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Thursday, 27 March 2008 19:18
NHL Headline News

 PITTSBURGH (AP) -Jarkko Ruutu had a goal and two assists and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Thursday night in Sidney Crosby's first home game in more than two months.
Georges Laraque had a goal and an assist and Evgeni Malkin also scored as the Penguins won their sixth consecutive home game and seventh of nine overall, extending their lead in the Atlantic Division to six points.
Josef Vasicek had the lone goal for the Islanders, who lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
Crosby, who had missed the previous seven games and 28 of the past 31 with a high ankle sprain, didn't score. He took three shots.
As expected, the reigning NHL scoring champion skated on a line with Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis - two players who weren't even on the team when Crosby was injured Jan. 18, in a game against Tampa Bay. Hossa and Dupuis were acquired from Atlanta minutes before the trade deadline last month for three players and a first-round draft pick.
Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 2
BOSTON (AP) - Tim Thomas made 30 saves, Phil Kessel and Peter Schaefer each had a goal and an assist and Boston eliminated Toronto from playoff contention.
The Bruins moved into a seventh place tie with idle Philadelphia, while Toronto missed the playoffs for the third straight year. It was the first time since the 1926-28 seasons they have gone three years without a playoff appearance.
Marco Sturm and Glen Murray also scored for Boston.
Pavel Kubina scored a power-play goal for the Maple Leafs, who have a goal with a man advantage in 10 straight games. Jiri Tlusty also scored for Toronto.
Rangers 3, Devils 2
NEW YORK (AP) - Nigel Dawes scored the tiebreaking goal while sliding on his back into Devils goalie Martin Brodeur late in the third period and New York beat New Jersey for the seventh straight time this season.
The Devils lost their fifth straight (0-4-1). The teams are tied in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 91 points, but New Jersey is still ahead because it owns more wins than New York.
Christian Backman and Brendan Shanahan also had goals for the Rangers.
Patrik Elias and Zach Parise scored in the second for the Devils, on their longest losing streak since a six-game skid in November 2000.
Capitals 4, Lightning 3, OT
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Tomas Fleischmann scored with 2:33 left in overtime and Washington remained two points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley and Alexander Semin also scored for the Capitals, who trail Southeast Division-leading Carolina, which has one game in hand, by two points.
Capitals center Alexander Ovechkin, who has a league-leading 61 goals and 107 points, didn't get a point. He had several scoring chances in the first, including a shot from the slot that went just wide of the net midway through the period
Jeff Halpern, Alexandre Picard and Michel Ouellet had the Tampa Bay goals.
Sabres 4, Senators 3, SO
OTTAWA (AP) - Jason Pominville and Derek Roy scored in the shootout and Buffalo beat Ottawa.
Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller stopped Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson before Jason Spezza scored on Ottawa's third attempt.
Paul Gaustad scored with 1:26 remaining in the third to send the game to overtime and assure the Sabres of a crucial standings point.
Maxim Afinogenov and Jochen Hecht scored in the first period for Buffalo, which is 10th overall in the East with 83 points.
The Sabres are three points behind ninth-place Washington, and five back of Philadelphia and Boston - currently tied for seventh - for a berth in the playoffs.
Sharks 3, Stars 2, OT
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Joe Thornton banked a power-play goal off the Dallas defense with 2:02 left in overtime, and San Jose inched closer to a Pacific Division title, snapping a six-game home losing streak against the Stars.
Thornton also scored the tying goal early in the third period and Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves, as the Sharks earned a point in their 17th consecutive game. They're six points ahead of second-place Anaheim with a game in hand on the Ducks, who host the Sharks on Friday night.
San Jose needs three points from its last five games to clinch the third division title in franchise history and a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Captain Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen scored for the falling Stars, who lost for the eighth time in nine games and finally lost any mathematical chance of winning the division they led just a few weeks ago.
Thrashers 3, Panthers 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Mark Recchi scored with 6:13 left in the third period to help Atlanta Thrashers snapped a five-game losing streak.
The loss damaged the Panthers' playoff hopes. Florida has 81 points with four games remaining. Boston, which beat Toronto on Thursday, and Philadelphia are tied for the last two playoff spots with 88 points.
Nathan Horton and Radek Dvorak scored for Florida, which lost its second in a row after going 8-0-1 in its previous nine games.
Bobby Holik scored twice for Atlanta, including an empty-netter in the final minute.
The Thrashers, who won for only the third time in their past 18 games, already have been eliminated from playoff contention.
 

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