Blue Jackets, Capitals can't gain ground in East playoff race
Red Wings stay on a roll
Ben Smith tapped in a rebound with 3.7 seconds left on a wild scrum to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
With time running out, Duncan Keith threw the puck on net and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocked it with his arm but it popped out of his reach. While he and two teammates scrambled to get to the loose puck, Smith got a stick on it and pushed it into the net.
Jeremy Morin, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also had goals for Chicago, and Keith had three assists. Antti Raanta had 24 saves.
Derek MacKenzie, Ryan Johansen and Artem Anisimov scored for Columbus, in the middle of a fight for the playoffs and in dire need of points. Bobrovsky had 34 saves.
Ovechkin's 49th not enough
Ryan Carter scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:54 remaining to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Tuomo Ruutu also scored for New Jersey, and Cory Schneider made 24 saves.
Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington, which lost its fifth straight. Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots.
On the game-winner, Carter was sprung by a leading pass from Marek Zidlicky, and he snapped a shot that eluded Halak.
Ovechkin opened the scoring 10:12 into the game with his 49th of the season. The sequence began with New Jersey defenseman Mark Fayne committing a defensive zone turnover. Nicklas Backstrom found the loose puck and moved it to Mikhail Grabovski, who passed it to Ovechkin for the quick shot.
The goal was Ovechkin's first even-strength point since Feb. 27.
That was all the Capitals would get, as Schneider turned them away at every opportunity.
Schneider stuffed Jason Chimera on a breakaway with 1:28 left in the first, and kept the puck out of the net during a second period flurry in which Julien Brouillette and Backstrom had chances from along the crease.
Ruutu drew New Jersey even with 7:39 left in the second with a redirection of Eric Gelinas' point shot. The goal was Ruutu's eighth of the season, and his third with the Devils following the March 5 trade from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Both the New Jersey and Washington power-play units were ineffective. The Devils were 0 for 5 and Washington finished 0 for 3.
New Jersey lost Patrik Elias in the first period after he was ridden into a stanchion by Washington's Tom Wilson. Elias, New Jersey's second-leading scorer with 51 points, skated seven shifts totaling 3:36.
Both teams have five games remaining this season, and essentially need to win out and hope Eastern Conference wild card-leading Detroit and Columbus and ninth-place Toronto lose their remaining games.
Red Wings start strongly, hold on for 2 points
The Red Wings lead the Devils by four points, and the Blue Jackets are three ahead of New Jersey. Washington is another point back.
Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist and the Red Wings held off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Friday night.
Darren Helm and Tomas Jurco also scored for Detroit. Danny DeKeyser had two assists and Jimmy Howard made 21 saves.
It was Red Wings coach Mike Babcock's 413 win for Detroit, which ties him with Jack Adams for the all-time franchise record.
Jamie McBain scored and Nicolas Deslauriers got his first career goal for Buffalo, which has the NHL's worst record. Matt Hackett stopped 28 shots.