BOSTON -- Josh Bailey scored twice and the New York Islanders added another big win in their surge toward the playoffs by beating the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Thursday night.
The Islanders, seeking their first trip to the postseason in seven years, improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games. They started the day tied with Ottawa and the New York Rangers with 44 points.
New York kept pace with Ottawa, which won at Philadelphia. The eighth-place Rangers were idle.
The Bruins fell to 5-2 in their last seven games one night after moving into second place in the East with a 5-4 win at New Jersey.
Bailey's fourth goal in six games and ninth of the season snapped a 1-1 tie at 13:12 of the second period. Tyler Seguin had tied it for Boston earlier in the period (see full recap).
Capitals win sixth straight
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals finished off a month's worth of role reversal Thursday night, winning their sixth straight and extending the Carolina Hurricanes' losing streak to seven with a 3-1 victory.
Troy Brouwer and Mike Green scored second-period goals, Brouwer added an empty-netter and Braden Holtby made 43 saves for the Southeast Division leaders almost one month to the day after their playoff hopes appeared buried following a shutout loss to the then-surging Hurricanes.
Jeff Skinner scored in the first period, and Justin Peters had 28 stops for the Hurricanes, who now trail the Capitals by 12 points - an incredible 22-point swing from March 12, when Carolina beat Washington 4-0 at the Verizon Center (see full recap).
Canadiens win to clinch playoff berth
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Peter Budaj stopped 14 shots, and the Montreal Canadiens clinched a playoff berth and regained the Northeast Division lead with a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov had a goal and assist each, and Rene Bourque, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens.
In earning its fourth postseason berth in five years, Montreal is returning to the playoffs after bottoming out last year, when the Canadiens finished last in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal (26-9-5) also jumped back atop the Northeast, one point ahead of Boston, which was beaten 2-1 by the New York Islanders.
Budaj had his shutout bid snapped 6:45 into the third period when Brian Flynn scored a short-handed goal by capping a 2-on-0 break (see full recap).