Penguins stroll past Islanders

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Sergei Gonchar scored twice and Sebastien Caron stopped 29 shots to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists, and John LeClair also scored as Pittsburgh snapped a two-game losing streak.

The shutout was Carons first this season and fourth of his career.

Garth Snow, making his first start since March 6 at Washington, stopped 25 shots for the Islanders. New York has lost three straight, scoring just one goal during that stretch.

Caron’s biggest save in a scoreless first period came when he got his left pad against the right post to deny Miroslav Satan’s short-handed breakaway backhand attempt at 10:40.

Pittsburgh scored twice in a 71-second span midway through the second period to take a 2-0 lead.

Gonchars slap shot deflected off defenseman Joel Bouchard and got past Snow for a power-play goal at 11:54. LeClair scored his 401st career goal at 13:05, as Snow got caught leaning the wrong way on a three-man rush.

LeClair finished the play with a wrist shot to the right side.

Pittsburgh made it 3-0 lead with 64 seconds left in the period when Crosby stuffed a backhander to the far post for his 33rd goal of the season.

Hurricanes 3, Panthers 2

RALEIGH, N.C. – Craig Adams scored a short-handed goal early in the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes clinched the Southeast Division title with a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

With 102 points through 73 games, the Hurricanes moved within three points of Ottawa for the best record in the Eastern Conference by stopping Florida’s seven-game winning streak. Carolina, which is going to the postseason for the first time since reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 2002, leads Tampa Bay by 19 points in the division.

Adams got his ninth goal of the season with teammate Chad LaRose in the penalty box for hooking. Kevyn Adams lofted the puck out of the Carolina zone and Craig Adams outraced Chris Gratton to get to it. Goalie Roberto Luongo whiffed on his clearing attempt, allowing Adams to knock in the go-ahead goal.

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Blue Jackets 4, Blues 2

ST. LOUIS – Rick Nash scored twice and backup goalie Pascal Leclaire had a strong game, helping the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the slumping St. Louis Blues 4-2 Friday night.

The Blues lost their ninth in a row despite a 30-20 shots advantage, a day after losing captain Dallas Drake for the season. They’ve also lost goalie Curtis Sanford and defenseman Barret Jackman to season-ending injuries this month, and have been outscored 39-15 during the skid since beating the Blue Jackets on March 13.

Jaroslav Balastik and Jason Chimera also had goals for Columbus, which has won four in a row including victories over the Calgary and Detroit after losing four straight. Keith Tkachuk and Jamal Mayers scored for the Blues.

Nash has 26 goals in 45 games, including six goals and three assists in the last six games. The Blue Jackets, out of the playoff picture, are 21-18-3 since Nash returned from a knee injury in mid-December and are 4-2-1 against the Blues with one meeting left.

Blackhawks 3, Wings 2

DETROIT – Patrick Sharp scored 1:29 into overtime, lifting the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Mark Cullen and Martin Lapointe scored for Chicago in regulation, and Nikolai Khabibulin made 39 saves.

Steve Yzerman and Pavel Datsyuk had Detroit’s goals, and Chris Osgood stopped 31 shots.

Yzerman’s goal was his 691st, breaking a tie with Mario Lemieux for sole possession of eighth place on the NHL’s all-time list. Yzerman is only three behind seventh-place Mark Messier.

The Detroit captain also stretched his scoring streak to seven games, in which he has four goals and five assists.

Sharp beat Osgood with a backhander while cutting across the crease after beating Nicklas Lidstrom and cutting in off right wing. It was Sharp’s 11th goal.

Datsyuk put a loose puck under the crossbar from just off the crease with 45 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 2.

Lapointe, a former Red Wings player, beat Osgood with a one-timer from the top of the left circle after taking a pass from Dustin Byfuglien on a 3-on-1 rush to give Chicago a 2-1 lead with 5:29 left in regulation.

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