NHL MORNING SKATE – APR. 5, 2015
 
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SUNDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
* The Islanders (idle) would clinch a playoff berth if the Senators lose in regulation.

* The Capitals would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Red Wings in any fashion AND the Senators lose in any fashion.
OR
If they get one point AND the Senators lose in regulation.
 
REMINDER: DAILY PLAYOFF UPDATES ON MEDIA SITE
Daily updates on playoff positioning and clinching scenarios will be posted on the League’s Media site through the remainder of the regular season.
 
Click here to view the latest bracket for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
 
The current matchups through Saturday’s games:
 
 
SNEAK PEAK AT SUNDAY’S MATCHUPS
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m., NBC, SN
Washington @ Detroit, 5:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CSN-DC, FS-D
Montreal @ Florida, 5:00 p.m., SN, RDS, FS-F
Ottawa @ Toronto, 7:30 p.m., TVA, CITY
St. Louis @ Chicago, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
NBCSN Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
 
RACE TO THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONTINUES
All five games on Sunday’s schedule impact the race to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
 
* The Penguins (42-25-11, 95 points) are tied – in terms of points - with the Bruins (41-25-13, 95 points) for the first Wild Card spot. Pittsburgh holds one game in hand on Boston. The Penguins also trail the Capitals (43-25-11, 97 points) by two points in the Metropolitan Division and Pittsburgh has played one less game than Washington.
 
* The Blues (48-23-7, 103 points) are one point behind the Predators (47-22-10, 104 points) for the Division lead. The Blackhawks (48-24-6, 102 points) are just a point back of St. Louis and trail Nashville by two in the race for the Central Division title.
 
* The Canadiens (47-22-10, 104 points) are tied – in terms of points – with the Lightning (48-24-8, 104 points) for top spot in the Atlantic Division.
 
* The Capitals (43-25-11, 97 points) are one point back of the Islanders (46-27-6, 98 points) in the Metropolitan Division. The Red Wings, are tied – in terms of points - with the Bruins, for third spot in the Atlantic Division, however, Detroit holds a game in hand.
 
* The Senators (40-26-12, 92 points), trail the Bruins and Penguins by three – in terms of points - in the race for the final Wild Card spot. They hold a game in hand over the Bruins while they have played an equal number of games as Pittsburgh.
 
SATURDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
CAROLINA 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO)
COLUMBUS 5, Pittsburgh 3
WINNIPEG 5, Vancouver 4
BOSTON 2, Toronto 1 (SO)
OTTAWA 4, Washington 3 (OT)
Tampa Bay 4, FLORIDA 0
NY ISLANDERS 3, Buffalo 0
NY RANGERS 6, New Jersey 1
Detroit 3, MINNESOTA 2 (SO)
Dallas 4, NASHVILLE 3 (OT)
ARIZONA 5, San Jose 3
Calgary 4, EDMONTON 0
LOS ANGELES 3, Colorado 1

FLAMES, KINGS GAIN GROUND IN PACIFIC DIVISION
The Flames (43-29-7, 93 points) and Kings (39-25-14, 92 points) each earned wins Saturday to gain ground on the Canucks (45-29-5, 95 points) – who lost in regulation – as jockeying continues in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles holds a game in hand on both clubs and faces both Vancouver (Monday at VAN) and Calgary (Thursday at CGY) once more this season.
 
 
Jonas Hiller stopped all 27 shots he faced in a relief effort and Dennis Wideman tallied 1-2—3 to power the Flames to their third win in their past four outings overall and a sweep of their five-game season series with the Oilers.

* The Flames swept their season series with the Oilers for the first time since 2009-10 (6-0-0). Overall, Calgary has won 26 of their past 34 matchups dating to April 11, 2009, including seven straight victories since March 1, 2014.

* Calgary earned their 22nd road win of the season, equaling a franchise record established in 1987-88 (22-12-6) and matched in 1988-89 (22-13-5) when they won their only Stanley Cup. The Flames have won 13 of their last 16 visits to Rexall Place dating to Oct. 3, 2009.

