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NHL roundup: Phil Kessel leads Maple Leafs past Panthers

Phil Kessel scored two goals to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Florida Panthers, 4-0, Thursday in Sunrise, Fla.

Clarke MacArthur and Leo Komarov also scored for the Maple Leafs. James Reimer stopped 34 shots for his fourth shutout of the season. Nazem Kadri had a pair of assists.

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Jacob Markstrom made 13 saves for Florida, which played its final home game of the season. The Panthers clinched the worst record in the NHL for the first time in franchise history.

Toronto snapped out of a 1-3-0 slump coming into the game, scoring four goals on just 17 shots.

The Maple Leafs can’t finish lower than sixth in the Eastern Conference.

The Maple Leafs took a 3-0 lead on Kessel’s first goal of the game. Kadri brought the puck down from his own end on a 2-on-1 break. He slipped the puck over to Kessel on the right side and he wristed the puck past Markstrom at 1:41 of the second. Kessel scored his second goal three minutes later when he grabbed a loose puck in front of the crease and poked it in at 4:41 to make it 4-0.

The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead on Komarov’s goal in the first period. Jay McClement brought the puck out from behind the net and swept a pass across to Komarov in the right circle. His wrist shot got past Markstrom at 5:39.

Toronto stretched its lead to 2-0 when MacArthur scored. MacArthur brought the puck down from his own zone end and passed to Matt Frattin in the right circle. Frattin’s shot was blocked, but MacArthur poked in the rebound at 14:32.

Canadiens 4, Jets 2 — Winnipeg saw its playoff hopes end on two scoreboards it didn’t control, even before it bowed to visiting Montreal.

The Jets were ahead, 2-1, as they started the third but already knew whatever they did wouldn’t be enough. Both the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators moved out of reach with overtime wins that kept them in the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Blue Jackets 3, Stars 1 — Cam Atkinson scored two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves and visiting Columbus stayed alive in the Western Conference playoff race by beating Dallas.

Columbus needs to beat the Predators Saturday, and have the Stars beat the Red Wings in regulation Saturday, or have the Wild earn no more than one point in their two remaining games, to earn just the second postseason berth in franchise history and first since 2009

Flyers 2, Islanders 1 — Oliver Lauridsen and Danny Briere scored goals to lead host Philadelphia over New York.

Lauridsen scored his second career NHL goal on a slap shot high above the circle late in the third period to lift the Flyers to a win in their home finale. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Blues 4, Flames 1 — Ryan Reaves scored twice and Brian Elliott earned his NHL-leading 10th win in April and host St. Louis routed Calgary.

St. Louis, which has won five of six, moved into fourth place in the Western Conference. The Blues have won a season-high five straight home games.

Senators 2, Capitals 1 — Sergei Gonchar scored 47 seconds into overtime, Erik Karlsson set up Ottawa’s first goal in his sooner-than-anticipated return from a torn Achilles’ tendon, and the Senators clinched a playoff berth by holding off host Washington.

Rangers 4, Hurricanes 3 — Captain Ryan Callahan scored 2:55 into overtime, and visiting New York rallied to clinch a third straight Eastern Conference playoff berth by slipping past Carolina.

Red Wings 5, Predators 2 — Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists and host Detroit moved a step closer to its 22d straight playoff appearance with a win over Nashville.

Devils 3, Penguins 2 — Ilya Kovalchuk scored his first goal since suffering a shoulder injury last month, giving New Jersey a victory Pittsburgh. Kovalchuk’s goal with 6:10 remaining helped New Jersey overcome a 2-0 deficit and win its home finale.

Ducks 3, Canucks 1 — Brad Staubitz’s second-period goal sent visiting Anaheim past Vancouver. Staubitz’s goal on a shot from right wing at 8:21 of the second proved to be the winner as it gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead that held up after 40 minutes before a Vancouver rally fell short in the third.

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