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Pro Hockey | NHL ROUNDUP

On to Playoffs for Islanders

April 07, 2002|From Associated Press

Seven seasons of embarrassment were finally wiped away as the New York Islanders clinched a playoff spot Saturday night, one year after posting the worst record in the NHL.

Oleg Kvasha, Eric Cairns, Kenny Jonsson, Jason Blake and Michael Peca scored in a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals at Uniondale, N.Y., giving New York its first postseason berth since 1994. A sellout crowd chanted, "Playoffs, Playoffs," as New York earned its first victory over Washington in five years.

"Other seasons at this time, we were making travel plans for the summer," said Jonsson, in his sixth full season with the Islanders. "It was real frustrating, hard to focus."

Washington rookie Nolan Yonkman, Jaromir Jagr and Glen Metropolit scored in the third period to give the Islanders a late scare. Dmitri Kristich had the Capitals' first goal.

Washington, coming off a scoreless tie with Ottawa on Friday, is fading in a fierce battle for the final playoff spot in the East. The Capitals are now three points out of the final spot.

That the Islanders could celebrate after playing the Capitals was yet another remarkable feat: New York entered the game with a 22-game winless streak (0-19-3) against Washington, longest in the NHL between any two teams. The Islanders' previous victory against the Capitals was March 2, 1997.

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New York Rangers 6, Boston 4--Matthew Barnaby set up a pair of first-period goals by Petr Nedved and had an empty-net goal, helping the Rangers boost their slim playoff hopes by defeating the Bruins at Boston.

Eric Lindros, Sandy McCarthy, and Martin Rucinsky also scored for New York.

Boston had power-play goals by Glen Murray and Brian Rolston. Bill Guerin and Sergei Samsonov also scored for Boston.

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Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 1--Justin Williams and Jeremy Roenick had goals, and Roman Cechmanek made 17 saves at Philadelphia as the Flyers ended a five-game losing streak.

The Flyers, who won for only the second time in 10 games at home, are three points behind Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with four games left. They are only 6-10-3 since the beginning of March.

Pittsburgh, which is out of the playoff race, has lost a season-high six in a row.

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Montreal 4, Columbus 1--Patrice Brisebois had a short-handed goal and an assist, and Jose Theodore made 19 saves at Montreal as the Canadiens extended their winning streak to five games.

Stephane Quintal, Yanic Perreault, and Joe Juneau also scored for Montreal as the Canadiens solidified their hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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Columbus' Mike Sillinger scored with 4:24 left to ruin Theodore's shutout bid.

Toronto 2, Florida 2--Trevor Kidd made 46 saves for the Panthers, who earned a tie by killing off a two-man advantage in overtime at Toronto.

Peter Worrell and Olli Jokinen scored for the Panthers, who were outshot, 48-25.

Mats Sundin had his 39th goal and Darcy Tucker his 20th for the Maple Leafs, who are battling for home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Toronto went one for eight on the power play.

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Nashville 3, Calgary 1--Nathan Perrott made his first NHL goal a game-winner for the Predators at Nashville.

The victory was only Nashville's second in its last 10 home games (2-7-1).

Nashville's Scott Hartnell wasted little time scoring the first goal of the game. With 91 seconds elapsed in the first period, Vitali Yachmenev passed to Hartnell as he skated in from the right wing. His shot beat Calgary goaltender Roman Turek.

Calgary's Jarome Iginla scored his 49th goal.

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