The East playoff picture is all but decided in terms of seeding. With the Islanders easily defeating the Rangers by a 4-0 score, they all but mathematically eliminated the Blueshirts from contention with five games left on their schedule.
Penguins knock off Capitals in OT; Bruins beat Sabres
The moment Washington went to OT they clinched a berth in the playoffs. When Jake Guentzel won it in the extra session 5-4 he did the same for Pittsburgh. Each team is tied for first with 69 points, the Rangers loss means they can gain no more than 68 the rest of the way providing the math for the clinch. For the Penguins, they got a great performance from Kasperi Kapanen with two goals.
“I think he’s got such a good shot,” Pens coach Mike Sullivan said of Kapanen. “He’s a good goal-scorer. I think his speed his so dangerous. He just backs defenses off with his speed and usually that creates opportunity for him or his linemates.”
In Boston, the Bruins ran away with it in the third period beating the Sabres 5-2. Charlie Coyle broke the tie and Taylor Hall added insurance to haunt his old team. For Coyle, it was the longest goal drought of his NHL career at 29 games.
“I don’t go into every game saying ‘Hey, I’ve got to score, I’ve got to score.’ It’s just about me bringing what I’m capable of bringing, what I need for the team to play well,” Coyle said. “And they need a lot more than scoring goals. Is scoring goals great? Yeah, it is, and I want to do more. But that’s not something that was weighing on me because then that’s about me, and it’s not just about me, it’s about the team.”NHL.com
The Devils knocked off the Flyers 5-3 to close out the East action.
Auston Matthews scores again in Leafs win; Flames blank Connor McDavid
The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up another win by beating the Canucks 4-1. Auston Matthews notched a goal in the contest for his 36th of the season as he starts to pull away in the Rocket Richard race. He leads Connor McDavid who was blanked by the Flames last night with a margin of eight.
Calgary beat Edmonton 3-1 and narrows the gap with the Canadiens to four points. They also did something few teams can by keeping McDavid off the scoresheet. The Oilers captain sits at 84 points with just eight games to play in his chase for 100 points this season. He will now need two points per game the rest of the way to accomplish the feat.
Central division action is more of the same
Guess what? All the top three teams in the Central played last night, and since neither was playing each other they all won again. The Lightning shutout the Stars by a 3-0 score with Andrei Vasilevskiy stopping all 20 shots sent his way. The Hurricanes easily beat the Red Wings 3-1 as James Reimer picked up the victory, and the Panthers beat the Blackhawks 4-3 in OT thanks to Sam Bennett.
Nashville was idle last night and remains two points up on Dallas for the last playoff spot and the right to get bounced in the first round by either of the big three.
In West division action, the Blues picked up their fourth straight victory by defeating the Wild 5-4 in OT. Ryan O’Reilly scored twice in the game, including the winner to increase the Blues hold on the last spot by five points over the Coyotes.