NHL Playoffs Update: Calgary's hopes dwindle

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Huet3.jpgWhat a crazy, crazy night we had in the NHL. Seven teams that are not currently in the playoffs beat teams that will be (or should be) in the playoffs, with only Montreal and San Jose saving face against inferior teams. Another, Calgary, squandered a chance to inch closer to idle Detroit as they gave up a lead against the Islanders.

As such, we didn’t see much movement among the bubble teams but we did see some shuffling at the top of the Western Conference. Complete standings and game updates after the jump.

EAST3-26.jpgGames that mattered:

Boston Bruins 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – Tuukka Rask had an uncommonly off night, and the Bruins missed a prime opportunity to pad their lead for the 8th spot in the East. It wasn’t all bad, because….

Atlanta Thrashers 1, Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (OT) – It was a great game by Ondrej Pavelec in net for the Thrashers, but his team couldn’t generate more than 20 shots on the Leafs. Heading to overtime got Atlanta at leas one important point, but with Boston losing this missed out on a good chance to get closer.

New Jersey Devils 3, NY Rangers 4 (SO) – Big win for the Rangers, who seem to have finally woken up and realized they’re in a playoff hunt. Meanwhile, the Devils picked up one point to temporarily grab the lead in the Atlantic division.


Games that mattered:

New York Islanders 3, Calgary Flames 2 – One big, giant Calgary facepalm.

Nashville 4, Phoenix 3 (SO) – The Predators most likely won’t be able to move any higher than 5th, yet the Coyotes are still hanging on to the hope they can challenge the Sharks for the division title. At least they secured a point, because….

San Jose 3, Dallas Stars 0 – Marty Turco was great, but not good enough in what should be his final game at the Shark Tank in a Stars jersey. The Sharks, meanwhile, played a fairly decent and complete game. For once.

Columbus Blue Jackets 8, Chicago Blackhawks 3 – I wonder who Cristobal Huet is playing for next season…

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.