Pavel Zacha late score lifts Bruins over Panthers, 4-3

The Florida Panthers celebrate center Evan Rodrigues (17) goal against Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Rhona Wise)

By The Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Pavel Zacha scored the winning goal with 2:21 to go in regulation and Boston defeated Florida 4-3 on Tuesday night.

The Bruins also broke a tie with Florida atop the Atlantic Division and now hold a two-point lead although the Panthers have played one less game.

Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak and Trent Frederic also scored for the Bruins and Jeremy Swayman made 18 saves.

Evan Rodrigues, Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe scored for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 17 saves.


NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Fox scored 36 seconds into overtime and the New York Rangers became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season, beating Philadelphia following a wild third period Tuesday night.

Alexis Lafreniere had two goals and Igor Shesterkin made 36 saves for the Rangers, who lead the league with 100 points after giving coach Peter Laviolette his 800th career win.

New York technically secured its third consecutive playoff berth just by getting to overtime and earning one point after Detroit lost to Washington in OT. But after the teams traded seven goals in a frenetic third period, it didn’t take long for Fox to finish the night in style with a wrist shot from the high slot for his 15th goal, adding to the star defenseman’s career high.

Vincent Trocheck, Mika Zibanejad and Jonny Brodzinski also scored for the Rangers, who extended their Metropolitan Division lead to three points over Carolina.


PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists and the Penguins scored two goals on five shots in the second period, spoiling Jake Guentzel’s return to Pittsburgh with a victory over Carolina.

Bryan Rust scored his 23rd of the season and his seventh goal in 10 games. Jesse Puljujarvi added his third of the season — and second in as many games for the Penguins, who were outshot 31-14 in the last two periods. Drew O’Connor added an empty-net goal at 18:04 of the third.

Crosby scored his 35th goal of the season and became the first active player, and 14th in NHL history, with 15 or more 40-assist seasons. The Penguins snapped a three-game losing streak and rebounded from an overtime loss at Colorado on Sunday, when they squandered a four-goal lead.

Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina’s second-round draft pick in 2014, stopped 38 shots for Pittsburgh.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Dylan Strome scored twice, Charlie Lindgren made 30 saves and Washington beat Detroit In a pivotal matchup in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Capitals moved two points ahead of Detroit and still have an extra game left to play. They’re also right on the heels of Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

“I think we’re proving a lot of people wrong right now,” Strome said.

Washington has won three in a row and five of six to improve its postseason position to the best it has been in recent weeks. There are 10 games left for the Caps to play this NHL regular season as they attempt to get back in after failing to qualify last year.


TORONTO (AP) — Nico Hischier had a goal and two assists, Jake Allen made 42 saves and New Jersey beat Toronto.

Jack Hughes scored twice, including into the empty net, and Timo Meier added a goal and an assist for the Devils, who have won four of their last five games. Luke Hughes and Max Willman also scored for New Jersey. Jesper Bratt added three assists and Curtis Lazar had two.

Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 59th goal. William Nylander and Tyler Bertuzzi also scored and Josephy Woll had 19 saves for Toronto. T.J. Brodie had two assists.

The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division with the postseason less than a month away. New Jersey entered Tuesday’s game five points out of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card berth.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Roman Josi scored 40 seconds into overtime to lead Nashville to a victory over Vegas, and extended the team’s stretch of consecutive games unbeaten in regulation to a franchise-record 18.

Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists, Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist each had a goal and an assist and Mark Jankowski also scored and Juuse Saros made 31 saves for Nashville, which last lost a game in regulation Feb. 15 and 16-0-2 since.

William Karlsson scored a goal and assisted on another, Ivan Barbashev, Brett Howden and Shea Theodore also scored and Jiri Patera made 31 saves for Vegas, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Anthony Mantha had two assists.

In overtime, Josi skated in from the right side before slipping the puck past Patera for the game winner.


WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Zach Hyman scored his 51st goal of the season 1:22 into overtime, giving Edmonton a victory over Winnipeg and sending the Jets to their fourth straight loss.

