|Hurricane Eric Staal earned his club-record 10th hat trick with an empty-net goal. (Gerry Broome/Associated Press)|
Eric Staal had three goals and two assists and the Carolina Hurricanes beat Montreal, 5-2, last night in Raleigh, N.C., to prevent the Canadiens from clinching a playoff berth.
Chad LaRose had two goals and two assists in his first career 4-point game. He and Staal scored 3 1/2 minutes apart in the second period to help the Hurricanes win their second straight.
Brian Gionta and Marc-Andre Bergeron scored for Montreal, which could have wrapped up a postseason berth with 1 point but instead lost its second straight.
Bergeron pulled the Canadiens to 3-2 with 16:57 left with a blast from the blue line 21 seconds after Staal’s second goal. LaRose made it 4-2 by tapping in Staal’s rebound with 2:38 left. Staal polished off his club-record 10th career hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:15 left. He entered tied with Hall of Famer Ron Francis in the franchise’s record book.
Jaroslav Halak, making his fourth straight start since Carey Price lost to Carolina March 31, stopped 28 shots.
Staal and LaRose combined for 7 points Tuesday night in a win at Tampa Bay, and they outdid themselves in this one.
They got things started early in the second period when Staal found LaRose, who popped the puck off Halak’s pads, and Staal swooped in with a backhand at 18:36. Then, they hooked up again a few minutes later to make it 2-0, with LaRose pushing a backhander past Halak as he was being dragged down with 15:09 left.
Penguins 7, Islanders 3 — Sidney Crosby took the NHL lead with his 49th and 50th goals and became the third-youngest player in NHL history to reach the 500-point mark, leading host Pittsburgh to a rout of New York.
On a night the Penguins brought back more than 50 of their former players, coaches, and executives to celebrate playing in Mellon Arena since 1967, Crosby made certain there were a few more highlights before the Igloo shuts down.
Crosby finished with 4 points, also assisting on goals by Alex Goligoski and Bill Guerin, giving him 104 points for the season and 502 in his five-season career.
Sharks 4, Canucks 2 — Joe Thornton scored his first goal since returning from a lower-body injury and host San Jose moved a step closer to clinching the top spot in the Western Conference.
Joe Pavelski, Manny Malhotra and Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, who lead Chicago by 2 points heading into the final weekend of the regular season. But the Blackhawks have two games remaining and the tiebreaker edge to just one game for San Jose, meaning the Sharks still need help to be assured of the No. 1 seed when the playoffs start next week.
Panthers 3, Devils 2 — Radek Dvorak and Nathan Horton scored in the third period to help Florida beat New Jersey in Sunrise, Fla.
Scott Clemmensen stopped 42 shots against his former New Jersey teammates, and Michael Frolik added a goal for the Panthers, who won for the second time in eight games.
Coyotes 3, Kings 2 — Adrian Aucoin scored in the fourth round of the shootout, and Phoenix overcame a two-goal deficit in the final minutes to win in Los Angeles.
Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson scored in regulation for the Kings before Matthew Lombardi and Taylor Pyatt scored 1:24 apart to tie it with 5:53 left for the Coyotes, who already locked themselves into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs one night earlier.
Stars 3, Ducks 2 — Mike Modano had a goal and an assist in what was possibly his final home game with Dallas, then scored in the second round of the shootout to help beat Anaheim.
Bobby Ryan scored twice for Anaheim, including a power-play goal that gave the Ducks a 2-1 edge at 15:16 of the third period.
Lightning 4, Senators 3 — Teddy Purcell scored in the third round of a shootout to give host Tampa Bay the victory over Ottawa.
Wild 2, Flames 1 — Brent Burns and Antti Miettinen scored in a shootout to lead Minnesota over host Calgary.