* Hiller did not allow a goal in 59:01 of relief after replacing starter Karri Ramo (0:58, 0 SV) 58 seconds after the opening face-off. Though neither goaltender is credited with a personal shutout, Elias says Hiller’s relief appearance was the longest in a team shutout in NHL history. Martin Gerber (55:45) set the previous mark on Oct. 22, 2005 when he stopped all 14 shots in relief of Cam Ward (3:48, 1 SV) in Carolina’s 4-0 win at WSH.

* Wideman posted his seventh career three-point effort and second this season (March 11 vs. ANA: 0-3—3) to set a new career high for points in one campaign (52). He ranks seventh among NHL blueliners with 15-37—52. 

Markus Granlund (2-0—2) and Josh Jooris (0-2—2) each had multiple points for Calgary. 

Alec Martinez broke a 1-1 deadlock midway through the second period and Marian Gaborik added an insurance marker late in the final frame to guide the Kings to a sweep of their three-game season series with the Avalanche.  

* The Kings improved to 7-0-1 in their last eight meetings with the Avalanche dating to Feb. 23, 2013, including five straight victories and a 4-0-1 mark at STAPLES Center.

* Martinez scored his first game-winning goal in the regular-season since March 1, 2014 vs. CAR. Gaborik ranks second on the club with 26 goals this season.

Dwight King supplied the other Kings goal, while Jeff Carter and Robyn Regehr each tallied two assists. Carter (28-32—60) hit the 60-point plateau for the fourth time in his career and for the first time since 2010-11 (36-30—66 w/ PHI). 

* The Kings outshot the Avalanche 26-10, matching the fewest shots allowed in one game in franchise history (also Jan. 11, 1994 at SJS).

STEMPNIAK, PERREAULT LIFT JETS BACK INTO PLAYOFF PICTURE
Lee Stempniak scored twice, including the eventual game-winning goal midway through the third period, and Mathieu Perreault added three assists to help the Jets halt a two-game skid overall and earn their first win over the Canucks since Jan. 31, 2014 (0-1-2 since).

* At 40-26-12 (92 points), the Jets are tied with the Kings (39-25-14, 92 points) – in terms of points – for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference but remain outside the playoff picture by virtue of the ROW tiebreaker (LAK: 37, WPG: 33). 
 
 
* The Jets have reached the 40-win plateau for the third time in franchise history and for the first time since 2006-07 when the Thrashers posted a 43-28-11 record to clinch their only playoff berth. 

* Stempniak posted his second multi-goal game and third game-winning goal of 2014-15. He has 14-12—26 this season (67 GP), including 5-3—8 in 14 contests since being acquired from the Rangers on March 1.

* Perreault matched a career high for assists in one game. He has 18-22—40 this season (59 GP), matching a career high for goals and pulling within three assists/points of personal bests established in 2013-14 (18-25—43 in 69 GP). 

Ondrej Pavelec (20-16-7) made 26 saves to reach the 20-win milestone for the fifth time. Teammate Michael Hutchinson (20-10-5) also has 20 victories this season. Elias says this is the first time in Jets/Thrashers history that multiple goaltenders have earned at least 20 wins in the same season. 

Jim SlaterMichael Frolik and Mark Scheifele added the other Jets goals. Slater has three tallies in his last four games; he had four goals in his previous 127 contests.

* The Jets have won seven of their last 10 games overall and hold a 13-4-2 record in their last 19 games at MTS Centre dating to Jan. 13. 

RED WINGS, BRUINS CONTINUE ATLANTIC BATTLE . . .
The Red Wings (41-24-13, 95 points) and Bruins (41-25-13, 95 points) each picked up shootout victories to keep pace in the hunt for third place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit maintained its hold on the No. 3 seed by virtue of having one game in hand. Boston, however, owns the season series tiebreaker (BOS: 4-1-0, DET: 1-3-1).
 
 
Darren Helm scored the game-deciding goal in the eighth round of the shootout to help the Red Wings halt a three-game slide overall and improve to 3-0-1 in their last four meetings with the Wild dating to March 22, 2014.

