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Stars clinch playoff spot; Canes get big win

Stars clinch playoff spot; Canes get big win
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DALLAS – The Dallas Stars clinched their first trip to the playoffs in three years Tuesday night, getting two goals and two assists from Alexander Radulov in a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

The Stars were just a point shy of the post-season and could have made it with an Arizona loss in a later game.

Instead, they left little doubt with four goals in the final 24 minutes, including a pair 10 seconds apart, for just their third Western Conference playoff berth in 11 seasons.

Jason Dickinson, Esa Lindell, Tyler Pitlick and Blake Comeau also scored for the Stars, who hold the first wild-card spot with 91 points and are unlikely to get into the top three in the Central Division. Dallas last made the playoffs in 2016, losing a Game 7 to St. Louis in the second round.

HURRICANES 4, MAPLE LEAFS 1

TORONTO (AP) — Justin Williams and Dougie Hamilton each banked in goals from behind Toronto’s net as Carolina picked up a big two points in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a victory over the listless Maple Leafs.

Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, while Hamilton added an empty-netter.

Petr Mrazek stopped 23 shots for Carolina, which came in having lost three of its past four in regulation as the franchise looks to make the post-season for the first time since 2009 — currently the NHL’s longest streak of playoff futility.

John Tavares scored his 47th goal of the season for Toronto. Garret Sparks made 32 saves.

The Leafs clinched a playoff spot for a third consecutive spring with Monday’s 2-1 road victory over the New York Islanders to set up a second consecutive first-round matchup with the Boston Bruins.

Toronto entered Tuesday’s games four points back of Boston for second in the Atlantic Division, and home ice in the opening round, but will now start on the road after the Bruins defeated the Blue Jackets 6-2 in Columbus.

The Hurricanes are in the first-wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 95 points. Columbus and Montreal each have 94 points, but the Blue Jackets have second wild-card spot because of a tiebreaker.

BRUINS 6, BLUE JACKETS 2

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jake DeBrusk and the Boston Bruins are looking to build some momentum heading into the playoffs.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are just trying to get into the post-season right now.

Boston beat Columbus, ruining the Blue Jackets’ opportunity to clinch a wild card in their last game at home. Instead the race will extend into the last two games of the season.

The Hurricanes are on top of the wild-card standings with 95 points. Columbus and Montreal each had 94, and the Blue Jackets hold the tiebreaker over the Canadiens.

DeBrusk had two goals and an assist and Tuukka Rask made 32 saves to help the Bruins stop a two-game slide. Brad Marchand and Karson Kuhlman each had a goal and an assist, and Marcus Johansson and David Pastrnak also scored.

Oliver Bjorkstrand extended the longest active goal streak in the NHL to six games with a third-period tally for Columbus, which had won five in a row. Matt Duchene also scored.

Sergei Bobrovsky had 19 stops, but allowed four goals before being relieved by Joonas Korpisalo late in the second period.

CANADIENS 4, LIGHTNING 2

MONTREAL (AP) — Artturi Lehkonen and Max Domi scored in the third period to lead Montreal win over NHL-leading Tampa Bay, keeping the Canadiens within reach for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal and Columbus both have 94 points and two games left in the regular season. But the Blue Jackets currently own the tiebreaker.

Nate Thompson and Joel Armia also scored for the Canadiens, who improved to 6-1-1 in their past eight games. Carey Price stopped 22 shots for his 35th win of the season.

Steven Stamkos and Cedric Paquette scored for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning, who were playing their third game in four nights.

AVALANCHE 6, OILERS 2

DENVER (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie scored a minute apart to ignite a four-goal second period as playoff-chasing Colorado rallied for a win over Edmonton.

Down 2-0 after the opening period to an Edmonton team already eliminated from post-season contention, the Avalanche surged in the second. MacKinnon started the scoring spree with his 40th goal of the season, while Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson joined in. All four goals were scored in a 7:08 span.
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