Hyman, whose winner was the 200th goal of his career, has five goals in a four-game scoring streak.

Leon Draisaitl, Connor Brown and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers, who halted a two-game skid. Nugent-Hopkins added an assist and Connor McDavid finished with two assists, extending his point streak to five games with one goal and 12 assists. Stuart Skinner stopped 22 shots for Edmonton, which went 1-2 on a three-game trip.


CHICAGO (AP) — Jason Dickinson scored twice, Petr Mrazek made 40 saves and Chicago beat Calgary.

Seth Jones also scored for Chicago, and Joey Anderson had two assists. Connor Bedard, who wrapped the blade of his stick in rainbow-colored Pride tape for warmups on Pride Night, picked up his team-best 35th assist.

Blackhawks rookie Landon Slaggert had two assists for his first points in his sixth NHL game. But he was turned away by Calgary defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on a prime scoring opportunity, and then came up empty on another chance.

The horn sounded after Slaggert appeared to score in the third period, but a review showed the puck never went into the net. The 21-year-old forward smiled as he stood in front of the Chicago bench before the decision was announced by an official.


DENVER (AP) — Sam Montembeault made 27 saves and Montreal beat Colorado in coach Martin St. Louis’ return to the team.

Nick Suzuki and Joel Armia scored for the Canadiens, who snapped Colorado’s nine-game win streak. They won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 15-17 and swept the two-game season series from Colorado.

St. Louis was behind the Montreal bench after missing four games to be with his family. His 16-year-old son, Mason, got hurt during a youth hockey game and then suffered complications from the injury and was hospitalized.

The Canadiens went 1-2-1 with assistant Trevor Letowski handling the head-coaching duties.


PHOENIX (AP) — Josh Doan had two goals including the go-ahead score in his first NHL game and Arizona beat Columbus.

Nick Bjugstad, Nick Schmaltz, Dylan Guenther and Matias Maccelli also scored as Arizona pulled away with four goals in the third period. Doan deflected a shot by Maccelli past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins with 8:29 left in the third for the go-ahead score. Karel Vejmelka stopped 24 shots for the Coyotes.

The son of longtime Coyotes captain Shane Doan, Josh Doan scored an unassisted goal in the second period to put Arizona ahead 2-1, backhanding the puck past Merzlikins at close range.

Doan, from nearby Scottsdale, is the first Arizona native to play for the franchise. The 22-year-old played collegiately at Arizona State. He was called up Monday from Tucson of the AHL, where he led the Roadrunners with 26 goals and 20 assists in 62 games.


SEATTLE (AP) — Eeli Tolvanan and Matty Beniers each had a goal and an assist, and Seattle halted an eight-game losing streak by beating Anaheim.

Jordan Eberle and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for Seattle (29-29-13). Eberle’s goal was the 299th of his career and 17th this season.

Joey Daccord made 12 saves in his third shutout for the Kraken, who went 0-6-2 in the previous eight games — seriously dimming their playoff hopes. Seattle also went 0-6-2 from Nov. 24 to Dec. 10 this season.

The Ducks (24-44-4), already eliminated from playoff contention, lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Anaheim goalie John Gibson stopped 32 shots.


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson each scored twice, Jamie Benn added a goal and two assists, and Dallas beat San Jose for their fifth straight win.

Dallas took over sole possession of first place in the Central Division by two points over the Colorado Avalanche, who lost at home to Montreal.

San Jose has lost eight straight games and 17 of 18.

The teams combined for six goals in the second period, with the Stars responding after the Sharks twice made it a one-goal game. Benn batted in the puck out of mid-air after it was deflected in front, then assisted on Johnston’s second goal of the game with a backhand flip pass on a give-and-go that put Johnston in alone on Mackenzie Blackwood. That gave Dallas a 5-3 lead heading into the third period.

Benn extended his goal streak to five games, his longest since 2014. The 34-year-old Stars captain and the 20-year-old Johnston were all over the ice, teaming up on half of Dallas’ goals.