With 12 games on the docket, Tuesday night was a busy one. Sure, some games were more important than others – sorry, Edmonton – Nashville and Calgary – Buffalo – but still. Here’s a quick look at how last night’s action affected each conference.
- Generally speaking, the teams in the top three of their respective divisions either won or were idle last night. The Boston Bruins won their 10th in a row, Montreal spoiled Patrick Roy’s coaching debut against his first NHL team and the three top Metropolitan teams won in generally impressive (if, in the New York Rangers’ case, messy) fashions.
- The two wild card teams lost on Tuesday. Toronto lost to a depleted Detroit team in regulation while the Columbus Blue Jackets lost thanks to a eyebrow-raising performance by Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin.
- Washington rode a strong Jaroslav Halak performance to a win against the Anaheim Ducks while you already know about Detroit. The next two bubble teams (New Jersey and Ottawa) lost in painful ways, Carolina stole one and the rest might be written off at this point.
Here’s a look at the East from a numbers standpoint, via NBC Sports’ NHL page:
- It wasn’t exactly an ideal night for top three teams in either division, at least those who were active. Both the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks lost in the Central, although Chicago at least got a charity point when Philly beat them in OT. The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks carried significant shot advantages but lost in regulation to Eastern Conference opponents, leaving them right where they were in their battle for the Pacific Division title.
- The Minnesota Wild embarrassed Matt Moulson’s former team the New York Islanders 6-0; they’re far behind the rest of the Central Division’s top teams but are pretty comfortable as the top wild card team right now.
- The Phoenix Coyotes happily watched the Pittsburgh Penguins dismantle the Dallas Stars 5-1 last night. The Stars would hold a marginal advantage if they won in regulation or overtime with a game in hand over Minnesota, but generally, things are looking up for Minnesota. It seems more and more likely that it will come down to Dallas or Phoenix for the last spot.
Here’s a look at the West via NBC Sports, which is less muddied than the East, generally speaking: