Stars win Central Division, Flyers book play-off berth


The Dallas Stars claimed the NHL Central Division courtesy of a comeback 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Jason Spezza scored a hat-trick for the Stars as they earned the number one seed in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup play-offs.

The Predators took an early lead when Ryan Ellis scored in the opening 19 seconds of the first period. 

Calle Jarnkrok doubled their advantage eight minutes, 23 seconds into the second period but Spezza responded two minutes later before tying the game shortly afterwards. 

The game appeared to be heading to overtime but a third Spezza goal with one minute left in regulation time sealed the win for the Stars. 

The Los Angeles Kings missed a chance to seal their first division title since 1991 after suffering a 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets after a shoot-out.

Despite leading 3-0 in the second period, the Kings saw the Jets fight back to send the game into overtime before winning the shoot-out thanks to Mark Scheifele's lone goal.

The Philadelphia Flyers booked their spot in the post-season after a turnaround saw them beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1.

Wayne Simmonds scored twice for the Flyers, with the win ending the Boston Bruins' hopes of a play-off spot after they went down 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators. 

Boston's loss meant the Detroit Red Wings also sealed a post-season berth for a 25th consecutive campaign despite suffering a 3-2 defeat to the New York Rangers. 

Patrick Kane scored twice and had an assist but could not stop the Chicago Blackhawks going down 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The Blackhawks were 3-0 up inside the first period but the Blue Jackets rallied before Scott Hartnell's OT goal sealed the win. 

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3, the New Jersey Devils were too clinical for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-1 win, the Florida Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2, and the Montreal Canadiens trumped the Tampa Bay Lightning by the same scoreline. 

The Calgary Flames edged the Minnesota Wild 2-1, the Buffalo Sabres defeated the New York Islanders 4-3 in OT, the Washington Capitals were 5-1 winners against the St. Louis Blues, the San Jose Sharks beat the Arizona Coyotes 1-0, and the Vancouver Canucks edged the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 after a shoot-out.