It was a busy night in the NHL, where along with the Senators clinching a playoff spot, the rest of the field in the East was also determined. Meanwhile, in the West, there are still 3 teams battling for the final two spots. Here is a tour around the league.
- The Flyers beat the Islanders 2-1. Danny Briere and Oliver Lauridsen scored for Philly, with John Tavares answering for New York. With the loss, the Islanders drop from 6th to 8th spot and a potential meeting with the Penguins. They Islanders have 1 game remaining, Friday night against the Sabres.
- The Rangers clinched a playoff spot and moved up to the 7th seed with Ryan Callahan‘s overtime winner, beating the Canes 4-3. In a game that featured three Staal brothers in the starting lineup for Carolina, it was Callahan and Derek Stepan who led the way with a goal and an assist each. Derick Brassard and Brad Richards also scored for the Rangers, who sit in a 3 way tie for 6th with the Senators and Islanders. Jiri Tlusty had a pair, with Tuomo Ruutu adding the other Hurricanes goal.
- Tuukka Rask made 30 saves as the Bruins beat the Lightning 2-0. Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille scored second period goals for Boston, who remain in the 2 seed with the win, and clinch home ice advantage in the first round.
- Montreal scored 3 times in the third period after the Jets realized they were eliminated and threw in the towel and beat the Jets 4-2. Rene Bourque, David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty scored for the Habs, who kept pace with the Bruins in the race for the Northeast Division title. The Jets got goals from James Wright and Blake Wheeler before the results of the Senators and Rangers games were announced and the Winnipeg playoff hopes were over after the second period.
- The Devils scored 3 unanswered goals after the Penguins had taken a 2-0 lead to beat the Pens 3-2. Travis Zajac, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Devils, with Johan Hedberg making 16 saves for the win. Matt Cooke and Jussi Jokinen had Pittsburgh up 2-0 before the collapse.
- Phil Kessel scored twice and James Reimer made 34 saves for the shutout as the Maple Leafs beat the Panthers 4-0. Leo Komarov and Clarke MacArthur also scored for the Leafs, who despite the win cannot move into a spot where they will have home ice advantage in the first round, with Montreal and Boston’s wins. Florida’s loss means they will have a 25% chance of getting the first overall pick as they “clinched” last overall.
- Detroit got a much needed win, beating the Predators 5-2, moving into 7th spot in the West. Valtteri Filppula, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader and Patrick Eaves scored for Detroit. Mike Fisher and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist for Nashville. Detroit holds their own destiny and will clinch a playoff spot with a win in Dallas or a Columbus loss against Nashville on Saturday. If the Wild lose both of their remaining games, the Wings will also qualify
- Columbus kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 win over the Stars. Cam Atkinson scored twice and Mark Letestu had the other. Columbus needs to win their final game at home to Nashville, and get help in the form of either a Detroit loss or Minnesota losing both of their remaining games to make the playoffs. Jamie Benn had the goal for Dallas in the loss.
- Ryan Reaves scored twice for the Blues as they beat the Flames 4-1 in Jay Bouwmeester‘s first game against his former team. The former Calgary defenseman had an assist, while Andy McDonald and Alex Steen added the other St. Louis goals. The Blues moved from 6th to 4th and a potential for home ice advantage in the first round. They must win their last game against Chicago to keep that spot, as they are 1 point up on LA and San Jose, who play each other in their final game of the season, and one of them will get two points.
- Jonas Hiller made 28 saves as the Ducks beat the Canucks 3-1. Brad Staubitz, Matt Beleskey and Andrew Cogliano scored for Anaheim, with Jason Garrison scoring the only Vancouver goal. The game didn’t mean much as both teams are stuck in their spots – Anaheim in the 2nd seed and Vancouver in the 3rd in the West.
That concludes our tour around the league for Thursday night. There are only 4 games in the league Friday night, 2 with playoff implications. The Wild can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Calgary, while the Islanders can move back into 6th with a win or a single point in Buffalo.