PITTSBURGH — Marc-Andre Fleury couldn’t help it. With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ franchise record for career shutouts in sight late in the third period against the New York Rangers on Saturday, the talented if occasionally erratic goalie let his mind drift.
“I wanted it so bad,” Fleury said. “I tried to not jinx it. I was touching wood, but yeah I was looking forward to getting it finally.”
The reeling Rangers offered little resistance.
Fleury stopped 23 shots for his 23rd shutout — one more than Tom Barrasso — and the Penguins beat New York 3-0 for their eighth straight victory.
Beau Bennett, Pascal Dupuis and Tyler Kennedy scored, and Dustin Jeffrey added two assists as the Penguins continued to dominate the series.
Pittsburgh has won seven consecutive meetings with New York, which lost for the fourth time in its last five games. Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for the Rangers, but New York failed to score for the third time this season. The Rangers, the best team in the Eastern Conference last spring, trail Pittsburgh by 14 points with six weeks left in the regular season and currently find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
“It’s gut check time pretty much,” New York defenseman Dan Girardi said. “We’ve got to figure out what’s going on here and play with some serious desperation. We’re falling in the standings here.”
The Penguins continued to head in the opposite direction. Pittsburgh is in firm control of the Atlantic Division and in a race with Boston and Montreal for the conference’s best record thanks in part to a suddenly responsible defense.
Bruins 4, Capitals 1
BOSTON — Nathan Horton had a goal and two assists, Milan Lucic set up Boston’s first two scores on hustle plays behind the net and the Bruins beat the Washington Capitals.
David Krejci added a goal and two assists, Rich Peverley had a power-play goal and Andrew Ference scored his first of the season on the eve of his 34th birthday for the Bruins, who avenged a frustrating loss against the Capitals earlier this month. Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin made 32 saves, and Lucic had a career-high three assists.
Marcus Johansson was credited with Washington’s goal when the puck caromed into the net off Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
It was the Capitals’ fourth loss in five games.
Wild 6, Avalanche 4
DENVER — Devin Setoguchi scored twice and added the 100th assist of his NHL career to help the Minnesota Wild hold off the slumping Colorado Avalanche 6-4 in a Saturday matinee.
Ryan Suter started a four-goal scoring spree in the first period to help the Wild win for the fourth time in five games. Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Brodziak and Pierre-Marc Bouchard added goals.
This was the second half of a home-and-home between the two teams, with Minnesota winning 5-3 on Thursday night.
Senators 4, Sabres 3
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kyle Turris scored his second goal 3:54 into overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a victory over the slumping Buffalo Sabres.
Patrick Wiercioch had a goal and assist, and Chris Phillips also scored for Ottawa, which won for only the second time in eight games (2-2-4). Turris added an assist, and Ben Bishop made 31 saves in his first start in four games.
The Senators also extended their string of games decided by one goal to 11, which is one short of matching the NHL record set by Chicago during the 1997-98 season. Drew Stafford scored twice, and Mike Weber also scored for Buffalo, 1-2-3 in its past six games.
Turris’ goal came on the power play, after Christian Ehrhoff was penalized for interference.
Daniel Alfredsson got the puck at the top of the left circle and faked a shot before sending it low to Turris. Turris one-timed it from a tough angle, and roofed the shot over goalie Ryan Miller’s shoulder.
Jets 5, Maple Leafs 4
TORONTO — Zach Bogosian scored in the 10th round of the shootout to give the Winnipeg Jets a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bogosian beat James Reimer, who replaced starter Ben Scrivens to start the third period, for Winnipeg’s second goal of the shootout after Blake Wheeler scored to open the shootout.
Tyler Bozak had the lone shootout goal for Toronto.
Wheeler had two goals in regulation, James Wright and Antti Miettinen also scored for Winnipeg, which earned its fifth win in six games and moved into first place in the Southeast Division.
Winnipeg also clinched the season series 2-1 after beating Toronto 5-2 at home on Tuesday.
Blue Jackets 1, Coyotes 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves in regulation and overtime, then two more in the shootout to finish with his second career shutout — both coming in the last week — to lift surging Columbus to a 1-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night, extending the Blue Jackets’ franchise record point streak to 10 games.
Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu scored in the shootout, making nice moves then firing shots past Mike Smith, who made 23 saves and also got credit for a shutout, his fourth of the season and 23rd of his career. It was the fourth straight shootout game for the Blue Jackets.
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 1
TAMPA, Fla. — Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat both scored their first NHL goals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes.
Nate Thompson and Teddy Purcell also scored for the Lightning, who stopped a five-game losing streak at home. Tampa Bay is 3-8 in its last 11 games.
Eric Staal scored the only goal for the Hurricanes, who dropped to 3-7 against fellow Southeast Division games.
Canadiens 2, Devils 1
NEWARK, N.J. — Big defenseman Jarred Tinordi, in his NHL debut, set up Tomas Plekanec’s tiebreaking goal in the third period, and the Montreal Canadiens extended their winning streak to five games with a victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Plekanec deflected a shot by the 6-foot-6 son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi past Johan Hedberg at 6:49 after the goalie made an ill-advised clearing attempt from behind his net. Tinordi got the puck above the left circle and let it fly.
Islanders 4, Panthers 3
SUNRISE, Fla. — Casey Cizikas broke a third-period tie, and the New York Islanders held on to beat the Florida Panthers after blowing a three-goal lead in the final frame.
Cizikas took a pass from Colin McDonald from behind the net and got it past goalie Scott Clemmensen from the left of the crease at 12:55.
Kyle Okposo, Radek Martinek and Brad Boyes also scored, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 27 shots for the Islanders (13-12-3), who are 5-1-1 in March. New York also jumped ahead of the rival New York Rangers into ninth place in the Eastern Conference.