Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson capped off his team’s improbable last-second, third-period comeback against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
And, as per the NHL, his OT winner to give Ottawa a 3-2 victory made Senators franchise history. Karlsson also finished the night with three points, giving him 73 in 71 games this season. He leads all NHL defensemen in points and could be in line for his third Norris Trophy.
A brief two-game trip through the Central Division that included a back-to-back situation against formidable opponents from Chicago and Dallas? No problem, apparently, for the L.A. Kings.
The Kings took out the Blackhawks 5-0 on Monday, prompting some stern comments from Chicago’s captain Jonathan Toews in the aftermath. The following night, the Kings thumped the Stars 5-2 after a strong opening period.
That’s a statement.
Two teams — Chicago and Dallas — that could definitely be considered Stanley Cup contenders at this point, and the Kings, leaders in the Pacific Division by four points over rival Anaheim, beat them by a combined score of 10-2 in this two-game road swing.
“We’re trying to make the playoffs. Easy. Show some desperation in your game,” said coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider. “Other than odd shifts or odd periods or nights we’ve struggled when we can’t score. Not much you can do about that one.”
Kris Versteeg opened the scoring 23 seconds into Tuesday’s game. Anze Kopitar danced around recently acquired Dallas defenseman Kris Russell and scored to restore the Kings’ two-goal lead late in the opening period.
The Kings, Stanley Cup champs in 2012 and 2014, didn’t make the playoffs last year.
But they’re on their way this year, once again a physical and fast puck possession juggernaut with the top even strength Corsi For percentage in the league. A Stanley Cup contender? Put them on the list — if you haven’t already.
This latest two-game sample reinforces just how difficult an opponent they could be later this spring.
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t have asked for a better start to Tuesday’s game.
Playing the Detroit Red Wings with a chance to move within a single point of the final Eastern Conference Wild Card spot, the Flyers came roaring out of the starting gates. They outshot the Red Wings 23-3 and dominated puck possession.
The Flyers also gained a two-goal lead and eventually held on for the 4-3 regulation victory despite a furious comeback attempt from Detroit in the third period.
Michael Raffl scored twice for Philadelphia. Wayne Simmonds also scored and now has 25 goals this season. The Flyers’ impressive rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere notched his 16th goal of the season, as his pass attempt deflected in off a Detroit defender late in the second period.
That goal counted as the winner.
Winners in seven of their last 10 games, the Flyers have moved to within a single point of the Red Wings and that final Wild Card spot. The regulation win was key. And now Philadelphia has two games in hand on Detroit.
All the Washington Capitals needed to clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday was a single point.
The Capitals have punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup post-season, thanks to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Alex Ovechkin scored the winner for his 42nd goal of the season.
The winner was subject to a review for a potential offside.
From the NHL Situation Room blog:
At 1:38 of overtime in the Hurricanes/Capitals game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Evgeny Kuznetsov had possession and control of the puck when Washington entered the attacking zone prior to Alex Ovechkin’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that the Capitals entered the attacking zone legally prior to the goal.
Therefore the original call stands – good goal Washington Capitals.
The Capitals now have 50 wins this season. They’ve lost only 14 times in regulation, and lead the NHL’s overall standings with 105 points. The second-place Dallas Stars have 91 points.
The Boston Bruins look to maintain the top spot in the Atlantic Division, while the San Jose Sharks try to keep pace with Anaheim and L.A. for top spot in the Pacific Division on Tuesday at the SAP Center. You can catch the game on NBCSN (10 p.m. ET), or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Some links to check out for this game:
Corsi aside, the Bruins head to California on a roll
NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Red Wings at Flyers; Bruins at Sharks