NHL MORNING SKATE – MARCH 29, 2015
 
 
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SUNDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
There is one clinching scenario for today’s games:
 
* The Lightning (idle) would clinch a playoff berth if the Bruins lose to the Hurricanes in regulation.
 
REMINDER: DAILY PLAYOFF UPDATES ON MEDIA SITE
Daily updates on playoff positioning and clinching scenarios will be posted on the League’s Media site through the remainder of the regular season.
 
The current matchups through Saturday’s games:
 
 
 
SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Washington @ NY Rangers, 3:00 p.m., NHLN-US, TVA, CSN-DC, MSG
Florida @ Ottawa, 5:00 p.m., FS-F, TSN5, RDS
Detroit @ NY Islanders, 5:00 p.m., FS-D+, MSG+
Boston @ Carolina, 5:00 p.m., SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, FS-CR
Calgary @ Nashville, 5:00 p.m., SNW, FS-TN
Anaheim @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., FS-W, MSG
San Jose @ Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, ROOT
Chicago @ Winnipeg, 7:30 p.m., CITY, WGN
NBCSN Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
 
SENATORS FACE PANTHERS IN CRUCIAL WILD CARD SHOWDOWN
Two clubs batting for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference face off when the Senators (37-25-12, 86 points) play host to the Panthers (34-26-15, 83 points) at Canadian Tire Centre. Both teams trail Boston (37-25-13, 87 points), who visits Carolina, for the last playoff berth in the conference – Ottawa by one point, Florida by four points. This marks the fourth and final meeting of the season between these Atlantic Division rivals; the Senators have won two of the first three, including a 4-1 victory in their most recent matchup on Feb. 21. Both clubs are coming off overtime losses on Saturday – Ottawa fell to Toronto, while Florida lost to Montreal.
 
MORE GAMES WITH PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS
Several other games on Sunday’s schedule feature teams jockeying for playoff positioning:
 
* The Rangers (47-20-7, 101 points) face the Capitals (40-25-10, 90 points) at Madison Square Garden in a potential First Round preview. This marks the third of four meetings this season between these Metropolitan Division rivals; New York has won each of the first two, including a 3-1 triumph in their most recent matchup on March 11. The clubs face off for a fourth and final time on April 11 at WSH, the final day of the regular season. Both teams are coming off losses on Saturday – the Rangers fell to the Bruins, while the Capitals lost to the Predators.
 
* The Islanders (44-27-5, 93 points) try to reclaim home-ice advantage when they welcome the Red Wings (40-22-12, 92 points) to Nassau Coliseum. New York has lost seven of its past eight games (1-6-1), including a 3-2 defeat to Anaheim on Saturday. Detroit, meanwhile, picked up a 4-0 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday to remain in contention for home-ice advantage in the First Round. This marks the last meeting of the season between these Eastern Conference foes; they have split their first two matchups, both at Joe Louis Arena.
 
* The Flames (40-28-7, 87 points) attempt to climb back into a playoff spot when they visit the Predators (47-21-8, 102 points) at Bridgestone Arena. Calgary currently trails Los Angeles (37-24-14, 88 points) by one point for third place in the Pacific Division and Winnipeg (39-24-12, 90 points) by three points for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Nashville holds a three-point lead in the Central Division and could move into first place in the overall standings with a victory.
 
* The two Wild Card teams in the Western Conference drop the puck when the Blackhawks (44-24-6, 94 points) and Jets (39-24-12, 90 points) face off at MTS Centre. Chicago, who fell out of third place in the Central Division on Saturday, would reclaim its spot with at least one point. Winnipeg, meanwhile, is 12-2-2 in its past 16 home games and is looking to strengthen its grip on the final playoff position in the conference. This marks the fifth and final meeting of the season between these divisional foes; the Jets are 3-0-1, while the Blackhawks are 1-3-0.
 
HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR STOPS IN LETHBRIDGE
Central Division rivals Chicago and Winnipeg face off for the fifth and final time as Rogers Hometown Hockey visits Lethbridge, Alta. Every Rogers Sunday Night Hockey this season game will be broadcast from a different community rink in various towns across Canada. Included in each telecast will be local NHL player profiles, grassroots stories and local entertainment features.
 
Click here for more information about the broadcast from Lethbridge.
 
SATURDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Nashville 4, WASHINGTON 3
BOSTON 4, NY Rangers 2
Anaheim 3, NY ISLANDERS 2
San Jose 3, PHILADELPHIA 2 (SO)
PITTSBURGH 3, Arizona 2
DETROIT 4, Tampa Bay 0
TORONTO 4, Ottawa 3 (OT)
MONTREAL 3, Florida 2 (OT)
CAROLINA 3, New Jersey 1
Columbus 4, ST. LOUIS 2
MINNESOTA 4, Los Angeles 1
COLORADO 5, Buffalo 3
Dallas 4, VANCOUVER 3 (OT)
 
DUCKS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH, TAKE OVER FIRST IN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Knotted at 1-1 after 20 minutes, the Ducks scored a pair of second-period goals – including the eventual winning marker by Andrew Cogliano – to clinch their third consecutive playoff berth and 11th in franchise history.
 
 
 
* At 48-22-7 (103 points), the Ducks also moved into first place in the NHL standings, where the top six teams are separated by four points.
 
* The Ducks improved to 31-1-7 (.795 W%) this season in one-goal games. They continue to lead the NHL in wins and winning percentage in that scenario.
 
* Cogliano posted his 23rd career game-winning goal and second of the season (also March 3 at ARI).
 
* Frederik Andersen made 29 saves, including 12 in the final period, to improve to 33-11-5 in 51 appearances (2.40 GAA, .914 SV%, 3 SO). Elias says he has a 12-1-0 record in the last 13 games in which he has faced at least 30 shots.
 
* Kyle Palmieri, a native of Smithtown, N.Y., notched his 14th goal of the season. He has 2-1—3 in two all-time visits to Nassau Coliseum (also Dec. 21, 2013: 1-1—2, including GWG).
 
* Rickard Rakell also scored for the Ducks, who improved to 4-0-1 in their last five meetings with the Islanders dating to Jan. 6, 2012.
 
PREDATORS EDGE CAPITALS TO SEAL POSTSEASON RETURN
The Predators raced to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held on to clinch their eighth playoff berth in franchise history (and first since 2011-12).
 
 
 
* At 47-21-8 (102 points), the Predators remained within one point of the Ducks (48-22-7, 103 points) for first place in the NHL standings. They also moved three points ahead of the Blues (46-22-7, 99 points) – who lost in regulation – for the top spot in the Central Division.
 
* Filip Forsberg, who was selected by the Capitals 11th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft but never played for the team, posted 1-2—3 in his first to Verizon Center. He also moved back into first place in the rookie scoring race with 23-36—59, one point ahead of Johnny Gaudreau (21-37—58).
 
* Mike Ribeiro (1-1—2) and Gabriel Bourque (0-2—2) also registered multi-point games. Ribeiro collected his 32nd career game-winning goal and third of the season. He is tied for the team lead (w/ Forsberg) with 15-44—59.
 
* Pekka Rinne made 25 saves to pick up his 41st victory of the season, tied for first in the NHL (w/ Carey Price). Rinne is two wins shy of his career-high and franchise-record total of 43 set in 2011-12.
 
* The Predators won their third consecutive meeting with the Capitals dating to March 30, 2014. They also earned their first victory at Verizon Center since Dec. 7, 2005, snapping a four-game skid (0-2-2).
 
PACIORETTY LIFTS CANADIENS INTO PLAYOFFS WITH OT GOAL
Max Pacioretty scored the decisive goal at 2:59 of overtime to power the Canadiens to their third consecutive playoff berth and 82nd in franchise history.
 
 
 
* At 47-21-8 (102 points), the Canadiens leapfrogged the Rangers (47-20-7, 101 points) – who lost in regulation – for first place in the Eastern Conference. They also remained within one point of the Ducks (48-22-7, 103 points) for the top spot in the NHL standings.
 
