April 3 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Hockey League games.
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Avalanche 3, Rangers 2 (shootout)
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped 29 shots in regulation and blocked two more in the shootout to earn Colorado a fifth straight win.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots, center Derek Stepan and defenseman John Moore scored for the Rangers, who lost for just the second time in the last nine games.
Colorado's win was costly, however, as the team's injury list grew longer when right winger Cody McLeod suffered a left knee injury in the second period and did not return.
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Blackhawks 3, Wild 2 (shootout)
Blackhawks veteran right winger Marian Hossa came through with the only goal in a shootout as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Hossa was the only one of six players to score in the shootout.
Chicago (43-19-15) took a 2-1 lead early in the third period on left winger Bryan Bickell's 11th goal of the season before Minnesota (39-26-12) left winger Erik Haula scored his third goal of the season to tie the score.
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Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3 (overtime)
Center Nazem Kadri scored a power play-goal at 2:51 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins and keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Bruins scored two goals in the third period to tie it after Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier left because of injury and was replaced by James Reimer.
The victory gave the Maple Leafs (38-32-8) their second win in a row and a split in their four-game season series with the Bruins (52-18-7), who lost their second straight contest.
Defenseman Paul Ranger, center Tyler Bozak and left winger James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Center Brad Marchand, left winger Milan Lucic and center Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins.
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Penguins 4, Jets 2
Martin missed the last 18 games because of a broken hand suffered at the Sochi Olympics while playing for Team USA.
With the game knotted at 2-2, he moved in from the point, took a perfect pass from right winger James Neal and beat Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec for his third goal of the season at the 7:42 mark.
The Penguins (49-23-5) clinched the Metropolitan Division title and secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
The loss officially eliminated Winnipeg (34-34-10) from the playoff race.
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Blue Jackets 2, Flyers 0
Defenseman James Wisniewski and center Brandon Dubinsky scored, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0.
The Blue Jackets (39-30-7) moved within two points of the Flyers (39-28-9) for third place in the Metropolitan Division with six games remaining for both teams.
Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, extended Philadelphia's scoreless streak to six periods with his fourth shutout of the season and eighth in his career.
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Hurricanes 4, Stars 1
Carolina defensemen Justin Faulk and John-Michael Liles scored during a three-goal outburst early in the second period, and goalie Anton Khudobin stopped 33 shots as the Hurricanes defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1.
The Stars (37-28-11) remain tied with the Phoenix Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 10 days left in the regular season.
Dallas, which out-scored its previous three opponents 16-5, fell behind as the Hurricanes chased goalie Kari Lehtonen midway through the second after goals from center Eric Staal and the two defensemen in a span of 3:36.
The Hurricanes (34-32-11) remain mathematically alive in the Eastern Conference playoff chase with five games remaining.
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Flames 4, Lightning 1
The hapless Calgary Flames seized upon two crucial mistakes to upend the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 with left winger Curtis Glencross scoring two late goals to seal the win.
Tampa Bay (42-26-9), though already playoff-secure and tied with Montreal for second place in the Atlantic Division, squandered its game in hand over the Canadiens. Both teams now have 93 points from 77 games.
Calgary (32-38-7) took a 2-0 lead in the second period by turning two woeful clearing attempts into scores to Mike Cammalleri and Kevin Westgarth during a 15-second span.
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Blues 2, Sabres 1
Center Maxim Lapierre scored early in the second period and St Louis goalie Brian Elliott came close to earning a second consecutive shutout in a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, as the Blues set a franchise record for victories in a season.
The win was the 52nd of the season for the Blues, breaking the franchise record that was set in the 1999-2000 season, the only previous season the Blues led the NHL in points.
Their win gave the Blues 111 points, tying them with Boston in the race for the President's Trophy after the Bruins lost 4-3 in overtime to Toronto.
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Sharks 2, Kings 1
The San Jose Sharks turned up the heat on the Los Angeles Kings, a likely playoff opponent, by grinding out a 2-1 win.
San Jose scored twice in the middle period to an erase a 1-0 deficit and goalie Antti Niemi stopped 26-of-27 shots.
The Kings, who lost the services of top defenseman Drew Doughty midway through the opening period, failed to score on all five of their power-plays.
Los Angeles scored in the first period but the Sharks roared back in the second, picking up their physical game (22 hits in the period) and taking a 2-1 lead. (Editing by John O'Brien)