Rangers 4, Devils 0
New York started the day eighth in the Eastern Conference. It finished two spots higher and locked into a first-round playoff matchup with the Washington Capitals.
In their final regular-season game, the Rangers beat New Jersey on Saturday and jumped over the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders into sixth place.
When Ottawa was beaten by Philadelphia on Saturday night, the Rangers knew they were there to stay.
The Rangers' win assured that New York wouldn't finish eighth and be forced to face the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Now they can look even higher.
"If you start out in sixth, you could get home ice depending on what else happens. You never know," said forward Brad Richards, who had two assists in his 900th NHL game.
Last year, the Rangers finished with the best record in the East and knocked off Washington in a seven-game, second-round series before falling to New Jersey in the conference finals.
Their next task is another meeting with Alex Ovechkin and the Southeast Division champion Capitals. Washington and the Rangers will be meeting in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
"It's going to be a tough opponent," Capitals forward Eric Fehr said of the Rangers after he scored the winning overtime goal against Boston on Saturday night.
"We have a little bit of history with them. We've played them a number of times. It's going to be a man's series, no question.
"They've got a lot of big guys and they like to play physical. It's a good challenge for us."
Henrik Lundqvist made the latest playoff matchup possible as he stopped 20 New Jersey shots on Saturday and coasted to his second shutout of the season. Rick Nash scored two goals.
"It was big for us," said Nash, a first-year Ranger who is in the playoffs for the first time since 2009 while with Columbus. "We wanted to ride some momentum going into the playoffs, and I thought the guys had a great effort."
Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan both had a goal and assist in the first period against New Jersey backup goalie Johan Hedberg, who gave Martin Brodeur a rare game off. One year after reaching the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils will head home early after failing to make the playoffs.
Unsympathetic Rangers fans serenaded the Devils with chants of "Season's Over" as the final minutes ticked down.
"Definitely this is not a good feeling a year after we went to the finals," forward Stephen Gionta said. "Not easy."
Lundqvist was hardly tested in earning his 45th NHL shutout. The Rangers, who wrapped up their third straight playoff berth with a win at Carolina on Thursday, went 10-3-1 in their final 14 games.
Hedberg made 17 saves in the matchup of Swedish goalies. New Jersey was shut out for the fourth time, all in the final 12 games.
Capitals 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
Heading into the very last game of the NHL regular season, Shawn Thornton and Boston know a victory over Ottawa today will earn it a Northeast Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Bruins certainly hope they don't give away a two-goal lead amid a flurry of penalties, the way they did in their next-to-last game.
The Bruins slid into second place in the division, behind the Montreal Canadiens, after a loss to Washington on Eric Fehr's power-play goal 3:23 into overtime.
"We can't really dwell on this one. We've got a big one tomorrow now," Thornton said. "We made it a little bit tough on ourselves."
The Bruins will host the Senators on Sunday night in a game rescheduled because of the Boston Marathon bombings. The season originally was supposed to end Saturday.
Boston began the day in a tie for first place in the division with Montreal, which beat Toronto 4-1 to grab a one-point lead in the standings.
"It's good that there are no games that don't matter," Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask said. "Every game has mattered this season, and that's the way it's going to be until the end."
If Boston beats Ottawa on Sunday — in regulation, overtime or a shootout — the Bruins will be the No. 2 seed. Otherwise, the Canadiens will be No. 2, and the Bruins will be No. 4.
"We want to win that division," Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "so we're going to play to win tomorrow — no ifs, ands or buts."
The Capitals, in contrast, had nothing at stake Saturday night, already having clinched the Southeast Division championship and gotten locked into the No. 3 seed in the East. And as of Saturday, the Capitals know their opponent for the first round of the playoffs next week: the New York Rangers, who beat the New Jersey Devils 4-0 earlier in the day.
It's the fourth time in the past five seasons that the Capitals and Rangers meet in the postseason.
"We know what to expect," said Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who scored two goals on power plays within less than two minutes in the third period.
That tied the game after Boston took a 2-0 lead on goals by Milan Lucic in the first period and Andrew Ference in the second.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin assisted on both of Green's goals. And while the Russian didn't score himself, he finished the season with a league-leading 32 goals. He also topped the NHL in goals in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Red Wings 3, Stars 0
Detroit is headed to the playoffs for the 22nd straight season after Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and an assist in a victory over Dallas.
Jimmy Howard made 17 saves to post his fifth shutout of the season as Detroit secured the seventh spot in the Western Conference. It's the lowest playoff seed for the Red Wings since the NHL moved to the 1 vs. 8 conference format in 1993.
Jonathan Ericsson also scored and Pavel Datsyuk had three assists for the Red Wings, who own the longest active playoff streak in major professional sports, six years longer than the NBA's San Antonio Spurs' stretch of postseason play.
Detroit closed out the regular season with four consecutive wins by a combined score of 15-3. It will face second-seeded Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs
Richard Bachman made 34 saves for Dallas, which dropped its fifth consecutive game.
Wild 3, Avalanche 1
Devin Setoguchi broke a second-period tie and Niklas Backstrom stopped 29 shots, helping Minnesota secure its first playoff spot in five years with a win over Colorado.
Zach Parise scored and Pierre-Marc Bouchard added a late empty-net goal for the Wild, who earned the No. 8 seed and will face top-seeded Chicago in the first round of the postseason. Minnesota had a chance to wrap up a spot on Friday, but lost 6-1 at home to Edmonton.
