Both of the teams’ playoff tickets have already been punched, but that failed to keep tonight’s San Jose Sharks-Los Angeles Kings game from being a wild affair – so far, at least.
Speaking of punching, an unlikely fought broke out that might just signal how significant this is for each squad, as Joe Thornton dropped the gloves with Drew Doughty. (Not a misprint.)
Naturally, “Jumbo Joe” has seen his fair share of scuffles, especially when he was a regular 100+ penalty minute guy with the Boston Bruins. You can check out his history of fisticuffs here, but I’ll always remember Thornton dropping the gloves off with Ryan Getzlaf during the opening faceoff of a game (and series) that the Anaheim Ducks ultimately won.
It’s easy to say that Getzlaf vs. Thornton is much more fair than Doughty vs. Thornton, as the size disparity in the latter example is … stark. Give Doughty credit, though, as he did back up his words after talking a pretty big game about how much he’d like to knock the Sharks out of the playoffs.
That won’t happen, but the two teams can knock each other out figuratively from the Pacific Division title race and literally on the ice. Ryane Clowe and Matt Greene also fought in the first period (presumably about who’s the best player with extraneous e’s in their name) while the Sharks got a scare – and a five minute man advantage – when Kyle Clifford boarded Logan Couture.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
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You know, with Connor McDavid hogging so much attention, it’s about time that Jack Eichel provided us with another awesome goal.
That tally came at the Colorado Avalanche’s (and especially Semyon Varlamov‘s) expense as that was the Buffalo Sabres first shot of the game.
Patrick Roy apparently felt like this just wasn’t Varlamov’s afternoon, as Colorado’s head coach decided to pull him after Varly allowed two goals on as many shots. Evander Kane nabbed the other goal for Buffalo.
You can watch the goal in the video above, which reminds us that “Eichel Tower” might not be a unique pun.
To be fair to Varlamov, Calvin Pickard has already allowed a goal as well. The Sabres are currently off to a 3-0 lead, and maybe a small roll considering how well they played against Montreal on Friday?
Update: The Sabres ended up beating the Avalanche 4-1.