Predators close in on No. 4 seed

Nashville's Gabriel Bourque scores a goal as Detroit's Cory Emmerton defends. The Predators passed the Red Wings in the race for the No. 4 seed in the West.

DETROIT —Gabriel Bourque and Francis Bouillon scored in the second period and Pekka Rinne made 26 saves to help the Nashville Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Friday night for coach Barry Trotz’s 500th victory with the franchise.


Nashville moved a point ahead of Detroit with four games left in the regular season to be the fourth-seeded team with home-ice advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.



In Buffalo, N.Y., Sidney Crosby – sore nose and all –had a goal and three assists to help the Pittsburgh Penguins snap a mini-slump with a victory over Buffalo that slowed the Sabres’ late-season surge.

Steve Sullivan had a goal and two assists, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and assist, and Pascal Dupuis set up two to extend his points streak to an NHL season-best 13 games.

Pittsburgh (48-24-6) rebounded from back-to-back losses to the Islanders and moved four points ahead of fifth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sabres (38-30-10) had a five-game winning streak snapped, and dropped into ninth place, behind the Washington Capitals.



In New York,Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards scored early, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto had two goals in the third period as New York won its fourth in a row and moved closer to securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win over Montreal.

Henrik Lundqvist was steady throughout in winning for the third consecutive game and for the sixth time in seven.



In Columbus, Ohio, defenseman Nikita Nikitin scored twice and had an assist, R.J. Umberger also had two goals, and Allen York made 30 saves in Columbus’ victory over Florida.

The Panthers, looking for their first division title, has a four-point lead over the Capitals.



In Raleigh, N.C., Andrew Ladd scored 16 seconds into overtime and Winnipeg beat Carolina to eliminate the Hurricanes from playoff contention.

Kyle Wellwood scored the tying goal with 4:47 left in regulation and added an assist, while Jim Slater scored and Nik Antropov added a goal in his return to the lineup for the Jets.



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