Mar 19, 2012, 10:43 PM EST
If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lightning fan, you’d have to be very optimistic to carry playoff dreams into Monday night. After both teams were absolutely embarrassed, even the biggest dreamers can put those thoughts to bed.
Boston completes the sweep
Toronto can look back at – and Brian Burke might just base his firing upon – an absolutely embarrassing season series against the Boston Bruins. It seemed like whenever the Bruins needed a pick-me-up, they needed only to turn to Toronto, as tonight’s 8-0 thrashing completed a ridiculous sweep:
Oct. 20: Bruins win 6-2.
Nov. 5: Bruins win 7-0.
Nov. 30 and Dec. 3: Bruins win home-and-home set 6-3 and 4-1.
March 6: Maple Leafs actually complete but lose 5-4.
Today: Boston dominates 8-0.
To recap, that’s a 36-10 disadvantage, with two shutouts. (Tim Thomas only needed 13 saves for a goose egg tonight, by the way.)
Buffalo douses Lightning
The Lightning won’t have the same regret when looking back at their games against the Buffalo Sabres, however. In fact, with Tampa Bay winning the previous three contests in regulation, Buffalo’s 7-3 demolition is more like revenge than the Boston-Toronto situation – which is essentially another ton of dirt kicked in Burke’s face.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
With the Washington Capitals holding on to win 5-3 against the Detroit Red Wings tonight, the Sabres are still behind the eight-ball in a tight three-team race for the last spot in the Eastern Conference. (Winnipeg’s last-minute fumbling loss to the Carolina Hurricanes from Sunday certainly doesn’t hurt matters, though.)
The race for eighth
Speaking of which, here’s what the East’s No. 8 race looks like now:
8. Washington: 80 points, nine games left (37 wins, 35 in regulation/OT)
9. Buffalo (won tonight): 78 points, nine games left (34 wins, 27 in regulation/OT)
10. Winnipeg (lost last night): 76 points, 10 games left (34 wins, 30 in regulation/OT)
The Sabres essentially rotate home and away games until the end of the season, when they face a tough duo of closing road games: at Philadelphia (April 5) and at Boston (April 7). In other words, if Buffalo makes it, they’ll get to the playoffs by earning it.
(Oh, and if you’re into odds, Sports Club Stats gives Washington a 73.2 percent chance to make the playoffs (up 9.9), Winnipeg a 16.1 percent shot (down 5.8) and Buffalo a 15.5 chance – up 2.5.)
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- Trade: Capitals land Glencross, Flames get two picks 23
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- Flyers keep faint playoff hopes alive with win over Rangers 28
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder 74
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- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 7
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- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 13
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- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
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- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder (67)