NHL: Sabres crush Caps
Buffalo march on, but Toronto drought continues
Last Updated: 28/03/12 7:08am
Drew Stafford: Netted twice in Buffalo victory
Drew Stafford scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 to move clear in the eighth and final play-off spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference.
Tyler Ennis provided the assists for both of Stafford's goals, while Cody McCormick, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville also tallied, extending their winning run to five games. The Sabres' late-season charge comes little over a month after they were last in the East and seemingly out of contention.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated from play-off contention as they lost 3-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes, for whom Jussi Jokinen, Tim Brent and Jay Harrison scored. It will be the seventh straight season in which Toronto have been absent from the post-season.
Brian Elliott claimed his third straight shut-out as the West-leading St Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 3-0. Jamie Langenbrunner, on his 1,100th start, David Perron and TJ Oshie got the goals which ensured the Predators would have to wait to clinch their play-off place.
The New York Rangers beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 to pad their lead at the top of the East, while the Florida Panthers saw off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 after a shoot-out.
Frans Nielsen scored twice as the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3, the Boston Bruins won their third straight, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 after a shoot-out.