PHILADELPHIA – Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds scored shootout goals to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

Claude Giroux scored his 27th goal for the Flyers, and Alex Ovechkin had his 33rd for the Capitals.

PENGUINS 5, PREDATORS 1: Evgeni Malkin scored twice, James Neal had four assists and host Pittsburgh clinched a playoff spot with a victory over Nashville.

Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis also scored to help Pittsburgh pull within a point of the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining.

LIGHTNING 3, OILERS 2: Former UMaine player Teddy Purcell scored in the sixth round of a shootout and Tampa Bay beat visiting Edmonton.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis also scored in the extra session, helping the Lightning win the shootout 3-2.

WILD 3, FLAMES 2: Devin Setoguchi scored in the fourth round of a shootout in host Minnesota’s victory over Calgary.

Dany Heatley and Darroll Powe scored in regulation for the Wild. Josh Harding stopped 27 shots and all four shots in the shootout to hand the Flames their fourth straight loss.

CANUCKS 2, STARS 1: Cory Schneider made 25 saves and stopped a penalty shot, Mason Raymond scored early in the first period and visiting Vancouver beat Dallas.

The Canucks were without Daniel Sedin, the team leader with 30 goals, sidelined indefinitely because of a head injury.


NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday he’s ready to meet with the players’ union to negotiate a new contract, but it’s up to the union to decide when that might happen.

Bettman said that the NHL Players’ Association hasn’t yet indicated that it’s ready.

“That’s something that we’re relying on the union for right now,” Bettman said of the timing on talks. “We’ve been ready to go for months but there’s a new executive director and he’s getting up to speed, meeting with his constituents and when the union’s ready, then we’ll start.”

Donald Fehr, who previously led the union for Major League Baseball players, became executive director of the NHLPA in December 2010.

Bettman declined to say what the league is looking for in renewing the seven-year deal set to expire Sept. 15.