The Eastern Conference’s two wild card teams remained the same by the end of Friday, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some important jockeying for positioning above and below those positions. Here’s a rundown of how a few key games – including one win and one loss involving desperate squads against cellar dwellers – played out tonight.
- “It might not be pretty, but …” could become the mantra of the 2013-14 Detroit Red Wings. They’re banged up and are absolutely in a dogfight to keep a stunning playoff streak going. It could have taken a big hit against the lowly (but still talented) Edmonton Oilers team on Friday, yet they managed a 2-1 (SO) win thanks to Tomas Tatar’s shootout-winner. Feel free to enter your favorite saucy puns there, as it was a pretty stylish way to take the victory.
- They might need to share that motto with the Washington Capitals, however, as they edged an even more schizophrenic Vancouver Canucks team by a score of 4-3. Washington really needed this win, as their 72 points in 68 games leave them vulnerable in a race to catch Detroit (73 points in 66 games played) and bottom wild card team Philadelphia (73 points in 65 GP).
- The New Jersey Devils could really look back at a 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers as a haunting defeat, not only because Cory Schneider will continue to roll his eyes about Roberto Luongo questions after his former teammate topped him for a third time in three tries.
- The New York Rangers kept themselves above the bubble fray – for now – with a 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets thanks to Carl Hagelin’s “hag trick.” The Rangers are now second in the Metropolitan, going back in front of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Here are video clips of the three goals:
Check out how the East races look as of Friday night, via NHL.com:
Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.
When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.
“There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.
“Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”
Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.
The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.
That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.
If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
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