* Pacioretty recorded his sixth career overtime goal and second of the season (also Jan. 31 vs. WSH). He shares fourth in the NHL with 36 overall goals this season. Pacioretty also ranks second with 10 game-winning goals, one behind Alex Ovechkin and one shy of his career high established in 2013-14.
 
* Carey Price made 21 saves to earn his 41st win of the season, tied for first in the NHL (w/ Pekka Rinne). Price also leads the League with a 1.88 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and nine shutouts (tied w/ Marc-Andre Fleury).
 
* Price’s 41 wins are one shy of the single-season franchise record, shared by Ken Dryden (1975-76) and Jacques Plante (1955-56 and 1961-62).
 
* Alex Galchenyuk potted the tying marker late in the second period to reach the 20-goal milestone for the first time (20-23—43).
 
* The Canadiens improved to 5-0-1 in their last six meetings with the Panthers dating to Jan. 6, 2014.
 
WILD WIN FIFTH STRAIGHT, CLIMB CENTRAL STANDINGS
Mikko Koivu (2-1—3) and Nino Niederreiter (2-0—2) both scored twice to lead the Wild to their fifth consecutive victory, their second such winning streak in the past month (also Feb. 26 – March 6: 5-0-0).
 
 
 
* At 44-25-7 (95 points), the Wild leapfrogged the idle Blackhawks (44-24-6, 94 points) for third place in the Central Division. Chicago holds two games in hand, but Minnesota owns the ROW tiebreaker (MIN: 40, CHI: 35). The teams face off for a fifth and final time on April 7 at CHI (CHI: 3-1-0, MIN: 1-3-0).
 
* The Wild lead the NHL with a 26-6-2 record since Jan. 15 and also have earned a League-high 49 points in 30 games since the All-Star break (24-5-1).
 
* Per Elias, two Wild players recorded multiple goals in the same game for the first time since Dec. 4, 2009, when Koivu and Antti Miettinen both scored twice in a 5-4 shootout victory vs. ANA.
 
* Koivu notched his 25th career three-point game and second of the season (other Feb. 9 vs. VAN: 0-3—3). He also posted his 115th career multi-point game to move past Marian Gaborik (114) and into sole possession of the most such performances in Wild history.
 
* Koivu scored the game-winning goal for the second time in as many days (also Friday vs. CGY). He has 25 such goals in his career and four this season.
 
* Niederreiter registered his fourth career multi-goal game and third of the season (also Feb. 16 at VAN: 2-0—2 and Feb. 26 at NSH: 2-0—2).
 
* Making his 35th consecutive start (and 34th w/ MIN), Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 shots to improve to 35-11-3 overall. His 2.05 goals-against average and .930 save percentage both rank second in the NHL.
 
* Dubnyk also improved to 26-6-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and five shutouts since joining the Wild on Jan. 15.
 
* Chris Stewart added a pair of assists for the Wild, who improved to 4-1-1 in their last six meetings with the Kings at Xcel Energy Center.
 
BRUINS SNAP SKID TO RECLAIM FINAL WILD CARD SPOT
The Bruins raced to a 4-0 lead early in the second period – highlighted by a pair of goals from Milan Lucic – and held on to snap a six-game skid (0-3-3).
 
 
 
* At 37-25-13 (87 points), the Bruins leapfrogged the Senators (37-25-12, 86 points) – who lost in overtime – for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa holds one game in hand, but Boston owns the ROW tiebreaker (BOS: 34, OTT: 32).
 
* Lucic recorded his 17th career multi-goal game and second of the season (also Jan. 8 vs. NJD: 2-0—2).
 
* Patrice Bergeron collected one assist to extend his point streak to five games (2-3—5). He also won 22-of-30 face-offs (73.3%).
 
* Carl Soderberg (1-1—2) and Reilly Smith also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 7-1-2 in their last 10 regular-season meetings with the Rangers dating to April 1, 2012 (4-0-1 at TD Garden).
 
PENGUINS LEAPFROG ISLANDERS IN METROPOLITAN STANDINGS
Down 1-0 early in the third period, the Penguins recorded three consecutive goals – led by 1-2—3 from Sidney Crosby – to pick up their second win in their past eight outings (2-5-1).
 
 
 
* At 41-23-11 (93 points), the Penguins leapfrogged the Islanders (44-27-5, 93 points) – who lost in regulation – for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Though the teams are tied in points, Pittsburgh has played one fewer game and owns the ROW tiebreaker (PIT: 38, NYI: 37).
 
* Crosby paces the NHL with 25-53—78 this season, including 12 three-point efforts. He is one goal shy of 300 for his career (299-548—847 in 620 GP).
 
* Evgeni Malkin collected a pair of assists in his return from a six-game absence. He also reached the 70-point milestone for the seventh time in his career and second straight season (28-42—70).
 
* Daniel Winnik scored to establish a career high for points in one season (9-22—31), eclipsing the mark he set in 2013-14 (6-24—30 w/ ANA).
 
* The Penguins improved to 17-6-4 this season against Western Conference opponents, including a 10-2-1 mark versus the Pacific Division. Their 17 such wins rank second among Eastern Conference clubs, behind only the Red Wings (18-5-4).
 
RED WINGS BLANK LIGHTNING IN POTENTIAL PLAYOFF PREVIEW
Petr Mrazek stopped all 23 shots he faced, including nine in the third period, to record his fourth career shutout (second this season) and lead the Red Wings past the Lightning in a potential First Round playoff preview.
 
 
 
* The Red Wings snapped a three-game skid against the Lightning, closing their season series with a 1-2-1 record (TBL: 3-1-0).
 
* Mrazek also posted a shutout on Feb. 5 at COL (28 SV). Overall, he is 15-7-1 this season, including 12 wins in his past 17 decisions.
 
* Gustav Nyquist (1-1—2) and Kyle Quincey (0-2—2) both contributed multi-point games. Nyquist ranks fourth on the club with 24-27—51, four goals shy of his career high established in 2013-14.
 
* Justin Abdelkader scored for the fourth consecutive game (4-2—6), a first in his career. He has established career highs in goals (23), assists (20) and points (43) this season.
 
* Joakim Andersson and Luke Glendening supplied the other goals. Andersson posted his second career game-winning goal and first since Jan. 4, 2014 at DAL.
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE CLUBS CONTINUE POSTSEASON PUSH
A trio of Western Conference teams won on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive:
 
 
 
* The Canucks scored the tying goal with 1:32 remaining in regulation, but John Klingberg potted his first career overtime goal at 4:13 of the extra period to lift the Stars to their eighth victory in their last 10 outings. Klingberg, a fifth-round selection (131st overall) by Dallas in the 2010 NHL Draft, leads all rookie defensemen in goals (t-11), assists (27) and points (38) this season. Tyler Seguin (1-1—2), Trevor Daley (0-2—2) and Cody Eakin (0-2—2) registered multi-point games for the Stars, who have won their last seven meetings with the Canucks dating to April 18, 2013.
 
* The Flyers evened the game midway through the third period, but Brent Burns scored the decisive goal in the fifth round of the shootout to power the Sharks to their second straight win. Joe Pavelski added his 36th goal of the season, tied for fourth in the NHL, and 19th via the power play – second in the League to Alex Ovechkin (21). The Sharks, who held a 44-18 shots advantage, improved to 14-1-2 in their last 17 meetings with the Flyers dating to Jan. 2, 2002. That includes a 7-0-1 record in Philadelphia, where they have won seven consecutive games.
 
* Matt Duchene (1-2—3) and Jarome Iginla (0-3—3) both posted three points to lead the Avalanche to their second straight victory overall and ninth consecutive win over the Sabres dating to March 7, 2007. With his performance, Iginla (586-636—1,222) moved past Jean Béliveau (507-712—1,219) and into sole possession of 40th place on the NHL’s all-time points list. Ryan O’Reilly collected one assist to extend his point streak to seven games (4-8—12), equaling a career high established Oct. 12-24, 2009 (2-7—9).
 
