Stempniak powers Jets to win over Canucks
WINNIPEG – Lee Stempniak came up big in the Winnipeg Jets' push for the playoffs on Saturday.
Stempniak scored twice in the Jets' 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
"It's hard. Your season's on the line," said Stempniak, who has five goals and three assists since joining the Jets after a March 3 trade with the New York Rangers.
"Every game right now is crucial to us being in the playoffs, and we're all aware of that. But the coaches have been preaching that, hopefully, we'll be playing bigger games as we go along so we've got to get used to playing them now.''
The Jets, who were playing without Dustin Byfuglien as he sat out the first game of a four-game suspension, have 92 points. They trail Los Angeles, which also has 92, for the second wild-card spot via a tiebreaker.
It's the first 40-win season for the franchise since it relocated from Atlanta in 2011.
Mathieu Perreault had three assists, while Jim Slater, Michael Frolik and Mark Scheifele also scored as Winnipeg ended a four-game homestand at 2-2.
Alexandre Burrows had a pair of goals for Vancouver.
•KINGS RETAIN WILD-CARD SPOT: Alec Martinez's goal midway through the second period broke a tie, and the Kings went on to beat the Avalanche 3-1 in Los Angeles and keep hold of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Colorado, which managed only 10 shots on goal, was eliminated from playoff contention earlier Saturday.
•FLAMES BLANK OILERS: Jonas Hiller took over for injured starter Karri Ramo 58 seconds into the game and made 27 saves for the shutout in the Flames' 4-0 victory over the host Oilers. Calgary retained third place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of Los Angeles, which has a game in hand. Markus Granlund scored two goals for Calgary.
•STARS WIN ON OT PENALTY SHOT: Cody Eakin scored on his first career penalty shot in overtime, and the Stars kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 victory over the Predators in Nashville. Eakin was awarded the penalty shot after being slashed by Nashville's Mattias Ekholm on a breakaway. Dallas is six out of the Western Conference's final wild-card spot. The Predators are atop the Central Division at 104, a point ahead of St. Louis.
•RANGERS ROUT DEVILS: Rick Nash scored his career-best 42nd goal, Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves and the Rangers moved closer to securing home-ice advantage for the playoffs with a 6-1 victory over the Devils in New York.
•BRUINS BOLSTER CASE: Patrice Bergeron scored the only shootout goal and the Bruins improved their playoff chances in their home finale with a 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Boston and Pittsburgh hold the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots with 95 points each.
•SENATORS HANG TOUGH: Kyle Turris scored on a breakaway at 3:14 of overtime to lift the host Senators to a 4-3 victory over the Capitals. Ottawa is three points back for the final wild-card spot in the East.
•BLUE JACKETS WIN NINTH IN ROW: Nick Foligno scored three goals and the Blue Jackets beat the Penguins 5-3 in Columbus, Ohio, to set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory.
•CANADIENS GREAT LACH DIES: Hall of Fame forward Elmer Lach, who centered Montreal's famed Punch Line with Toe Blake on left wing and Maurice "Rocket" Richard on the right, died Saturday morning. He was 97.