Read the reports of the games played Friday in the NHL.
Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and an assist, and Victor Olofsson, Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs also scored for the Sabres. Devon Levi stopped 29 shots for the Sabers, who will not make the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season, the longest drought in the NHL.
Johnny Gaudreau and Tyler Angler scored for the Blue Jackets, who finish 31st and are guaranteed a top-four NHL draft pick. Jon Gillies made 24 saves before being replaced in the third period by Michael Hutchinson, who finished with seven saves.
Gaudreau gave the Blue Jackets the lead 34 seconds into the first period, but most of the second period saw the Sabers dominate, and saw Skinner, Olofsson and Tuch score within six minutes.
Nathan MacKinnon had a hat trick plus an assist as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Friday night to claim the Central Division title.
Devon Toews also scored and handed out an assist. Alexandar Georgiev made 18 saves for the Avalanche, who finished a point ahead of the Dallas Stars. Mikko Rantanen added two assists.
Kiefer Sherwood shook the net twice, Luke Evangelista added a goal and Kevin Lankinen stopped 30 shots for the Predators.
With 1:42 to go in the third period, MacKinnon skated into the Predators’ zone before sending a wrist shot past Lankinen. His third goal was his 42nd of the season, his career high.
The Avalanche, defending Stanley Cup winners, will begin their title defense against the Seattle Kraken in the first round of the playoffs, unfortunately without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who announced Thursday that his knee injury will prevent him to participate in the playoffs.
The Predators were knocked out of playoff contention on Tuesday night when the Winnipeg Jets clinched the final qualifying spot in the West with a win over the Minnesota Wild. The Predators had qualified for the playoffs the past eight seasons.