Blues clinch Central, edge Chicago
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis trailed first-place Nashville by nine points in the Central Division on Feb. 24. On Thursday night, the Blues celebrated their first division title since 2011-12.
Paul Stastny scored the clincher, Dmitrij Jaskin broke a 16-game scoreless string and Jake Allen made 21 saves in the Blues' 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blues wrapped up the division title and home-ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs when the Wild beat Nashville 4-2 later Thursday night.
"We've had that focus all year and it's led to a lot of success," Blues captain David Backes said. "A division championship in this division means a lot."
•A LOSS, BUT WINGS ARE IN AGAIN: Lars Eller scored 1:21 into overtime to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, giving Carey Price a team record with his 43rd win of the season. The Red Wings reached the postseason for a 24th consecutive season despite the defeat. Detroit qualified by earning a point while Boston lost to Florida.
•NEW CHAMPION GUARANTEED: Jiri Hudler scored twice and the Calgary Flames clinched a playoff berth for the first time in six years with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The loss eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings from the postseason.
•JETS FINALLY GET IN: The Winnipeg Jets clinched their first playoff spot in eight seasons despite a 1-0 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. The Jets received help from Calgary to squeeze into the playoffs as a wild card when the Flames beat Los Angeles.
•THE NEW GUY LEARNS FAST: Yannick Weber scored twice and Eddie Lack made 28 saves for his second shutout of the season as the host Vancouver Canucks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-0. Vancouver, which clinched a Western Conference playoff spot on Tuesday, missed the postseason in 2013-14 for the first time in six years. The Canucks have rebounded under rookie head coach Willie Desjardins.
•A DUBNYK-LIKE PERFORMANCE: Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris scored in a 64-second span late in the second period and the Ottawa Senators' continued their dazzling playoff push behind goaltender Andrew Hammond with a 3-0 victory over the host New York Rangers. Hammond had 26 saves for his third shutout and is 19-1-2 since taking over as the starting goaltender on Feb. 8.
•CAREER-LONG EXCELLENCE: Roberto Luongo earned his 401st career win and Jaromir Jagr got his 1,800th career point, helping the Florida Panthers beat Boston 4-2 in Sunrise, Fla., damaging the Bruins' playoff hopes.
•JOHNSON TO THE RESCUE: Tyler Johnson scored his second goal, an overtime power-play effort, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in Tampa, Fla. Johnson scored from along the goal line 1:22 into the extra session.