Canucks clinch playoff berth (plus Kings’ spot) with shootout win


The Vancouver Canucks punched their playoff ticket – along with the Los Angeles Kings’ – with a 2-1 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Cory Schneider earned his 16th win of 2013. He made 33 out of 34 saves on Saturday compared to Jimmy Howard (who was only asked to stop 13 out of 14 pucks). Cory Emmerton scored for the Red Wings while Alex Edler found the net for Vancouver.

The Canucks improved their Northwest Division lead over the Minnesota Wild from four points to six tonight, although the Wild hold a game in hand (Minnesota has four games remaining to Vancouver’s three). Meanwhile, the Red Wings missed a chance to leap over the Columbus Blue Jackets for eighth place in the West. Here’s what the West’s fringe looks like:

7. Minnesota – 51 points with four games left (20 regulation/overtime wins)
8. Columbus – 49 points with three games left (16 ROW)
9. Detroit – 48 points with four games left (18 ROW)
10. Dallas – 47 points with four games left (20 ROW)
11. Phoenix – 46 points with four games left (15 ROW)

More and more, the Stars’ final two contests of 2013 might just determine the West’s finish. Dallas hosts the Blue Jackets on April 25 and then finishes the season against the Red Wings at home.

Weaver announces retirement after 633 NHL games

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning
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Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.

“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.

“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”

Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings