The NHL playoff race becomes clearer, plus the latest on Sidney Crosby, Ray Emery, Daniel Briere, Milan Hejduk and more.

Blue Jackets celebrate Mark Letestu's game-winning goal over the Stars.

Blue Jackets celebrate Mark Letestu’s game-winning goal over the Stars.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH/DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Columbus Blue Jackets kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, eliminating the latter from the post-season race.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Detroit Red Wings remains one point up on the Blue Jackets by downing the Nashville Predators 5-2.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild can clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight over the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings now sit seventh overall in the Western Conference, one point up on the eighth overall Wild and ninth overall Blue Jackets. The Wild hold a game in hand over the Blue Jackets and Red Wings. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The NY Rangers spoiled the debut of Jared Staal but clinched a playoff berth by downing the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Staals became only the fourth brother act in NHL history to have three brothers on the same team, joining the Bentleys, Plagers and Stastnys.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues kept alive their hopes for home ice advantage in the playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Brad Staubitz snapped a 1-1 tie with the game-winning goal in the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

BOSTON HERALD: The Boston Bruins remained ahead of the Montreal Canadiens for the Northeast Division  lead with a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The win ensures the Bruins will have home ice advantage in the playoffs.

PHILLY.COM: Daniel Briere snapped a 20-game goalless drought as the Flyers downed the NY Islanders 2-1. The loss doesn’t affect the Islanders playoff hopes as they’ve already clinched a berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It does, however, ensure the Isles will begin the playoffs on the road.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Pending UFA forward David Clarkson helped the New Jersey Devils edge the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has resumed practice with his teammates and could be ready to play in the opening round of the playoffs.

DENVER POST: Milan Hejduk will play in the Colorado Avalanche’s season finale on Saturday in what is likely to be his career-ending game.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Ray Emery’s lower-body injury creates some uncertainty in goal for the Blackhawks.