Avalanche first in NHL to 50 wins, make 5th straight playoff

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff spot with the help of two goals from Nathan MacKinnon in a 6-4 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

It’s the fifth straight playoff berth for the Avs, who also became the first NHL team to 50 wins this season and have ripped off nine wins in 11 games.

MacKinnon scored his 23rd and 24th of the season, while J.T. Compher got his his 14th of the year. Darren Helm, Josh Manson and Artturi Lehkonen also scored. Darcy Kuemper won his 33rd game and stopped 41 shots.

Bryan Rust, Evan Rodrigues, Jake Guentzel and Mike Matheson all scored for the Penguins, but they lost for the second time in as many games against Colorado. The Avalanche beat Pittsburgh 3-2 in Denver on Saturday. Tristan Jarry made 26 saves for Pittsburgh, which has lost five of its last seven games.

Sabres 4, Hurricanes 2

Victor Olofsson had a goal and an assist in the third period to lead Buffalo past Carolina.

Jeff Skinner, Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens also scored for the Sabres, and Craig Anderson made 32 saves in the opening game of a home-and-home set with the Hurricanes.

Earning a point for the ninth time in 10 games (6-1-3), Buffalo held off being eliminated from the playoffs for an NHL-record 11th consecutive season.

Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist for Carolina. Jesper Fast also scored, Jordan Staal had two assists, and Frederik Andersen stopped 18 shots.

Blue Jackets 4, Flyers 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Justin Danforth scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period, Elvis Merzlikins stopped 47 shots and Columbus beat Philadelphia to end a seven-game skid.

Sean Kuraly added an empty-netter for Columbus in the final seconds.Brendan Gaunce and Carson Meyer also scored for the Blue Jackets.

Noah Cates and James van Riemsdyk had goals for the Flyers.

The Blue Jackets last won March 19 and let their playoff hopes all but disappear over the last three weeks.

Rangers 3, Devils 1

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Artemi Panarin set up two first-period power-play goals for his 64th and 65th assists of the season and New York Rangers beat rival New Jersey.

Chris Kreider scored his 47th goal of the season, Justin Braun scored his first as a Ranger and Ryan Strome had a goal in his first game back from an injury.

New York improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Alexandar Georgiev made 20 saves in winning his fifth straight start.

Yegor Sharangovich scored the Devils’ lone goal and Nico Daws had 14 saves.

Senators 6, Canadiens 3

MONTREAL (AP) — Austin Watson scored twice and Ottawa had three goals in the third period to beat Montreal.

Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson and Colin White also scored for Ottawa.

Anton Forsberg made 27 saves as the Sens downed the Habs for the first time this season.

Montreal’s Justin Barron scored his first NHL goal in his first game at the Bell Centre. Brendan Gallagher and Cole Caufield added goals, and Jake Allen made 26 saves.


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