Rangers fall to Hurricanes, Islanders take control of wild card chase
The New York Rangers have failed to clinch a playoff spot after a third period capitulation saw them lose 4-3 at the Carolina Hurricanes.
A power-play goal from Victor Rask sealed the win for the Hurricanes keeps the home side in contention for a wildcard berth, at the expense of the Rangers confirming their post-season spot.
The Rangers remain third in the Metropolitan Division and in control of their playoff hopes but will rue the loss having scored three second-period goals to lead 3-2 heading into the final period.
The New York Islanders remain hopeful of making the playoffs themselves after beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 to move four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Islanders occupy the first playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after the win, with John Tavares scoring two goals to aid his team's cause.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth-straight game as they move ahead of the Rangers into second spot in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 thrashing of the Nashville Predators.
Phil Kessel scored goals in the first and second periods as the Penguins looked a class above their defeated opponents.
The Florida Panthers moved two points clear at the top of the Atlantic Division after toppling the New Jersey Devils 3-2 at home, taking full advantage of second-place Tampa Bay Lightning's shock loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Lightning went down 3-0 at home to fall two points off the pace set by the Panthers.
The Ottawa Senators defeated the Minnesota Wilde 3-2, while the Dallas Stars beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1.
Elsewhere, the Buffalo Sabres triumphed over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1, the Vancouver Canucks picked up just their 28th win of the season against the San Jose Sharks, while the Los Angeles Kings bead the Calgary Flames 3-0.