Leading pair continue march

The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins kept up their fight for the number one seed in the NHL Eastern Conference as both won comfortably.

Boston's Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist and a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils in which 11 Bruins had at least one point and Chad Johnson made 22 saves. Travis Zajac managed a goal and an assist for the Devils.

The win kept Boston five points clear of the second-ranked Penguins, who beat the Dallas Stars 5-1.

Sidney Crosby led the way with two goals and an assist, Lee Stempniak had a goal and two assists and Chris Kunitz scored on his return from injury.

The third-ranked Montreal Canadiens also won, 6-3 over the Colorado Avalanche thanks to Thomas Vanek's hat-trick and a goal and an assist from Brandon Prust. They remain 11 points behind the Penguins, however.

The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are also in the play-off mix and enjoyed wins over the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators respectively, the Rangers winning an extraordinary match 8-4 with two goals each from Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.

Claude Giroux's overtime strike saw the Flyers to a 3-2 win after Scott Hartnell's double brought them back from 2-0 down.

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2, Gustav Nyquist scoring twice before Daniel Alfredsson grabbed what proved to be the decisive goal.

In the Western Conference, it was a good night for leaders the St Louis Blues as their nearest pursuers, Pacific Division pair the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, both lost to remain four points behind.

The Sharks conceded three goals in the second period as they went down 3-2 to the Florida Panthers, Scottie Upshall's slapshot ultimately proving decisive.

The Ducks were also beaten 3-2 by the Washington Capitals, Alex Ovechkin with the winner just eight seconds into a powerplay.

The conference's bottom two teams both celebrated victories as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Nashville Predators 5-1 and the Calgary Flames beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1.

The Minnesota Wild blanked the New York Islanders 6-0 while the Carolina Hurricanes won 3-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.