The single biggest difference between Saturday’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks and a playoff contest is that this game ended in a shootout. At the start of the day, Phoenix was just two points ahead of San Jose, while the Sharks were just one point shy of a playoff spot. In the ultra tight Pacific Division, every game is important, but a divisional contest with just two weeks left is vital.
Phoenix’s Daymond Langkow struck first with a goal just 6:31 minutes into the contest. Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns responded with back-to-back goals for San Jose. Joe Thornton assisted on both of those goals, bringing him up to 750 career assists. Thornton is just the 41st player in the history of the NHL to reach that milestone and he’s currently tied with Larry Robinson for 40th place on the all-time list.
Derek Morris evened the game with a goal as time was expiring in the first period. You can check out his buzzer beater and all the game’s highlights below.
Lauri Korpikoski and Daniel Winnik exchanged goals early in the second period before goaltenders Mike Smith and Antti Niemi locked things down for the remainder of regulation time. However, it was all San Jose in the shootout as they picked up that all-important extra point.
The Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation while the Colorado Avalanche finished Saturday’s game against Vancouver with nothing more than a consolation point. As a result, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado are all tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with 86 points. That being said, the Avalanche are at a significant disadvantage as they only have five games left, compared to the Sharks and Kings, which have played in 75 contests each. Colorado and San Jose are scheduled to meet on Monday in what could be a defining contest for the Avalanche.
Thanks to the charity point the Phoenix Coyotes picked up, they are now in seventh place in the Western Conference. However, they are just one point ahead of the Sharks, Kings, and Avalanche. Phoenix has also played in one extra game than San Jose and Los Angeles, so they can’t afford to let their razor thin lead go to their head.
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”