NHL roundup: Jets clinch playoffs behind Gabriel Vilardi’s hat trick


Gabriel Vilardi notched his first NHL hat trick to help the Winnipeg Jets clinch a playoff spot with a 5-2 win against the visiting Calgary Flames on Thursday. Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and an assist, Tyler Toffoli also scored, Josh Morrissey had two assists and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the Jets, who remain four points behind the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division with six games left for each. MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and an assist, Daniil Miromanov also scored and Dustin Wolf made 40 saves for the Flames, who have lost seven of eight and six straight on the road.

Calgary’s Martin Pospisil received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for elbowing Josh Morrissey with 44 seconds left in the second period.

Kings 2, Sharks 1 Akil Thomas scored his first NHL goal to help visiting Los Angeles beat San Jose. Adrian Kempe also scored and David Rittich made 15 saves for the Kings, who pulled within a point of the Nashville Predators for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Klim Kostin scored for the second straight game and Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for the Sharks, who have lost 11 of 12.

Predators 6, Blues 3 Filip Forsberg scored twice in a three-point game to pace host Nashville to a victory over St. Louis that snapped a three-game skid and strengthened the Predators’ playoff chances. Roman Josi, Anthony Beauvillier, Michael McCarron and Mark Jankowski also scored for the Predators, who hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. Goaltender Juuse Saros sparkled with 44 saves, while Gustav Nyquist collected three assists, including the 300th of his career. Ryan O’Reilly added two assists. Brandon Saad, Jake Neighbours and Jordan Kyrou scored for the Blues, who are clinging to their flickering playoff hopes with only six games remaining. Jordan Binnington stopped 25 shots and Justin Faulk had two assists.

Panthers 6, Senators 0

Matthew Tkachuk scored a goal and added two assists, Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves and visiting Florida blanked Ottawa.

The shutout was the fifth of the season for Bobrovsky, who also shut out the Senators 5-0 on Nov. 27. Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Nick Cousins each logged a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who won for just the third time in 11 outings (3-7-1). Anton Lundell and Dmitry Kulikov also found the back of the net for Florida, while Aleksander Barkov and Eetu Luostarinen had two helpers apiece. Florida has won all three meetings against Ottawa this season, outscoring the Senators 14-2.

Senators starting goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped 13 of the 17 shots he faced before being replaced by Anton Forsberg in the second period. Forsberg yielded two goals on 14 shots as Ottawa lost its second game in a row.

Bruins 4, Hurricanes 1

Brad Marchand’s 400th career NHL goal began a first-period offensive onslaught from Boston en route to a big win over Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

Boston scored its first three goals in the first 10:46 and wound up winning its third straight game. David Pastrnak and Danton Heinen also scored in the opening stanza and added an assist each while Hampus Lindholm sealed the win with a late empty-netter. Pavel Zacha dished out two assists, and Jeremy Swayman earned his third straight win, making 28 saves.

Jake Guentzel scored the lone goal and Frederik Andersen made 24 stops for Carolina, which is 11-3-1 in its past 15 games.

Penguins 4, Capitals 1 Visiting Pittsburgh scored twice in the first period and held on to beat Washington. Lars Eller had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who extended their point streak to seven games (5-0-2). Ryan Shea, Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Michael Bunting also scored, and Reilly Smith and Kris Letang added two assists apiece. Pittsburgh goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 30 shots. Alex Ovechkin scored and Charlie Lindgren made 20 saves for the Capitals, who have lost four straight (0-3-1). Islanders 4, Blue Jackets 2

Noah Dobson scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period for visiting New York, which moved into an Eastern Conference wild-card spot by beating Columbus.

Pierre Engvall and Bo Horvat scored in the first period and Kyle Palmieri added an empty-netter with 38 seconds left for the Islanders, who have won three straight games to move into a playoff position.

Kirill Marchenko had a goal and an assist and Dmitri Voronkov also scored for the Blue Jackets, who had their two-game winning streak snapped. Greaves made 24 saves in relief of Danil Tarasov, who stopped 13 of 15 shots before exiting with an upper-body injury late in the first period.

Lightning 7, Canadiens 4

Steven Stamkos scored two goals and had an assist and Nikita Kucherov added a goal and two assists to lead visiting Tampa Bay over Montreal.

Nicholas Paul also scored twice, Michael Eyssimont had a goal and an assist and Brandon Hagel added another goal for the Lightning, who moved to within two points of third-place Toronto in the Atlantic Division. Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point each had two assists for Tampa Bay, which improved to 10-1-1 over its past 12 games.

Joel Armia scored twice, Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist and Cole Caufield also scored for the Canadiens. Alex Newhook and Brendan Gallagher each added two assists and Cayden Primeau finished with 28 saves.

Avalanche 5, Wild 2

Jonathan Drouin scored two goals and dished one assist, and Colorado pulled away to beat Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn. Nathan MacKinnon also posted a three-point night with one goal and two assists for the Avalanche. Artturi Lehkonen and Mikko Rantanen added one goal apiece. Vinni Lettieri and Declan Chisholm each scored one goal for the Wild.