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Avs clinch West, Presidents' Trophy

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER (AP) Tyson Jost was barely off the ice and already wearing a burgundy shirt commemorating the Colorado Avalanche winning the Presidents' Trophy.

Guess they had an inkling.

Jost scored two of Colorado's five second-period goals as the Avalanche clinched the West Division and the top overall seed in the NHL playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.


Unique playoffs bring much familiarity

There will be no mysteries when Tampa Bay and Florida meet in the first round of the playoffs after facing off eight times this season and twice in the past week. Same deal for Montreal and Toronto, who have played 10 times since mid-January.

"I don't want to say it takes kind of some of the fun out it, but it does because you know a lot more what to expect," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.


Blues score 7 straight goals, beat Wild

ST. LOUIS (AP) David Perron, Brayden Schenn, and Jordan Kyrou each scored twice and the St. Louis Blues scored seven straight goals to erase a first-period deficit and beat the Minnesota Wild 7-3 on Thursday night.

Zach Sanford also scored Jordan Binnington made 17 saves. The Blues are locked into fourth place in the West Division, and will face Colorado in the first round of the playoffs.


Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Flames by Canucks

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist in the Calgary Flames' 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Rasmus Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane also scored, Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves and Johnny Gaudreau had two assists.


Rookie Kaprisov gives Wild big boost

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Wary of all kinds of pressure on Kirill Kaprizov and resolute in their team-first culture, the Minnesota Wild tried to keep a lid on the fanfare enveloping his arrival in the NHL.

"I was nervous about the incredible expectations, because our fan base has waited five years for this kid, and he's had such success," said general manager Bill Guerin, nodding to Kaprizov's game-winner that gave Russia the 2018 Olympic gold medal and back-to-back seasons leading the Kontinental Hockey League in goals.


Kraken plan to hire coach before draft

SEATTLE (AP) Now that the Seattle Kraken are full-fledged members of the NHL, general manager Ron Francis can start his wheeling and dealing.

Signing players? That started this week with the addition of 21-year-old Luke Henman. Trades and some of those side deals that Vegas negotiated during the last NHL expansion draft? Absolutely.


Preds can have 12,135 fans for playoffs

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Sharks endure 2nd straight down season

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in more than two decades hasn't altered the course San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson wants to take.

Wilson said there's no need to tear down and rebuild a franchise that was a perennial contender for most of the previous 15 years. He believes a few key moves could get the Sharks back to that level next season when they try to avoid their first three-year stretch ever without a playoff berth.


Islanders sign F Newkirk to entry deal

EAST MEADOW. N.Y. (AP) The New York Islanders have signed forward Reece Newkirk to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The Islanders announced the signing of the 20-year-old Western Hockey League product on Thursday. Newkirk had nine goals and 18 assists in 24 games during his fourth season with the Portland Winterhawks. He was second on the team in assists and tied for third in points, while serving as an alternate captain for the second straight season.


Devils see bright future with young core

The New Jersey Devils were one of the NHL's youngest teams this past season, and many times they played like it.

Using 11 rookies at times over the course of Lindy Ruff's first season as coach, the Devils made mistakes and showed their inexperience in missing the playoffs for the third straight year and eighth time in nine seasons.

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