Nashville Predators goalie Rinne blocks shot from Vancouver Canucks Sedin during their NHL hockey game in Vancouver

Riding the Zamboni – Saturday, March 12

Detroit 5, St. Louis 3

The Blues were able to come back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the 3rd period—but it wasn’t enough. It looked like the Blues were going to come back and win their 4th straight until the Wings exploded for two goals in 1:20 to salt away the victory. Pavel Datsyuk scored the goal of the night on what ended up being the game-winner and Justin Abdelkader scored the insurance goal to eliminate any doubt. Datsyuk’s goal was his fifth game-winner on the year including the second in as many nights.

Nashville 4, Colorado 2

People will see the score and just chalk it up to another loss by the struggling Avalanche. The defeat was the Avs 18th loss in their last 19 games since January 25th. But in a time for moral victories, Colorado showed a lot of fight to get back into a game that easily could have gotten out of control. They pulled to within a single goal, pulled their goaltender and peppered Pekka Rinne as they tried to pull even. Only an empty net goal by Martin Erat made the score look worse than it was. But at the end of the day, a loss is a loss.

On the flipside, a win is a win for the Nashville Predators. The Preds jumped all over the Avs early and coasted for their second straight victory at home to start an important 5-game homestand. Joel Ward continued his recent great play scoring a goal in his 3rd straight game. If the Preds can get some secondary scoring to go with the stellar goaltending Rinne gives them every night, it will go a long way towards making the all important March playoff push.

Vancouver 4, Calgary 3

Going into the night, this might have been the most intriguing game. Both teams have been extremely strong over the last 2 months and it was a great measuring stick to see just how far the Flames had come from the beginning of the year.

After the game, we had a reminder of where both teams stand: it’s the first time Calgary lost back-to-back games in regulation since January; and the Canucks finished up their 5 game road trip against Western Conference playoff contenders with a perfect 5-0 record. Daniel Sedin had 2 goals and an assist and Ryan Kesler returned to the scoresheet for the first time in 11 games. The good thing for the Flames is that even after the loss they’re still tied for 5th in the West. The bad thing is they are also tied for 8th and everyone in the conference has games in hand. At least they only have to play the Canucks one more time this season.

NY Rangers 3, San Jose 2 (SO)

In a game that featured far more hate and rough stuff than you’d expect for an inter-conference matchup, the Rangers survived an exciting shootout and escaped with the win after 6 rounds. They only mustered 22 shots against the Sharks, but that proved to be enough. You won’t hear anyone complaining as the win vaulted them past the Buffalo Sabres for 7th in the East.

The Sharks finished a successful 6-game homestand with a 3-1-2 record. Even though they lost a point in the race for the 2nd seed, they’re still 3 points ahead of the Dallas Stars for the Pacific Division lead. In more silver lining news, Dan Boyle returned to the lineup and immediately looked like the all-star defensemen the Sharks have grown accustomed to.

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    Red Wings take advantage of Penguins’ mistakes in 5-2 win

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    Even though the odds are stacked against them at this point, if the Detroit Red Wings are going to extend their playoff streak they are going to need to pile up a lot of wins the rest of the way to dig themselves out of the hole they put themselves in.

    They took a big step toward doing that this weekend with two huge wins over the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

    They completed the weekend on Sunday with a rather convincing 5-2 win in Pittsburgh, taking advantage of a sloppy Penguins team that struggled in all phases of the game.

    This win came just one day after the Red Wings beat the Washington Capitals in a shootout.

    The big story for Detroit on Sunday early on was the play of starting goaltender Petr Mrazek — starting both ends of the back-to-back this week — as he made a couple of highlight reel saves to rob Ian Cole and Nick Bonino of what looked like sure goals.

    In the two games this weekend he stopped 58 of the 62 shots he faced.

    It has been a disappointing season for Mrazek individually, but he has worked to salvage it over the past four games by only allowing only nine goals on 160 shots (.943 save percentage).

    As for the players in front of him, the Red Wings’ penalty killers were sensational on Sunday, frustrating the Penguins’ power play and limiting them to just three total shots on goal on their four power play attempts.

    Three of the Penguins’ power plays failed to register a single shot on goal.

    While Mrazek and the Red Wings were shutting down the Penguins’ high powered offensive attack, the Red Wings feasted on some brutal turnovers by the Penguins and an off day from Matt Murray in net to put five goals on the board. It was only the third time in the past month they scored more than three goals in a game.

