Surging Jets inch closer to playoff berth

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Antti Miettinen scored with 7:36 left to keep the surging Winnipeg Jets in the playoff race with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24 shots, including a huge glove save on Thomas Vanek with 5:45 left to preserve the victory. Winnipeg (24-19-3) improved 6-0-1 in its past seven and moved within a point of the idle New York Rangers, who hold the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot in the final week of the season.

Just as important, the Jets also crept to within a point of Southeast Division-leading Washington. That sets up a critical showdown tonight, when Winnipeg travels to play the Capitals.

Winnipeg’s seven-game point streak is its longest since going 6-0-1 from Nov. 22-Dec. 5, 2006, when the franchise was still the Atlanta Thrashers. In their second season in Winnipeg, the Jets are attempting to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons and only the second time in the team’s 13-year history.

RED WINGS 4, COYOTES 0

In Detroit, Johan Franzen scored twice and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves to help the Red Wings beat Phoenix to get two desperately needed points in their push to make the playoffs.

The Red Wings moved within a point of eighth-place Columbus in the Western Conference. They’re hoping to finish the last three games of the regular season strong enough to extend the franchise’s postseason streak to 22 years. The Coyotes are five points behind the Blue Jackets.

PENGUINS 3, SENATORS 1

In Ottawa, Tomas Vokoun made 34 saves and Dustin Jeffrey had a goal and an assist to lead Pittsburgh to its seventh consecutive victory.

Jarome Iginla and Tyler Kennedy also scored, and Brenden Morrow had two assists for the Penguins, who have already clinched first place in the Eastern Conference.

Matt Cooke added an assist in his first game against Ottawa since his skate blade sliced the Achilles tendon of Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson on Feb 13.


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