Riding the Zamboni – March 20; Devils shutout Blue Jackets, Canadiens blast Wild

Montreal 8 – Minnesota 1

P.K Subban had his first career hat trick as the Canadiens emphatically put to rest any shot at the playoffs the Wild may have had left. Subban is the first Canadiens rookie defenseman to get a hat trick in the team’s long history. Subban finished the game with four points as the Habs ran the Wild out of their own building. Alex Auld stopped 30 shots for Montreal in earning the win while David Desharnais and former Wild prospect Benoit Pouliot also added three assists a piece. Montreal forward Ryan White also added a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Yeah, it was just that kind of game.

Jose Theodore gave up five goals in taking the loss while Niklas Backstrom fared no better allowing three goals in 13 shots. Don’t look now but the Canadiens are just one point behind Boston in the Northeast Division. Luckily for the Bruins, they’ve got two games in hand. The Wild are now seven points out of the eighth seed in the ultra competitive West. Say goodnight Minnesota.

Anaheim 5 – Calgary 4 (F/OT)

Chicago 2 – Phoenix 1

New Jersey 3 – Columbus 0

Martin Brodeur earned his 115th career shutout and his fifth of the season while David Clarkson scored two goals to lead the Devils past the Blue Jackets. Nick Palmieri also added a goal for the Devils as they keep their dream of the postseason alive. The Devils sit seven points out of the eighth spot with ten games to play. New Jersey’s biggest opponent right now aside from the schedule is mathematics. They don’t have much room for error left if they hope to get into the playoffs and with the number of three point games that have been happening of late, it puts them in a much tougher spot.

Nashville 4 – Buffalo 3 (F/OT)

NY Rangers 5 – Pittsburgh 2

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.