* Helm has scored on two-of-four career attempts in the tiebreaker, both game-deciding goals. Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan scored in both regulation and the shootout; Nyquist ranks second in the NHL with eight shootout goals this season. 

Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots – and denied six more in the shootout – to improve to 11-3-3 in 17 career appearances vs. MIN (2.19 GAA, .907 SV%, 1 SO).

Patrice Bergeron scored Boston’s lone goal in regulation – 19 seconds into the second period – and also netted his 10th career game-deciding goal to lead the Bruins to their fifth straight win overall and a 13-3-3 record in their last 19 regular-season games with the Maple Leafs dating to March 31, 2011.

* The Bruins have won five straight games three other times this season: Oct. 30 to Nov. 10, Jan. 7-15 and March 7-14. Their last winning streak of more than five games was a 12-game run from March 2-22, 2014.

Tuukka Rask has been in net for each game on Boston’s current streak and is 5-0-1 in his last six outings (1.62 GAA, .946 SV%).

* The Bruins fired 50 shots on net through overtime, their highest total in the regular-season since April 2, 2013 (50 shots, 3-2 W vs. OTT). Boston also improved to 13-2-2 in its last 17 meetings with Toronto at TD Garden.

. . . TURRIS’ OT HEROICS HELP SENATORS STAY IN THE HUNT
The Senators jumped to a 3-0 lead before the 10-minute mark of the opening period, but surrendered three straight Capitals goals before Kyle Turris scored at 3:14 of overtime to lift the club to their third straight victory.

* The Senators (40-26-12, 92 points) remain three points back of the Bruins (41-25-13, 95 points) – who occupy the final Wild Card spot – and Red Wings (41-24-13, 95 points) – who occupy third place in the Atlantic Division. Overall, there are six teams vying for the final five playoff positions in the Eastern Conference:
 
 
* Turris ranks second on the club with 23-35—58 this season (78 GP), matching his career high set in 2013-14 (82 GP). His six game-winning goals pace all Senators and are a career-high. His only other overtime goal was March 16, 2013 at BUF (2-1—3). 

Andrew Hammond made 29 saves, including 11 in the third period and overtime, to improve to 17-1-1 in 20 appearances this season (1.86 GAA, .938 SV%). 

Erik Karlsson (0-2—2) posted his 15th multi-point effort of the season. He leads NHL defensemen and all Senators with 20-44—64 this season (78 GP).

* Karlsson (83-218—301) became the second defenseman in franchise history to reach 300 career points (Wade Redden: 101-309—410 in 838 GP).

* Via Elias, Karlsson (393 GP) is the 10th Swedish-born defenseman to record 300 career NHL points and the second-fastest to reach the mark behind Borje Salming (388 GP). The last defenseman of any nationality to record 300 points in fewer than 400 GP was Sergei Zubov on Jan. 11, 1998 (354 GP).

Mark Stone scored to stretch his point streak to five games (3-3—6). Mika Zibanejad and Clarke MacArthur each scored and added an assist; Zibanejad reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his career. 

HALAK, ISLANDERS CLIMB METROPOLITAN LADDER
Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves and Kyle Okposo’s first-period goal stood as the game-winner as the Islanders stretched their point streak versus the Sabres to eight games dating to Feb. 23, 2013 (5-0-3).

* The Islanders (46-27-6, 98 points) leapfrogged the Capitals (43-25-11, 97 points) – who lost in overtime – into second place in the Metropolitan Division, where seeds two, three and four are separated by three points: 
 
 
* Halak earned his sixth shutout of the season, one shy of his career high established in 2010-11 (w/ STL). Only Chico Resch has posted more shutouts for the Islanders in one season (7 in 1975-76). 

* Halak also extended his career high and franchise record with his 37th win of the season (2.39 GAA, .915 SV%).

* Okposo recorded his second game-winning goal of the season. His other decisive tally came Jan. 16 when he tallied a career-high four goals vs. PIT.

John Tavares sits second in the NHL with 35-45—80, one point behind League-leader Sidney Crosby (27-54—81) and one point shy of his career high established in 2011-12 (31-50—81).

