WASHINGTON – Rookie sensation Alex Ovechkin scored the tying goal and assisted on the go-ahead goal, leading Washington past Atlanta 6-4 Monday night and eliminating the Thrashers from playoff contention.
Atlanta entered the day ninth in the Eastern Conference but with a chance to reach the postseason for the first time in franchise history if it could win its last two games and get some help. Instead, the Thrashers’ four-game winning streak ended, and they will finish behind No. 7 Montreal and No. 8 Tampa Bay in the East.
Ovechkin was honored by the Capitals during ceremonies before and after Washington’s home finale, and he showed why in the third period with Atlanta ahead 4-3 thanks to former Capitals star Peter Bondra’s goal.
Ovechkin scored from the left slot on a pass from Ben Clymer to tie it 2:36 into the final period, then found Brian Willsie open during a two-man advantage for the score that made it 5-4 at the 8:58 mark. Matt Pettinger tacked on an insurance goal at 12:26, his second of the game, giving him 20 for the season. Ovechkin reached 52 goals and 105 points; both totals rank third in NHL history for a rookie.
Penguins 6, Islanders 1
PITTSBURGH – And he’s only 18.
Sidney Crosby became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season, setting up three goals in a 6-1 Pittsburgh victory over the New York Islanders that may prevent the Penguins from finishing as the league’s worst team for the second season in a row.
Crosby’s three-point night gave him 62 assists, to go with his 38 goals, and tied Mario Lemieux (1984-85) for the team record scoring record of 100 points. Crosby also joined Hall of Fame forward Dale Hawerchuk of the Winnipeg Jets (103 points, 1981-82) as the only 18-year-olds to score 100 points in an NHL season.
Oilers 4, Avalanche 2
EDMONTON, Alberta – Jarret Stoll scored a short-handed, tiebreaking goal in the third period to help the Edmonton Oilers clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
Jaroslav Spacek added an empty-netter in the final second, and Rem Murray and Raffi Torres also scored as Edmonton won its second striaght to close the regular season. The Oilers open the playoffs at Detroit this weekend.
Edmonton’s win also prevented seventh-seeded Colorado from moving into sixth.
Red Wings 3, Stars 2
DETROIT – Tomas Holmstrom’s power-play goal with 44.3 seconds remaining capped Detroit’s three-goal third period, rallying the Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.
Niklas Kronwall and Andreas Lilja also scored and Henrik Zetterberg added two assists for Detroit, which trailed 2-0 before stretching its winning streak to eight games.
The Red Wings also made it 20 consecutive games (17-0-3) with at least a point, since their last regulation loss on March 7.
Manny Legace stopped 28 shots.
Jason Arnott had a goal and an assist and Jere Lehtinen also scored for Dallas.
Holmstrom tipped in a pass from Zetterberg for his 29th goal.