Joe Nieuwendyk's power-play goal with 12:29 remaining broke a tie, and the Dallas Stars went on to clinch the Presidents' Trophy for the league's highest point total with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in Dallas.
Mike Modano returned from a 17-game injury absence to assist on Dallas' first goal by Jamie Langenbrunner, helping the Stars extend their franchise record for points to 109.The Stars, who started the day tied with New Jersey, hold the tie-breaker by virtue of a 2-0 record against the Devils this season. The Devils played the New York Island-ers on Saturday night.
Chicago went winless over its final seven games (0-6-1) as the Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 29 years.
AVALANCHE 4, RED WINGS 3: Peter Forsberg's goal with 40.7 seconds remaining capped a wild finish and lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Detroit Red Wings.
The teams scored three times in the game's final 1:42, setting the stage for a possible second-round playoff matchup.
The Avalanche, who improved to 16-0-6 this season when Forsberg scores, open the playoffs next week as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Detroit, which rested four of its top six scorers, is the No. 3 seed.
CAPITALS 4, HURRICANES 3: Peter Bondra scored his 50th goal with 8:37 remaining as Washington kept alive its drive for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
The Capitals came into the next-to-last regular season game in fifth place in the Eastern Conference postseason race, one point behind Boston and tied with Buffalo.
PENGUINS 5, BRUINS 2: Martin Straka scored three goals and Jaromir Jagr secured his second NHL scoring title with a goal and an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Boston Bruins.
Jagr's finished with a league-leading 102 points this season. Jagr also won the 1995 scoring title with 70 points in the lockout-shortened 48-game season.
MIGHTY DUCKS 4, KINGS 1: The Anaheim Mighty Ducks got all their goals from rookies, including Mike Crowley's first in the NHL, and gave the playoff-bound Los Angeles Kings a well-timed wakeup call with a victory in the Kings' regular-season finale.
RANGERS 2, FLYERS 1: Alexei Kovalev and Adam Graves scored and Mike Richter made 31 saves as the New York Rangers closed out their season with a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
BLUES 5, COYOTES 4: Pavol Demitra scored his 21st goal early in the third period to lift the St. Louis Blues over the Phoenix Coyotes.
ISLANDERS 2, DEVILS 1: Zigmund Palffy scored two goals and Tommy Salo made 46 saves to lead the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils in the season finale for both clubs.
PANTHERS 2, LIGHTNING 2: Mikael Renberg's rebound goal with 9:53 left in regulation broke an 0-for-56 power-play drought and lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning into a tie with the Florida Panthers.
SABRES 3, CANADIENS 3: Brian Savage scored two goals as the Montreal Canadiens earned a tie with the Sabres, leaving Buffalo's chances for home-ice playoff advantage in doubt.
SHARKS 4, FLAMES 1: At San Jose, Calif., Mike Vernon had 19 saves to earn his 30th win of the season, matching San Jose's team record, and the Sharks tuned up for their first playoff appearance in three years by beating Calgary.
OILERS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 3: At Edmonton, Alberta, the Edmonton Oilers secured seventh place in the NHL's Western Conference and headed into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak with a victory over Toronto.