There were just 4 games in the NHL Wednesday night, and it was very important for one perennial playoff team’s hopes to climb back into a playoff spot. Here is a quick tour around the league.
- Martin St. Louis scored 3 times to take over the NHL scoring lead and lead the Lightning to a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Steven Stamkos and Radko Gudas had the other goals for the Lightning, with Ben Bishop picking up the win. Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul had the Toronto goals, as the Leafs failed to make up ground and remain 4 points back of the Habs and Bruins in the Northeast Division.
- The Red Wings scored a 3-1 victory over the Kings, and in doing so vaulted over the Blue Jackets into 8th place in the West. Pavel Datsyuk, Jordin Tootoo and Johan Franzen scored for Detroit, with Kyle Clifford scoring for LA. Detroit moves a point ahead of Columbus, with each team having 2 games left, against the same opponents – Nashville and Dallas.
- Chicago clinched the President’s Trophy as the top regular season team with a 4-1 win over the Oilers. However, they lost goaltender Ray Emery partway through the first period after he was piled upon by Ryan Smyth in the crease and left the game with a lower body injury. Corey Crawford stopped all 14 shots he faced in relief. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Johnny Oduya and Patrik Sharp scored for the Blackhawks, with Nail Yakupov scoring for Edmonton.
- Mike Smith made 33 saves to help the Coyotes beat the Sharks 2-1. San Jose missed the opportunity to pass the Kings for 4th in the West and home ice advantage in the first round. Michael Stone and Keith Yandle scored for Phoenix, with Brent Burns answering for the Sharks.
That concludes our tour around the NHL for Wednesday. Thursday promises to be an eventful night as the Senators can clinch a playoff spot with either a win in Washington or a Winnipeg regulation loss against the slumping Canadiens. Other games with big playoff implications in the East are the Rangers visiting Carolina Leafs at the Panthers and the Islanders visiting the Flyers. Nashville at Detroit and Columbus in Dallas as the race for 8th in the West continues. Check back tomorrow for a full recap.