Caps, Panthers make playoffs

2012-04-06T00:00:00Z 2012-04-12T18:05:03Z Caps, Panthers make playoffsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 06, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The Florida Panthers ended one of the longest playoff droughts in major North American sports Thursday despite a 4-2 loss to Washington, which also earned a postseason bid to complete the eight-team field for the Eastern Conference.

Both teams qualified after Buffalo lost 2-1 at Philadelphia, eliminating the Sabres.

The Panthers are in the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Only six franchises have gone longer without a postseason appearance: the Buffalo Bills (NFL), Baltimore Orioles (MLB), Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Kansas City Royals (MLB), Washington Nationals (MLB) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB).

The Capitals raced to a 3-0 lead with goals from Jay Beagle, Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich. Mikael Samuelson and Ed Jovanovski scored to start a comeback that fell short for the Panthers, who switched from Jose Theodore to Scott Clemmensen and back to Theodore in the second period.

Flyers 2, Sabres 1 — Matt Read and Marc-Andre Bourdon scored as host Philadelphia eliminated Buffalo from the postseason.

Penguins 5, Rangers 2 — Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves to tie Tom Barrasso for the Pittsburgh franchise record for victories at 226, and the host Penguins clinched home-ice advantage in the first round.

Predators 2, Stars 0 — Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for his fifth shutout of the season and Francis Bouillon scored at 4:28 of the third period as host Nashville won for the third time in four games.

Devils 2, Red Wings 1 — Petr Sykora broke a tie with 8:40 left and Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for visiting New Jersey.

Wild 2, Blackhawks 1 — Cal Clutterbuck's tying tip-in with 3:12 left in regulation and Devin Setoguchi's shootout goal lifted host Minnesota.

Maple Leafs 3, Lightning 2 — Steven Stamkos scored his 59th goal of the season for host Tampa Bay, but Dion Phaneuf scored in overtime for Toronto.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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