Aside from Ottawa’s win over the Devils, the remainder of the 4 other games were in the Western Conference. With the 8th place team losing, three teams gained ground and made the playoff race a lot tighter. Here is a quick tour around the league.
- Brian Elliott got the night off his personal shutout streak is intact, but Columbus beat the Blues 4-1, and in doing so move within 2 points of 8th place Detroit. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, with Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Marian Gaborik also beating Jake Allen in the St. Louis net. Kevin Shattenkirk beat Sergei Bobrovsky early on, but the Blue Jackets tender was perfect after that, making a total of 30 saves.
- Alex Chiasson scored 2 more goals, giving him 5 goals and 6 points in his first 5 career NHL games to lead the Stars a 5-2 win over the Predators. Erik Cole, Ray Whitney and Tom Wandell had the other Dallas goals, as the Stars joined the logjam just two points behind the Red Wings. Taylor Beck and Bobby Butler scored for Nashville, who can officially kiss their already slim playoff hopes goodbye, sitting 7 points back with 6 to play and 5 teams to pass.
- The Red Wings, who are the mechanical rabbit in the greyhound race for 8th, gained a much needed point against a very difficult opponent in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks. They came within 3 minutes of taking the win in regulation, but Jonathan Toews sent it to overtime. Viktor Stalberg had the other Hawks goal as they clinch first place in the Central Division. Johan Franzen and Cory Emmerton scored 2 minutes apart in the second period for the Wings. Brandon Saad had the shootout winner in the 5th round after Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg swapped goals in the opening rounds.
- The Coyotes earned a point, but dropped a big chance to move within a point of the Red Wings with a 3-2 overtime loss to the lowly Flames. Mark Giordano had the winner with 24 seconds left in extra time, after Lee Stempniak and Jiri Hudler scored in regulation. Antoine Vermette had given the Yotes the lead early on, and Keith Yandle earned them a point to keep pace with the Wings on his goal just over 5 minutes from the end of regulation.
That concludes our tour around the league, with stops in the West. A huge game between the Islanders and the Rangers on Saturday, which will have the biggest impact on the Senators’ playoff position. Anything but a three point game will work in the Sens’ favour. A potential first round mathup between rivals Toronto and Montreal will be the talk of the evening in Canada, while the battle of Alberta closes out the night but doesn’t have playoff implications. There are 11 games in total, so check back tomorrow for a full recap of all the action and playoff implications.