Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 5, 2008
WASHINGTON ó Make room in the playoffs for MVP front-runner Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Tomas Fleischmann, Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Semin scored for the Capitals, who clinched the Southeast Division title with a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. The win was also the Capitals’ seventh straight, the franchise’s longest in 15 years.
The Capitals finished last in the Southeast each of the last three season and were still there as late as Dec. 30, but their steady climb had already begun. With nearly every game in March and April a must-win, they ended the regular season by winning 11 of 12 and 14 of 18 and became the first NHL team to make the playoffs after sitting at 14th or 15th in the conference at the halfway mark.
Sabres 3, Bruins 0
BOSTON ó Thomas Vanek scored three goals and Jocelyn Thibault shut out the Boston Bruins in his first start since Jan. 21 as the Buffalo Sabres ended their season with a victory in their first game since they were eliminated from playoff contention.
Boston, which clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 win at Ottawa on Friday night, will finish seventh or eighth in the Eastern Conference and play Montreal in the first round. The Canadiens beat Toronto 3-1 to assure the matchup with the Bruins. The Bruins lost all eight of their games against the Canadiens, seven in regulation.
Blues 3, Blue Jackets 0
ST. LOUIS ó Keith Tkachuk scored the 498th and 499th goals of his career, and Manny Legace earned his 27th career shutout in St. Louis’ regular-season home finale. Brad Boyes also scored his team-leading 42nd goal and Paul Kariya added two assists for the Blues.
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
MONTREAL ó Chris Higgins scored twice and Mark Streit had a goal and an assist as the Montreal Canadiens finished their schedule atop the Eastern Conference. Montreal completed the regular season with a 47-25-10 record for 104 points, two more than second-place Pittsburgh, which plays its final game Sunday at Philadelphia.
Thrashers 4, Lightning 1
ATLANTA ó Colby Armstrong scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period.
Ducks 4, Kings 3
LOS ANGELES ó Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne scored two goals, including the winner with 13:32 to play.