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NHL Report / Scores and fast facts

>Thursday's games

N.Y. Rangers 4, New Jersey 3 (SO): Chris Drury scored the tying goal with 16.5 seconds left in regulation and Erik Christensen had the only tally in the shootout as the Rangers shook off three deficits and gave their playoff hopes another boost with a victory over the Devils.

Tampa Bay 5, Boston 3: Steve Stamkos scored twice, tying him for the NHL lead with 45 goals, and Paul Szczechura also had a pair of goals to lead the Lightning. Antero Niittymaki stopped 47 shots for the 500th victory in Tampa Bay franchise history.

N.Y. Islanders 3, Calgary 2: Matt Moulson and Bruno Gervais scored third-period goals as the Islanders rallied past the Flames. Calgary is four points behind idle Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Carolina 3, Washington 2 (SO): Chad LaRose scored in the fifth round of a shootout to lift the Hurricanes. The contest marked the first time three rookie defensemen have scored goals in a game since Toronto and Chicago did it on March 8, 1947.

Toronto 2, Atlanta 1 (OT): Mikhail Grabovski's tip-in 39 seconds into overtime gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 victory over Atlanta, damaging the Thrashers' playoff hopes.

Columbus 8, Chicago 3: Antoine Vermette had two goals and an assist, and the Blue Jackets handed the Blackhawks their worst loss of the season. The 'Hawks secured a playoff spot when Calgary lost to the New York Islanders.

Minnesota 4, Philadelphia 3 (OT): Kyle Brodziak's overtime goal was initially in the glove of Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, but the puck bounced out and Boucher kicked the spinning puck into the net. The reeling Flyers suffered their sixth loss in seven games.

Montreal 4, Florida 1: Brian Gionta scored twice -- including Montreal's second empty-net goal -- and the Canadiens moved within one point of fifth-place Ottawa in the Eastern Conference.

St. Louis 3, Los Angeles 1: Chris Mason stopped 30 shots for the Blues, eight points behind eighth-place Detroit in the race for the eight Western Conference playoff spots.

Nashville 4, Phoenix 3 (SO): David Legwand scored the shootout winner for the Predators, who have won seven of their last eight. West Seneca's Lee Stempniak had a goal for the Coyotes.

Dallas at San Jose: Despite their recent struggles, the Sharks were trying to clinch a playoff spot.


Around the rinks

Blindside rule: The executive board of the players' union voted Thursday to accept a new temporary rule that will ban hits to the head against unsuspecting players. The decision takes effect immediately.

From News and wire service reports.

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