Technically, the New Jersey Devils kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Saturday.
Their odds are still ridiculously low – Sports Club Stats gives them less than a five percent shot if they win all four of their remaining games – but the New York Rangers can officially eliminate them in the local rivals’ NHL on NBC match at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The Rangers have plenty to fight for beyond smiting their foes, though. While they’re currently ranked eighth in the East, the Winnipeg Jets remain only one point behind for that final playoff spot.
John Tortorella’s bunch has been beating up on fading teams lately. After struggling to score most of this season, the Rangers pounded the Panthers 6-1 and the Buffalo Sabres 8-4 in back-to-back nights on April 18 and 19.
Considering their recently-broken 10-game losing streak, the Devils might seem like they’d be roadkill for the Rangers as well. That might not be the case, however, as Ilya Kovalchuk seemed comfortable in his return from a shoulder injury on Saturday and New Jersey won its last two games by a combined score of 9-2.
With Brad Richards showing more life lately (particularly scoring a hat trick in New York’s last game) and the Devils grasping for the last remnants of their playoff hopes, Sunday’s game could get awfully interesting … and maybe a little nasty.
You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”
Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.
Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.
Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?
As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).
Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.
Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.
It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.
The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.