The Vegas Golden Knights probably couldn’t have clinched the Pacific Division in a more fitting way: on a dramatic, shorthanded goal by William Karlsson. Karlsson scored his 42nd goal of 2017-18 with incredible style, confounding Martin Jones with a ridiculous between-the-legs shot. See that goal in the highlight of the night section.
Nashville wasn’t able to clinch the Central Division, but the Winnipeg Jets will finish no worse than second after winning against Toronto. So, a franchise without a single playoff win will get at least one round of home-ice advantage.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The Stars kept their slim odds alive.
NHL teams who’ve already locked up playoff spots – or virtually have done so – might want to rest players to cut down on fatigue. Doing so might also be useful just in helping them to avoid new injuries.
Saturday’s been a tough one in that regard, especially for defensemen. Let’s rattle off a few of the troubling names.
The Minnesota Wild have tempered his ice time a bit over the years, yet Ryan Suter still came into tonight with the highest time on ice average in the NHL at right under 27 minutes (26:54). When you lean on a blueliner that much and for so many years, maybe you’re rolling the dice that something like this might happen:
The Wild haven’t provided an update regarding Suter just yet, but one would assume that they’ll play it very safe as the regular season winds down. The question is: was there too much damage already done?
Keep an eye on PHT for updates regarding these situations and more, whether teams provide more information later on Saturday, sometime on Sunday, or perhaps into this coming week. Hopefully each instance isn’t as bad as they looked.
NBC’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Saturday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals face off in a 2018 Stadium Series game at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBC or our live stream by clicking here.
Travis Dermott and Justin Holl, Toronto Maple Leafs: Both Dermott and Holl scored their first NHL goals on Wednesday, Dermott in his ninth NHL game and Holl in his first. Dermott assisted on Holl’s goal, because of course he did.
Chandler Stephenson, Washington Capitals: Stephenson scored his third and fourth career NHL goals to help drag the Capitals back from an early first-period 2-0 deficit. His goals began a run of five straight for the Caps, who beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks: Jones sure could have used some run support on Wednesday. He made 43 of 44 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Someone owes the man a dinner.