April 4 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League games.
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Devils 2, Capitals 1
Ryan Carter's third period goal gave the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday, with the victory helping the home team retain the slimmest of hopes of reaching the playoffs with a handful of games remaining.
Left wing Tuomo Ruutu also scored for New Jersey (33-28-16), who jumped above a Washington (34-30-13) team that lost for the fifth game in a row despite right wing Alex Ovechkin scoring his 49th goal of the season.
The Capitals and Devils each have five games left this season but trail Eastern Conference wild card leaders Detroit and Columbus in the race for the final two playoff berths.
New Jersey sits three points behind Columbus while Washington is four adrift.
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Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 3
Center Peter Regin scored with 3.9 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Blackhawks eke out a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets have dropped 13 straight to the Blackhawks, falling to 0-10-3 dating back to the 2010-11 season.
The latest loss stings the most, though, as it sets back the Blue Jackets in their pursuit of an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
The Blackhawks also got goals from left winger Jeremy Morin, right winger Patrick Sharp and right winger Marian Hossa.
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Red Wings 3, Sabres 2
Right winger Daniel Afredsson had a goal and an assist and the Detroit Red Wings held on for a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Center Darren Helm and right winger Tomas Jurco also scored for Detroit (37-26-14), which is in the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser had two assists and Jimmy Howard made 21 saves.
It was Red Wings' coach Mike Babcock's 413th win for Detroit, which ties him for the all-time franchise record with Jack Adams.
Detroit led 3-0 before defenseman Jamie McBain and left winger Nicolas Deslauriers scored for Buffalo (21-47-9), which has the NHL's worst record.
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Canadiens 7, Senators 4
Montreal was led by three goals and two assists from winger Max Pacioretty. Defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Weaver and centers Lars Eller and David Desharnais had their other goals. Winger Thomas Vanek added three assists for the Canadiens.
Center Zack Smith scored twice for the Senators, while winger Ales Hemsky and center Mika Zibanejad had the others.
The loss pushed the Senators to the very brink of elimination from the playoff race, while the Canadiens increased their chances for home ice advantage in the first round.
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Flames 2, Panthers 1
The Calgary Flames won their second straight game, posting a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
The Flames jumped on the scoreboard first on a snap shot by left winger Kenny Agostino at 1:34 of the second period before Panthers center Vincent Trocheck responded quickly with his fourth goal of the season.
Calgary left winger Mike Cammalleri then put the Flames permanently back on top with his team-leading 26th goal of the season.
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Predators 5, Ducks 2
Pekka Rinne tied the Nashville franchise record for goaltender victories and centers Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher scored two goals apiece as the Predators ended nearly two years of frustration against the Anaheim Ducks with a 5-2 victory.
Nashville (34-32-11) had lost five in a row to Anaheim in two seasons before Rinne made 27 saves in tying Tomas Vokoun at 161 career victories for the Predators.
The Ducks (50-19-8) had mounted come-from-behind victories in their past two games against Winnipeg and Edmonton, but this time they dug too deep a hole with another sluggish start.
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Oilers 3, Coyotes 2 (shootout)
Sam Gagner scored with 40.4 seconds left to tie the game in regulation, then scored the only goal in a four-round shootout to lift the Edmonton Oilers to an improbable 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The shootout loss gave the Coyotes a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Dallas, however, has two games in hand on Phoenix and will make those up this weekend with road games against Tampa and Florida while the Coyotes are idle until Tuesday. (Editing by John O'Brien)