NHL’s Jets Pull Within One Point of Rangers in Playoff Race

The Winnipeg Jets pulled within one point of the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators for the final two playoff spots in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 2-1.

Antti Miettinen’s goal midway through the third period snapped a 1-1 tie in Buffalo, New York, and helped the surging Jets improve to 6-0-1 in their past seven games.

Winnipeg (24-19-3) has 51 points with two regular-season games left, while the Rangers (24-17-4) and Senators (23-16-6) have 52 points apiece with three games remaining and currently hold the seventh and eighth playoff spots in the East.

The Senators lost 3-1 yesterday to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who already have locked up the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Jets, with yesterday’s win, also pulled within one point of the Southeast division-leading Washington Capitals. Winnipeg visits Washington today in a game that could help decide the division winner, which automatically earns a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Jets have missed the postseason the past six years.

The Detroit Red Wings pulled within one point of the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference with last night’s 4-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes. Johan Franzen scored two goals for the Red Wings (21-16-8), who are seeking to make the postseason for the 22nd straight year.

The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title for the first time in six years with a 3-0 win at the Edmonton Oilers. Rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for his fourth shutout for the Ducks, who captured their last division title in 2006-07, when they also won their only NHL title.

The Vancouver Canucks secured the Northwest Division title for the fifth straight year by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. The Canucks are locked into the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs, while the Blackhawks have clinched the top seed. With 73 points, Chicago is three ahead of the Penguins for the NHL’s best record. Both teams have three regular-season games remaining.

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