TAMPA, Fla. - Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves, Jaden Schwartz scored his first NHL goal, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 and became the first team to clinch a playoff spot Saturday night.
Halak had an in-close stop on league goals leader Steven Stamkos in the first, and made a glove save on Brett Connolly during a second-period breakaway.
Schwartz, taken 14th overall in the 2010 entry draft and making his NHL debut, put St. Louis up 2-0 from just outside the crease on the power play with 35.5 seconds left in the first.
Patrik Berglund and David Perron also scored for the Blues, who became the first NHL team (46-19-8) to reach 100 points this season.
Brendan Mikkelson got a late third-period goal for Tampa Bay, which is seven points behind eighth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference.
PENGUINS 5, DEVILS 2
NEWARK, N.J (AP)—Matt Cooke scored two goals, Evgeni Malkin added his 40th of the season and Sidney Crosby had three assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to their 11th straight win.
With the surge, the Penguins have 93 points—two behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers. Their winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season.
Crosby came through with a strong effort in the second game of his comeback from recurring concussion-like symptoms, assisting on the goals by Cooke and Malkin.
Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Pascal Dupuis also scored for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury made 12 saves for his 10th straight victory and 39th of the season.
Andy Greene and Petr Sykora scored for the Devils, winners of five of six coming in.
AVALANCHE 3, RANGERS 1
NEW YORK (AP)—Colorado rookie Gabriel Landeskog broke a second-period tie, and Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves to lift the Avalanche over the sliding New York Rangers.
Landeskog gave the Avalanche the lead, and Varlamov made it stand up as playoff-hopeful Colorado finished a 2-0-1 Eastern road trip.
The Rangers' once seemingly comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference is nearly gone with 11 games remaining. New York lost its second straight, and fifth in seven games, as surging Pittsburgh closes in.
Colorado moved past idle Phoenix into seventh place in the West, but the Avalanche have played two more games than the Coyotes.
Defenceman Matt Hunwick got the Avalanche even in the first period after Mats Zuccarello gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Paul Stastny added an empty-net, power-play goal with 13.1 seconds left to make it 3-1.
BRUINS 3, FLYERS 2, SO
BOSTON (AP)—Tim Thomas stopped Danny Briere on the final shot after the first five skaters in the shootout all scored, and the Boston Bruins snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia Flyers.
Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin scored for Boston, and Thomas made 27 saves in regulation and the five-minute overtime. Thomas, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is 6-0 in shootouts this season.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves for the Flyers, who lost for just the second time in nine games. Matt Read and Jakub Voracek scored for Philadelphia.
The Bruins passed Ottawa and took over first place in the Northeast Division.
HURRICANES 5, WILD 3
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Tim Brent and Brandon Sutter scored in a 48-second span of the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied past the Minnesota Wild.
Drayson Bowman scored twice and recorded an assist for the Hurricanes. Brian Boucher made 21 saves and recorded his first win of the season.
Kyle Brodziak had a goal and two assists for Minnesota. Nick Johnson and Erik Christensen also scored for the Wild, who have lost eight of nine games.
ISLANDERS 3, CANADIENS 2, SO
MONTREAL (AP)—Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner to lead the New York Islanders over the Montreal Canadiens.
Mark Streit and Frans Nielsen scored in regulation for the Islanders, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Al Montoya stopped 28 shots.
Aaron Palushaj scored his first NHL goal and Louis Leblanc added another one for Montreal. Peter Budaj made 36 saves.
MAPLE LEAFS 3, SENATORS 1
OTTAWA (AP)—Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist and James Reimer made 29 saves to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators.
Tim Connolly and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Toronto. Reimer won his second straight to improve to 4-0 at Scotiabank Place, allowing only Colin Greening's goal.
Ben Bishop, making his sixth straight start, faced just 18 shots in his first regulation loss.
PANTHERS 3, SABRES 2, SO
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Dmitry Kulikov returned from a knee injury and scored the winning shootout goal as the Florida Panthers beat the Buffalo Sabres.
John Madden and Mikael Samuelsson scored in regulation for the Panthers. Jose Theodore made 24 saves.
Derek Roy and Tyler Ennis scored goals for the Sabres, and Ryan Miller stopped 15 shots.
Florida's Wojtek Wolski and Buffalo's Ennis each scored in the second round of the shootout. Kulikov backhanded in his goal in the seventh round to give Florida the win. Kulikov played in his first game since missing 23 games.
CANUCKS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Daniel Sedin scored two goals and the Vancouver Canucks edged the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Sedin scored the winner on a third-period power play as he scooped the rebound of his own tip-in attempt behind Steve Mason. The goal gave the Canucks a 4-2 lead that was cut by a shot off a faceoff win by James Wisniewski, the Columbus defenceman who was serving a hooking penalty when Sedin scored.
Alex Edler gave the Canucks a 3-1 second-period lead with an end-to-end dash on the Canucks' initial power play of the game.
David Booth opened the scoring for the Canucks. Vinny Prospal and Jack Johnson also had goals for Columbus.
KINGS 4, PREDATORS 2
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Dustin Penner sparked a three-goal third-period blitz that broke open a tie game and carried the Los Angeles Kings past the Nashville Predators and extended their winning streak to four games.
Penner, Dwight King and Kyle Clifford all found the net during a span of 8 minutes, 15 seconds against Pekka Rinne, who was trying to become the first goalie this season to reach the 40-win mark and the first in Predators history.
Anze Kopitar had Los Angeles' other goal and Jonathan Bernier made 19 saves in his 12th start of the season. Martin Erat and Mike Fisher scored for the Predators, and Rinne stopped 23 shots.
SHARKS 3, RED WINGS 2
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP)—Marty Havlat scored with 1:37 remaining in overtime to get the San Jose Sharks back into playoff position with a victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Havlat was stopped once by Jimmy Howard, and then after a scramble in front of the net, lifted the rebound over Howard to give the Sharks their first back-to-back victories since Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
Havlat, who returned from a 39-game absence from a hamstring injury Thursday, also scored late in the first for the Sharks, who moved into a tie for eighth place with Los Angeles in the Western Conference with a game in hand.
Joe Pavelski also scored and Antti Niemi made 33 saves for the Sharks. Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Red Wings, who have lost four straight.