Best of NHL: Blue Jackets set franchise point record, clinch playoff spot vs. N.J.

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets set franchise point record, clinch playoff spot vs. N.J.

NEWARK, N.J. -- Lukas Sedlak and Brandon Dubinsky scored on penalty shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched their third playoff berth in franchise history with a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

This was only the third time in NHL history that a team scored twice in a game on penalty shots. Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hlinka of Vancouver did it against Detroit in 1982, and Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton of San Jose converted against Washington in 2009.

The win was the fourth straight for the Blue Jackets, gave them their first 100-point season and moved them into a tie with Washington for the NHL's best record with 11 games left. Columbus, which joined the league in 2000, last made the playoffs in 2014.

Boone Jenner added two goals, one short-handed and the other into an empty net. Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves for Columbus, which is 12-3-1 in its last 16 games.

Adam Henrique scored for the Devils, whose season is all but over after falling to 1-10-2 in its last 13 (see full recap).

Crosby scores hat trick to take NHL goal lead in win
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby again picked up the slack with Evgeni Malkin out, getting his 10th career hat trick Sunday and leading the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Florida Panthers 4-0.

Crosby's natural hat trick came in a span of 11 minutes between the second and the third period, pushing his goal total to an NHL-high 40 and moving him into a tie with Edmonton's Conner McDavid for the league scoring lead with 80 points. Linemates Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel assisted on all three of Crosby's goals.

Patric Hornqvist added his 18th of the season for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots for his 44th career shutout, and the Penguins leapfrogged Columbus for second place in the Metropolitan Division behind Washington.

Florida's Jaromir Jagr joined Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Ron Francis as only players in NHL history to play in 1,700 games but the Panthers saw their fading playoff hopes take another hit. Reimer finished with 24 saves but received little help from those in front of him (see full recap).

Carey Price backstops Canadiens to win over Sens
MONTREAL -- Carey Price made 30 saves for his 33rd win of the season and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Sunday night to sweep the home-and-home series.

Tomas Plekanec, Jordie Benn, Paul Byron and Nathan Beaulieu scored for the Canadiens, who lead the Atlantic Division by four points over the Senators, who still have one game in hand.

Tom Pyatt scored a first-period goal for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots.

The Canadiens also beat the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday, winning 4-3 in a shootout.

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

BOSTON -- Nikita Kucherov had his third career hat trick to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, snapping the Lightning's three-game losing streak.

Jonathan Drouin had a goal and two assists, Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Anton Stralman also scored to help the Lightning pull three points behind the Bruins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Peter Budaj finished with 28 saves for the Lightning to earn his 29th win of the season. Ondrej Palat had three assists, and Jake Dotchin and Victor Hedman added two each.

Riley Nashy had a goal and an assist for Boston, and David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara also scored. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots as Boston, which won seven of the first eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, has now lost four straight and six of 11 (see full recap).

Oshie beats Bobrovsky to give Caps SO win
WASHINGTON -- T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.

Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington's 35th shot of the game. Orlov's goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.

Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead (see full recap).

Senators take down Penguins in shootout
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Mike Hoffman scored in regulation for the Senators and Mike Condon finished with 34 saves, including two incredible point-blank stops in overtime to keep the game going.

Nick Bonino had the goal in regulation for the Penguins and Matt Murray stopped 29 shots.

After being outplayed for much of the first two periods, the Senators were much better in the third and tied the score 1-1 on the power play at 9:43 as Hoffman beat Murray over the shoulder with a wrist shot just 14 seconds after Matt Cullen was penalized for holding (see full recap).

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Zach Parise scored for the Minnesota Wild just 2:07 into Thursday's game, the Flyers were in another difficult position on the road.

This time, they responded with the type of game they've needed on the road all season.

The Flyers scored three unanswered goals by Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek to beat Minnesota, 3-1, and snap a four-game losing streak on the road (see Instant Replay).

"They're a tough team to handle in their transition," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Parise's goal. "It's quick and it's fast. The players on the bench were outstanding, talking, real calm. Just go out and push it the other way the next shift and I thought we were able to do that."

The Flyers responded with one of their best efforts on the road in nearly two months and pulled within six points of Boston for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see standings). The Bruins lost, 6-3, at home to Tampa Bay.

Steve Mason made 24 saves in goal for his 100th win with the Flyers as the team was rarely challenged thanks to an all-around performance that has been missing on the road. The Flyers entered the night tied for the second-fewest road wins in the conference this season.

"Certain things on the road, you've got to be a little more specific with your game and detailed, and I think we did a better job of that tonight," said Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz, who returned to the arena where he played 10 seasons with Minnesota. "Everybody throughout the lineup did that and that's why we got a big win."

The beginning looked all too familiar, though.

An innocent looking dump-in slid to Mason, who tried to cover the puck. The puck went off his stick and Parise quickly poked it past Mason. The Wild had four quality chances early before the Flyers took control.

"They came hard early on in the game and to be able to match that speed; that was a completely different pace of game compared to what we came from in Winnipeg," Mason said. "So, it almost took a second to get your bearings straight to get up to speed."

The Flyers weathered the early flurry by Minnesota, which is safely in playoff position in the West but is facing its own late-season issues. The Flyers killed off both Wild penalties, allowing just two shots on the penalty kill.

Couturier's 12th goal of the season was critical in tying the game with 2:01 left in the first (see feature highlight).

"Coming into the room after the period, I think it's important when you get a big goal like that," captain Claude Giroux said. "You feel like you have the momentum a little bit, so it definitely helped us a lot."

Read provided the lead in the second and the Flyers, who are now 15-2-2 when leading after two periods, pressured in the third. They outshot the Wild, 9-4, in the final period.

"We didn't sit back," Hakstol said. "I thought we were confident with the puck and made some plays and spent a good amount of time in the offensive zone. We played with real confidence in our game."

Mason had been critical after the Flyers lost in Winnipeg on Tuesday, saying the team needed to be more desperate. The Flyers responded Thursday in the difficult position of being on the road and allowing the first goal.

"We knew we had to be better," Schultz said of Mason's comments. "I think on the road, you've got to be at least a .500 team and take care of business at home, and we haven't done that this year. So, obviously, we've got to get better and I think we did respond tonight. Now we have to build on it."