Blues clinch first playoff birth in four years

ST. LOUIS (AP) " Keith Tkachuk scored twice for the first time since opening night and added an assist, helping the St. Louis Blues clinch their first playoff berth in four seasons with a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

Andy McDonald and Tkachuk scored power-play goals on two of the Blues' first three shots for a fast start against Columbus, no doubt flat two days after making it into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The 37-year-old Tkachuk, by far the oldest of the Blues, enjoyed a season-best three-point night and has three goals and four assists the last three games.

Chris Mason contributed a solid night in goal in his 32nd consecutive start for the Blues, who got a chance to clinch in front a sellout crowd in their home finale after Nashville's 8-4 loss at Minnesota in the Predators' season finale.

Andy Murray won his 100th game in 2 1/2 seasons as Blues coach, guiding a team that has been the NHL's best the second half of the season at 24-9-7.

Jiri Novotny scored for Columbus.

Ducks 4, Stars 3, SO

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) " Jonas Hiller made 42 saves, Teemu Selanne scored the deciding goal in a shootout and Anaheim wrapped up a playoff spot.

Even before the shootout heroics by Selanne, the Ducks clinched the Western Conference playoff spot by securing a single point through the end of regulation after giving up Steve Ott's tying goal with 14 seconds remaining.

Scott Niedermayer, Andrew Ebbett and Todd Marchant also scored for Anaheim. Ott finished with two goals, and Fabian Brunnstrom added a goal for Dallas, out of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Wild 8, Predators 4

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) " Marc-Andre Bergeron scored twice to help Minnesota beat Nashville in a matchup of playoff hopefuls eliminated from contention after the game.

Andrew Brunette, Kim Johnsson, Dan Fritsche, Mikko Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck and Marek Zidlicky also scored for the Wild, knocked out of the playoff race when Anaheim advanced to overtime against Dallas en route to a shootout victory.

Jason Arnott scored twice, and Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan also scored for Nashville, eliminated when St. Louis beat Columbus.

Oilers 5, Flames 1

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) " Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray each had a goal and two assists and Edmonton beat Calgary to give Chicago the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Ales Kotalik, Steve MacIntyre and Patrick O'Sullivan also scored for the Oilers, eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 31 saves in his first start since Nov. 30. Dwayne Roloson started the previous 36 games.

Michael Cammalleri scored for the Flames, two points behind Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead. Calgary played the game with only 15 skaters because of a recent series of injuries.


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