There were 8 games aside from the Senators’ come from behind win over the Islanders, many with playoff race implications in both conferences as the stretch drive begins towards the playoffs. Here is a quick tour around the league:
- The Rangers muddied the bottom of the playoff picture with a 3-2 win over the Devils. Rick Nash scored the winner in the second period as the teams had exchanged goals twice in the first. Michael Del Zotto and Carl Hagelin scored for New York while Travis Zajac and Anton Volchenkov replied for New Jersey. The win for the Rangers and Devils loss created a 4 way tie for the 6-9 spots in the Eastern Conference.
- The Hurricanes fell into that muddle by virtue of their 4-1 loss to the lowly Panthers. Florida counted 4 times in the third period to break open a scoreless game and roll to the win. Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Shawn Matthias and Jerred Smithson scored for the Panthers, while Jordan Staal had the Canes goal.
- A phantom high-sticking call on P.K. Subban led to Steve Ott‘s power play winner in overtime as the Sabres beat the Canadiens 3-2. The goal was Ott’s second of the game, with Tyler Ennis had the other for the Sabres. The Sabres held a 2-0 lead but coughed it up in the third period as Max Pacioretty and Colby Armstrong scored to force the overtime.
- Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals but it wasn’t enough as Paul Martin tied the score and Matt Niskanen buried the winner with 8 minutes left to help the Penguins eke out a 2-1 win. Niskanen’s winner was set up by Sidney Crosby and Matt Cooke, and came moments after the Penguins gained momentum by killing off a double minor to Cooke. It was the Pens’ 10th win in a row, and they have opened up a 14 point lead in their division.
- Winnipeg scored 3 times in the third period to come from behind to beat the Bruins 3-1. Blake Wheeler scored twice and Evander Kane had the winner, after Brad Marchand had put Boston up 1-0 in the second. Ondrej Pavelec kicked aside 27 shots as the Jets retake sole possession of first in the Southeast Division.
- The Blue Jackets continue to roll, opening up a 4-1 lead on the Predators and then hanging on to the 4-3 win. Columbus now sits tied for the 8th and final playoff spot, having netted points in their last 11 games (7-0-4). Fedor Tyutin, Mark Letestu, Nikita Nikitin and Derick Brassard scored for the Jackets. Chris Mueller‘s first NHL goal keyed a rally that fell just short after Mike Fisher brought the Preds within one less than a minute later but they couldn’t find the equalizer. Chris Bourque had scored earlier for Nashville.
- Vancouver beat Jake Allen three times in the second period and then had to hang on to win 3-2 over the Blues. Jannik Hansen, Daniel Sedin and Dale Weise scored for the Canucks, while Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund made it close in the third. Cory Schneider made 32 saves for the win in his first start in 5 games.
- The Kings beat the Coyotes for the second straight night, this time coming away with a 3-2 victory. Drew Doughty scored his first of the season, while Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll had the others for LA. Shane Doan scored both Coyotes goals, the first one breaking a scoreless drought of more than 226 minutes for the Coyotes.
That concludes our tour around the NHL for a busy Tuesday night. There are 5 games on Wednesday, including the Lightning visiting the Leafs in a game that will have Eastern Conference playoff implications. Check back tomorrow for a full recap.