RANGERS TAKE OVER TOP SPOT IN NHL
Rick Nash tallied 1-1—2, including his career-high 42nd goal of the season, to power the Rangers to their third straight win overall and fifth victory in a row over the Devils (3-0-0 this season).

* The Rangers (50-21-7, 107 points) leapfrogged the idle Ducks (50-23-7, 107 points) into first place in the NHL, where the top seven teams are separated by five points: 
 
 
* The Rangers reached the 50-win plateau for the fourth time in franchise history. They have recorded more than 50 twice in franchise history: 1993-94 (52-24-8, 112 points) – when they won their fourth Stanley Cup – and 2011-12 (51-24-7, 109 points).

* Nash’s 42 goals are tied for second in the NHL (w/Steven Stamkos). Jaromir Jagr (54 goals: 2005-06) is the only player with more goals in one season for the Rangers in the last 19 years.

Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves to improve to 5-1-0 in his last six outings. He holds a 33-14-6 record in 53 career appearances vs. NJD (1.86 GAA, .932 SV%, 8 SO).

Derek Stepan (1-1—2) has 10-12—22 in 23 career games against the Devils, including multiple points in each of his last four contests (6-3—9).  

Dominic Moore (2-0—2) and Keith Yandle (1-1—2) provided the other Rangers goals. Ryan McDonagh (0-6—6) and Derick Brassard (3-2—5) each stretched their point streaks to four games. 

BISHOP SETS FRANCHISE MARK, LIGHTNING PULL EVEN IN ATLANTIC
Ben Bishop denied all 34 shots he faced and Steven Stamkos (2-1—3) posted his eighth three-point effort of the season to help the Lightning halt a two-game skid overall and improve to 7-1-0 in their last eight meetings with the Panthers. 

* The Lightning (48-24-8, 104 points) pulled into a tie with the idle Canadiens (47-22-10, 104 points) – in terms of points – for top spot in the Atlantic Division. Montreal holds one game in hand, but Tampa Bay owns the ROW (TBL: 46, MTL: 41) and season series (TBL: 5-0-0, MTL: 0-4-1) tiebreakers.

* Bishop set a career high and franchise record with his 38th victory of the season, which ranks fourth in the NHL. His fourth shutout of the season is one shy of his career high set in 2013-14.

* Stamkos leads Tampa and is tied for ninth in the NHL with 42-29—71. His 42 goals share second in the NHL and are the most he has scored since 2011-12 when he potted a career-high 60 goals to win his second career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (also 2009-10: 51 goals).

* His six decisive tallies also lead the Lightning and are the most he has scored since 2011-12 when he tallied a career-high 12. Stamkos is three points shy of 600 in his NHL career (275-222—497 in 490 GP).

Ryan Callahan and Tyler Johnson added the other goals for the Lightning, who have scored a franchise-record 255 goals this season – seven more than the next-closest team (DAL: 248) and two more than their previous high (253 in 2006-07).

(ANOTHER) HAT TRICK HELPS BLUE JACKETS SET FRANCHISE RECORD
The Penguins held a 2-0 lead late in the second period, but Nick Foligno tallied his first career hat trick to rally the Blue Jackets to their franchise-record ninth consecutive victory.

* Columbus’ winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season – one better than the eight-game runs by the Blackhawks, Kings and Rangers. They also improved to 13-2-0 since March 6 – a stretch that includes 11 comeback victories.
 
 
* Foligno also reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career. He paces all Blue Jackets and shares 12th in the NHL with 30-40—70 this season (75 GP).

* Foligno joins teammate Ryan Johansen, who scored 33 goals in 2013-14, Rick Nash (7x) and Geoff Sanderson (2x) as the only players to hit the 30-goal milestone in a Columbus uniform.

* He is the third player to score a hat trick for the Blue Jackets this season – all of which have come in the club’s last six games: March 24 vs. ANA (Scott Hartnell: 3-0—3) and March 27 at CHI (Cam Atkinson: 3-0—3). Atkinson also tallied the club’s last hat trick before this season, on April 5, 2012 at COL (3-0—3).

