Islanders Win, Move Up to Sixth Place in NHL East Playoff Race

The New York Islanders defeated Winnipeg 5-4 in a shootout to take sixth place in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference and prevent the Jets from overtaking the New York Rangers in a race for the last playoff spot.

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 last night to clinch their first playoff berth since 2004. The Leafs are in fifth place and the Senators fell to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

At MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Brad Boyes and John Tavares fired goals in the shootout to give the Islanders the win.

“Good two points for us,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano told reporters. “It was loud, it was a great atmosphere and it was one of the quickest games I’ve been involved in, so it was a track meet for sure.”

The Islanders (24-16-5) hold sixth place in the conference with 53 points, moving one point ahead of the Senators. The Rangers (23-17-4), who didn’t play last night, have 50 points, one ahead of the ninth place Jets (23-19-3). The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs.

The Rangers have four games remaining, including tonight’s contest against the New Jersey Devils, while the Islanders and Jets each have three games remaining.

Frans Nielsen gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead four minutes into the game and Zach Bogosian tied the score six minutes later. Josh Bailey restored the Islanders lead, 2-1, before the end of the first period.

Matt Martin gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead in the second period before Kyle Wellwood scored two goals in three minutes to tie the game 3-3.

The Islanders had a 4-3 lead in the third period on Michael Grabner’s goal until Bryan Little scored for the Jets on a power-play with two minutes left to force overtime.

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