NHL playoffs update: The Senators won a game!

Just three games last night, but two of the outcomes had some major ramifications in the playoffs race in the West. The Ottawa Senators finally — finally! — won a game and stopped the bleeding.

Eastern Conference

DIV GP W L OT L10 Streak
1 Washington Capitals SE 72 48 14 10 7-1-2 Won 1
2 Pittsburgh Penguins ATL 73 42 25 6 5-3-2 Lost 1
3 Buffalo Sabres NE 71 39 22 10 6-3-1 Won 3
4 New Jersey Devils ATL 71 42 25 4 5-4-1 Lost 1
5 Ottawa Senators NE 73 38 30 5 2-7-1 Won 1
6 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 72 37 30 5 4-4-2 Lost 2
7 Montréal Canadiens NE 73 36 30 7 7-2-1 Lost 1
8 Boston Bruins NE 71 32 27 12 5-4-1 Won 1
9 Atlanta Thrashers SE 72 32 29 11 4-5-1 Won 4

 

Ottawa Senators 2, Montreal Canadians 0 – Not only did the Sens win a game, but they did so against a fellow playoff team. How amazing.

Western Conference

DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA DIFF Home Away L10 Streak
1
Chicago Blackhawks
CEN 71 45 19 7 97 234 179 +55 26-7-3 19-12-4 4-4-2  
2
Phoenix Coyotes
PAC 73 46 22 5 97 201 179 +22 26-10-2 20-12-3 9-1-0 Won 9
3
Vancouver Canucks
NW 72 44 24 4 92 236 187 +49 26-8-2 18-16-2 6-2-2  
4
San Jose Sharks
PAC 72 43 19 10 96 232 192 +40 22-6-8 21-13-2 3-6-1 Lost 5
5
Los Angeles Kings
PAC 71 42 24 5 89 211 188 +23 21-12-3 21-12-2 5-4-1 Won 2
6
Nashville Predators
CEN 73 42 26 5 89 206 203 +3 21-12-2 21-14-3 7-3-0 Won 6
7
Colorado Avalanche
NW 72 40 25 7 87 216 194 +22 22-11-2 18-14-5 5-4-1  
8
Detroit Red Wings
CEN 72 36 23 13 85 196 193 +3 20-10-5 16-13-8 7-2-1 Won 2
9
Calgary Flames
NW 72 36 27 9 81 184 181 +3 18-16-3 18-11-6 6-4-0 Lost 1

 

Pittsburgh 1, Detroit 3 – The Red Wings got revenge for the game 7 loss in last year’s Stanley Cup finals, and opened up another four-point lead on the Calgary Flames. Perhaps putting playoff tickets on sale wasn’t a bad thing after all.

Colorado 3, Los Angeles 4 (OT) – It’s a tight race in the bottom half of the Western conference now, and the LA Kings earned two very important points to try and stay ahead of the pack. The Avs, despite the loss, earned one point to stay two up on the Red Wings.

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    McKenzie on the trade deadline: Shattenkirk, Bishop still could go

    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 18: Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues and Martin Hanzal #11 of the Phoenix Coyotes fight for control of a loose puck during the second period at the Scottrade Center on April 18, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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    NHL insider Bob McKenzie beamed in some great trade deadline insight from Toronto (technology!) to NBCSN on Wednesday, so let’s take a look at what he had to say.

    Amusingly enough, you can separate his takes into one tasty, McDonald’s-sponsored video (the more exciting stuff about possible trades) and a set of updates that throws some cold water on our imaginations.

    Bobby Mac’s Big 3

    Heh.

    Anyway, in the video above, the fun stuff.

    Kevin Shattenkirk: McKenzie reports that the St. Louis Blues are “more likely than less likely” to move the sought-after defenseman. The reasoning is that GM Doug Armstrong seemingly believes that this season’s group isn’t as good as last year’s, so why not get value for Shattenkirk?

    (Now, there’s the argument that the West is inferior this season … but let’s move on.)

    Ben Bishop: The Tampa Bay Lightning are heating up, lending some credence to the idea of holding onto their big goalie. McKenzie believes that the Bolts are still leaning toward moving Bishop, however.

    Martin Hanzal: To little surprise, the Arizona Coyotes are “eager” to trade the hulking pivot. It should be intriguing to see what he might draw.

    Fun killing section

    OK, now the less fun side.

    Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog: The Colorado Avalanche aren’t necessarily closing down shop on their biggest names, but McKenzie believes that they’re more likely to get the right trade offer during the off-season instead of the deadline.

    Marc-Andre Fleury: The Pittsburgh Penguins’ preference is to hold onto “The Flower” and let the expansion draft chips fall where they may.

    Others, like Anaheim Ducks defensemen including Cam Fowler: If the team is going to clear up the logjam on the blueline, it might be for someone down the chain … maybe. This situation is cloudier, as McKenzie notes that GM Bob Murray is playing it close to the vest.

    ***

    It’s important to note that McKenzie isn’t speaking in absolutes here. Things can change, even in a week.

    Still, if you’re daydreaming about moves, maybe focus those thoughts more on Shattenkirk, Bishop and Hanzal than speedy Duchene.

