Capitals top Hurricanes, clinch playoff spot
Dowd picks up game-winner
Nic Dowd’s slight redirection led to the winning goal as the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals clinched a playoff spot with a 3-2 victory against the host Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.
Dowd’s seventh goal of the season came with 4:56 remaining when defenseman Nick Jensen delivered the puck from outside the right circle. Dowd put his stick on the puck, which slid between goalie Curtis McElhinney’s pads.
Washington wrapped up an Eastern Conference playoff spot and remains in the lead in the Metropolitan Division.
Brett Connolly and Jakub Vrana also scored for the Capitals.
The outcome was frustrating for the Hurricanes, who are trying to at least keep a spot as a wild-card team for the playoffs.
Jackets rip Canadiens
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice as the host Columbus Blue Jackets moved into the final wild-card spot in the East after posting a 6-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Bjorkstrand has five goals in his last five games for the Blue Jackets, who have won three in a row overall and a season-best five straight at home to match Montreal at 90 points with a game in hand.
Isles rally past Jets
Casey Cizikas scored the tying goal with 1:46 left and Jordan Eberle scored the winning goal just 33 seconds later as the visiting New York Islanders stormed back to stun the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4. New York passed Pittsburgh in the Metro Division and now needs just two more points to clinch a playoff spot.
The Islanders trailed 2-0 less than seven minutes into the game and were down 3-1 in the second and 4-2 in the third before mounting a comeback.
New York, which scored just six goals in its previous five games, pulled within 4-3 on Eberle’s first goal 7:49 into the third. Cizikas swooped into the crease behind Jets right winger Patrik Laine to put back the rebound of a shot by Anthony Beauvillier before Eberle took a no-look pass from behind the net by Mathew Barzal and scored.