NHL Playoffs Update: Colorado, Philly survive

Avs2.jpgFinally, finally we get some teams taking control of their playoff destiny and rising to the occasion to win a big game. The Philadelphia Flyers kept their playoff dreams alive with a big home win over the Detroit Red Wings (can we say they’re in a slump now, that’s two losses in a row for goodness sake), yet they have two incredibly big games against the New York Rangers coming up to decide the fate of their season.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche stopped the bleeding, getting a big overtime win over the San Jose Sharks while at the same time the Chicago Blackhawks were doing them the biggest favor possible and taking down the Calgary Flames.

We now have seven teams in the West who have punched their ticket to the playoffs, although with just a few games remaining there is still some major jockeying for position to be made in regards to who faces whom. In the East, just five teams have locked down a playoff spot, and the Atlanta Thrashers are close to seeing their playoff dreams dashed.

After the jump, we take a look at the updated standings as well as a look at the games from yesterday that actually mattered. Hint…they all mattered.


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The games that mattered:

Philadelphia Flyers 4, Detroit Red Wings 3: The Flyers must have paid off Mike Babcock in order to have him start Chris Osgood for the first time in three months in what was their biggest game of the season. Osgood allowed three horrible goals, Brian Boucher won the mediocrity battle on the other end and the Flyers live another day.

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The games that mattered:

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Calgary Flames 1: Anti Niemi was solid (whew!) for the Blackhawks, while Miikka Kiprusoff was unable to keep his hot play going. The Flames put the heat on (bazinga) in the third, but were unable to overcome a two goal deficit. The Flames’ playoff hopes are still alive, even though…..

Colorado Avalanche 5, San Jose Sharks 4, OT: The Avs did their best and almost flittered away an incredibly important two points, after allowing the Sharks to tie the game with two third period goals. Luckily John-Michael Liles was able to get the win with a great tip-in shot. This lady and gents, was a great game with the season on the line.

Vancouver Canucks 4, Minnesota Wild 3, OT: We’ll have more on this game in a bit. Meanwhile I have to ask: are Canucks fans worried about Luongo?

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    Ducks sign former first-rounder Noesen to one-year extension

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Forward Stefan Noesen has agreed to a one-year contract to stay with the Anaheim Ducks.

    Anaheim confirmed the two-way deal Monday.

    Noesen (NAY-sun) appeared in one game in each of the past two seasons for the Ducks, who acquired him from Ottawa in 2013.

    The 2011 first-round pick by the Senators has spent most of the past three seasons in the AHL with Anaheim’s affiliates in Norfolk and San Diego. He scored 32 points in 65 games for the Gulls last season.

    The 23-year-old Texas native’s pro career has been hindered by two major injuries. He missed practically all of the 2013-14 season with torn ligaments in his left knee, and he missed four months of the 2014-15 season after an opponent’s skate blade nearly severed his right Achilles tendon.

    Twitter unveils plan to stream NHL games

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07:  In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced it's initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.  (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)
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    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Twitter will live stream for free one Major League Baseball game and one NHL game per week under a new deal.

    The agreement announced Monday will allow viewers to watch games nationally that would normally be available only in the two teams’ home markets. Users will not need to be logged into Twitter to see the games.

    The baseball games will also be available outside the U.S., with some exceptions. Twitter did not announce the game schedule Monday.

    The social media network is attempting to move into live sports streaming through “over-the-top” broadcasts, which do not require a cable subscription. In April, Twitter reached a deal with the NFL to stream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games this fall.

    Former Flyers goalie Heeter signs with Detroit’s AHL team

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    The Red Wings added some goalie depth on Monday, agreeing to terms with journeyman Cal Heeter.

    Heeter, 27, broke in with the Flyers organization a while back and made his big-league debut in ’13-14, appearing in one game.

    Since then, he’s bounced around the ECHL, AHL (with the Toronto Marlies) and, last season, split his time between Hamburg of the German League and Zagreb Medvescak of the KHL.

    By itself, this signing isn’t especially noteworthy, as Heeter projects to be an American League mainstay next year.

    But the contract is kind of interesting when looking and the big-picture goalie situation in Detroit. The Wings now have Heeter, Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau, Eddie Pasquale and Jake Paterson all under contract for next season, which is an awful lot of goalies.

    With that in mind, remember that Howard’s name has been in trade talks for quite some time.

     

    Ex-NHLers Bellemore, Collins sign with KHL’s Chinese club

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    HC Kunlun Red Star, the Beijing-based expansion team that will begin playing in the KHL next season, has added a pair of former NHLers.

    Sean Collins, who appeared in a pair of games for the Capitals last season, and Brett Bellemore, a veteran of over 100 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes, have agreed to join the club, per Russian news outlet R-Sport.

    Bellemore, 28, was originally drafted by the ‘Canes in 2007 and spent most of his professional career with the organization. He signed on with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence last year, and appeared in 56 games.

    Collins, 27, broke in with the Blue Jackets before signing with the Caps last season. He spent the majority of the year in AHL Hershey and fared well — 16 goals and 39 points in 75 games — and scored three times in the playoffs, helping the Bears advance to the Calder Cup final.