Tonight's games: Playoff battles heating up

A couple of big games tonight with playoff spots on the line.

Calgary Flames (32-24-9, 73 PTS) @ Detroit Red Wings
(31-22-12, 74 PTS); 7:00 p.m. EST
— Jarome Iginla hasn’t scored
against the Red Wings in 19 regular season games. They’ll need him to
make a difference tonight, as the Wings have rediscovered their scoring
touch and the Flames are the 3rd-worst offense in the NHL.

Vancouver Canucks (40-23-2, 82 PTS) @ Colorado Avalanche
(37-22-6, 80 PTS); 9:00 p.m. EST —
It’s a battle for the top spot
in the Northwest division, although a Colorado win would still leave
them in second place based on tie breakers. The Canucks have had trouble
away from home, but at least they don’t have to worry so much about
keeping Kyle Wellwood away from the hotel breakfast bar. He
plays better fat
.

The rest after the jump…

Boston Bruins (29-24-11, 69 PTS)@ Toronto Maple Leafs (20-33-12,
52 PTS); 7:00 p.m. EST–
I’m predicting an actual negative score in
this one, especially with Savard and Chara out.

Nashville Predators (35-25-5, 75 PTS) @ Atlanta Thrashers
(28-26-10, 66 PTS); 7:00 p.m. EST —
If the Thrashers are able to
make the playoffs after the trades they made, then we all owe Don
Waddell a big apology.

NY Islanders (26-31-8, 60 PTS) @ Philadelphia Flyers (34-26-4, 72
PTS); 7:30 p.m. EST —
Still no Rick DiPietro on Long Island. Does
that surprise anyone?

Tampa Bay Lightning (27-26-11, 65 PTS)@ Montréal Canadiens
(32-29-6, 70 PTS); 7:30 p.m. EST —
The Canadiens need to continue
winning to hang onto their playoff spot, but a quick aside; is it
amazing to anyone else how there are three teams in the East with a
negative goal differential that could make the playoffs? Two in the
West.

Ottawa Senators (36-25-5, 77 PTS)@ Edmonton Oilers (21-38-6, 48
PTS; 9:30p.m. EST —
The Oilers have won twice in a row since the
trade deadline, while the Senators are reeling. It’s a struggling
offensive team against the worst defensive squad in the NHL. Something
has to break.

Columbus Blue Jackets (25-30-11, 61 PTS)@ Anaheim Ducks (30-27-8,
68 PTS); 10:00 p.m. EST —
The Ducks still have an outside shot at a
playoff spot. Good thing they’re facing a Columbus team that was just
destroyed last night by Los Angeles.

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    Video: Oh, just another spectacular Patrik Laine goal . . .

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 13: Patrik Laine #29, playing his first NHL game, of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates scoring his first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during NHL action on October 22, 2016 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At top is Mathieu Perreault #85 of the Winnipeg Jets. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    He’s done it before. He’ll do it again.

    Patrik Laine scored another beautiful goal for the Winnipeg Jets, as he beat Carter Hutton with a wrist shot Saturday. But it was how he got into position for the goal that is so much fun to watch.

    Laine dished the puck to Bryan Little in the neutral zone, then, after shaking off a St. Louis Blues defender, he knocked the give-and-go pass out of the air and immediately ripped his shot past Hutton.

    That’s goal No. 16 for the rookie Laine.

    That goal also tied him with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in that category. Not bad — for a rookie.

    And then Laine did this in OT, setting up Little for the winner. He can pass, too.

    Related:

    Video: Laine’s goal was the game-winner (and mind-blower)

    Video: Nothing lucky about Laine’s seventh goal of the season

    Video: Gudbranson and Martin drop the gloves in spirited scrap

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    We asked earlier tonight if the bad blood between the Canucks and Leafs would spill over into tonight’s rematch. It had been pretty tame — unlike what occurred last month.

    But there were some fireworks and, as expected following the events of Nov. 5, the combatants were Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin.

    The two dropped the gloves for a heavyweight scrap during the second period, with both landing some major shots.

     

    Avalanche captain Landeskog (lower-body injury) could make upcoming road trip

    DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche awaits a face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    Placed on injured reserve earlier this week, Gabriel Landeskog may be close to returning to the Colorado Avalanche lineup.

    Out with a lower-body injury for the past eight games, including tonight’s home contest against the Dallas Stars, Landeskog reportedly skated briefly with his teammates on Saturday. Head coach Jared Bednar provided more reason for optimism on the condition of the Colorado captain when he spoke to the media.

    “He’s been working in the gym the last couple of days,” Bednar told the Denver Post.

    “He’s been progressing. He feels better again today. He skated slightly on his own there for a few minutes, and that seemed to go well. I’ve already talked to (trainer Matt Sokolowski) about that. I would expect he’s a guy who’s going to continue to move forward here and probably be on the road trip with us.”

    The Avalanche could certainly use their leader in the lineup.

    They sit tied for last in the West with the Arizona Coyotes and Bednar, earlier this week, ripped his team for a lack of intensity following a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.

    The Avalanche begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday, as they face the Predators.

    The Predators coughed up a three-goal lead in OT loss to Devils

    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14:  Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators stretches during a timeout against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on October 14, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images)
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Michael Cammalleri‘s second goal of the game with 18 seconds remaining on the clock in overtime capped New Jersey’s comeback from three goals down in the third period and gave the Devils a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

    Taylor Hall took a pass from Cammalleri and brought the puck up the right side into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 break, passed it back to Cammalleri cutting up the middle and he fired it past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

    Cammalleri started the Devils’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit after two as he fired a rebound into an open net 25 seconds into the third.

    Andy Greene pulled New Jersey within one 30 seconds later and Adam Henrique tied it with a power-play goal through Rinne’s legs with 7:23 remaining.

    Hall had a goal and two assists, Travis Zajac also had two assists and Green added one for the Devils, who were 0-4-2 in their previous six road games. Keith Kincaid stopped 38 shots to improve to 3-1-2.

    Kevin Fiala had two goals and P.K. Subban and Roman Josi also scored for the Predators, who fell to 9-1-2 at home. Rinne, a five-time All-Star, gave up five goals on 22 shots.

    New Jersey evened its record to 6-6 in games beyond regulation, and Nashville fell to 0-4.

    Fiala gave the Predators a 1-0 lead when Matt Irwin‘s point shot appeared to bounce off him into the net with 3:46 left in the first.

    Hall tied it 1:17 later when he swatted a rebound out of the air past Rinne.

    Nashville went back ahead on Subban’s wrist shot from the slot with 39 seconds left in the opening period. Five of Subban’s six goals have come at home.

    Fiala’s second goal increased the Predators lead to 3-1 on a tic-tac-toe play from Craig Smith and Mike Ribeiro at 6:02 of the second period.

    Josi extended the Predators’ advantage to 4-1 when he blasted a one-timer from just inside the center of blue line past Kinkaid with 5:29 left in the second.