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Riding the Zamboni – Wednesday, March 23rd

Mar 24, 2011, 1:20 AM EDT

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Tomas Kopecky, Tomas Vokoun AP

For a recap of the Canucks’ convincing (but close) win against the Detroit Red Wings, click here. If you want the lowdown on the Ducks’ enormous win and its heartbreaking effects on the Stars, read this post. Now let’s look at Wednesday’s other two contests.

Chicago 4, Florida 0

After peppering Tomas Vokoun with 27 shots through the game’s first two periods, the Blackhawks only had one Brent Seabrook power-play goal for their troubles. Apparently they didn’t let that get to them, though, as they scored three more goals on seven shots in the third to dominate the over-matched Panthers in a crucial game for Chicago.

Viktor Stahlberg scored 46 seconds into that final frame, followed by Patrick Kane and Tomas Kopecky. Corey Crawford earned his fourth shutout of the season with 23 saves, his 29th win of 2010-11.

This win leaves Chicago at 88 points in 73 games played, good for a fifth place tie with the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators, although the Blackhawks hold tie-breakers at the moment. Meanwhile, Florida’s tanking plans continue, as they are firmly behind the New York Islanders for the fourth-to-last spot in the NHL.

San Jose 6, Calgary 3

Both Patrick Marleau and Torrey Mitchell scored two goals as the Sharks brought themselves within one point of the West’s second seed thanks to their win and Detroit’s loss. Yet as nice as this win was for San Jose, the defeat borders on crippling for Calgary.

The Flames remain in 10th place with 85 points and only seven games remaining, with every team ahead of them holding at least two more standings points and at least one more game at hand. Considering how much these teams will play against each other as the season winds down, the odds are against the hard working but possibly out-of-luck Flames.

Antti Niemi hit the 30 win plateau after stopping 22 out of 25 shots while Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 out of 38 saves in what must have been a dispiriting loss.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Anderson (1640)
  2. B. Bishop (1581)
  3. M. Fleury (1513)
  4. D. Alfredsson (1467)
  5. J. Harding (1346)
  1. C. Price (1233)
  2. M. Staal (1151)
  3. D. Setoguchi (1138)
  4. A. Ekblad (1130)
  5. J. Giguere (1116)