Capitals claim top spot in East, Stars clinch play-off berth


The Washington Capitals secured the top seeding in the Eastern Conference for the NHL Stanley Cup play-offs courtesy of a 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators. 

A strong first period from the Capitals saw them lead 3-0 at the Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday, with early goals from Mike Richards, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. 

The Senators did not make things easy for the visitors, with Chris Wideman and Mika Zibanejad scoring to ensure a nervy finish, but T.J. Oshie wrapped things up with 13 seconds left on the clock.

The victory meant the Capitals claimed the Metropolitan Division title and also saw them snap a three-game losing streak on the road. 

The Dallas Stars clinched a spot in the play-offs after a 6-2 rout of defending champions the Chicago Blackhawks.

A four-goal first period had the Stars flying, helped by a double from Vernon Fiddler, ensuring they qualified for the post-season after missing out last year. 

The San Jose Sharks missed out on an opportunity to book their spot in the play-offs after going down 1-0 to the St Louis Blues.

A win against the Blues or an Arizona Coyotes loss would ensure their spot in the post-season, but Robby Fabbri scored a lone-goal to see the former claim a win over the Sharks.

The Coyotes won 4-2 over the Edmonton Oilers. 

In other results, the Philadelphia Flyers surrendered a two-goal lead with just over a minute left in regulation-time, eventually losing out 3-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets via a shoot-out, but still managed to keep the second wild card spot in the East. 

The Minnesota Wild, meanwhile, moved into the second wild card place in the Western Conference thanks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Tampa Bay Lightning moved back into equal first in the Atlantic Division alongside the Florida Panthers thanks to a 6-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings, the Buffalo Sabres edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 and the Montreal Canadiens trumped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3.