    They opened the scoring in the first period on a slick Nick Jensen goal following an Evgeni Malkin turnover in the offensive zone (seen above).

    With the Red Wings holding a 2-1 lead entering the third period, a Jake Guentzel turnover resulted in Tomas Tatar‘s 14th goal of the season for the Red Wings to give them a two-goal lead.

    Just two minutes later Thomas Vanek put the game away with his 15th goal of the season.

    Sunday’s win is still just Detroit’s fourth in its past 14 games, while the Red Wings remain six points back of a playoff spot in 15th place in the Eastern Conference.

    For the Penguins, it is their first loss in regulation since the All-Star break snapping what had been a nine-game point streak that saw them go 6-0-3.

    Sens’ Hoffman leaves game vs. Jets with lower-body injury

    OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 13: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Minnesota Wild at Canadian Tire Centre on November 13, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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    The Ottawa Senators will need a comeback effort today in order to take over top spot in the Atlantic Division.

    Making matters more difficult: The Senators, in action today against the Winnipeg Jets and having gone down two goals after the first period, will strive for that without forward Mike Hoffman, one of their best scorers.

    Hoffman left the game in the first period and will not return, the Senators said, because of a lower-body injury.

    With a win today, the Senators would move into a tie with the Montreal Canadiens at 70 points, but they would take over first place in the division because they have fewer games played.

    Hoffman is tied with Kyle Turris for second on the Senators in goal scoring with 19 goals.

    WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Sabres

    Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly
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    A three-game winning streak has the Buffalo Sabres right back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

    They’ll go for four wins in a row when they host the Chicago Blackhawks, who sit second in the Central Division, on Sunday (6 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    Blackhawks’ winning streak goes bye thanks to Talbot, Oilers

    ‘Hawks are happy with rookies’ progress

    Goalie Nods: Lehner looks to lead Sabres to fourth win in a row

    Sabres win third in a row to stay in playoff race

    Goalie Nods: Lehner looks to lead Sabres to fourth win in a row

    BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 15:  Robin Lehner #40 of the Buffalo Sabres defends the net against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center on January 15, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/NHLI via Getty Images)
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    With three consecutive wins — and six wins in their past nine — the Buffalo Sabres are trying to keep things interesting in the Eastern Conference playoff race, entering play on Saturday just two points out of a wild card spot.

    One of the biggest reasons for their success in recent weeks has been the fantastic play of starting goaltender Robin Lehner.

    Not only has he won four of his past five starts (including all three during the Sabres’ current winning streak), but he has probably been the driving force behind that surge with a .949 save percentage, allowing more than two goals just once during that stretch.

    In three of those games he has made at least 37 saves.

    Lehner has been a pretty big positive for the Sabres this season overall with a .926 save percentage.

    Since joining Buffalo at the start of the 2015-16 he is at .925 putting him with the best goaltenders in the league.

    They are going to need him to be great on Sunday evening again with a home game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

    The Blackhawks are starting Scott Darling.

    Elsewhere on Sunday…

    — In the afternoon games it was Phillip Grubauer vs. Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers-Capitals game and Matt Murray vs. Petr Mrazek in the Penguins-Red Wings game in Pittsburgh.

    Mike Condon draws back in for the Ottawa Senators when they look to move into a first place tie in the Atlantic Division. Connor Hellebuyck goes for the Jets.

    Sergei Bobrovsky will be in net for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they host the Nashville Predators. No official word from Nashville yet but with Pekka Rinne taking the loss on Saturday it would make sense to see Juuse Saros get the start.

    Thomas Greiss gets the night off for the New York Islanders after he played on Saturday, which means Jean-Francois Berube goes when they take on the New Jersey Devils in the second half of their back-to-back. Keith Kinkaid gets the start for the Devils to give Cory Schneider a night off.

    — Nothing official from Toronto yet but look for the Maple Leafs to give Curtis McElhinney the start in Carolina against the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have not announced their starter.

    Calvin Pickard is expected to start for Colorado when the Avalanche host the Tampa Bay Lightning. No word yet from the Lightning on their starter.

    — The Boston Bruins go for their fourth win in a row when they take on the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. It will be Tuukka Rask in net for the Bruins with Martin Jones going for the Sharks.

    — The Kings and Ducks have not announced their starters yet.

    — After leading the Canucks to a win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night Ryan Miller is going right back in the net for the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.