There might be three games tonight, but there’s only one that really matters: Boston vs. Washington. That game has big implications for the Bruins, who still need to scratch-and-claw in order to make their way into the playoffs. Let’s take a look at that match and Monday’s other two games.
Boston Bruins (36-30-12, 84 pts) at Washington Capitals (51-15-12, 114 pts) 7 PM ET
The Capitals haven’t just wrapped up the East’s No.1 seed, they’ve already clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. It doesn’t seem like the team is really stepping off the pedal all that much, which is bad news for Boston. It’s really mind blowing how far these teams are apart; the Caps have 30 more points this season and their leading scorer (Ovechkin, 102) has more than double Boston’s leading point getter (Bergeron, 50). Boston is going to have to win this one the way they’ve done it all season: by grinding out an ugly victory.
Columbus Blue Jackets (32-34-13, 77 pts) at St. Louis Blues (38-31-9, 85 pts) 8 PM ET
While the Blue Jackets are already mathematically eliminated, the Blues are still technically “alive.” Really, though, the Blues are on the verge of being in the same club. Is this a more realistic depiction of these two teams’ potential, or is this just a bump in the road for the two franchises?
Minnesota Wild (37-35-7, 81 pts) at Edmonton Oilers (24-46-8, 56 pts) 9:30 PM ET
The Oilers can be forgiven if they’re more interested in the Taylor Hall-Tyler Seguin battles than their own games right now. It must be oddly freeing, though, that the Oilers clinched the bottom spot in the league so there’s no question of tanking. With Minnesota, they might be better off losing out.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.