Mar 31, 2010, 10:54 AM EDT
After all of my huffing and puffing about nobody in the East stepping up when it counted, the Bruins, Thrashers and Rangers all won big games and kept the race for the 6th-8th spots increasingly tight.
In the West, it’s starting to get frustrating for the Coyotes. This is a relatively young team and despite having a great record of late still are unable take advantage of a chance to close in on San Jose for the top spot in the West, and for the division. That said, it’s tough to say anything this team does is exactly “disappointing” from here on out.
After the jump, a look at the updated standings and yesterday’s games that mattered.
The games that mattered:
New Jersey Devils 0, Boston Bruins 1 (OT) - There should be no doubt at this point who the starting goaltender for the Bruins should be in the playoffs. Well, if they make it there.
Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Atlanta Thrashers 3 – Ondrej Pavelec stood tall under a third-period assault, and the Thrashers squeaked out an incredibly big win. A loss last night, with the Bruins winning would have made for a tough four-point deficit to overcome, with just five games remaining.
New York Islanders 3, New York Rangers 4 - The Rangers used a three-goal second period to blast past the Islanders and right back into the playoff hunt. They still have a ways to go, but a loss would most likely have made their playoffs hopes disappear.
Washington Capitals 4, Ottawa Senators 5 – Are we worried about the Capitals yet? And the Senators are disappointing me by actually playing well. That wasn’t expected.
The games that mattered:
Detroit Red Wings 5, Edmonton Oilers 4 - The Oilers stormed back from a four-goal deficit to make it interesting against the Wings, until Brad Stuart’s goal with 1:07 remaining in regulation gave Detroit yet another win. They now have two games in hand on Nashville, and are most likely on their way to the 5th spot in the standings.
St. Louis Blues 4, Chicago Blackhawks 2 – Ahhh….yeah, I think the Blackhawks might be in trouble.
Nashville Predators 0, Los Angeles Kings 2 - Big win for the Kings, who avoided completely falling out of the playoff race.
Vancouver Canucks 4, Phoenix Coyotes 1 - Not a great first period for the Coyotes. Three goals allowed, and they came completely unglued after Kesler ‘boarded’ Derek Morris. Have to be more mentally tough than that, boys.
- Playoffs tonight: Spezza’s Game 3 return, Bruins-Rangers highlight your Sunday 5
- Penner blasts refs for having ‘gall to guess’ on goalie interference call 51
- Discuss: Sharks win in OT, draw series to 2-1 19
- NHL fines Sharks $100K for Torres suspension critique 44
- Toews has beef with officiating after Game 2 loss 55
- Discuss: Red Wings even up series, take down Chicago 4-1 27
- No surgery needed for Eric Staal following injury at Worlds 3
- Playoffs tonight: Detroit and San Jose look to change things up 3
- Bruins’ Hamilton: ‘I don’t feel like a rookie anymore’ 26
- Penguins’ Murray: ‘We need to be better’ 8
- Alex ‘they wanted Game 7′ Ovechkin to address media today before heading to Worlds (110)
- Question for commenters: What’s the hardest team to support? (93)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Capitals discuss ‘lopsided’ penalty calls (82)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (79)
- Play Video: Highlights: Sharks take critical Game 3 in OT
- Play Video: Stuart lands huge hit on Williams
- Play Video: Toffoli gets Kings on the board
- Play Video: Sharks take advantage of early penalty
- Play Video: Highlights: Red Wings even series, thump Blackhawks
- Play Video: Filppula scores impressive, unbalanced goal