AROUND THE RINKS
More highlights from Saturday’s 13-game slate:
 
* Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner both registered 1-1—2 to help the Blue Jackets set a pair of franchise records with their eighth consecutive road victory and 22nd road win of the season. Columbus also improved to 9-1-0 in its past 10 games overall, including six straight victories. Atkinson reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time; he has posted three consecutive multi-point performances (4-3—7). Ryan Johansen collected one assist to extend his point streak to seven games (3-6—9). The Blue Jackets closed their interconference schedule with seven straight wins against Western Conference foes.
 
* Down 2-0 after 40 minutes, Tyler Bozak notched 3-1—4 – including the tying goal with 1:24 remaining in regulation and the primary assist on the winning tally at 3:17 of overtime – to help the Maple Leafs snap a seven-game skid. Bozak recorded his first career hat trick and first career four-point game. He also reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time. Linemates Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk each posted three assists, while Eric Brewer recorded his 13th career game-winning goal and fifth in overtime. The Maple Leafs won their fifth consecutive home game over the Senators dating to Feb. 16, 2013.
 
* Trailing 1-0 late in the second period, the Hurricanes scored three unanswered goals – including the tiebreaker by Eric Staal (1-1—2) just nine seconds into the final frame – to pick up their second straight win. Chris Terry and Justin Faulk also scored; Faulk became the second defenseman in Hurricanes history (since 1997-98) to reach the 15-goal milestone (also Anton Babchuk: 16 in 2008-09). Cam Ward made 21 saves to hit the 20-win plateau for the sixth time (and first time since 2011-12).
 
LOOSE PUCKS
Rangers forward Rick Nash reached the 40-goal milestone for the third time (and first time since 2008-09 w/ CBJ) . . . Canucks forward Radim Vrbata potted the tying marker with 1:32 remaining in regulation to reach the 30-goal milestone for the second time (and first time since 2011-12 w/ PHX) . . . Capitals forward Troy Brouwer (2-0—2) recorded his 16th career multi-goal game, including his fifth career shorthanded tally, to reach the 20-goal milestone for the third time (and second straight season) . . . Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored for the fourth consecutive game (5-0—5), a first in his career. He also extended his overall point streak to five contests (5-1—6) . . . Teammate Jakub Voracek collected a pair of helpers to stretch his assist/point streak to four games (0-7—7). He leads the NHL with 55 helpers this season . . . Sabres defenseman Andrej Meszaros (2-0—2) registered his fourth career multi-goal game and first since Jan. 18, 2014 vs. NYI (2-0—2 w/ PHI) . . . Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (2-0—2) posted his first career multi-goal game . . . Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 36th goal of the season, tied for fourth in the NHL . . . Senators forward Mark Stone notched his 19th goal of the season. He ranks third among rookies with 19-33—52 . . . Flyers forward Michael Raffl scored for the third consecutive game to reach the 20-goal milestone for the first time . . . Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves in his first start since Feb. 2 . . . Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk logged 21:34 of ice-time in his first appearance since Feb. 1 . . . Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky scored in his return from a five-game absence . . . Coyotes forward Tye McGinn snapped a 27-game drought with his first goal since Dec. 7 at EDM (w/ SJS) . . . Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie and Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon both recorded their 100th NHL point . . . Devils forward Jordin Tootoo (600), Capitals forward Curtis Glencross (500), Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk (400) and Blues forward Jaden Schwartz (200) all played in milestone games . . . Flyers defenseman Mark Alt made his NHL debut . . . The Department of Player Safety fined Rangers forward Tanner Glass for butt-ending Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid . . . ICYMI: The Maple Leafs signed 11-year-old Garrett Gamble, who suffers from Morquio syndrome, to a one-day contract. The team created a player profile on its website. Former captain Wendel Clark also helped him skate a lap around the ice before the game – as did Tyler Bozak after Gamble earned First Star honors.
 
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