There were 5 games on the NHL schedule Friday night, where one team was eliminated from playoff contention while another blew an opportunity to move into the top 8. Here is a quick tour around the league.
- Between the 18:42 mark of the first period and the 1:40 mark of the second, the Rangers struck for 5 goals on the Sabres, and rolled on to an 8-4 win. Brad Richards scored his first career hat trick while singles were scored by Carl Hagelin, Anton Stralman, Rick Nash, Ryane Clowe and Ryan Callahan. Ryan Miller was pulled after the 4th goal, which came on just the 14th New York shot. Cody Hodgson and Nathan Gerber scored 6 seconds apart to make a 5-0 deficit 5-2 and give a glimmer of hope for an incredible comeback, but Callahan’s goal 32 seconds after Gerbe’s quickly snuffed that. Drew Stafford and Mark Pysyk‘s first career goal rounded out the scoring for the Sabres, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
- Dallas missed out on the chance to move into an 8th place tie with Columbus by losing 2-1 to the Blues. Brian Elliott won again, making 21 saves for the Blues. Chris Stewart and Ryan Reaves scored for the Blues with Antoine Roussel replying for the Stars.
- Chicago got one step closer to the President’s Trophy with a 5-4 OT win against the Predators. Marian Hossa had the winner, with Duncan Keith providing a goal and two assists for the Hawks. Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus also scored for Chicago. Matt Halischuk had 2 goals and an assist for Nashville, with Kevin Henderson scoring his first career NHL goal in his first game and Bobby Butler also scoring to force overtime. The Hawks move 6 points up on the Penguins in the race for first overall.
- Jordan Eberle had a goal and two assists and Justin Schultz added a goal and an assist to lead the Oilers over the Avalanche 4-1. Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the other Edmonton goals as they avoided being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. P.A. Parenteau scored for the long-ago eliminated Avalanche.
- In what could be Miikka Kiprusoff‘s final home game in his great career, the Flames goalie made 32 saves to backstop Calgary to a 3-1 win over the Ducks. Brian McGrattan scored the game winner in highlight-reel fashion after Roman Horak had put the Flames up 1-0. Roman Cervenka capped it off with the empty netter. Kiprusoff’s storybook ending was ruined by Corey Perry, who ended the shutout effort with less than 4 minutes left.
That concludes our tour around the NHL. Saturday is a huge day for a number of teams. Winnipeg could take over first in the Southeast with a regulation or overtime win against the Islanders and a Washington loss in regulation in Montreal. The Senators and Maple Leafs renew the final chapter of the Battle of Ontario, with 5th place on the line, and Detroit has pretty much a must win game in Vancouver. Emotions will be high in Boston as the Bruins host the Penguins in the game that was postponed from Friday night due to the manhunt in Boston that had the entire city in lockdown. Check back tomorrow for a full recap of all the action.