Rangers clinch playoff spot with win over Devils

NEW YORK — Brandon Dubin­sky scored shortly after a fight-filled opening faceoff, and the New York Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team to earn a playoff spot by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday night.


Three fights broke out at the outset. That seemed to jump-start the Rangers, who had lost two in a row and five of seven as their once commanding lead in the East dwindled to almost nothing.

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored in the first minute of the second period, and Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan added goals for the Rangers, who lead the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points.

New York (45-20-7) has 10 games remaining. Pittsburgh has 11 to play, including one against the Rangers.



In Detroit, Alexander Ovechkin scored twice and the Washington Capitals held on for a win over injury-plagued Detroit.

Mike Knuble had a goal and an assist and Keith Au­coin and Jason Chimera also scored for Washington. Alex­an­der Semin and Marcus Jo­hans­son each had two assists and Braden Holtby made 30 saves to send Detroit to its fifth loss in a row and its seventh in eight games.

Kyle Quincey, Todd Ber­tuz­zi and Danny Cleary scored for Detroit. Brendan Smith had two assists, and Jim­my Howard stopped 17 shots.



In St. Paul, Minn., Erik Christensen’s power-play goal late in the second period gave Josh Harding and Minnesota a long-sought win over suddenly sputtering Vancouver.

The Canucks are 3-5-2 in their past 10 games. Starting a four-game road trip the wrong way, they were shut out for the fourth time this season. The first three of those came in the first 10 games, with the last Oct. 26.


In Boston, Benoit Pouliot scored two goals and Brian Rolston had a goal and three assists as Boston completed a six-game season sweep of Toronto.

The Bruins’ superiority was so complete that after two periods they had as many goals as the Maple Leafs had shots.



In Tampa, Fla., Marcus Foligno and Jason Pominville each scored twice.

Foligno had two of Buffa­lo’s four second-period goals, helping the Sabres take a 6-2 lead. Pominville scored in the first as the Sabres jumped out to the lead.