added an empty-netter, and Braden Holtby made 43 saves for the Southeast Division leaders almost one month to the day after their playoff hopes appeared buried following a shutout loss to the then-surging Hurricanes.
Jeff Skinner scored in the first period, and Justin Peters had 28 stops for the Hurricanes, who now trail the Capitals by 12 points — an incredible 22-point swing from March 12, when Carolina beat Washington, 4-0.
The Capitals are 12-3-1 in their last 15 games while Carolina has nose dived to a 1-13-1 mark over the same period
Canadiens 5, Sabres 1 — Peter Budaj stopped 14 shots, and Montreal clinched a playoff berth and regained the Northeast Division lead in Buffalo, N.Y.
P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov had a goal and assist each, and Rene Bourque, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens.
In earning its fourth postseason berth in five years, Montreal is returning to the playoffs after bottoming out last year, when the Canadiens finished last in the Eastern Conference.
Senators 3, Flyers 1 — Colin Greening scored the go-ahead goal late in the third as visiting Ottawa snapped a five-game losing streak.
The Senators won for the first time since March 28. They had lost the first four games of a seven-game trip.
Penguins 6, Lightning 3 — Jussi Jokinen scored two goals and added an assist, and Pascal Dupuis had a goal and two assists to help Pittsburgh top the hosts.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was back in the lineup and had an assist after missing the previous six games with a lower body injury.
Jets 7, Panthers 2 — Evander Kane scored two goals to propel host Winnipeg into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Gagnon, Andrew Ladd, Grant Clitsome, Dustin Byfuglien, and Chris Thorburn also scored.
Blues 2, Wild 0 — Brian Elliott notched his third straight shutout, stretching his streak to 189 minutes, 31 seconds without allowing a goal, and visiting St. Louis won its sixth straight game.
Blues defenseman Roman Polak ended a 120-game streak without a goal as St. Louis sent Minnesota to its sixth loss in eight games.
Sharks 3, Red Wings 2 — Patrick Marleau scored the winner in the shootout and had a shorthanded goal to lift the visitors. Antti Niemi made 27 saves through overtime, while Jimmy Howard stopped 28 shots for Detroit.
Kings 3, Avalanche 2 — Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Jeff Carter scored in the shootout as host Los Angeles moved back into fourth place in the Western Conference. Carter and Mike Richards scored in regulation for the Kings.