Riding the Zamboni – March 9; Caps keep streaking, Ducks knock off Rangers

Washington 5 – Edmonton 0

Make it six in a row for the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin had two goals (one of which being a beauty) and an assist while Eric Fehr had two goals of his own to lead the offense. Rookie Braden Holtby earned his first career shutout stopping 22 shots against the NHL’s worst team. The Caps maintained their two point lead on Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division as the Lightning also won tonight.

Anaheim 5 – NY Rangers 2

Bobby Ryan had himself a good night scoring a goal and adding three assists in leading the Ducks to victory. Ryan’s four point night was the most impressive of many big nights for the Ducks. Lubomir Visnovsky continues to impress as he had two goals and an assist. Corey Perry likewise had two goals and an assist. Dan Ellis made 30 saves for the Ducks in the win. Marian Gaborik scored his 18th goal of the year while Brandon Dubinsky scored his 20th for New York.

Los Angeles 2 – Detroit 1

The Kings won an important one for themselves thanks to second period goals from Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Detroit has a bit to complain about on Brown’s goal as officials missed a clear high stick to the face of Nick Lidstrom courtesy of Michal Handzus just moments before Brown tipped home the eventual game winning goal. Jonathan Quick made it all stand up for L.A. stopping 28 shots. Darren Helm scored his 10th goal of the year for Detroit who lost a point off their lead on Chicago as the Blackhawks lost in a shootout.  Detroit leads Chicago by five points in the Central and holds a two point lead on San Jose for the second seed in the West.

Tampa Bay 4 – Chicago 3 (F/SO)

Calgary 4 – Dallas 3 (F/SO)

Curtis Glencross’ shootout goal was the decider in Calgary’s win over Dallas. Calgary did hold a 3-0 at one point in the first period and appeared ready to roll over the Stars. As has been typical of late for Dallas, they were able to whittle away and finally tie the game in the third thanks to Tomas Vincour’s first career NHL goal. Both Miikka Kiprusoff and Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 shots in the game. Lehtonen did not fare as well in the shootout giving up two goals on three shots. Brad Richards had no points and was a -1 for Dallas in his first game back after suffering a concussion.

Atlanta 3 – Carolina 2 (F/OT)

A thriller in Carolina saw the Thrashers pick up their second straight win thanks to Tim Stapleton’s overtime game-winner. Carolina rallied from a 2-0 early deficit thanks to goals from Troy Bodie in the second and  yet another clutch goal from Erik Cole in the third to tie it.  Ondrej Pavelec was outstanding in goal for Atlanta stopping 35 shots to earn the win. Carolina sits tied with the Rangers with 72 points in the East while Atlanta is to within five points of New York for the eighth spot in the East.

St. Louis 4 – Columbus 3 (F/OT)

Another night, another soul crushing defeat for Columbus as they saw their 3-1 lead after two periods evaporate in the third and ultimately lose in overtime thanks to Chris Stewart. Stewart tied the game 6:23 into the third scoring his 21st goal, minutes after Ian Cole scored his first NHL goal to cut the lead to one. In overtime, Stewart would fool the Columbus defense and snipe a wicked backhand shot past Mathieu Garon to win it for the Blues with his 22nd goal of the season. Jaroslav Halak earned the win in goal for St. Louis stopping just 19 shots.

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.