Best of NHL: Bruins Lock Up Playoff Spot With 6th Straight Win

BOSTON -- David Pastrnak scored twice, Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots and the Boston Bruins clinched their first playoff berth since 2014 with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Drew Stafford and Zdeno Chara also scored for the Bruins, who extended their season-high winning streak to six games. More importantly, by winning in regulation, Boston guaranteed a return to the postseason after missing out the last two years.

Boston fans celebrated by cheering throughout the final two minutes. After the final horn, the Bruins joined in by swarming Rask following his career-best eighth shutout of the season.

Rask faced only four shots in the first period but was ready when the Lightning generated pressure after that.

Andrei Vasilevskiy kept Tampa Bay close with 34 saves (see full recap).

Penguins dominate Blue Jackets to help playoff seeding
PITTSBURGH -- Patric Hornqvist picked up his 20th goal of the season, Matt Murray finished with 37 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins sped past the slumping Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Jake Guentzel and Carter Rowney also scored for Pittsburgh. Brian Dumolin added his first regular season goal in more than two years as the Penguins moved three points ahead of Columbus in the race to have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Pittsburgh won its third straight to inch closer to opening its Stanley Cup defense at home thanks in large part to Murray and offensive contributions from unexpected places.

Brandon Dubinsky scored short-handed for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 shots but the Blue Jackets dropped a season-high fourth straight and have ceded control of the second seed in the Metropolitan Division to Pittsburgh with three games to go (see full recap).

Wild eliminate Hurricanes with 5-3 win
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nino Niederreiter had two goals and an assist to lead Minnesota to a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night that clinched second place in the Central Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the Wild.

Zach Parise scored and had two assists, and Eric Staal also added two assists to give the Wild's first line eight points. Charlie Coyle scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, and Devan Dubnyk shook off a shaky first period to stop 27 shots for his 39th win.

Jeff Skinner scored twice to set a career high with 35 goals and Lee Stempniak had a goal and an assist, but the Hurricanes were eliminated from postseason contention on a night when they took their third straight loss.

Cam Ward made 31 saves for the Hurricanes.

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