Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves, and Tomas Plekanec scored the only goal in the Montreal Canadiens’ key 1-0 victory over the Flyers last night in Philadelphia.
Montreal moved two points ahead of Philadelphia and the Bruins in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flyers lost for the second straight night and have just one win in eight games (1-6-1).
The Flyers and Canadiens entered the night in a three-way tie with idle Boston for sixth place in the East.
Plekanec gave Montreal the lead it protected all night when he took a blind centering pass from Andrei Kostitsyn and beat Flyers goalie Brian Boucher 9:25 into the game.
Halak’s best sequence came late in the second period when he made consecutive saves on James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards.
Stars 6, Oilers 3 — Rookie Jamie Benn scored twice, including the go-ahead goal early in the third period, and host Dallas kept its faint playoff hopes alive by beating up Edmonton.
With the game tied at 3, Benn’s shot from the slot off a setup by Mike Modano trickled through goalie Devan Dubnyk’s pads and over the line at 2:22.
Modano had two assists, including the 800th of his NHL career, as he returned to the lineup after missing nine games following an appendectomy.
Rangers 5, Lightning 0 — Brandon Prust started New York’s four-goal first period, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots for his fourth shutout of the season in a rout of host Tampa Bay.
The Rangers moved ahead of Atlanta and into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Philadelphia and the Bruins.
Blackhawks 2, Devils 1 — Jonathan Toews scored the only shootout goal and Antti Niemi made 32 saves as visiting Chicago moved a step closer to the Central Division title with a victory over New Jersey.
Sharks 3, Wild 2 — Logan Couture’s late third-period goal for San Jose eliminated host Minnesota from the Western Conference playoff race.
Flames 2, Avalanche 1 — Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 35 shots as visiting Calgary topped Colorado, moving into a points tie with the eighth-place Avalanche in the Western Conference.
Canucks 5, Ducks 4 — Michael Grabner scored three goals and Vancouver clinched a Western Conference playoff with a shootout win in Anaheim.