By shutting out the Arizona Coyotes 1-0 on Monday, the Los Angeles Kings end the night back in the West’s final wild card spot.
They had to grind this one out as Jonathan Quick made all 25 saves while Andy Andreoff scored the only goal on an increasingly spry Mike Smith (beaten just once on 35 shots). Los Angeles carried much of the play, but much like Washington out East, it wasn’t an easy night despite facing a “tanking” opponent.
Here is a quick look at the West wild card race after this one:
Minnesota (first wild card spot): 83 points, 35 regulation/overtime wins in 69 games played Los Angeles (second wild card spot): 81 points, 32 ROW in 69 GP
Winnipeg: 80 points, 28 ROW in 69 GP San Jose: 76 points, 31 ROW in 69 GP Colorado: 75 points, 23 ROW in 69 GP Dallas: 74 points, 29 ROW in 70 GP
It’s important to mention that the Kings could conceivably catch thee Calgary Flames (who have 81 points but two more ROW) and Vancouver Canucks (82 points, one game in hand on Los Angeles, plus three more ROW than the Kings) in the Pacific Division, too.
At this point, almost every win and loss could be framed as crucial. Regardless, the Kings would likely have some serious regrets if they dropped this one, but they managed to grit this one out. The West’s top teams probably aren’t happy, either.
Mackenzie Skapski will make his second career NHL start tonight as the New York Rangers visit the Buffalo Sabres. The 20-year-old got his first NHL win with a 24 save performance defeating the Sabres 3-1 on Feb. 20. Skapski was 12-7-3 to go along with a .914 save percentage and a 2.38 in 24 AHL games prior to being recalled.
Anders Lindback gets the nod for Buffalo.
Blackhawks at Sharks: Corey Crawford vs. Antti Niemi
Leafs at Canucks: Jonathan Bernier vs. Eddie Lack
Panthers at Hurricanes: Dan Ellis vs. Cam Ward
Canadiens at Islanders: Carey Price vs. Michal Neuvirth
Jets at Lightning: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy
Wild at Blues: Devan Dubnyk vs. Brian Elliott
Devils at Coyotes:Cory Schneider vs. Mike Smith
Flames at Avalanche: Karri Ramo vs. Semyon Varlamov
Predators at Kings: Pekka Rinne vs. Jonathan Quick
Video: Blackhawks’ Nordstrom suspended two games for boarding Ekman-Larsson
The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety handed Chicago Blackhawks forward Joakim Nordstrom a two-game suspension on Friday.
The supplementary discipline was for a hit from behind Nordstrom threw on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the final minute of Thursday’s game. Nordstrom received a minor penalty for boarding on the play.
In a statement from the league, Nordstrom will forfeit $6,630.82 of his salary, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Blackhawks forward Joakim Nordstrom will have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety following this hit from Thursday night on Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, per the Chicago Tribune:
Nordstrom received a two-minute boarding minor on the play. Larsson left the game and didn’t return, though there wasn’t much of an opportunity to given the penalty was called with under 40 seconds to play.
Following the contest, Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said Ekman-Larsson didn’t suffer a serious injury and would “hopefully” play on Saturday when Arizona takes on New Jersey.