The Dallas Stars lost to the Florida Panthers today, which means that just a point separates them and the Phoenix Coyotes in the battle for the final Wild Card spot.
Both teams have four games left to play and will face each other in one of the last games of the regular season. In other words, the winner of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference might not be determined until the last possible minute.
Although those are the only two teams in the Western Conference still in a serious battle for a playoff spot, there’s a lot of teams competing for positioning and today’s contests had implications in that regard:
The St. Louis Blues dropped their game against the Blackhawks. They are still in a strong position in the battle for the Central Division title, but the Blues have fallen behind in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. They also missed an opportunity to pull ahead as they compete for the top seed in the Western Conference.
Anaheim suffered a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Ducks have just a one-point lead on San Jose in the fight for the Pacific Division title, although Anaheim has played in one less contest and has a commanding lead in the tiebreaker (wins minus shootout victories).
Chicago’s win keeps them in the running for the second seed in the Central Division. They also got help from Pittsburgh, which defeated the Colorado Avalanche in a shootout.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger