The bad news for the Phoenix Coyotes? Mike Smith fell short of the franchise record shutout streak.
The good news? They’re one win away from making history.
Smith stopped 31 of 32 shots and Radim Vrbata scored the winning goal — his 34th of the season — as Phoenix beat St. Louis 4-1 on Friday night. With the win, the Coyotes moved within one win of clinching their first-ever Pacific Division title.
— With the win, the ‘Yotes hit the 95 point plateau, jumping a point ahead of Los Angeles in San Jose for Pacific bragging rights. Most importantly, the Coyotes are now just one victory (regulation or otherwise) away from winning their first division crown ever; they haven’t finished atop a division since entering the league as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979.
— Phoenix will play Minnesota tomorrow while the Sharks and Kings will do battle in San Jose.
— If the Coyotes do finish with the No. 3 seed, it’s possible they’ll face the Detroit Red Wings in the first round…for the third consecutive year. If Chicago beats Detroit in regulation on Saturday, they’ll jump into the No. 5 spot, dropping the Wings to No. 6 and into another date with Phoenix.
— The loss killed any chance St. Louis had of winning the Presidents’ Trophy. The Blues, winless in four straight (0-2-2) for the first time all season, can still finish first in the West, but will need a win at Dallas along with a Vancouver loss to Edmonton.
— Smith’s shutout streak ended 14 minutes into the first period when Patrik Berglund scored his 19th goal of the year. The tally also ended Smith’s of 161 consecutive saves, but he was still named the game’s first star and continues to play outstanding hockey as the ‘Yotes surge.
— Oh yeah, Smith has now allowed one goal on his last 166 shots faced. Pretty good…
They were able to find the bright side of recent troubles, but what do you really say after a 5-1 loss to the struggling Vancouver Canucks?
The Lightning have lost two straight, six of seven and seven of nine during a deeply worrisome run. While they did generate more shots on goal tonight, they’ve now given up at least 30 in all but three of their contests since the start of November.
If the playoffs began today, the Lightning would easily miss them.
“It’s time for us to step up here,” Ben Bishop said after a game in which he was pulled heading into the third period. “Nobody is going to feel bad for us.”
Blame it on injuries if you’d like, but Steven Stamkos isn’t coming back anytime soon. If they don’t get things back together, they won’t be playing for much once he can return.
#tblightning Cooper: "I don't even remember losing games by four goals. Ever. Maybe one a year. Now we're losing them once a week."
One team just can’t be denied. At times, the other team just can’t seem to defend.
It was a pretty wild one between the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, with the ultimate result being a 6-5 win for the Flyers.
The ride was bumpy, dramatic and will probably provide Oilers head coach Todd McLellan with a lot of “teaching moments” (or, let’s be honest, reasons to yell really loud).
Things started promising enough for the Oilers, who built an early 2-0 lead thanks to a goal and an assist by Leon Draisaitl. You could then cue the horror music, as the Flyers scored three goals in a minute and 12 seconds to grab a brief 3-2 lead:
There might be some concern about a young team like the Oilers cratering from such a letdown, yet they bounced back … to an extent.
Edmonton rattled off three unanswered goals, giving them a 5-3 lead about five minutes into the third period. It seemed like it would be a redemptive moment after that three-goal blunder.
The Oilers? They didn’t even get what sometimes feels like a customary “charity point” by getting to overtime. Three isn’t a magical number for Edmonton lately, as they’ve now lost three in a row. It’s probably safe to say that this one will burn the most.
Avalanche beat Bruins, even as Pastrnak remains almost unstoppable
David Pastrnak is scoring at an astounding pace. Sometimes it’s still not enough to earn a win for the Boston Bruins.
The 20-year-old wunderkind scored both of the Bruins’ goals on Thursday, giving him a patently absurd 18 in 23 games. Pastrnak now has five goals in his last three games (not to mention a five-game point streak with those five goals and two assists).
Calvin Pickard was perfect against Bruins not named Pastrnak, however, and the Colorado Avalanche beat Boston 4-2.
Perhaps part of the problem was that the Bruins “other” MVP wasn’t in action, then. Tuukka Rask has been right up there with the NHL’s best, but it was Anton Khudobin in net, and he gave up four goals on just 22 shots.
Rather than taking a step up the ladder, Pastrnak’s made leaps. Similarly, Rask is more than merely rebounding from what was – for his lofty standards – a disappointing campaign in 2015-16.
The Bruins need more from their supporting cast members, however, especially when one of these two players can’t suit up.
Even the best goalie in the world – one who makes it look easy – can lose his cool sometimes.
(Heck, that used to be the domain of Patrick Roy, right?)
It was quite the sight on Thursday nonetheless: Carey Price absolutely lost his cool and went after Kyle Palmieri during the Montreal Canadiens’ game against the New Jersey Devils. You can watch that spectacle in the video above.
Palmieri received an interference penalty while Price received a roughing double-minor. Apparently fits of Price anger are rare:
Carey Price loses it?! That's like seeing a unicorn.