Former Sabres and Devils enforcer Andrew Peters retires at 31

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When you’re an enforcer in the NHL, your life mission is clear and cut: Your job is to fight and stand up for your teammates against those heathen aggressors on the opposing team. For former Sabres and Devils enforcer Andrew Peters, he found out his skillset wasn’t as in demand as it once was and with that he announced his retirement at the age of 31 after six NHL seasons.

In six seasons, Peters played in 229 games and scored just four goals and three assists. He finished his career with 650 penalty minutes and a legacy that’s seen him be one of the few forwards in NHL history to fight a goalie as he did with Ray Emery back in 2007. The legacy of a fighter in the NHL isn’t one filled with glamorous goals and highlight-reel skating, but is instead loaded with brawls both amazing and pointless at times.

Over his NHL career, and according to fantastic website HockeyFights.com, Peters went toe-to-toe with an opponent 80 times in the regular season over his career and left his mark on the NHL in his rookie season fighting 23 times. When you come out thundering like that right away, it sets the bar awfully high the rest of the way and for Peters he was never able to reach such heights again. It likely didn’t help him much that his sole skill was to intimidate and fight opponents. Other enforcers of his age developed the ability to either be more of a physical presence as a checker or an ability to help even a little bit offensively.

As a goon aficionado, I can appreciate what Peters did over his short career and the incredible Buffalo-Ottawa brouhaha in 2007 still serves to make an incredibly bizarre highlight reel (we’re sure Martin Biron is forever grateful for Peters sticking up for him) but in an age where the enforcer is a bit of a dying breed, we salute you and your Clubber Lang-like fists of fury Andrew Peters.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.