If the Stanley Cup playoffs were to start tomorrow, the Detroit Red Wings would be in. But just barely.
The Red Wings scored three unanswered goals to beat the L.A. Kings by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday night. The two points vaults the Red Wings back into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but only one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both teams have two games remaining in the regular season.
On the line for Red Wings is streak of consecutive post-season berths that spans three decades. They have not missed the playoffs since 1990.
The Blue Jackets franchise only has one playoff appearance in its history. That came in 2009.
However, the status of Red Wings forward Johan Franzen could be in question for Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena. Franzen, who scored late in the third period to give Detroit a two-goal lead, didn’t finish the game with what MLive.com is reporting as an “undisclosed injury.”
“He’s been real good for us,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told MLive.com. “He didn’t finish the game, but hopefully he’ll be fine for tomorrow.”
“Don’t know a whole bunch. They just took him off the bench, or made him sit on the bench. I couldn’t use him down the stretch. I’ll find out tomorrow.”
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016