March 19 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Wednesday's National Hockey League games.
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Blackhawks 4, Blues 0
Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith sealed the outcome with third-period goals as the Blackhawks trounced the Central Division-leading St Louis Blues 4-0.
With the Winnipeg Jets defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in overtime, Chicago moved back into second place in the Central Division with 95 points.
The Blackhawks (40-15-15) are six points behind St Louis, which suffered only its second shutout loss of the season.
Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw added scores while Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots for the shutout.
The victory prevented the Blues (47-15-7) from clinching their third consecutive playoff appearance and 38th in franchise history.
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Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Steven Stamkos scored a natural hat-trick as the Tampa Bay Lightning stretched their winning streak to four games with a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lightning Radko Gudas and Tyler Johnson had the other goal for Tampa Bay (38-24-7), which has their longest win streak since stringing together five in December.
Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and defenseman Jake Gardiner had the goals for Toronto (36-27-8).
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who entered his start 2-4-0 with a 3.04 goals-against-average against the Leafs, made 37 saves in the win.
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Jets 5, Avalanche 4 (overtime)
The Winnipeg Jets kept their flickering playoff hopes alive with an overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Blake Wheeler scored his 24th goal of the season for the winning strike at 1:42 of the extra period.
The win boosted the Jets' record to 32-30-9, good for 73 points, four behind the eighth-placed Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference.
In a back and forth affair, both teams scored two goals each in the first period and one each in the second and third.
The loss was a second straight for the Avalanche (44-20-6).
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Canucks 2, Predators 0
Rookie call-up Nicklas Jensen scored his third goal in seven NHL games, leading the Vancouver Canucks in a win over the Nashville Predators.
Jensen has three goals and two assists since being promoted from Utica of the American Hockey League on March 7, is rejuvenating the Canucks' top line.
Alex Burrows, who has also been red hot for Vancouver (32-30-10), left the game in the third period after being on the receiving end of a nasty slash to the hand area by Nashville (29-31-10) defenseman Shea Weber. (Editing by John O'Brien)
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