Riding the Zamboni – March 11; Isles stun Bruins, Devils win again, Ducks roll

New Jersey 3 – Atlanta 2 (F/OT)

Another typically tight game and another win for the Devils. Travis Zajac scored twice including the game-winner in overtime while Ilya Kovalchuk added another goal to help the Devils stay hot. All three Devils goals came on the power play as the Thrashers PK could not get it done tonight. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves to get the win. Dustin Byfuglien scored his 20th goal of the year for Atlanta while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 27 shots in the loss. While the Devils win was good for them and keeps them eight back of the Rangers and Sabres for eighth in the East, giving up the loser point to Atlanta in overtime won’t help them in their hopes of vaulting up the standings.

NY Islanders 4 – Boston 2

The Bruins started off nicely building a 2-0 lead and seemed poised to cruise to victory. Matt Moulson’s goal with two seconds left in the second period to make it 2-1 changed all that as the Isles came storming out in the third with goals from Michael Grabner and Jack Hillen to take a 3-2 lead. P.A. Parenteau would be awarded a goal in the closing seconds as he was hauled down while breaking towards the empty net to provide the final tally of the game. Al Montoya was solid stopping 26 shots in the win. Nathan Horton scored his 20th for Boston while Zdeno Chara scored his 12th. Tim Thomas was obscenely busy in the loss stopping 38 shots.

Detroit 2 – Edmonton 1 (F/OT)

It appeared that the Oilers were set to head to a 1-0 win in Detroit on Ryan Jones’ goal as the seemingly disinterested Wings were going to fall by the wayside. As can happen sometimes in Detroit, the Wings rallied late as Nick Lidstrom’s shot bounced off Andrew Cogliano’s skate and past Devan Dubnyk to tie the game with 25 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Pavel Datsyuk did what he does best, dangling and avoiding Liam Reddox and sniping a shot past Dubnyk to win it. Dubnyk stopped 42 shots in the loss for Edmonton while Jimmy Howard stopped 26 in the win for the Wings.

Washington 2 – Carolina 1

Ottawa 2 – Tampa Bay 1

A frustrating loss for the Lightning as former temporary member of the Lightning Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots to lead Ottawa to victory. Jason Spezza and Bobby Butler scored for the Senators as they continue to sink their efforts of landing the top pick in the draft with some outstanding and scrappy play of late. Martin St. Louis had Tampa’s lone goal while Dwayne Roloson stopped just 20 shots in the loss. Tampa Bay is now four points behind Washington in the race for the Southeast Division crown.

Anaheim 6 – Colorado 2

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists while Teemu Selanne and Luca Sbisa each had two assists to help the Ducks win their fifth game in their last six. Dan Ellis stopped 24 shots in the win. For Colorado, the loss is their 17th in their last 18 games. Colorado who at one point this year was leading the Northwest Division now sits 37 points behind front-running Vancouver thanks to their horrible play in 2011. The Avalanche’s attempts to squeeze their way into the #1 pick are improving by the day.

Los Angeles 4 – Columbus 2

While Jonathan Toews is getting plenty of headlines, L.A.’s Anze Kopitar is doing some work lately of his own and tonight he added to it scoring a hat trick for the Kings as they kept life miserable of late for the Jackets. Steve Mason had another rough night in goal as Mason stopped just 18 shots in the loss. Jonathan Bernier was the opposite of Mason in stopping 32 shots. Derick Brassard and Scottie Upshall scored for Columbus.

Dallas 4 – Minnesota 0

Is this the end of the road for the Wild? Kari Lehtonen managed to get his first shutout as a Dallas Star and had to stop just 14 shots to earn it. Jamie Benn scored a goal making it six straight games he’s had a goal in. He’s got 19 goals on the year now in what’s turning out to be a breakout season for him. For the Wild, it’s two straight games they’ve been shutout in now and they’ve only totaled 33 shots in those two games. With a road trip to San Jose and Vancouver up next for the Wild and sitting four points out of  a playoff spot in the tightly contested West, we think we can hear the Fat Lady warming up off stage for Minnesota.

PHT Morning Skate: Joel Armia scored an amazing shorthanded goal you’ll have to see to believe

Leave a comment

Joel Armia has developed into a very useful player for the Winnipeg Jets, and on Tuesday night, he scored an incredible end-to-end goal that you won’t want to miss. He fought off one New Jersey Devil then got around two others before scoring this beautiful shorthanded goal. (Top)

–The Score breaks down the best “bang for your buck” contracts on each Canadian team. It’s not shocking to see Senators goalie Mike Condon on this list. The second-year netminder has been with three teams this season, but he’s come through in a big way for the Senators, and he only makes $575,000. (The Score)

–The ESPN Hockey writers put together a list of what they think the Vegas Golden Knights roster is going to look like after the expansion draft. Some well-known names like Andrew Cogliano, Jonas Brodin, Mikkel Boedker, Tomas Plekanec, Jonathan Marchessault, Carl Hagelin and Jakob Silfverberg all made the list. (ESPN)

–Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” blog touched on some advice David Poile had for the Golden Knights now that the Oakland Raiders will be moving to Vegas. “You have to do your own thing. We created our ‘Predator Way.’ The Smashville idea and name. In-game entertainment fitting the market. Those things worked.” Friedman also wrote about Ken Hitchcock possibly returning to Dallas, and much more. (Sportsnet)

–Brampton Thunder forward Laura Stacey is the great-granddaughter of hall-of-fame defenseman King Clancy. Recently, Stacey decided she wanted to do a little digging into her great-grandfather’s career, and it really allowed her to get an appreciation for everything he accomplished. “Now I understand how hard he worked, how passionate and determined he was to be the best. Yes, it was a different era, but I can only imagine how hard he had to work to get where he was. As I get older, it makes it more special in that I know more the kind of guy he was.” (Canadian Press)

–The Montreal Canadiens have had some incredible defensemen come through their organization, but last night, Andrei Markov was able to reach an impressive milestone. By picking up an assist in a 4-1 win over Dallas, he tied Guy Lapointe for second in points by a defenseman in franchise history. Larry Robinson’s mark is pretty safe.

Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

Getty
Leave a comment

The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.

For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.

The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch when they failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).

New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.

This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.

The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.

Oilers end NHL’s longest playoff drought; Sharks, Ducks also clinch

Getty
3 Comments

There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, maybe.

On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.

The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong regular seasons, even as memories of their Cup win start to fade into the distance. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.

The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.

Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.

Craig Anderson took his blunder hard – probably too hard – in Sens loss

1 Comment

Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to defend Craig Anderson following his blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).

Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.

Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.

You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.