Backstrom came up big in the third period, turning aside 15 shots. He improved to 24-5-3 against the Avalanche.
Ryan O'Reilly had the lone goal for Colorado, which finished in last place in the Western Conference.
Blue Jackets 3, Predators 1
Jack Johnson scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 left and Columbus capped a remarkable turnaround with a victory over Nashville.
But despite that win, Columbus was eliminated from the playoff race when the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche later on Saturday to earn the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Coming into the night, the Blue Jackets were tied for eighth in the West with Minnesota, each with 53 points.
Detroit beat Dallas on Saturday and clinched the No. 7 seed. The Red Wings will play Anaheim in the first round.
The Blue Jackets were on the short end of tiebreakers against both the Wild and Red Wings.
Brandon Dubinsky tied it early in the period and Cam Atkinson added an empty-netter.
Blues 3, Blackhawks 1
Brian Elliott made 22 saves and Jaden Schwartz had his first two-goal game and St. Louis earned home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs by defeating Chicago.
The Blues won 12 of their last 15 games to capture fourth place in the Western Conference. St. Louis will face Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs.
Elliott and the Blues were helped by facing a Chicago lineup that was without many regular players.
Ben Smith, who was playing in his first game of the season, scored for Chicago.
The two-goal game was the first of Schwartz's career. Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis and David Backes had two assists to give him 300 points for his career.
Kings 3, Sharks 2
Justin Williams scored in the third period, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves, and Los Angeles finished in fifth place in the Western Conference with a victory over San Jose.
Slava Voynov and Kyle Clifford also scored for the reigning Stanley Cup champions, who entered the regular-season finale in a fifth-place tie with the Sharks.
The Kings will begin their title defense at fourth-seeded St. Louis, which sneaked past Los Angeles and San Jose in the last week.
T.J. Galiardi and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who will begin their ninth consecutive playoff appearance at third-seeded Vancouver after losing three of their final four.
Brad Richardson had two assists for the Kings, who played without suspended captain Dustin Brown.
Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots for the Sharks, who kept it close on Galiardi's goal with 2:26 to play.
Oilers 7, Canucks 2
Nail Yakupov scored his first career hat trick and Edmonton closed out its season with a win over Vancouver.
The Russian rookie scored all three of his goals in a high-flying third period for Edmonton, which scored five goals in a span of 3:35.
Justin Schultz had a goal and three assists, Jordan Eberle two goals and Jerred Smithson got the another goal for the Oilers, who won their last two games of the season but only three of their last 12.
Derek Roy and Tom Sestito scored for the Canucks, who rested several of their key players in advance of the playoffs. The Canucks will play the San Jose Sharks in the first of the playoffs.
The Canucks lost two in a row to finish the regular season and four of their last six.
Panthers 5, Lightning 3
Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist for the Lightning to win the league scoring title in Tampa Bay's loss to Florida in the season finale for two non-playoff teams.
The 37-year old St. Louis finished the year with 60 points, making him the oldest player in league history to win the Art Ross Trophy.
Tomas Fleischmann scored his second goal of the game to give Florida a 4-3 lead at 13:53 of the third. Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists, while Marcel Goc added an empty net goal in the final minute of play.
St. Louis assisted on Matt Carle's goal 5 minutes into the first period that made it 1-0, and scored from in-close to put Tampa Bay up 3-2 at 5:47 of the second. The right wing, with 912 points, moved past Gary Roberts in 95th place on the career list. Bobby Orr is 94th with 915 points.
Steven Stamkos got the second assist on St. Louis' goal, giving him 57 points. Tampa Bay also got a goal from Ryan Malone.
Penguins 8, Hurricanes 3
James Neal scored three goals in his first game back from a concussion and Pittsburgh snapped a two-game skid with a victory over Jordan Staal and Carolina.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who had three third-period goals in 5:24 to turn a tie game into a rout. Brenden Morrow and former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen — both acquired at the trade deadline — also scored.
Kevin Westgarth scored his first two goals of the season, and Tuomo Ruutu also scored for the Hurricanes, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight time.
Flyers 2, Senators 1
Jakub Voracek scored the winner, Steve Mason made 43 saves and Philadelphia closed out the season with a win over Ottawa.
Jason Akeson also scored for the Flyers, who failed to advance to the postseason for just the ninth time in franchise history.
Kyle Turris scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots.
The loss leaves the Senators sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference. They can finish seventh if they pick up a point against Boston in today's season finale.
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Lars Eller had a goal and two assists and Montreal sent Toronto a pre-playoff message, defeating the sluggish Maple Leafs.
The Canadiens did it without No. 1 goalie Carey Price, who was given the night off in favor of Peter Budaj. Rubbing salt into the wound, Montreal chased Toronto starter James Reimer early in the third period.
Toronto and Montreal could meet in the playoffs depending on the outcome of the makeup game Sunday between the Senators and Bruins in Boston.
Coyotes 5, Ducks 3
Radim Vrbata had three goals, capping his hat trick with a short-handed score, and Jason LaBarbera made 22 of his 43 saves in the first period to lead Phoenix over playoff-bound Anaheim.
The Coyotes finished 21-18-9, four points out of a playoff spot after winning their first division title in franchise history and going to the Western conference finals last season.
Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan and defensemen Francois Beauchemin scored for the Ducks.
As the second seed in the West, Anaheim will meet seventh-seeded Detroit in the opening round of the playoffs.
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