Ottawa, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Max Pacioretty recorded his third hat trick of the season and added two assists for a career-high five points, as Montreal roared back from an early three-goal deficit to shock Ottawa, 7-4, in an Atlantic Division clash in Canada's capital. Mike Weaver and David Desharnais added a goal and a helper each for the Canadiens, winners in nine of their last 11 who moved alone into second place -- two points up on idle Tampa Bay -- for home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Andrei Markov and Lars Eller also hit the back of the net for Montreal and Thomas Vanek contributed three assists. Peter Budaj allowed a trio of scores in the game's first six minutes, but recovered to snag the win thanks to 39 saves. Zack Smith scored twice and Ales Hemsky once in that burst for the Senators, who have lost two in a row after winning three straight. Mika Zibanejad added a goal and an assist in defeat. Craig Anderson failed to hold that generous cushion, taking the loss by yielding all seven scores on 23 shots. Friday's contest was the first meeting between the clubs since the "Miracle in Montreal" on March 15, where Habs rallied from 4-1 down in the game's final 3:22 to win, 5-4 in OT at Bell Centre.
Final Score: Chicago 4, Columbus 3
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Blue Jackets, battling for a playoff spot, came within seconds of securing a valuable point and possibly a second. Ben Smith scored with 3.9 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over Columbus at Nationwide Arena. A point shot by Duncan Keith went off Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky's glove and triggered a goal-mouth scramble, with Smith pushing the rebound into the open net. Keith had three assists and Antti Raanta made 24 saves for the Blackhawks, who moved to within a point of second-place Colorado in the Central Division. Bobrovsky had 34 saves for Columbus, which still holds the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets, who have lost 13 in a row to the Blackhawks, are one point ahead of ninth-place Toronto and three points up on 10th-place New Jersey.
Final Score: New Jersey 2, Washington 1
Newark, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Carter scored the game-winner with 4:54 remaining, as the New Jersey Devils downed the Washington Capitals, 2-1, in a crucial Eastern Conference clash on Friday at Prudential Center. Tuomo Ruutu recorded New Jersey's other goal and Cory Schneider stopped 24 shots for the Devils, who picked up at least one point for the sixth straight game (3-0-3) to keep their playoff hopes alive. With the win, New Jersey leapfrogged Washington in the East standings and moved within three points of Columbus for the second wild-card spot. The Blues Jackets, who lost to Chicago on Friday, have 85 points, followed by Toronto with 84. Washington, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight game, despite a 29-save effort from Jaroslav Halak. Alex Ovechkin supplied his 49th goal of the season for the Capitals, who sit four points back of the Blue Jackets with just five games to play.
Final Score: Detroit 3, Buffalo 2
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Daniel Alfredsson posted a goal and an assist as the Detroit Red Wings grabbed a crucial 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Tomas Jurco and Darren Helm scored, while Jimmy Howard had 21 saves for the Red Wings, who moved three points ahead of Columbus, which lost to Chicago on Friday, for the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Jamie McBain and Nicolas Deslauriers scored for the Sabres, who have lost six of seven. Matt Hackett gave up all three goals on 31 shots.
Final Score: Calgary 2, Florida 1
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Cammalleri netted the winner early in the second period and Joey MacDonald stopped 34 pucks, as Calgary edged Florida, 2-1, on Friday. Kenny Agostino produced his first NHL goal for the Flames, who have won two in a row and six of 10 despite having been eliminated from playoff contention. Vincent Trocheck provided the lone score and Roberto Luongo made 15 saves for the Panthers, who began a season-ending five-game homestand with their fifth straight loss overall.
Final Score: Edmonton 3, Phoenix 2 (SO)
Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Sam Gagner netted the tying goal late in regulation and the lone goal in the shootout, lifting Edmonton to a 3-2 win over Phoenix on Friday. Ben Scrivens was called to the bench for an extra skater with 1:29 on the clock, and Gagner popped home a loose puck after Jordan Eberle stripped Thomas Greiss behind the net with 40.4 showing. Greiss was again helpless on the final chance in the fourth round of the game's final segment, lured to the left post by Gagner's several quick stick fakes before watching the puck slide past him at the right post. Justin Schultz added an early score and Scrivens made 24 stops in regulation for the Oilers, who put an end to a three-game losing skid. Oliver Ekman- Larsson picked up a goal and one assist and Kyle Chipchura also tallied for the Coyotes, while Greiss also made 24 saves. Despite the twist ending, Phoenix picked up a valuable point to move one ahead of idle Dallas to claim the final wild-card berth in the West.
Final Score: Nashville 5, Anaheim 2
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Fisher posted two goals and an assist as the Nashville Predators took a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Nashville kept its fledgling playoff hopes alive, as the team has 79 points and sits seven points back of Phoenix, which lost a shootout to Edmonton on Friday, for the final wild-card spot with five games to play. Colin Wilson scored twice, Patric Hornqvist gave a goal and two assists while Matt Cullen had three helpers for the Predators, who have won five of seven. Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots in the win. Kyle Palmieri and Daniel Winnik scored for the Ducks, who had a three-game winning streak stopped. Jonas Hiller started and was pulled late in the first period, but was back on the ice for the third and stopped 13-of-17 shots. Frederik Andersen relieved Hiller in the first, but wasn't on the ice for the third as he appeared to be shaken up after getting hit in the mask with a shot and stopped 6-of-7 shots. Anaheim holds a one-point lead over San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division and has a game in hand.