    (Granted, they’re your daydreams …)

    Boudreau knows he can only do so much to avoid slump after bye week

    ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Bruce Boudreau of the Minnesota Wild looks on during the game against Winnipeg Jets on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The remarkably slump-proof Minnesota Wild will have their season-long stability challenged next week.

    That’s when the Western Conference leaders come back from their bye, the five-day gap on every team’s schedule gained by the NHL Players Association as a concession for the new All-Star Game format.

    The league’s current cumulative post-bye record is a woeful 4-12-4 with 10 teams, including the Wild, yet to test their ability to avoid coming back rusty. Coaches and managers around the NHL have not hidden their disdain for the debut of the scheduling quirk amid the grind of an 82-game season where momentum is an intangible benefit.

    Wild coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t sound worried, even after losing Tuesday to the Chicago Blackhawks, the lead chaser in the race for the top seed in the playoffs.

    “I told them to, quite frankly, get some rest and enjoy this break but want to get home to play hockey,” Boudreau said. “For 4+ months now, you guys have done a tremendous job, and we’ve got something special going on, potentially. So it’s great to get away for a couple days, but the desire to play has got to be there. Not like, `Uh, I want to stay on vacation. I want to stay here.’ You’ve got to want to come back and play, and if we do that then I think we’ll be fine.”

    For the players on this team, the best in Wild history, letting body and mind melt away at a tropical beach with a significant postseason run in plain sight is a rather unfathomable scenario.

    “What kind of message can you really give `em?” Boudreau said. “I mean, they’re 39-14.”

    Including the six overtime or shootout losses, the Wild have 84 points to rank one behind the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals. They’ve played one fewer game than the Blackhawks and lead their playoffs nemesis by five points. The Wild need 21 points in their last 23 games to beat the 2006-07 franchise record.

    Boudreau inherited a team that qualified for the postseason in each of the last four years but endured wild swings in its quality of play during the five seasons in which Mike Yeo was the head coach. This time, the Wild are 14-3-2 following a loss, either regulation or extra time, to stop those long losing streaks in their tracks.

    “I think that’s due to our depth and our understanding of how we need to play and being able to get big plays from everybody,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said recently. “We believe we can win every game. We feel we should win every game. And so when we lose one, we get back to what we’ve been doing.”

    The next challenge comes Monday when the Los Angeles Kings visit Xcel Energy Center. Perhaps losing to the Blackhawks will prove to be good timing, particularly given the way the Wild overcame a sluggish second period to finish strong and nearly rally to tie the game before an empty-netter gave Jonathan Toews and Chicago a 5-3 victory.

    “We wanted to go into the break with a good feeling, so that one is going to hurt a little bit,” right wing Mikael Granlund said. “We know we have to make sure we recharge our batteries and come back stronger.”

    WATCH LIVE: Capitals at Flyers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 21: Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals checks Brandon Manning #23 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center on December 21, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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    The latest edition of “Wednesday Night Rivalry” on NBCSN features the Washington Capitals visiting the Philadelphia Flyers.

    Both teams have been stumbling a bit here and there. The Flyers only have three wins since Jan. 31, though one of them came in their last game on Sunday. The Capitals lost both games since returning from their bye week.

    The cost of struggles are easier for Washington to stomach, naturally. They’d rather make their Metropolitan Division lead insurmountable, but even so, they’re at least three points ahead of everyone else and have played the same or fewer games as their divisional peers.

    The Flyers, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives. Right now they’re on the outside looking in.

    So both teams want this one, but the desperation level is higher for Philly. We’ll see how that impacts the game on NBCSN tonight. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.

    Pre-game reading: NHLers sound off on poor ice conditions

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    — Up top, Danny Briere recalls that famous line brawl between the Flyers and Penguins in the 2012 playoffs. The two Pennsylvania rivals meet again Saturday, outdoors at Heinz Field.

    — It has not been a good year for NHL ice, and a number of players are starting to get fed up. For example, Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, who said, “It’s been awful. I don’t know what it is. Even in our building this year. I thought it was really good [when we came] back for World Cup and right after that for the first little bit. But the last little bit, it’s been so bad. The puck’s all over the place.” Guess we know how he’ll be filling out his survey. (ESPN)

    — The days leading up to the trade deadline can be pretty stressful for players who may get moved. And if they do get moved, the days after can be pretty tough, too. “I saw my daughters four days out of three months when I went to Pittsburgh,” said Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak, who’s been dealt three straight years at the deadline. “When I was traded to Winnipeg, I didn’t see my daughters for the two months or more I was there because of the schedule.” (The News & Observer)

    — On the 2017 NHL draft, which may not have the star power of the last two drafts, but will still have some pretty good players available. Especially centers. (USA Today)

    — San Jose’s Brent Burns is trying to become only the second defenseman in NHL history to win a scoring title. With 64 points, Burns is only three points back of Connor McDavid for the league lead, with Sidney Crosby in the mix as well. Bobby Orr won the Art Ross Trophy twice, the last time in 1974-75 when he piled up 135 points in 80 games for the Boston Bruins.  (Canadian Press)

    — Another Shark, Joe Thornton, is just two assists from 1,000 in the NHL. Only 12 players have accomplished that, with Wayne Gretzky’s 1,963 helpers leading the way. Joe Sakic’s 1,016 are the closest to Thornton’s 998. (The Mercury News)

    Enjoy the games!