San Jose, Vancouver, LA in playoffs


Evgeni Nabokov and Teemu Selanne carried the San Jose Sharks into the postseason. The Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings went along for the ride. Nabokov turned back 28 shots for his sixth shutout of the season as the Sharks beat Phoenix 3-0 Thursday night and cleared up the muddled Western Conference playoff scramble. San Jose eliminated the Coyotes from playoff contention and clinched playoff berths for the Canucks and Kings. All that needs to be determined is the playoff seeding order. Vancouver beat Los Angeles 3-2 in overtime, but the focus of both teams was on the postseason. Vancouver’s overtime win gave both the Canucks and Kings 90 points — two more than Phoenix, which has fewer victories than both teams and just one game remaining. Nabokov’s team-record 32nd victory propelled the Sharks into the postseason for the fourth straight year and the sixth time in their 11 seasons. The win also pushed San Jose into fifth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Edmonton with a game in hand on the Oilers. Patrick Marleau had a goal in the second period and Selanne scored twice — including an empty-netter — in the third. With Phoenix managing partner Wayne Gretzky watching from a luxury suite, the Coyotes became the most successful team in NHL history to miss the playoffs. Phoenix’s 88 points are more than the 1985-86 Devils and the 1972-73 Red Wings, who both accumulated 86 points, but missed the postseason. In Vancouver, Harold Druken scored twice, rallying the Canucks from a 2-1 third period deficit for their first win in eight games and first playoff berth in five seasons. “This was huge. We’ve been working so hard, and the results just haven’t been there,” said Druken, who ended a 14 game scoring drought with the last two goals, including the game winner with 101 left in overtime. Brent Sopel also scored for the Canucks, who won for the first time in eight games and just the second time in 16 games. Former Canucks goalie Felix Potvin, who was traded to the Kings on Feb. 15, lost for the first time in five games, but felt like a winner. Steve Kelly and Adam Deadmarsh scored for Los Angeles, which clinched its third playoff berth in four years. Capitals 3, Panthers 0 Olaf Kolzig made 28 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as host Washington snapped a three-game losing streak. Steve Konowalchuk, Jeff Halpern and Dainius Zubrus scored for the Capitals, who had lost eight of 10 games. The Panthers, losers of three of four, had a season-high five-game road unbeaten streak (3-0-2) halted. Blues 4, Blue Jackets 1 Scott Young scored twice to reach the 40-goal mark for the first time as host St. Louis snapped a five-game winless streak. Pierre Turgeon and Keith Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Jamie Heward ended Roman Turek’s shutout bid with 9:02 remaining. Turek made 26 saves in his second win since Feb. 26. Rangers 4, Lightning 3, OT Manny Malhotra scored with 107 left in overtime, giving New York a victory at Tampa. Michal Grosek, Colin Forbes and Radek Dvorak also scored for the Rangers. Martin St. Louis, Ben Clymer and Vincent Lecavalier scored for Tampa Bay. Canadiens 3, Flyers 2, OT Saku Koivu scored with 709 left in the third period, and Brian Savage scored 309 into overtime for host Montreal. Karl Dykhuis also scored for the Canadiens. Michal Sykora and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for Philadelphia. Red Wings 4, Thrashers 0 Martin Lapointe scored two goals and Nicklas Lidstrom had three assists as Detroit extended its home unbeaten streak to 18 games. The Red Wings, who have not lost at home since Dec. 27, tied the franchise home unbeaten record set in 1931-32 and matched in 1954-55. Manny Legace stopped 16 shots as Detroit got its first home shutout since Oct. 2, 1999. Boyd Devereaux and Vyacheslav Kozlov also scored for Detroit. Predators 4, Flames 0 Mike Dunham had 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Cliff Ronning had a power play goal and two assists as Nashville won for the third time in four games. David Legwand added a goal and an assist, Greg Johnson and Marian Cisar added goals and Scott Walker had two assists for the Predators, who set a franchise record with their 16th home win.