The Los Angeles Kings beefed up their playoff lead out West while the Montreal Canadiens failed to give themselves extra breathing room on Monday as the Kings won 2-1 tonight.
This win gives Los Angeles five victories in a row.
The Kings seem pretty firmly in third place in the Pacific Division at this point, as the Sharks hold an eight-point lead over them for second place while the fledgling Vancouver Canucks are 10 points behind them as the closest Pacific team behind them. (Phoenix isn’t far behind Vancouver with 65 points.) Much like the Wild with their wild card spot, the Kings are distancing themselves from their competition.
While the Wild and Kings fatten their leads, the Habs fell much like the Toronto Maple Leafs in an opportunity to make their playoff spot more sound. Montreal remains in second place in the Atlantic Division, but it’s pretty tight behind division-leading Boston right now:
Boston: 81 points in 60 games played
Montreal: 75 points in 62 GP
Tampa Bay: 73 points in 61 GP
Toronto: 72 points in 63 GP
Detroit: 68 points in 60 GP
A streak or two could change the complexion of that talented-yet-flawed group, but the positive runs belonged to West teams like the Kings on Monday.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.