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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    Ducks send Stoner to AHL on conditioning loan

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    Clayton Stoner is going to play some hockey again.

    The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the 32-year-old defenseman has been assigned to AHL San Diego on a long-term injury conditioning loan.

    Stoner has not played since Nov. 15. He had abdominal surgery in December, at which point the Ducks said he’d miss an additional 4-6 weeks. But a setback in his recovery extended the time frame.

    “The setback was kind of just me trying to get back maybe a little bit quicker than I should,” Stoner told the O.C. Register recently. “And I wasn’t ready. Things have been good here for a little while so hopefully I’m just trying to string some days together and earn a spot back and kind of prove that I can be healthy and stay healthy.”

    Panthers didn’t want to trade Crouse, but Bolland contract was ‘strangling’ them

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    Interesting note here from Florida head coach Tom Rowe who, last night, watched former Panther prospect Lawson Crouse play in Florida for the first time since being traded to Arizona.

    Crouse was the price the Panthers had to pay to unload Dave Bolland‘s contract on the Coyotes last summer. Rowe wasn’t involved with the Bolland signing, but was involved in dumping the contract — he was Florida’s assistant GM at the time the deal went down.

    His take, from the Miami Herald:

    Florida traded Crouse to the Coyotes last summer as part of a salary cap dump; Arizona took on the final three years and $16.5-million of Dave Bolland’s contract in exchange for a top prospect — in this case, Crouse.

    “We got criticized for giving up on a great young prospect but we had to,” Rowe said. “That contract was strangling us, cap-wise. …

    “When we traded him, our scouts were furious. I’m not going to lie. But we had to do something and that was trade Lawson. I’m sure, to this day, he’s still sour about it.”

    Crouse, who Florida took 11th overall at the 2015 draft, has five goals and 11 points through 64 games this year, averaging 11:50 TOI per night. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but they do need to be taken in context — Crouse is only 19 years old, and the 10th-youngest player to play in the NHL this season.

    Bolland, meanwhile, hasn’t played since December of 2015, due to a variety of back and ankle injuries. His time in Florida was largely forgettable — after scoring the $27.5 million pact, he played just 78 games in a Panthers uniform, scoring 28 points.  It’s widely regarded as the worst deal GM Dale Tallon has made during his time with the organization.

    Shortly after taking on his contract, Coyotes GM John Chayka said Bolland wouldn’t be healthy for the “foreseeable future.” The 30-year-old has two years remaining on his deal, at $5.5 million annually.

     

    Arizona lawmaker suggests Coyotes pledge more money for new arena

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    Arizona Senate President Steve Yarbrough does not expect a piece of legislation to pass that would give the Coyotes millions of dollars in public financing to build a new arena.

    That being said, Yarbrough thinks the Coyotes may be able to gain some “traction” if they offer to put in more of their own money.

    Under the current plan, the team has pledged $170 million of the arena’s total cost, which is estimated at almost $400 million. The difference would be made up by new sales taxes, plus $55 million from the still-to-be-determined host city.

    “If you are getting no traction the way the bill is designed, you could see if the hockey team paid a greater portion,” Yarbrough told the Arizona Republic yesterday. “I have been around this business long enough to know that if it’s not working in this format, you change the format to make it more attractive.”

    For their part, the Coyotes have not said whether they’d be willing to pay a greater portion of the project, only that they’ll continue to “work hard to find a viable arena solution in the greater Phoenix area, a market that both the club and the NHL believe is a strong hockey market capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise.”

    Related: Bettman says Coyotes “cannot and will not remain in Glendale”

    Into the fire: Halak, recalled yesterday, starts for Isles in Pittsburgh

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    A little scene setting for you.

    New York heads into tonight’s massive game in Pittsburgh sitting two points back of Boston for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have two games in hand on the B’s — who are idle tonight — so a win could move them into a playoff spot.

    As such, the Isles will start a goalie that hasn’t played in the NHL in 85 days.

    Against the league’s highest-scoring offense.

    The goalie in question is Jaroslav Halak, who’s spent the last three months playing for the Isles’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Recalled yesterday, Halak will now face big league competition for the first time since Dec. 29, when he allowed four goals on 24 shots in a loss to Minnesota.

    (Afterward, then-head coach Jack Capuano ripped Halak, saying he gave up “some soft goals to start” and “wasn’t sharp at all.”)

    But Halak’s been really good in Bridgeport.

    He’s posted a 17-7-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a pair of shutouts. And given how spotty Berube’s play has been as Greiss’ backup, the Isles really had no other choice than to recall Halak.

    The club is in the midst of a compacted part of the schedule. Greiss was excellent in Wednesday’s win over the Rangers — stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 victory — but he was also busy.

    The Isles are in Pittsburgh tonight, then host the Bruins on Saturday — another massive game — then host the Preds on Monday. It’s a compact part of the schedule, and Berube’s struggles have rendered him virtually unplayable, given how meaningful the games are (and, to borrow a timeless cliche, how vital points are at this time of the year.)

    So it’s Halak tonight, and possibly more down the stretch.