LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings accomplished the first step toward their ultimate goal: a third Stanley Cup title in five years.
Their 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, coupled with Arizona’s 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay, clinched a playoff berth a year after they became the eighth team in NHL history to miss the postseason after winning the Stanley Cup.
“The goal is to clinch a playoff spot as early as you can,” said left wing Milan Lucic, who spent his first eight NHL seasons in Boston. “It’s a great accomplishment. It’s been a fun 71 games so far, and we’ve got to keep the foot on the gas pedal.”
Penguins 4, Flyers 1
In Philadelphia, Trevor Daley, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kunitz scored for Pittsburgh.
Sharks 4, Rangers 1
In San Jose, Joel Ward scored twice, Joe Thornton broke a tie early in the third period and the Sharks overwhelmed Henrik Lundqvist and New York.
Wild 3, Hurricanes 2 (SO)
In St. Paul, Minnesota, Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise scored in the shootout.
Blue Jackets 6, Devils 3
In Columbus, rookie Oliver Bjorkstrand got his first two NHL goals in the third period.
Senators 5, Canadiens 0
In Ottawa, Andrew Hammond stopped all 30 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Senators scored three short-handed goals in a victory over Montreal.
Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 1
In Toronto, Connor Carrick scored his second goal in a week after ending a long drought and the Maple Leafs beat Buffalo to win their fourth in six games and avoid elimination from the playoffs.
Red Wings 5, Panthers 3
In Sunrise, Florida, Luke Glendening scored the go-ahead goal, Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and Detroit rebounded from a two-goal deficit and topped the Panthers.
Stars 3, Islanders 0
In Dallas, Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves in the Stars’ first shutout since December, and Dallas beat New York to maintain their hold on sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.
Blues 3, Canucks 0
In Vancouver, Brian Elliott made 19 saves in his return from injury and St. Louis handed the Canucks their second straight shutout loss.
Lightning 2, Coyotes 0
In Glendale, Arizona, Ben Bishop stopped 31 shots for his fifth shutout of the season, Ondrej Palat scored in the first period and Tampa Bay used a superior penalty kill to hold off the Coyotes.