There were 10 games in the NHL last night, and of course many of them had implications for playoff and playoff positioning. A lot of new players picked up points for their new teams and a couple even scored the game winners. Here is a quick tour around the league.
- Jaromir Jagr scored the only goal of the game as Brad Marchand banked one in off his leg past Martin Brodeur and the Bruins beat the Devils 1-0. The Bruins stayed within a point of the Canadiens for the 2nd seed in the playoffs, while the Devils slide without Ilya Kovalchuk has them outside the playoffs for the first time in a while, currently ranked 9th.
- The Flyers got goals from both former Maple Leafs Jay Rosehill and Luke Schenn as they beat the Maple Leafs 5-3. Simon Gagne, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn also scored for the Flyers. The Leafs got goals from Nikolai Kulemin, John-Michael Liles and James van Riemsdyk, but lost Joffrey Lupul after he was sandwiched between a pair of Flyers forwards. Lupul has arguably been the Leafs best player since returning from a broken forearm early in March.
- The Capitals took over top spot in the Southeast Division with a 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders. Mike Green scored for the Caps while Kyle Okposo responded for the Isles in regulation. Alex Ovechkin scored the only goal of the shootout to give Washington the extra point. The Islanders single point moves them into 7th place in the conference, a point ahead of the Rangers and Devils.
- Former Senators goalie Ben Bishop made 45 saves for a shutout in his Tampa debut as the Lightning downed the Hurricanes 5-0. Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists while Steven Stamkos had a pair of assists for the Lightning. Ted Purcell, Keith Aulie, Tom Pyatt and Benoit Pouliot also scored to give Bishop lots of offensive support.
- The Canadiens dealt Winnipeg’s playoff hopes another blow as they downed the Jets 4-1. Winnipeg opened the scoring on a goal by Alexander Burmistrov, but Michael Ryder scored twice and Brian Gionta and Alex Galchenyuk also scored to ground the Jets and with Washington’s win Winnipeg falls from the 3rd seed to the 10th spot in the East.
- Marian Gaborik had a goal (the game winner) and added an assist in the Blue Jackets’ 3-1 win over the Predators. Matt Calvert also had 1 and 1 while Brandon Dubinsky had 2 helpers. Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves as the Blue Jackets kept themselves in the playoff hunt. The loss really hurts Nashville’s playoff hopes as they are 2 points back but have 3 teams to pass, and have played at least 1 more game than all the teams they are chasing.
- The Blues jumped past the Oilers and kept ahead of the Blue Jackets for the 8th seed with a 4-3 shootout win over the first place Blackhawks. Adam Cracknell had his first two goals of the season for St. Louis, while David Backes had the other goal. Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Viktor Stalberg replied for Chicago. Kevin Shattenkirk scored the shootout winner to give Brian Elliott his second straight win since returning from a conditioning stint in the AHL.
- Phoenix moved within 2 points of a playoff spot as they clipped the Red Wings 4-2. Michael Stone, Chris Connor, Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal scored for the Coyotes, with Chad Johnson making 34 saves for the win. Valtteri Filppula and Dan Cleary replied for the Wings, who failed to put ground between themselves and the 9th seed. Detroit is in 7th, just 2 points up on Edmonton and Columbus.
- Cory Schneider made 24 saves for the shutout as the Oilers failed to score even one after putting up 8 against the Flames on Wednesday. Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, as Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins and Matt Kassian also scored to make the final 4-0. Derek Roy had an assist in his first game as a Canuck.
- Jonathan Bernier made 23 saves and the Kings scored on the first two of their 14 total shots to beat the Wild 3-0. Justin Williams and Jeff Carter chased Niklas Backstrom just 3:07 into the game, and Williams added his second of the game early in the second to get the Kings into the 4th seed. The Wild dropped two points behind the Canucks for the top seed in the Northwest division.
That concludes our tour around the NHL for Thursday night. Friday sees the Sentaors travel to Buffalo for game 2 of their 7 game road trip before heading to Florida. Columbus hosts St. Louis in a very important matchup that will boost one club’s playoff chances while the loser will be in tough. The Penguins will try to exact some revenge on the Rangers for the 6-1 beating they suffered on Wednesday night. Check back tomorrow for a recap of all the action.