* Hartnell scored his 50th career game-winning goal (second this season) to tie Johansen for second on the club with 26 overall goals this season. The Blue Jackets have never had multiple 30-goal scorers in the same season.

Brandon Dubinsky had three helpers – one on each of Foligno’s goals – to match a career high for assists in one game. 
 
Sergei Bobrovsky has been in net for the past eight wins on the club’s current streak (2.33 GAA, .931 SV%). Elias says that is the second-longest personal winning streak in franchise history; he also set the benchmark with a nine-game run from Nov. 29, 2013 to Jan. 23, 2014. 

* The Blue Jackets earned their first regulation win over the Penguins at Nationwide Arena since Jan. 11, 2006.

AROUND THE RINKS
Highlights from the rest of Saturday’s 13-game slate:

Cody Eakin scored on his first career penalty shot at 4:04 of overtime to help Dallas snap a two-game skid and win their first game in Nashville since April 12, 2013. The penalty shot goal was the first in overtime in Stars/North Stars franchise history and the first by any NHL team since April 12, 2014 (Brian Gionta w/ MTL vs. NYR). Eakin has posted career highs in game-winning goals (6), goals (18), assists (20) and points (38) this season. Tyler Seguin matched a career-high with his 37th goal of the season.
 
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2-1—3) and Shane Doan (1-2—3) each tallied three points to lead the Coyotes past the Sharks for their first regulation win since Feb. 3 at CBJ. Ekman-Larsson paces the club with 23-20—43 this season. His 23 goals lead all NHL defensemen and match the highest single-season total by a blueliner in franchise history (Phil Housley: 23 in 1990-91 & 1991-92 w/ WPG). Mark Arcobello and Sam Gagner each posted 1-1—2; Arcobello has a career-high 17 goals this season, including 9-7—16 in 24 GP w/ ARI. 

* The Hurricanes surrendered a 2-0 lead, including the tying marker with 1:50 left in regulation, but Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry scored in the shootout to help the club snap a three-game skid overall and earn their third straight win against the Flyers. Cam Ward made 21 saves and denied two of three shots in the tiebreaker to improve to 3-1-0 in his last four outings. Jordan Staal (1-1—2) added his third multi-point effort of the season.

LOOSE PUCKS
Sidney Crosby stretched his point streak to five games (3-4—7) to maintain his hold on first place in the NHL scoring race (27-54—81) . . . Braden Holtby made his 22nd consecutive start on Saturday, tying Wayne Stephenson (Feb. 23 – April 5, 1980) for the most consecutive starts in franchise history . . . Holtby also appeared in his 70th game of the season; Elias says that is the most appearances by a goaltender from any NHL team since 2011-12 (Jonas Hiller: 73 GP w/ ANA, Pekka Rinne: 73 GP w/ NSH, Miikka Kiprusoff: 70 GP w/ CGY) . . . Predators forward Filip Forsberg (1-1—2) pulled even with Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau (22-39—61) for the rookie scoring lead . . . Predators forward Mike Ribeiro registered his 500th NHL assist . . . Sabres goaltender Andrey Makarov and Oilers defenseman David Musil each made their NHL debut . . . Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele and Vancouver’s Alexandre Burrows (2-0—2) scored eight seconds apart in the second period . . . Zach Parise scored both goals for the Wild; he paces the club with 32 goals this season – his most since 2009-10 (38 w/ NJD). . . Daniel Sedin (1-2—3) and Henrik Sedin (1-1—2) both scored for Vancouver; they lead the club with 17-54—71 and 18-50—68, respectively. Henrik needs one helper to become the first player in franchise history with 700 career assists . . . Flyers forward Sean Couturier (1-1—2) established a career high with his 14th goal of the season, which forced overtime with 1:50 left in regulation . . . The Department of Player Safety fined Devils forward Scott Gomez for elbowing Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin . . . ICYMI: The United States earned a 7-5 win over Canada to win the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden . . . Commissioner Gary Bettman announced North Saanich, B.C., as the winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2015. The community will host a 2015-16 pre-season game between the Sharks and Canucks . . . Canadiens great Elmer Lach passed away at age 97.
 
 
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