UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Anaheim Ducks became the third team to clinch a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs by defeating the New York Islanders 3-2 on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.
Rickard Rakell, Kyle Palmieri and Andrew Cogliano scored for the NHL-leading Ducks, who became the second Western Conference team to qualify for the playoffs. It marks Anaheim's third consecutive playoff berth and 11th in franchise history. The club (48-22-7, 103 pts.) leads the league in wins and standings points, having won six of their last eight games (6-2-0). Anaheim has matched the franchise record for most road standings points (50) and wins (23) through 39 road games and owns the second-most wins overall through 77 games in franchise history, trailing only the 2013-14 club (50-19-8, 108). Anaheim also improved to 31-1-7 in one-goal games.
Frederik Andersen made 29 saves for Anaheim (48-22-7), which is one point ahead of the Nashville Predators for first place in the conference; the Predators, who defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Saturday to clinch a playoff berth, have a game in hand.
It was Andersen's second victory in as many games (he stopped 27 shots in a 3-2 OT victory at Boston on Thursday). The 25-year-old goaltender is 33-11-5 in 51 appearances this season.
"I’ve just been battling in practice and working on the small things," he said. "Mentally, I feel stronger now. The hard work is paying off. I’m happy to be putting a couple of good games together."
Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and center Casey Cizikas scored for the Islanders (44-27-5), who are 1-6-1 in their past eight games and 0-6-1 in their past seven at home.
Goalie Michal Neuvirth, making his first start since March 17, made 21 saves for New York, which was in second place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and three in front of Washington.
The Ducks took a 1-0 lead at 8:23 of the first period after the Islanders failed to clear their zone. Patrick Maroon stretched to keep an attempted clearing pass in the zone and set up Rakell for a shot from the slot that Neuvirth stopped. Rakell got to the rebound in the right corner and threw a pass into the crease, where Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy poked the puck into his net. Rakell was credited with his eighth goal of the season.
Anaheim dominated play for the next few minutes before New York began to generate some offensive-zone time. After a good forechecking sequence, the Islanders tied the game 1-1 at 17:08 when Visnovsky stepped into a slap shot from the left point that appeared to hit an Anaheim defenseman and deflected into the net. It was the fifth goal of the season for Visnovsky, who missed the previous four games with a lower-body injury.
The Ducks took a 2-1 lead 1:46 into the second period on another fortunate bounce. Islanders forward John Tavares failed to clear his zone, and James Wisniewski's slap shot from the right point was deflected by Leddy's stick right onto the stick of Palmieri, who spun free in front of the net and slid a backhand past Neuvirth for his 14th goal of the season.
Rakell made a superb defensive play seven minutes later when he raced back to keep Cizikas from getting off a good shot on a breakaway. Andersen preserved the lead two minutes after that by robbing Tavares and Ryan Strome on back-to-back shots during a long 5-on-3 power play for the Islanders, who went 0-for-4 in the period.
Cogliano made it 3-1 at 15:11 of the second when a pass by Cam Fowler sprung him past the defense, and he beat Neuvirth with a backhand deke for his 14th goal of the season.
Cizikas made it 3-2 with 5:36 remaining in the third period when Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner gave the puck away just off the left post and he stuffed it past a surprised Andersen for his eighth of the season.
"They like to go the net, so I had to stand my ground and fight through the screens," said Andersen. "They didn’t have too many good chances through traffic. We did a good job of blocking them out."
The Ducks conclude their five-game road trip tomorrow night at New Jersey.