ST. PAUL, Minn. – Marian Hossa’s unassisted goal late in the second period lifted NHL-leading Chicago to its fifth win in six games, 1-0 over Minnesota on Tuesday.
Ray Emery made 20 saves for his second shutout in that stretch and third of the season. He helped hand the Wild its fifth loss in seven games.
Hossa looked like a Bears defensive back jumping in front of a wide receiver’s route when he darted in front of Clayton Stoner’s seemingly harmless breakout pass toward Mikko Koivu in the Wild zone.
Hossa intercepted the bouncing pass in front of the blue line, skated up the middle and snapped a shot past goalie Niklas Backstrom’s stick with 4:46 left in the period.
The Blackhawks enjoyed an even bigger boost when Patrick Sharp returned from a 14-game absence due to a shoulder injury.
The Blackhawks moved one step closer to securing the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They are five points ahead of second-place Anaheim and have a game in hand over the Ducks.
ISLANDERS 4, FLYERS 1: In Uniondale, N.Y., Michael Grabner scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves as New York took another step toward the playoffs.
The Islanders won for the seventh time in nine games and moved two points ahead of the Rangers into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
PENGUINS 5, HURRICANES 3: In Raleigh, N.C., Beau Bennett and Evgeni Malkin scored 13 seconds apart in the third period as Pittsburgh clinched the Atlantic Division title. The Hurricanes lost their club-record eighth straight at home.
BLUE JACKETS 4, SHARKS 0: In Columbus, Ohio, Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his fourth career shutout – all in his last 15 games – and newcomer Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist leading Columbus.
CAPITALS 3, CANADIENS 2: In Montreal, Alex Ovechkin scored his 26th goal and Jack Hillen got his first as Washington stretched its winning run to five games.
LIGHTNING 3, SENATORS 2: In Tampa, Fla., Steven Stamkos scored his 26th goal of the season in the third period to lead Tampa Bay.
BLUES 1, PREDATORS 0: In Nashville, Tenn., Brian Elliott made 15 saves and Alex Steen scored as St. Louis extended its winning streak to a season-long five games.
JETS 4, SABRES 1: In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Aaron Gagnon scored his first NHL goal to lead Winnipeg.
STARS 5, KINGS 1: In Dallas, Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler scored twice during Dallas’ four-goal third period to break open a tie game.