The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-0 lead slipped to 3-2, but they managed to hold on to beat the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
In the process, Detroit is now on a four-game winning streak, beefing up their lead on the East’s top wild card spot to three standings points.
Pavel Datsyuk made his return to the lineup, and while he was dominant in the faceoff circle (11-2), the returning veteran was unable to register a point. Daniel Alfredsson was able to shine offensively, however, collecting the game-winning goal and an assist.
The youngsters managed to keep the good times going in their own right, with Tomas Jurco also finding the net. (Buffalo was able to hold Gustavv Nyquist off the scoreboard, however.)
It was a positive night for the Red Wings overall, as second wild card team Columbus saw a chance to get at least one point slip away thanks to a stunning late Chicago goal. While the Toronto Maple Leafs remained idle (and gained a little optimism thanks to Columbus’ stumbles), the New Jersey Devils took the 10th spot and send the Washington Capitals down to 11th in the process.
In short, Detroit, Toronto and New Jersey were Friday’s big winners while Washington and Columbus slipped. Here’s a look at how the East playoff picture appears following tonight’s relevant games (including Montreal storming back against Ottawa):
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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As cool as it was at the time for many, Patrice Bergeron‘s fight against Blake Wheeler is … honestly, a good reminder why players like Bergeron rarely drop the gloves.
Multiple outlets including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty report that Bergeron will miss Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (which you can watch on NBC).
We don’t know a ton about the injury aside from the fact that the multiple Selke-winner is considered day-to-day.
People don’t seem overly concerned about this issue, but you have to wonder if Bergeron made a bad choice, especially considering his history of concussion issues.
You can watch the bout that may or may not have left him injured in the video above.
You know, with Connor McDavid hogging so much attention, it’s about time that Jack Eichel provided us with another awesome goal.
That tally came at the Colorado Avalanche’s (and especially Semyon Varlamov‘s) expense as that was the Buffalo Sabres first shot of the game.
Patrick Roy apparently felt like this just wasn’t Varlamov’s afternoon, as Colorado’s head coach decided to pull him after Varly allowed two goals on as many shots. Evander Kane nabbed the other goal for Buffalo.
You can watch the goal in the video above, which reminds us that “Eichel Tower” might not be a unique pun.
Another shot of it:
Check out Kane’s goal, too:
To be fair to Varlamov, Calvin Pickard has already allowed a goal as well. The Sabres are currently off to a 3-0 lead, and maybe a small roll considering how well they played against Montreal on Friday?
Update: The Sabres ended up beating the Avalanche 4-1.