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The Buzzer: Karlsson’s killer clincher for Vegas; Lucic fights Glass

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Clinching

  • 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.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins will be able to defend their repeat title (in other words, go for a “threepeat”) after clinching their 12th consecutive trip to the playoffs.
  • 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.

Injury concerns

Ryan Suter, Viktor Arvidsson, Travis Dermott, Brandon Carlo, and Victor Antipin rank among players with injury worries. Find out more here and here.

Highlights of the Night

This Karlsson goal is just ridiculous.

Let’s watch it from another angle.

There were a lot of ugly moments for Nashville in its 7-4 loss to Buffalo, with Scott Hartnell hurting Victor Antipin. This was pretty, however:

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

Players of the Night

  • Jack Eichel collected a ridiculous five assists in Buffalo’s win against Nashville, crossing the 100-assist barrier for his career. Sam Reinhart generated a hat trick for the Sabres, too.

  • Antti Raanta collected a 34-save shutout as the Coyotes shocked the Blues 6-0. Solid night for spoilers.
  • The Blue Jackets lost in overtime, but don’t blame their top guys. Seth Jones scored a goal and three assists while Artemi Panarin collected four helpers as Columbus generated a key standing point.

Heavyweight bout

It hasn’t been a great season for Milan Lucic, but hey, at least he handled heavyweight bruiser Tanner Glass in this brutal fight:

Scores

Bruins 5, Panthers 1
Red Wings 2, Senators 0
Canucks 5, Blue Jackets 4 (OT)
Jets 3, Maple Leafs 1
Devils 4, Islanders 3
Penguins 5, Canadiens 2
Rangers 2, Hurricanes 1
Sabres 7, Predators 4
Stars 4, Wild 1
Coyotes 6, Blues 0
Flames 3, Oilers 2
Golden Knights 3, Sharks 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Hartnell says he ‘didn’t try to hurt’ Antipin

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Nashville Predators winger Scott Hartnell hopes that Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin is OK after being stretchered off the ice thanks to a check he delivered.

(Moments before this post was about to be published, the Sabres announced that Antipin has been released from hospital. The team is expecting to provide an update regarding his status on Sunday. Fantastic news.)

Hartnell received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for that hit on Antipin. The Sabres made the Predators pay on the ensuing power play, scoring three times to set the stage for Buffalo’s 7-4 upset win.

Hartnell regretted putting his teammates in that position, and also was concerned about the Sabres defenseman; NHL.com’s Robby Stanley reports that Hartnell insists he wasn’t “head-hunting.”

“I didn’t try to hurt the guy,” Hartnell said. “It was just kind of a hockey play. Those plays happen 10, 15 times a game. It was just an unfortunate accident.”

You can judge the hit for yourself in the video above this post’s headline, and view the check from other perspectives in this post. As you’d likely expect with a hit that caused a played to be taken off the ice on a stretcher and eventually hospitalized, there was plenty of debate regarding how dirty or clean that check might have been.

However you feel about the hit and the penalty call (not to mention potential supplemental discipline), it’s fantastic to learn that Antipin is no longer hospitalized. It’s a very positive sign that it happened during the same night that he was under observation.

The Predators will need to wait longer to clinch the Central Division, yet it’s unlikely that losing this game will hurt them too badly.

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

It can’t be a great feeling for Hartnell, however, as Nashville’s deep when it comes to forward options, and Peter Laviolette might view the rugged winger as the sort of player who might find himself taking bad penalties.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Tough injury night for defensemen, including Suter?

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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?

Babcock has been easing Dermott into the lineup (16:20 ATOI), but he’s been playing well when called upon, with nice possession stats in particular.

PHT’s also covered:

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.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sabres’ Antipin released from hospital after Hartnell hit

Update: Fantastic news from the Buffalo Sabres: Victor Antipin is no longer hospitalized after being taken under observation on Saturday night. It’s a promising sign that he’s been released during the same night as the Sabres’ 7-4 win against Nashville.

[Click here for Scott Hartnell’s take on the hit.]

Sadly, there’s been another scary incident that required a player leaving the ice on a stretcher today.

The latest instance came after Scott Hartnell hit Victor Antipin from behind with an awkward-looking hit. Hartnell received a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for the check, which set the stage for the Buffalo Sabres to take a 6-4 lead against the Nashville Predators heading into the second intermission.

Take a look at the hit from this video:

As well as a slow-motion version:

The Predators may suffer an injury from this game, too, as Viktor Arvidsson was shaken up after falling into the boards following a first-period collision.

This post will be updated when more is known about the Antipin’s status.

Early word isn’t optimistic regarding Brandon Carlo, the Boston Bruins defenseman who left a game against the Florida Panthers on a stretcher. In Carlo’s case, it looked like a pretty gruesome leg injury.

Update: Sabres coach Phil Housley said that, while Antipin’s been taken to hospital, the team is under the impression that he’s “doing well now,” according to the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

WATCH LIVE: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

PROJECTED LINES

Toronto Maple Leafs

Zach HymanWilliam NylanderConnor Brown

Patrick MarleauNazem KadriMitch Marner

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakLeo Komarov

Matt MartinTomas PlekanecKasperi Kapanen

Morgan RiellyRon Hainsey

Jake GardinerNikita Zaitsev

Travis DermottConnor Carrick

Starting Goalie: Frederik Andersen

[Maple Leafs – Sabres preview.]

Buffalo Sabres

Zemgus GirgensonsRyan O'ReillySam Reinhart

Scott WilsonJohan LarssonJason Pominville

Jordan NolanJacob JosefsonKyle Okposo

Benoit Pouliot — Kyle Criscuolo — Nicholas Baptiste

Marco ScandellaRasmus Ristolainen

Brendan Guhle — Casey Nelson

Nathan BeaulieuVictor Antipin

Starting Goalie: Chad Johnson