NHL playoffs update: Just win baby

You had to know it wasn’t going to turn out easy. Nothing about the race for the final three spots in the Eastern Conference has been easy nor logical, so of course there was no way the Flyers would beat the Rangers tonight to finalize the East field. Of course the Rangers would win, and do so in regulation, to make things even tighter and even more butt-clenchingly silly for the Flyers, Bruins, and Canadiens.

With all that said, here’s how the Eastern Conference playoff race looks now:

6 Boston Bruins 80 37 30 13 87
7 Montreal Canadiens 81 39 33 9 87
8 Philadelphia Flyers 81 40 35 6 86
9 New York Rangers 81 38 33 10



That sets the table for tomorrow night with two huge games that will put the onus on both the Bruins and Canadiens to do something different. They’ll actually have to win a game if they want to get in the playoffs. The team with the most seeming leeway is the Bruins as they’ve got two games left. A win over Carolina tomorrow would lock up a playoff spot for the Bruins as they’d have 89 points and the only other team that can hit that mark is Montreal. A Boston loss in regulation or overtime puts the Bruins in the unenviable position of having to get a point against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Sunday afternoon on NBC.

The Habs are in the unenviable spot of teetering on the edge. Should the Maple Leafs beat the Habs in regulation, they’ll be sweating out the Rangers-Flyers brawl-for-it-all on Sunday afternoon as a Rangers win in overtime or shootout would then eliminate Montreal from the playoffs. If Montreal was able to just make it to overtime against Toronto, that would ensure a spot in the playoffs for the Habs.  All of these “loser” possibilities have to be counted upon because asking anyone to, you know, actually win their way into the playoffs seems to be like asking for the moon as a gift.

The Rangers-Flyers game on Sunday afternoon sets up to be a winner-take-all game with a playoff spot on the line.  Both teams can still make the playoffs if the Bruins earn zero points this weekend and their game on Sunday goes to overtime.

Confused yet? Good. The key here for everyone involved is to just win, or in the case of the Canadiens, just get a single stinking point. The Bruins could make the playoffs just by going to overtime twice. Yes, I know, this is a daunting task to ask of all these teams. This is why we can’t have nice things out East.

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    Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart

    EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Sam Reinhart #23 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up before the game against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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    Sam Reinhart has two assists through four games this season, and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has made a move with the hope of getting the 20-year-old forward going offensively.

    As per John Vogl of the Buffalo News on Sunday, Reinhart has been moved to the middle between Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, while Matt Moulson was moved to the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo.

    Reinhart, a 23-goal scorer from last season, had two assists through the first two games, but has been kept off the score sheet in Buffalo’s last two contests.

    Outside of that six-goal outburst versus Edmonton last weekend, scoring has been an issue for the Sabres early in the season. So adjustments to the forward combinations is to be expected.

    “Sam needs to get a little bit more feet moving, a little bit more speed to his game,” said Bylsma, as per the Buffalo News.

    “He’s made some great plays for us early on – power play and five-on-five for the Okposo goal – but we need to get more out of Sam, moving his feet more, playing a little bit faster, a little bit quicker and providing a little bit more offense for our team.”

    The Sabres, without two key forwards in Jack Eichel and Evander Kane with long-term injuries, which would help explain the team’s early offensive issues, conclude a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

    The Sabres also called up forward Hudson Fasching and defenseman Casey Nelson from Rochester in the AHL.

    P.K. Subban clearly had a blast as Titans’ 12th man

    P.K. Subban
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    When P.K. Subban shows up at your event, you expect to be entertained. And he basically always delivers.

    His trend of delighting Nashville Predators fans continued on Sunday, as he made a glorious appearance as the Tennessee Titans’ “12th Man.”

    If you close your eyes and picture a scene, you probably wouldn’t be that far off; it still doesn’t make this any less fantastic. (Even if the Titans eventually dropped a 34-26 loss to the Colts.)

    The photo he posted on his personal Twitter account was great:

    This GIF of him using a sword feels like it will get some mileage on Twitter. After totally convincing other people about your sports/political/hot-dog-being-a-sandwich opinion, and then drop the P.K. dagger:

    Was the Titans jersey not lasting for long predictable or unexpected?

    Opinion: this was the Titans game to attend since they fell a yard short of beating the Rams.

    Don’t glare: Heritage Classic start time delayed

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 22: Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during practice in preparation for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic alumni hockey game on October 22, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Oilers play the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 23, 2016. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    Update: Puck drop is now scheduled for 4:53 p.m. ET.


    It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game.

    The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much.

    At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET.

    That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile:

    Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.

    Great news: Jacques Demers back at home after hospital stay

    MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 22:   Former Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy embraces his former head coach Jacques Demers during his retirement ceremony before the game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 22, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers is back at home after going to a hospital Saturday.

    Demers’ Senate office would only confirm that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, was at home Sunday, but didn’t provide any details about the reason he went to the hospital.

    Demers had suffered a stroke in April, but he was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.

    Demers led the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached the Quebec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.

    Demers was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but later left the Conservative caucus in December to sit as an Independent.

    At the time, he said he was uncomfortable with some of the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal and didn’t like to have to vote the Conservative party line all the time.