Slumping Rangers’ loss helps Carolina

Penguins Lightning Hockey

By Chip Alexander
Associated Press

Pittsburgh’s Mark Letestu (10) moves around Tampa Bay’s Mattias Ohlund (5)during the Lightning’s 2-1 victory Thursday. Chris O’Meara – AP

UNIONDALE, N.Y. Radek Martinek and P.A. Parenteau both had a goal and assist during the Islanders’ four-goal second period, and New York put the area-rival Rangers back into postseason peril with a 6-2 victory Thursday night.

After Blake Comeau got the Islanders even 1-1 at 3 minutes 24 seconds, Martinek put them in front 33 seconds later.

Things settled down for a bit, but the Islanders struck for two more goals 1:16 apart – the first by Jesse Joensuu at 13:28 and the second by Parenteau to turn it into a rout. Matt Moulson scored his 31st goal of the season against backup Chad Johnson with 11:22 left, and Trevor Gillies made it 6-1 at 14:00.

Even a one-goal deficit seemed daunting to the Rangers, who lost for the second time in two nights.

The Rangers were seemingly cruising for a playoff spot on the strength of an 8-1-1 spurt, but have dipped to eighth in the Eastern Conference and lead Carolina by three points with four games remaining. Carolina has five games to play in the final 10 days.

Elsewhere

CAPITALS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3, OT: Jason Chimera tipped in a rebound 2:30 into overtime to give host Washington the victory.

The Capitals had a 3-on-2 rush, resulting in Brooks Laich’s shot that goalie Steve Mason couldn’t handle. The rebound went to Chimera and he tapped the puck in to give Washington its 12th victory in March.

The Capitals reached 101 points, crossing the 100-point plateau for the third straight season, to move within a point of Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference lead.

THRASHERS 1, FLYERS 0: Nik Antropov scored the only goal, and Chris Mason stopped 43 shots for his first shutout of the season and 21st overall in Atlanta’s victory at Philadelphia.

Antropov scored his 15th goal midway through the third period.

The Flyers have lost five straight at home.

LIGHTNING 2, PENGUINS 1: Martin St. Louis scored his 30th goal of the season, helping host Tampa Bay clinch its first playoff berth since 2007.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby, sidelined for nearly three months with a concussion, resumed skating with his teammates in the game-day practice.

The Pittsburgh captain, out since Jan.6, isn’t ready yet to participate in full practices. A return to game action for the postseason hasn’t been ruled out.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, BRUINS 3, SO: Nazem Kadri scored the only shootout goal to help Toronto win at Boston.

With the point for reaching overtime, the Bruins clinched a tie for the Northeast Division title. The next Boston win or loss by Montreal will give the Bruins the division title.

SENATORS 4, PANTHERS 1: Rookie Colin Greening scored twice in the second period for visiting Ottawa, and Craig Anderson made 37 saves to improve to 9-4-1 since being acquired in a trade with Colorado in February.

The Senators swept the season series and have won six in a row against Florida dating to last season.

WILD 4, OILERS 2: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom ended a six-start winless streak, beating his favorite opponent in the Wild’s home victory.

Defenseman Tom Gilbert and Linus Omark each had power-play goals – a rarity for Edmonton’s struggling special teams unit – but the last-place Oilers fell to 0-8-3 in their last 11 games.

Antti Miettinen, Marek Zidlicky, Brad Staubitz and Martin Havlat scored for Minnesota. Backstrom has never lost to the Oilers, improving to 14-0 in his career against them.

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/04/01/2187697/canes-trying-to-regroup-for-playoff.html#ixzz1IFmDIBkp

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Posted on March 31, 2011, in NHL Analysis, Playoffs. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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