|It's turned into that kind of season again for Toronto. (@MHCranberry)|
There's always a
Buffalo Sabres: Well that's how you put the rest of the conference on notice. Either that or it's just good to play the Lightning these days. Probably more the latter.
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Unfortunately for them, it's the same as a one-goal win as far as the standings are concerned and they gained no ground on a playoff spot thanks to one of the night's other big winners. Although it did pull them out of the tie with the Jets in ninth place for the time being.
Now this is how you make up as much ground in the last month or so as the Sabres have. It was the ninth time in the last 11 games that the Sabres have picked up at least one point, including the past five. Boy, if the Sabres couldn't have that middle stretch of the season back when Ryan Miller was coming back from the concussion ...
[Related: Sabres 7, Lightning 3]
You might remember early this season the Capitals won their seventh straight to start the season by dismantling Detroit 7-1 in Washington. A lot has changed since then, the Caps are now teetering on the playoff bubble instead of atop the NHL but not their success against the Red Wings. That's still there.
It's turning into an alright road trip for the Caps. I had a feeling that this five-game stretch was going to cripple the team and might actually spell their doom, but so far they are 2-2 on the trip with one more visit coming to Philadelphia before they get back to the much friendlier confines of home. What's more is that they keep the pressure on the Panthers in the Southeast, moving back to within three points.
As you'd expect, the game was physical and intense, beginning with three fights on the opening faceoff. The raucous MSG crowd got even louder when Brandon Dubinsky scored about a minute later and the Rangers led the rest of the way.
The season series between the two is done and it was split 3-3.
Toronto Maple Leafs: So who'd a thunk that their 7-0 loss earlier this season to the Bruins wouldn't only be their second-worst loss in the season series? Oof. Maple Leafs , meet rock bottom. The fans at the top don't seem to approve of this position.
Thankfully for Toronto, the six games against the Bruins are done. The final aggregate score? Try 36-10 with all six going to Boston this season.
Thanks for playing, Toronto.
San Jose Sharks: I haven't been able to shake the feeling all this time that, for as much danger as the Sharks appear to be in, they're going to win the Pacific Division title. Well I'm finding it easier to shake now.
With the Pacific basement dwellar-Ducks visiting the Shark Tank, you figured the Sharks were due some points, especially against backup goaltender Jeff Deslauriers. Not so much. The rest of the division and the Western Conference thanked the Ducks.
The loss keeps the Sharks out of a playoff spot while burning a game in hand on the teams they are chasing. In fact, they technically dropped below the Kings as they now have equal points in an equal number of games and the Kings have more Regulation and OT wins so they take over ninth for the moment.
This was supposed to be the one layup they had on the schedule before a finishing stretch of nine of their last 10 games coming against teams that are currently in playoff position. The only non-playoff team left is at these same Ducks. It's not going to get any easier for the Sharks at all.
I know the Wild are a tough defensive team and all, but a team like the Canucks should be able to put up at least one goal on a team that everybody else has been beating in the second half of the season. Alas, they were shutout by Josh Harding on this night, spoiling an otherwise good start for Cory Schneider.
Again, the Canucks aren't in any danger of being caught in the Northwest Division, but they'd probably like to go into the playoffs on a good note, and right now they are coming up flat, not sharp.
[Related: Wild 2, Canucks 0]
Fight of the night
Usually I'll put a goal of the night here and there were a lot of them to choose from despite only six games, but tonight I'm going to go with the fisticuffs.