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Rink to Rink: Detroit wins battle for 8th place

Mar 16, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

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Thankfully, the hockey (and not a debate about hits) was center stage Monday night. As the league tries to add a face-saving rule or two, I think we can all agree that it would be pleasant if this issue “worked itself out” – at least for a few merciful days. We could use more nights when the question is: “which team will position itself in the Western Conference’s eight spot?” instead of “should he get suspended for that hit and if so, how long?”

Let’s take a look at last night’s action.

Red Wings 2, Flames 1

Tomas Holmstrom might as well be called the eclipse (or, if nothing else, we could find some way to shorten a nickname like “man with huge head who sits in front of you in a movie theater”). The Swede gets under the skin of goalies with far more skill than a crease crasher such as Corey Perry and he did what he does better than anyone else in the NHL on Monday. His screen of Kipper allowed him to score his 20th goal of the season right around the last minute of last night’s game in Calgary, putting Detroit in the driver’s seat for the final spot in the West.

Devils 3, Bruins 2

The Devils are nearly as hot as their biblical home right now, so I guess it makes sense that they’re on a three game roll in their actual home. They only really needed to play the first period – in which they took a 3-0 lead highlighted by Martin Brodeur’s amazing assist - to beat a punch-less Boston Bruins team. The win brings New Jersey two points within the Atlantic division lead held by Pittsburgh, whom they’ve dominated all season long and host on Wednesday.

Blue Jackets 5, Oilers 3

Kristian Huselius (1 goal, 3 assists), Antoine Vermette (1 goal, 2 assists) and Steve Mason (29 saves) propelled the Blue Jackets past a woeful Oilers team. I wouldn’t puff my chest out too much if I were Columbus; the Oilers are a horrific 1-14-1 on the road since the middle of December.

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