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Thursday, 03 April 2008 00:41
NHL Headline News

 SCOREBOARD
Thursday, April 3
Calgary at Minnesota (8 p.m. EDT). The Flames can clinch a playoff spot with one more point, while the Wild try to wrap up their first Northwest Division title.

STARS
Wednesday
-Chad LaRose, Hurricanes, scored three goals to lead Carolina past Tampa Bay 6-2.
-Patrick Kane, Blackhawks, had a goal and two assists in Chicago's 6-2 rout of Detroit.
-Sidney Crosby, Penguins, had two goals and an assist to help Pittsburgh top Philadelphia 4-2.
-Zach Parise, Devils, had the only goal of the shootout and New Jersey edged Boston 3-2.

WRAPPED UP
Two years after having the Eastern Conference's worst record, Pittsburgh clinched its first division title since 1997-98 after beating Philadelphia 4-2 on Wednesday night. The Penguins also overtook idle Montreal for the East lead by two points. The Canadiens have two games remaining, at home Thursday against Buffalo, and Saturday against Toronto. Pittsburgh ends the regular season Sunday at Philadelphia.

ONE AWAY
Carolina needs one more victory to clinch the Southeast Division title after routing Tampa Bay 6-2 on Wednesday night. The Hurricanes need to beat Florida on Friday in the regular-season finale or have Washington lose one of its final two games in regulation. ... New Jersey beat Boston 3-2 in a shootout and is one win away from securing home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Devils won't finish lower than fifth in the East, but the Atlantic Division title is out of reach after Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia on Wednesday.

STILL ALIVE
Chicago remained in the chase for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after topping NHL-leading Detroit 6-2 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks, who won their third straight, must win their final two games to have any chance of reaching the postseason. Chicago has missed the playoffs eight of the past nine seasons.

STORM BUILDING
Carolina activated center Matt Cullen from injured reserve before Wednesday night's game against last-place Tampa Bay. He became the third player the Hurricanes have activated in the past two days, joining forwards Justin Williams and Ray Whitney.

BYE-BYE CAPTAIN?
A groin tear will keep Toronto captain Mats Sundin out of the final two games of the regular season, leaving open the possibility that he's played his last game for the franchise. Sundin, who will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, said that he hasn't made any decision on his future. The 37-year-old center has repeatedly stated that he intends to retire as a member of the Maple Leafs - a team he's played for since 1994.

TOP THREE
Nathan Gerbe of Boston College, Ryan Jones of Miami of Ohio and Kevin Porter of Michigan were selected Wednesday as the three finalists for the 2008 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which honors college hockey's top player. This year's winner will be announced April 11 at Pepsi Center in Denver during the NCAA Frozen Four.

SPEAKING
``We ended up losing Crosby (for 28 games) and Marc-Andre Fleury (for three months) and so many other guys during the course of the season, and we were just trying to focus and maintain our position to make the playoffs. The guys surprised me with their commitment.'' - Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien after the Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title with Wednesday night's 4-2 win over Philadelphia.
 

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