Carter Verhaeghe recorded a natural hat trick to highlight his career-high four-goal performance on Saturday, lifting the visiting Florida Panthers to a 7-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Alex Lyon made 21 saves to post his first career shutout. He was making his third straight start in place of two-time Vezina Trophy recipient Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been sidelined by a non-COVID illness.
Sam Reinhart collected a goal and two assists, Eric Staal had one of each and Nick Cousins also scored as the Panthers moved into sole possession of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Michael Hutchinson turned aside 42 shots for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four in a row and 11 of their last 14 games (3-9-2).
Cousins roofed a shot over a prone Hutchinson at 8:34 of the third period before Verhaeghe converted at the doorstep at 11:18 to boost his goal total to a team-high 40. Staal capped the scoring just under three minutes later.
Bruins 4, Penguins 3
David Pastrnak completed a hat trick on a one-timer from the slot with 2:26 left in regulation Saturday to give visiting Boston a win over Pittsburgh.
The game was potentially a preview of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff matchup. Charlie McAvoy also scored, and Pavel Zacha had three assists for the Bruins, who have won nine of their past 10 games and got 21 saves from goaltender Jeremy Swayman.
Bryan Rust had two goals and an assist, and Jake Guentzel also scored for the Penguins, who have lost seven of 10 and are trying to hang on to a wild-card spot. Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry made 31 saves.
Hurricanes 3, Canadiens 0
Antti Raanta made 14 saves in his first appearance in more than three weeks, and Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist as Carolina cruised past host Montreal.
The Hurricanes snapped a three-game losing streak and maintained their spot atop the Metropolitan Division. Brady Skjei and Sebastian Aho also scored for the Hurricanes, who improved to 3-0-0 against the Canadiens this season.
Sam Montembeault made 47 saves for the Canadiens, who occupy last place in the Atlantic Division.
Lightning 5, Islanders 0
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 38 shots he faced for Tampa Bay, which clinched a playoff spot by cruising past visiting New York.
Mikhail Sergachev, Tanner Jeannot, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point all scored for the Lightning, who are in the playoffs for the sixth straight season and will be looking to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth straight year.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Islanders, who hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Ilya Sorokin was chased after giving up four goals on 21 shots. Semyon Varlamov stopped 10 shots in relief.
Sabres 6, Flyers 3
Alex Tuch scored his second career hat trick to help Buffalo to a win against host Philadelphia.
Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist and Casey Mittelstadt had three assists for the Sabres, who moved to within four points of the Florida Panthers for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 39 saves.
Morgan Frost scored twice and Felix Sandstrom made 23 saves for the Flyers, who had their seven-game point streak snapped.
Predators 6, Blues 1
Tommy Novak collected a goal and three assists to lead Nashville past visiting St. Louis.
Luke Evangelista had a goal and two assists, and Cody Glass, Colton Sissons, Yakov Trenin and Philip Tomasino also scored for the Predators, who reside three points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Defenseman Calle Rosen scored and Thomas Greiss made 29 stops for the Blues, who lost for just the third time in their past nine games (6-2-1).
Devils 6, Blackhawks 3
Jesper Boqvist scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:32 remaining in the second period as New Jersey pulled away in the third for a victory over host Chicago.
Dougie Hamilton scored New Jersey's first goal to reach 20 on the season. Eric Haula also scored while Ryan Graves, Timo Meier and Dawson Mercer tallied in the third. New Jersey goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 14 saves.
Chicago's Jonathan Toews had an assist in his first game since Jan. 28 after being sidelined by the effects of long COVID-19 and chronic immune response syndrome. The Blackhawks matched a season worst with their eighth straight loss. Tyler Johnson and Lukas Reichel scored in the second while Andreas Athanasiou tallied in the third.
Avalanche 5, Stars 2
Nathan MacKinnon had two goals, Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists, and host Colorado beat Dallas.
Logan O'Connor and Valeri Nichushkin also scored, and Alexandar Georgiev turned away 26 shots for Colorado (45-24-6, 96 points).
Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin scored, Jason Robertson assisted on both and Jake Oettinger had 27 saves for the Stars (41-21-14, 96 points). The teams are tied for second in the Central Division, but the Avalanche have played one fewer game than Dallas.
Maple Leafs 3, Senators 0
Ilya Samsonov stopped 31 shots to earn his fourth shutout of the season as visiting Toronto defeated Ottawa.
It was the 10th career shutout for Samsonov, who was starting in goal for the second game in a row and made numerous key saves. Michael Bunting, William Nylander and Radim Zohorna scored for the Maple Leafs, who are trying to clinch second place in the Atlantic Division.
Mads Sogaard stopped 13 shots for the Senators in two periods. He was replaced by Cam Talbot, who stopped all four shots he faced.
Kings 3, Kraken 1
Carl Grundstrom scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the third period and visiting Los Angeles defeated Seattle.
Kevin Fiala had an empty-net goal and an assist, and Sean Durzi also scored for Los Angeles. Alex Iafallo added two assists. Pheonix Copley made 25 saves in a strong game for the Kings, who are third in the Pacific Division.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for the Kraken (41-26-8, 90 points), who occupy the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Martin Jones made 16 saves.
Golden Knights 4, Wild 1
Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, Jack Eichel dealt two helpers and Vegas surpassed the 100-point mark with a win over Minnesota in Las Vegas.
By taking down fellow division-leader Minnesota, the Pacific Division's Golden Knights eclipsed the century plateau to become the first Western Conference team to reach triple digits. Ben Hutton, Zach Whitecloud and Brett Howden also notched goals for Vegas, which is 5-1-1 in its past seven games.
In seeing their 11-game road point streak end, the Wild got a tally from Matt Boldy and 39 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury.
Oilers 6, Ducks 0
Leon Draisaitl scored three goals and Jack Campbell made 36 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead Edmonton to a win against visiting Anaheim.
Draisaitl scored his 50th goal of the season on a short-handed breakaway with 4:59 left to make it 6-0 and complete the hat trick. Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman each added a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who extended their point streak to 10 games (9-0-1) to remain two points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.
John Gibson stopped 31 of 36 shots before departing with a lower-body injury early in the third period. Lukas Dostal entered and made eight saves for the Ducks, who have lost seven in a row.
Sharks 7, Coyotes 2
Noah Gregor recorded his first career hat trick and Erik Karlsson tied a career high with four assists to lead San Jose to a win over Arizona in Tempe, Ariz.
Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, and Jacob Peterson, Kyle Criscuolo and Danil Gushchin also scored for the Sharks, who have won three straight games for just the second time this season. Nico Sturm had two assists and Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves.
J.J. Moser and Milos Kelemen scored for the Coyotes (27-37-13, 67 points), who have dropped seven straight games (0-5-2). Arizona will miss the playoffs for the third straight season.
--Field Level Media