The Thrashers keeper made 29 saves in shutting out the New York Rangers on home ice, 3-0, opening the door for the Carolina Hurricanes to potentially steal the final Eastern Conference playoff seed from New York. Pavelec stopped 10 Rangers shots in the third period. Rob Schremp(notes) and Andrew Ladd(notes) scored 15 seconds apart in the second period, and Schremp later assisted on Eric Boulton's(notes) third-period goal.
Kesler topped the 40-goal mark with his third hat trick of the season, as Vancouver defeated the Minnesota Wild, 5-0. He scored on the power play in the first, on an unassisted goal following a steal at center ice in the second, and then on a long feed from Chris Higgins(notes) in the third. Mason Raymond(notes) had the other two goals, and Roberto Luongo(notes) stopped 29 shots for his fourth shutout this season.
The Sens right winger had a three-point night in Ottawa's 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in overtime. Butler picked up the secondary helper on Jason Spezza's(notes) third-period goal; scored a beauty around Hal Gill later in the third and then had the primary helper on Filip Kuba's(notes) game-winner. Butler was a plus-3 on the night.
Honorable mention: The Dallas Stars hung tough in the Western Conference playoff race, winning their game in-hand on Chicago and Anaheim, 4-2, over the Colorado Avalanche. Brad Richards(notes) had a goal and an assist as did Loui Eriksson(notes), who had a helper on Brenden Morrow's(notes) key power-play goal to start the third. Kari Lehtonen(notes) made 21 saves. Brandon Yip(notes) and Mark Oliver at the Avs' goals. … Brian Gionta(notes) and Michael Cammalleri(notes) had the Montreal goals. … Emotional night in Vancouver, as the team received the President's Trophy, a statue to former coach the late Roger Neilson was unveiled and injured center Manny Malhotra waved to the crowd.
Did you know? Alex Edler returned to the Vancouver lineup after being out since Jan. 24 after back surgery.
Dishonorable mention: The Avalanche are 4-25-2 in their last 31 games. … Ryan O'Bryne had the first Dallas goal deflect off of him and committed three minor penalties on the night. … The Rangers' power play went 0-for-4 and is 1-for-27 over their past eight games. … Marian Gaborik(notes) was benched after getting beaten on the Thrashers' third goal. … Finally, Francis Lessard(notes) was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for this hit from behind on Tom Pyatt(notes):