Hurricanes Positioned for Playoff Spot Again

From Associated Press

Arturs Irbe stopped 31 shots and Bates Battaglia scored the only goal Sunday as the Carolina Hurricanes moved back into playoff position with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes won their third consecutive game and moved ahead of Buffalo into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Carolina, with 80 points, leads the race for the final playoff spot by one point over the Sabres and Montreal Canadiens.

Carolina moved into eighth place Friday with a victory over the Sabres, but Buffalo jumped back ahead by winning at Montreal on Saturday.

Irbe set a franchise record with his 32nd victory and recorded his fifth shutout this season, one shy of his career-high set last season.

"He's fired up, you can tell," Hurricane Coach Paul Maurice said. "Things aren't bothering him. Guys are bumping him in the crease and he's just staying focused and making huge saves."

The Flyers, who remained two points behind New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division, held Carolina to 16 shots but could not get past Irbe, who had 17 saves in the first period.

Battaglia scored an unassisted goal on a breakaway just 1:18 into the game.

Detroit 6, Montreal 5--Martin Lapointe's goal with 14.4 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Red Wings the victory at Detroit.

The Canadiens, behind 4-1, twice rallied for third-period ties, the last on Craig Darby's goal with 1:02 remaining.

But Lapointe broke loose to beat Montreal goalie Jeff Hackett on a lead pass from Nicklas Lidstrom, who had a goal and two assists.

Detroit is three points behind St. Louis in the race for both the Central Division title and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Red Wings have two games left, the Blues three.

St. Louis 4, Ottawa 1--Backup goalie Jamie McLennan stopped 26 shots, and Scott Young scored twice for the Blues, who beat the Senators at St. Louis for the first time since 1993.

The Blues lead the league with a franchise-record 111 points with three games left in the regular season.

St. Louis has won 55 consecutive games when its scores three or more goals.

The Blues, who last won a division title in 1987, are 7-1-2 in their last ten games. The Senators, who have also clinched a playoff spot, have lost six of nine.

Colorado 3, Dallas 2--Shjon Podein stole the puck from goalie Ed Belfour behind the net and scored a short-handed goal with 47 seconds left in overtime at Denver.

Colorado, posting its fifth consecutive victory, extended its lead over Edmonton to six points in the Northwest Division, nearly securing the division title. Colorado has three games remaining and Edmonton four.

Dallas already clinched the Pacific Division.

Patrick Roy had 22 saves to record his 443rd regular-season victory, leaving him just four shy of NHL career leader Terry Sawchuk.

Brett Hull scored his 609th goal, leaving him one shy of his father, Bobby, who is ninth on the NHL's all-time list.

New Jersey 4, Tampa Bay 1--Patrik Elias had two goals and Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots for the Devils at Tampa, Fla.

The Devils lead Philadelphia and Washington by four points in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey--with 101 points--topped the 100-point mark for the fourth consecutive year.

Atlanta 5, New York Islanders 4--Donald Audette scored on a third-period breakaway as the Thrashers ended a 17-game home-winless streak.

Audette took a pass from Ray Ferraro at the New York blue line and skated uncontested before sending a shot past Kevin Weekes. It was Audette's 17th goal and fifth since being acquired from the Kings on March 13.

Ferraro had a goal and two assists for the expansion Thrashers, who were 0-15-2 at Philips Arena since beating Philadelphia on Jan. 14.

Vancouver 3, Chicago 2--Denis Pederson had two goals and an assist at Chicago as the Canucks inched closer to a playoff spot.

Ed Jovanovski also scored for the Canucks, who are one point behind eighth-place San Jose and the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Vancouver, with 80 points, has three games remaining. San Jose has 81 points and four games left.

Notes

Edmonton Oiler forward Boyd Devereaux is out indefinitely after a hard, clean hit from Phoenix's Dallas Drake left him with a severe concussion. Devereaux was injured Saturday night with four minutes left in the second period of the Oilers' 4-3 overtime victory. Devereaux was knocked out from the hit and then went into convulsions. The team trainer and doctor rushed to his aid. Devereaux moved his limbs before being removed from the ice on a stretcher. He was taken to a hospital for precautionary measures.

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