Aside from the last place Edmonton Oilers, it’s difficult to say that any Western Conference team is truly out of the playoff picture. After all, the 14th ranked Columbus Blue Jackets (51 points) are only 10 points behind the fourth place Nashville Predators and seven points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the final playoff spot.
Still, one thing people forget is that there is a big difference between earning a bottom seed and being able to do anything with it.
Sure, there have been plenty of Cinderella teams before; last year’s Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens beat top seeds to meet in the Eastern Conference finals, for instance. In other seasons, the Edmonton Oilers rode Chris Pronger’s brilliance and the Calgary Flames took advantage of the addition of Mikka Kiprusoff to make amazing runs.
But the Blue Jackets have to ask themselves: do they really have the talent to make a deep run? The team was absolutely dominated in their only run to the playoffs in 2009, as the Red Wings swept them with little trouble. Is there any reason to believe this year’s edition of the team can produce better results?
Darren Dreger reports that the team owns some pieces drawing league interest in the trade market. Dreger writes that GM Scott Howson might get some value by moving goalie Steve Mason, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and/or forward Jakub Voracek.
The most interesting possibility would be moving Mason. It wouldn’t exactly be an example of selling high, as league-wide opinions of the would-be franchise goalie cannot be at their peak. Still, the Blue Jackets would be wise to consider moving him.
The team made a gamble when they gave him the good-faith offer of a two-year, $5.8 million extension that will kick in next season, but Mason’s been weak to abysmal since his Calder Trophy-winning 08-09 season. His save percentage keeps dropping (a well below average 89.5 mark this season) while his GAA keeps rising (an ugly 3.30 average in 10-11). If some team is willing to take a silly risk on a pricey goalie in a buyers market, Howson would be wise to shuttle him out much like Pascal Leclaire was pawned to the Ottawa Senators.
Keep in mind these are barely even rumors, but it doesn’t mean that the Blue Jackets aren’t shopping people around. Or they at least should consider shopping them around …
Things continue to snowball out of control for the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks lost their sixth consecutive game after yet another blowout defeat, this time by a final score of 7-2 versus the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Forward Logan Couture lost a tooth after taking a puck to the face in the second period.
And late in the game, Micheal Haley was given a match penalty for an incident involving Calle Jarnkrok.
The Sharks forward is now automatically suspended until commissioner Gary Bettman reviews the incident.
This incident occurred when Haley was hit into the boards by Jarnkrok. Haley then got up, sped right toward the Predators forward, dropped his gloves and delivered a punch to Jarnkrok as he tried to back away, knocking him to the ice.
Jarnkrok was given a minor penalty for boarding.
Haley was also involved in a fight with Cody McLeod early in the first period.
This has been a particularly shocking, if not embarrassing stretch for the Sharks. In a two-game trip to Dallas and Nashville, against teams below them in the standings, the Sharks were outscored 13-3.
Martin Jones allowed seven goals on 34 shots faced.
If Edmonton wins tonight, the Sharks, Ducks and Oilers will be in a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division.
Related: What is wrong with the Sharks?
More bad news for the San Jose Sharks.
After a slow start against the Nashville Predators during Saturday’s game, forward Logan Couture was hurt in the dying seconds of the middle period after taking a puck to the face while battling in front of the net.
Replays show Couture appeared to lose a tooth. He quickly skated off the ice and to the dressing room.
The Boston Bruins have been trending in the wrong direction of late — once again at the worst possible time with the end of the regular season in sight and a playoff spot on the line.
They entered a massive clash with the New York Islanders on Saturday having lost four straight, temporarily falling out of a playoff spot because of fewer games played.
They didn’t have Tuukka Rask in net because of a lower-body injury. They were on the road. They fell behind the Islanders early in the first period.
Despite that, the Bruins quickly came back on a goal from Riley Nash, who scored again in the third period to help his team to a 2-1 victory.
The four-game losing streak? Gone. With seven games remaining, Boston is back in the final wild card spot, two points ahead of the Islanders, who do still have a game in hand.
“We have a great mood in here this morning, everyone’s excited and pretty light and there’s no tense feel,” said Brad Marchand prior to facing the Islanders.
Back-up goaltending has been a concern in Boston this season, however Anton Khudobin shut the door after the Tavares goal, making 18 saves for the win.
The Bruins host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?
Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.
After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.
Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.
It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.
Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.