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Buffalo Sabres goalie Matt Hackett (31) stops a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers on Thursday, April 10, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NHL capsules and gallery
First Published Apr 11 2014 09:53 am • Last Updated Apr 12 2014 04:00 pm

RANGERS 2, SABRES 1

NEW YORK • Rick Nash scored the winning goal with 1:42 left, on New York’s third shot of the third period, and the Rangers clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the NHL-worst Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

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New York secured second place in the Metropolitan Division when the Philadelphia Flyers lost at Tampa Bay later Thursday. The Rangers will face either the Flyers or Columbus in the playoffs.

The Rangers struggled throughout against the lowly Sabres and goalie Matt Hackett, who played in just his seventh NHL game of the season.

Drew Stafford gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead in the second, and Benoit Pouliot tied in in the final minute of the frame.

LIGHTNING 4, FLYERS 2

TAMPA, Fla. • Richard Panik, Eric Brewer and Steven Stamkos had third-period goals to help the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers.

Tyler Johnson had the other goal for Tampa Bay, which moved within a point of Montreal for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier scored for the playoff-bound Flyers, who are tied for third in the Metropolitan Division with Columbus.


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Anders Lindback played in place of injured Tampa Bay starting goalie Ben Bishop, who may not be ready for the start of a playoff series next week against Montreal due to an upper-body injury.

ISLANDERS 2, CANADIENS 0

MONTREAL • Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his fourth shutout this season, and Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power-play goals late in the second period as the New York Islanders topped the Montreal Canadiens.

The loss, combined with Tampa Bay’s 4-2 win over Philadelphia, hurt the Canadiens’ chances of starting the playoffs on home ice. Montreal is second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points and one game left to play, while the Lightning have 97 points with two games remaining.

The Islanders posted their first regulation win in four games, but improved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.

The Canadiens, coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Chicago on Wednesday, were outshot 30-19.

CAPITALS 5, HURRICANES 2

RALEIGH, N.C. • Troy Brouwer scored two goals and the Washington Capitals routed the Carolina Hurricanes.

All three members of Washington’s third line — Joel Ward, Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr — each had a goal and two assists. They helped the Capitals claim an easy win in this Metropolitan Division matchup of teams knocked out of the playoff race.

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