Blackhawks seal place in NHL play-offs

The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Sunday night to clinch their place in the NHL play-offs.

Andrew Ladd’s goal with just under two and a half minutes left secured victory after earlier strikes from Tomas Fleischmann and Teuvo Teravainen, both from assists by Trevor van Riemsdyk, were cancelled out by Alexandre Burrows and Sven Baertschi.

Where the Hawks end up in the play-off seedings remains up in the air, with the Central Division’s leading pair the Dallas Stars and St Louis Blues just four points ahead and the fourth-placed Nashville Predators, on course for a wild card as it stands, four behind.

Ladd told “It’s still a dogfight in the standings and for position, and these are the games you need to have.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins moved three points clear of the New York Islanders in the chase for an automatic play-off place in the Metropolitan Division after Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to seal a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

Matt Cullen and Phil Kessel were also on target after Eric Staal twice gave the Rangers the lead. The Rangers remain second in the Metropolitan Division and in the conference but are now only three points ahead of Pittsburgh.

All three of the night’s games finished 3-2 as the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the New Jersey Devils. Ron Hainsey’s opener and two goals from Victor Rask put the Canes in control and though Bobby Farnham and Travis Zajac pulled goals back, the Devils could not find an equaliser.