Author: Cam Tucker

Defending champion Kings on brink of elimination from playoff contention


The L.A. Kings have been in similarly dire situations before.

Remember when they faced being swept out of the first round of last year’s playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, only to win four in a row to advance and, well, win it all.

Now the big question: Can the defending Stanley Cup champs conjure the same magic to just sneak into this year’s playoffs and save their 2014-15 season?

The Kings, starting back-up goalie Martin Jones instead of Jonathan Quick, lost to the Edmonton Oilers, one of the bottom dwellers in the Western Conference, by a final score of 4-2 on Tuesday. L.A. remains at 93 points, with two games remaining in its schedule. It’s absolute must-win time now.

“Got to win in. It’s obvious. You know what? We’ve been saying that for a while. We’ve played really well since the All-Star Break. Just try and continue to,” said Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

The Calgary Flames were victorious over the Arizona Coyotes, with that game finishing minutes before the Kings wrapped up in Edmonton with a disappointing loss. Further hurting L.A.’s hopes was the fact the Winnipeg Jets defeated the St. Louis Blues, as well, on Tuesday.

The Flames, two points up on L.A., and Kings will now meet on Thursday.

A regulation win for the Flames in that game would put them four points clear of the Kings, and eliminate L.A. from playoff contention.

The Kings are three points back of the Jets for the final Wild Card spot in the West.

The Flames, Kings and Jets all have two games remaining in their respective schedules.

The Canucks, who did not play Tuesday, clinch a playoff spot because of the result in Edmonton.

Video: Dubnyk backstops Wild to victory over Blackhawks to clinch playoff spot


Three months ago, there were calls for Mike Yeo to lose his job as head coach of the Minnesota Wild.

“Everything” was wrong with the struggling Wild at that time, according to Yeo. His temper got the best of him in a tirade that got caught on video and, of course, made its way onto the Internet.

On Jan. 7, the Wild was 11th in the Western Conference, and 2-4-4 in its last 10 games at the time.

That was in January. It’s now April and the Wild is in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The catalyst for Minnesota’s change in fortune? Goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

Of all the trades made this season, the Wild’s acquisition of Dubnyk from the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes could have the greatest impact in the post-season when it’s all said and done.

In a playoff-clinching situation against the Wild’s Central Division foes, the Chicago Blackhawks, Dubnyk was sharp again, making 32 saves. Minnesota got goals from Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker, returning to the lineup from a broken clavicle, less than four minutes apart in the third period for a 2-1 victory.

That’s 11 straight road victories for the Wild.

Playing on back-to-back nights? No problem for Dubnyk.

The Wild clinch a playoff spot with the regulation win.

Senators stay alive in playoff race with comeback OT win over struggling Penguins


The Ottawa Senators refuse to go quietly into an early off-season. They are still alive in the Stanley Cup playoff race.

Of course, it didn’t look like that would be the case earlier in the evening on Tuesday, as they fell behind the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins by three goals after the first period. Sidney Crosby scored just 10 seconds into the game. An ominous sign of things to come, perhaps, for the Senators, who were fighting for their season on home ice.

All the Penguins — struggling mightily of late — needed to clinch a playoff berth was a regulation win over Ottawa and that looked to be a sure thing after 20 minutes.

Cue the Senators’ comeback.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau got it started with a short-handed goal in the second period. Mark Stone, who is enjoying a remarkable second half of his rookie season, finished it in overtime with his 24th goal of the season to give the Senators a 4-3 victory and two points to keep their playoff hopes alive.

It won’t get any easier for the Senators, who moved to 95 points, which puts them level with the Boston Bruins, who hold the final Wild Card spot in the East.

Ottawa is now one point back of the Penguins and two back of the Detroit Red Wings, who were victorious over Carolina.

The Senators play the New York Rangers, the newly crowned Presidents’ Trophy winners, on Thursday and the Philadelphia Flyers to conclude the season on Saturday.

The Detroit Red Wings, despite a win over Carolina, did not clinch a playoff spot due to the result in Ottawa.

Video: Frantic finish in Philly as Flyers score winner with 2.1 seconds remaining


The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t hold onto a three-goal third-period lead, but still came away victorious over the New York Islanders courtesy a wild, improbable finish in the final seconds.

The Islanders fell behind by three goals in the third period, but came roaring back, tying the game on a goal from Anders Lee with 28 seconds remaining. Headed for overtime, right? Wrong. The Flyers snatched back what would be a 5-4 victory on a goal from Brayden Schenn with 2.1 seconds remaining in the third period.

Schenn’s soft shot from just inside the blue line somehow beat Jaroslav Halak. The reaction of the Islanders bench pretty much says it all.

The regulation loss means the Islanders failed on this night to clinch a playoff spot.

Rangers clinch Presidents’ Trophy


They were Eastern Conference champions and Stanley Cup finalists a year ago.

Now, the New York Rangers will go into the 2014-2015 playoffs as the Presidents’ Trophy winners as the league’s top regular season team. They accomplished the feat with a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault told the club’s website.

“It’s a challenging thing; but I think for our group it’s one step in the direction we’re trying to get. I am very proud of our group, but we all know we’re going to be judged by what we do in the playoffs. So this is the first step and we’re going to get ready for the next one.”

A single point would’ve given the Rangers top spot in the Eastern Conference, but two got them the No. 1 spot in the NHL’s overall standings. In 1993-94, the Rangers earned the best record in the NHL during the regular season. That team went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Just putting it out there.