Last night saw 18 teams playing with 10 coming from the Western Conference and 9 coming from the Eastern Conference. There were 3 inter-conference matchups with the West winning the night going 2-1 with the Dallas Stars suffering the only loss.
Stats from ESPN.com and NHL.com:
New Jersey Devils 1, Dallas Stars 0 – Recap can be found here courtesy of Pucks and Pitchforks’ very own David Garrison. The Devils received 2 much needed points to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division. Cory Schneider had 26 saves and recorded his third shutout of the season. This was the first meeting of two with the teams meeting in Dallas on January 30th to close out the season series. New Jersey is in 6th place in the Wild Card race with 45 points and in 6th in the Metropolitan Division.
Florida Panthers 2, Buffalo Sabres 1 – Recap can be found on The Rat Trick and Sabre Noise here and here. This shootout win for the Florida Panthers saw their playoff aspirations stay alive for the most part despite being in 8th place in the Wild Card race. The Panthers stand only 7 points out of the last Wild Card spot. The Sabres continue to struggle and continue to stand at an NHL-worst 12-26-5.
Carolina Hurricane 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 – Recap: Cardiac Cane and Editor in Leaf. The Maple Leafs lost their third in a row as they are quickly losing their grip on the playoffs. The Maple Leafs used to have a comfy lead in the Wild Card but now sit in 4th but actually stand in a 3-way tie for the last wild card spot. Carolina took the second spot with the win and are only a point behind third in the Metropolitan Division. Carolina took the third and final game of the season series and won for the season, 2-1.
Washington Capitals 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 – The Capitals tried to limit the damage of their recent slump and re-took 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division with the win. They currently have a 1-point lead over the Hurricanes and New York Rangers. The Lightning sit comfortably in second in the Atlantic Division. Washington clinched the season series after winning the first two games. The final game will be played on April 13th in Washington.
Anaheim Ducks 4, Nashville Predators 3 – Recap: Predlines. Anaheim continued their dominance and continue to lead the league with 71 points. With the way the Pacific Division is looking so far, the Ducks just need to continue to play decent to all but clinch a playoff spot. The race for home-ice advantage is a little tighter. The Predators stall out in 5th place in the wild card race with 44 points and are 9 points out of the second spot. This was the first matchup of 3 for the season.
St. Louis Blues 5, Calgary Flames 0 – Recap: Flame for Thought and Bleedin’ Blue. The St. Louis Blue pushed themselves into a tie with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division at 67 points. St. Louis has now won 7 straight games and are an extremely impressive 31-7-5. The Flames lost their second straight and continue to struggle this season. They are second-worst in the Western Conference with only 36 points this season. The Blues took the rubber match of the season series, completing it with a 2-1 advantage
Minnesota Wild 4, Phoenix Coyotes 1 – Gone Puck Wild and Howlin Hockey. The Wild won their 4th straight game and stand in the second Wild Card spot in the West at 53 points. They distanced themselves from the Coyotes who sit in 3rd at 51 points. The Wild tied up the season series at 1 and the final matchup is on March 29th in Phoenix. That matchup could have a lot of weight come the end of the season.
Los Angeles Kings 4, Boston Bruins 2 – Causeway Crowd. The Western Conference continue to show their dominance, this time coming at the expense of the Atlantic-Division-leading Bruins. The Bruins came out only two points ahead of the Lightning and 3 ahead of the Canadiens in the Atlantic. The Kings sit in 3rd in the Pacific Division with 59 points and are only 4 points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks. This was the first matchup of two with the second coming later this month.
San Jose Sharks 4, Detroit Red Wings 1 – Blades of Teal and Octopus Thrower. The final game of this season series saw the Sharks sweep the Red Wings 2-0. Now in the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings are clinging to their Wild Card spot by a point. There are 4 teams within 2 points of their first Wild Card spot and need to keep pace with the air-tight Eastern Conference. The Sharks are in 2nd in the Pacific, ahead of the Kings by 3 points. They shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting into the playoffs this season.