A pair of teams used to making a playoff push at this time of the season both snapped losing streaks on Sunday to make the Eastern Conference playoff push all the more interesting.
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a season-high four-game losing streak with a 5-0 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres to move into third place in the Atlantic Division standings. Tampa Bay’s five-goal win carried an NHL betting lines payout of +525.
Corey Perry and Ondrej Palat scored 17 seconds apart in the first period while Brian Elliott had 28 saves for Tampa Bay’s first shutout since blanking Philadelphia and Seattle in consecutive games in late November.
“We’ve been kinda motioning towards better and better play!”
Brian Elliott talks about his 1st shutout of the season, the @TBLightning starting to play better, Ryan McDonagh back in the lineup and more. #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/PF68cHnACH
— Bally Sports Sun: Lightning (@BallyLightning) April 10, 2022
Elliott now has shutouts for five different NHL franchises. Perry hadn’t scored in 16 games and Palat in 29 games before the veteran wingers broke through.
Brandon Hagel, Nikita Zucherov and Ross Colton also scored for the Lightning, who had scored six goals in the last previous three games.
The Lightning (+900) still are tied for the third-best odds to win the Stanley Cup championship.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, chasing the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division, topped the visiting Nashville Predators 3-2 in overtime.
Sidney Crosby, who was held scoreless in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 11-13, had two goals and assists on the other. Crosby had the 1,400th point in his career.
Crosby’s overtime tally was his 77th career game-winning goal, one behind the franchise record currently shared by teammate Evgeni Malkin as well as Jaromir Jagr.
“Ït’s fun being in an emotional game like that,” Crosby said. “Down the stretch, the points are so important, especially now that we are fighting for position.”
Crosby opened the scoring with his 27th goal before Matt Duchene tied it late in the first period. A Nick Cousins’ power-play goal gave Nashville the lead early in the third period, but Crosby had an assist on Jason Zucker’s tying goal.
Crosby scored off an assist from Rickard Rakell at 2:21 of overtime. Rakell assisted on all three goals after failing to register a point in each of the last four games.
The Washington Capitals got a tie-breaking goal from Lars Eller in the third period to top the visiting Boston Bruins 4-2.
Washington is just four points back of Pittsburgh for third place in the Metropolitan Division after winning its third game in a row.
After John Carlson gave Washington the lead early in the second period, Curtis Lazar and Erik Haula scored a minute apart to give Boston the lead.
Eller assisted on Tom Wilson’s tying goal and Alexander Ovechkin iced the game with an empty-net goal with two seconds left.
Boston lost defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to an upper-body injury in the first period. The Bruins were already playing without defenseman Hampus Lindholm and top goal scorer David Pastrnak. The loss knocked Boston out of third place in the Atlantic Division.
The Capitals had a moment of silence before the game in honor of Dwayne Haskins, a former quarterback with Washington’s NFL franchise, who died when struck by a dump truck on a Miami highway over the weekend.
Staal Sparks Hurricanes
Jordan Staal had his first hat trick since 2012 to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 win over the visiting Anaheim Ducks. His most recent three-goal game came in a playoff game and the last time he accomplished the feat in a regular-season game came in 2008.
Staal scored twice in the third period as Carolina pulled away for its 27th home win of the season. The first-place Hurricanes lead the Rangers by two points in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and an assist for Carolina. Josh Mahura and Troy Terry had goals for Anaheim, which has lost three of its last four games.
Matthew Boldy and Jared Spurgeon each had a goal and an assist as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 in a matchup of teams currently in playoff position in the Western Conference. The Wild winning by three goals had a Las Vegas odds moneyline of +500.
The Kings led 3-0 midway through the first period on goals by Rasmus Kupari, Carl Grundstrom and Adrian Kempe, but goals 50 seconds apart by Kirill Kaprizov and Boldy started the Minnesota comeback. The goal by Kaprizov tied Minnesota’s franchise record of 42 held by Marian Gaborik and Eric Staal. It was Kaprizov’s 10th goal in the last 10 games.
Minnesota moved into second place in the Central Division because the Wild have a game in hand on St. Louis, which also has 94 points. Los Angeles is just two points ahead of hard-charging Vegas for third place in the Pacific Division.
The Dallas Stars got two goals from Jason Robertson in a 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists for Dallas, which is a point behind Nashville for the Western Conference’s top wild card spot and two points ahead of Vegas. Those who bet online might be interested to know that Dallas has won five of its last six road games.
Philipp Kurashev, Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and recent acquisition Boris Katchouk scored for Chicago. Dominik Kubalik was a healthy scratch for the second time this season. He has scored once in the last 15 games.
Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and two assists as the visiting Winnipeg Jets topped the Ottawa Senators 4-3.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Paul Stastny and Kyle Connor also scored for the Jets, who are seven points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining.
Brady Tkachuk scored twice and Josh Norris had the other goal for Ottawa.