There were 9 games, a lot for a Monday night in the NHL. There were lots of games with playoff implications, and the races tightened up, as if that were possible. Here is a recap of all the action:
- The Islanders closed to within 2 points of 7th place New Jersey with a 3-1 win over the Devils. Jason Bailey, Travis Hamonic and John Tavares scored for New York, while Alexei Ponikarovsky replied for the Devils.
- Captain Ryan Callahan had a goal and 3 assists as he single-handedly led the Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Jets. The Rangers got on the board 19 seconds in, but by the end of the first they trailed 2-0. Callahan’s short-handed marker early in the second tied it up, and then Derek Stepan scored his second of the game in the third and Rick Nash added the insurance marker. The Rangers also moved within 2 points of the struggling Devils and remained in the 8th spot as the bottom end of the Eastern Conference playoffs tighten up.
- The Canadiens scored 4 unanswered goals, including 2 from Max Pacioretty in the third period to spoil Carolina’s chance to gain ground on the Jets in the Southeast division and to keep pace with the Islanders and Rangers. The Habs 4-1 win keeps them 3 points up on the Bruins in the Northeast. Andrei Markov and Jeff Halpern also scored for Montreal after Jordan Staal had broken the ice with the Canes’ only goal just over 3 minutes into the first.
- Detroit opened up a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the game, and held on despite a 3rd period Avalanche rally to win the game 3-2. Justin Abdelkader, Dan Cleary and Damien Brunner scored for Detroit, while Jamie McGinn and Matt Duchene brought the Avs close in the final frame.
- On the day that Jordan Leopold made his debut on the blue line and it was announced that more defensive help was coming in the form of Jay Bouwmeester, the Blues defeated the Wild 4-1 in Minnesota. Jaden Schwartz, Andy MacDonald, Kevin Shattenkirk and Barret Jackman had the Blues goals while only Dany Heatley could score for the Wild. The Blues jumped back into 8th spot in the West with the win.
- Chicago opened up a 2-0 lead but needed a shootout to beat the Predators 3-2. Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane scored in regulation for the Hawks but David Legwand and Taylor Beck scored in the third to force extra time. The single point puts the Preds 2 points behind the Blues, and in 11th place in the West.
- Viktor Fasth made 26 saves for the shutout as the Ducks blanked the Stars 4-0. Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, Matt Beleskey and Teemu Selanne did the offensive damage for the Ducks, who kept pace with the Hawks, trailing them by 4 points for the top seed in the West.
- Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall and Ryan Jones scored first period goals for the Oilers to pace them to a 4-1 win over the provincial rival Flames. Nail Yakupov made it 4-0 in the third period, before Brian McGrattan ruined Devan Dubnyk‘s shutout bid with a goal 90 seconds from the end. Miikka Kiprusoff allowed 3 goals on 6 first period shots before being pulled for Joey MacDonald.
- San Jose took a 3-0 lead before having to hang on to down the Canucks 3-2. Andrew Desjardins, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks. Chris Higgins and Alexandre Burrows replied for the Canucks, but were unable to complete the comeback.
That concludes our tour around the NHL for a busy Monday night. Tuesday has 7 games on the docket, including the Senators beginning their 7 game road trip in Boston. The Southeast could become very interesting with a Washington-Carolina matchup that will break a tie and move one of them closer to the playoffs while pushing the other down. Pittsburgh will put their 15 game winning streak on the line against the Sabres. Check back tomorrow for a full recap.