Canucks Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault not happy with Rich Peverley slash on Kevin Bieksa

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While the Canucks were getting into Boston this afternoon, their arrival led to some rather interesting reactions from GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. While many would be curious about what their mindset is coming to Boston with a 2-0 lead, they had other things on their mind like standing up for one of their players.

During last night’s Game 2, defenseman Kevin Bieksa was felled with a slash to the back of his leg from Bruins forward Rich Peverley. The chop dropped Bieksa to the ice and left him hobbled for the remainder of the game and leaving him a step or two slow, the Canucks certainly took notice of who did it and they’re unhappy that there was no call made on the play.

During today’s press conference Vigneault made it known that they’re not happy. Commence the politicking.

Q. Alain, you knew what the Bruins were about before this series, one of the more physical teams in this league. Bieksa and Kesler were hobbled a little bit last night. Do you sense them playing that card in this series?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I think if you look at the stat sheet at the end of the day, we’re hitting as hard as they are. If you look at the stat sheets throughout the playoffs, we’re the team that’s got the most hits. That’s part of our game.

Kevin didn’t get hit by Peverley, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different. He went down because of something that obviously you don’t want to see in the game.

But at the end of the day, we know that they’re a big, physical team. We can play a speed game, but we can also play a physical-type game, which I think we’ve shown throughout the playoffs.

Gillis was asked later on if he approached the NHL about the Peverley infraction in question and Gillis was quick to the point saying, “I didn’t talk to them.”

What’s fascinating here is that we’re just a day removed from seeing Alex Burrows being the man of the match in Game 2 scoring two goals and an assist in a game he likely shouldn’t have been playing in after biting Patrice Bergeron. Of course, all that is out of sight and out of mind for the Canucks staff when it comes to their own players.

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If you’re a Bruins fan and you’re reading all of this we apologize for the rage you’re feeling about all this but it’s all part of how things go off the ice in the game. The Canucks have shown a masterful ability to get after the officials in their own subtle ways and the bristling that was evident out of both Gillis and Vigneault shows how deadly serious they are in getting that little edge. It may not come off sound fair nor right to Boston fans and it probably makes you hate the Canucks all the more but it’s these sorts of things that teams feel give them an edge.

While they didn’t look to the NHL to take any action on Peverley, them saying what they did this evening wasn’t intended for their ears. They’re hoping that tomorrow night’s officials heard everything loud and clear.

Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

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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 where the Rangers 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

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There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fans, 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 postseasons, even as their Cup win fades to the background ever so slightly. 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

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Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to come to Craig Anderson‘s 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.

It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.

It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: