The Anaheim Ducks tweeted the following when crossing into overtime clinched their playoff spot: “Not a goal, but an expectation.”
Even the Ducks would probably admit that they wouldn’t be so bold with such a proclamation back in, say, November.
In a way, Thursday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs runs parallel to the Ducks’ odd little 2015-16 season. They waddled badly out of the gate in falling behind by a score of 4-1 in the waning moments of the second period, yet Anaheim once again reminded us that they shouldn’t be dismissed, even under trying circumstances.
Remarkably, the Ducks ended up roaring back to a 5-4 lead.
Heck, even most of their offense came from reinforcements, hammering home this theme in another way.
For Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, Thursday went from humbling to grumbling.
The Florida Panthers beat his Bruins 4-1 tonight, moving to first place in the Atlantic Division, at least for the time being.
It wasn’t just a loss for the Bruins; it was also a fifth defeat in a row. Add in an injury and a frustrating call or two, and Julien’s franchise wins record is probably not on the tip of many tongues.
John Michael-Liles suffered a lower-body injury and was unable to return. It’s unclear how bad it might be beyond that.
INJURY UPDATE: John-Michael Liles will not return due to a lower-body injury.
Whether a playoff run is a long-shot or not, the New Jersey Devils could be a tough out going down the stretch.
The Pittsburgh Penguins experienced that firsthand on Thursday, seeing their six-game winning streak snap in an authoritative fashion via New Jersey’s 3-0 decision.
Kyle Palmieri scored both of the Devils’ goals in the first period, giving him an impressive 29 on the season. Adam Henrique added another insurance goal, but Scott Wedgewood only needed that first one, stopping a whopping 39 shots for his first NHL shutout.
Wedgewood is now on a two-game winning streak, and the Devils are pretty hot overall. While their two losses were lopsided (a combined score of 13-4), they’re winning overall, with five victories in seven tries.