2016-03-23 / State/National Sports

Capitals clinch division and conference titles with win

Washington Capitals’ Justin Williams (14) and Ottawa Senators’ Cody Ceci (5) battle for the puck as Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson (41) looks on during the second period of an NHL game Tuesday in Ottawa, Ontario. 
AP Photo by FRED CHARTRAND Washington Capitals’ Justin Williams (14) and Ottawa Senators’ Cody Ceci (5) battle for the puck as Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson (41) looks on during the second period of an NHL game Tuesday in Ottawa, Ontario. AP Photo by FRED CHARTRAND OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored his 43rd goal and the Washington Capitals clinched the Metropolitan Division title and the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Mike Richards, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, into an empty net, also scored for the Capitals. Braden Holtby stopped 28 shots.

Chris Wideman and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson made 18 saves.

Ottawa lost defenseman Dion Phaneuf after he took a hit from Brooks Orpik in the second period. Phaneuf managed to play a few more shifts, but did not return for the third period because of a lowerbody injury.

Stars 6, Blackhawks 2

CHICAGO (AP) — Vernon Fiddler scored two of Dallas’ four goals in the first period, and the Stars clinched a playoff spot with a victory over Chicago.

Dallas stretched its win streak to three and improved to 4-1 against Chicago, outscoring the Stanley Cup champions 20-11 in the season series. Colton Sceviour and Patrick Eaves also scored in the first, and Jamie Benn had two assists in his 500th NHL game.

The Stars lead the Western Conference with 97 points with eight games left on their schedule. They are on track for their first division title since they took the Pacific in 2006.

The Blackhawks played without starting goalie Corey Crawford for the fourth straight game due to an upperbody injury, and Scott Darling was pulled after Dallas’ big first period. Michael Leighton made 16 saves in his first NHL appearance since January 2013.

Chicago has dropped six of seven to fall off the pace in the tough Central Division, including a pair of losses to the Stars. Andrew Shaw and Richard Panik scored for the second straight game.

Lightning 6, Red Wings 2

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Erik Condra ended a 20-game drought with a pair of goals to lead Tampa Bay past Detroit.

Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat each had a goal and an assist, and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored for the Lightning. Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson and Victor Hedman added two assists apiece.

Tampa Bay tied the Florida Panthers atop the Atlantic Division with 89 points. Both teams have nine games remaining.

Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm scored for the Red Wings, who were outshot 34-25.

Coupled with Philadelphia’s shootout loss at Columbus,

Detroit fell into a tie with the Flyers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the New York Islanders.

Blue Jackets 3, Flyers 2

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Boone Jenner scored late in the third period and again in the shootout after Cam Atkinson’s tying goal with 8 seconds left, rallying Columbus to an improbable victory over Philadelphia.

Jenner scored in the fifth round of the shootout when he faked goalie Steve Mason out of the net and fired the puck in. Sergei Bobrovsky turned away Sean Couturier moments later to secure the victory.

Jenner and Atkinson both scored in the final 1:04 of regulation to force the extra session. Atkinson lifted a shot over Mason to tie it 2-all after Jenner tipped in a shot by Seth Jones nearly a minute earlier.

Mason finished with 51 saves for the Flyers, who blew a two-goal lead in the final 65 seconds but still earned a point. That was enough to pull them into a tie with Detroit for the final playoff position in the East.

Ryan White and captain Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers. The loss was Philadelphia’s eighth straight in Columbus since December 2005.

Wild 2, Kings 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Devan Dubnyk made a season high 38 saves, Minnesota’s penalty kill kept up its strong work and the Wild beat Los Angeles to move back into possession of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Erik Haula and Mikko Koivu scored for the Wild, who have killed 15 straight penalties over the last eight games since March 6.

Tyler Toffoli had the goal for the Pacific Division leaders, who lost for the second time in two nights after winning 11 of their previous 14 games.

Blues 1, Sharks 0

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Brian Elliott made 37 saves in his second consecutive shutout since returning from an injury, and Robby Fabbri scored midway through the third period to lift St. Louis over San Jose.

Elliott has stopped all 56 shots he’s faced against Vancouver and San Jose after missing nearly four weeks with a knee injury sustained in a loss to the Sharks last month. His return helped the Blues finish their road trip 3-2-0 to remain two points behind Central Division-leading Dallas.

Martin Jones made 23 saves but the Sharks failed to convert on a late two-man advantage and missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.

Canadiens 4, Ducks 3

MONTREAL (AP) — Lucas Lessio scored his first goal in 11 games with Montreal to help the Canadiens defeat Anaheim.

Torrey Mitchell, Alex Galchenyuk and Mike Brown also scored for the Canadiens.

Jakob Silfverberg scored twice and Corey Perry reached the 30-goal mark for the Ducks. It is the sixth time in his career that Perry has scored 30 or more goals and the third season in a row.

Joel Hanley assisted on the goals by Mitchell and Brown for his first two NHL points in his second career game.

Sabres 3, Hurricanes 2

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Johan Larsson scored with 2:49 left and Buffalo rallied to beat Carolina.

Larsson’s winner came a minute after Evander Kane tied it, and Carlo Colaiacovo also scored to help the Sabres earn their third win in five games.

Joakim Nordstrom gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead with 6:20 remaining. Chris Terry also scored for Carolina, which has lost five straight.

Chad Johnson stopped 25 shots for the Sabres, while Cam Ward made 22 saves for the Hurricanes.

Jets 2, Canucks 0

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season, and Winnipeg beat reeling Vancouver.

Adam Lowry and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets. Scheifele’s empty-netter was his team-leading 24th goal of the season.

The Canucks were shut out for the third consecutive game, tying a franchise record. Their goal drought is at 228 minutes. The Canucks having not scored in 11 periods going back to the first period of their March 16 matchup at home against Colorado.

Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom made 47 saves.

Coyotes 4, Oilers 2

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tobias Rieder scored the winning goal in the second period and Oliver Ekman-Larsson returned from injury to spark Arizona against Edmonton.

The Coyotes extended their point streak to 23 games (19-0-4) over their division rivals with the help of Mike Smith’s 27 saves on his 34th birthday.

Alex Tanguay and Martin Hanzal also scored, Max Domi added an empty-netter and Ekman-Larsson chipped in with an assist. After missing six games with an ailing shoulder, he was on the ice for all four Arizona goals.

Jordan Eberle and Mark Letestu scored for the Oilers, and Connor McDavid had two assists to extend his point streak to five games. Cam Talbot stopped 27 shots in Edmonton’s second straight loss and 24th defeat in 29 meetings with the Coyotes.

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