Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
TUESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
* The Penguins would clinch the Metropolitan Division title if they defeat the Hurricanes in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Hurricanes AND the Flyers lose to the Blues in any fashion OR if the Flyers lose to the Blues in regulation.
* The Canadiens would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Lightning in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Lightning AND the Capitals lose to the Stars in any fashion OR if the Capitals lose to the Stars in regulation AND the Devils lose to the Sabres in any fashion.
* The Lightning would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Canadiens in any fashion AND the Capitals lose to the Stars in regulation AND the Devils lose to the Sabres in any fashion.
With just over 100 games left in the 2013-14 regular season, there still are nine playoff berths and three division titles up for grabs. A closer look:
* The Canadiens (93 points) and Lightning (91) are separated by two points in the battle for the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Atlantic Division.
* Five teams – the Rangers (88 points), Flyers (86), Blue Jackets (82), Capitals (81) and Devils (79) – are within nine points of each other for the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Metropolitan Division.
* Four teams – the Capitals (81 points), Maple Leafs (80), Devils (79) and Senators (78) – are within six points of the Red Wings (84) and Blue Jackets (82) for the two Wild Card berths in the Eastern Conference.
* The Avalanche (100 points) and Blackhawks (99) are separated by one point in the battle for the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Central Division.
* The Ducks (106 points) and Sharks (103) are separated by three points in the battle for the Pacific Division title.
* Four teams – the Stars (83 points), Canucks (79), Predators (77) and Jets (76) – are within eight points of the Coyotes (84) for the final Wild Card berth in the Western Conference.
* Four teams – the Bruins (110 points), Blues (107), Ducks (106) and Sharks (103) – are separated by seven points in the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy.
“CUPNAPPERS” CAMPAIGN DEBUTS TODAY
The latest campaign for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, featuring comedian Nick Krolland members of the NBCUniversal news team, debuts today on NBC, NBCSN, NHL Network and other NBCUniversal platforms. The campaign focuses on Kroll and a gang of “Cupnappers” stealing the Stanley Cup. The news team, which consists of David Gregory from “Meet the Press” as well as Jim Cramer, Carl Quintanilla and Kayla Tausche from CNBC, tracks the story across its various channels.
Click here to view the campaign.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
New Jersey @ Buffalo, 7:00 p.m., MSG, MSG-B, BELL TV
Calgary @ Toronto, 7:00 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-O
Florida @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., SUN, MSG PLUS
Carolina @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., FS-CR, ROOT
Dallas @ Washington, 7:00 p.m., FS-SW+, CSN-DC
Colorado @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., ALT, FS-O
Montreal @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, FS-F
Philadelphia @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2, CSN-PH
NY Rangers @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., TSN, RDS2, MSG
Winnipeg @ Phoenix, 10:00 p.m., TSN-JETS, FS-A PLUS
Edmonton @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-EDM, CSN-CA+
STARS, CAPITALS LOOK TO GAIN GROUND IN PLAYOFF HUNT
The Stars (36-27-11, 83 points) face off against the Capitals (34-28-13, 81 points) at Verizon Center in a battle for playoff positioning. Currently on the outside of the playoff picture, Dallas enters tonight’s game one point behind Phoenix for the final Wild Card berth in the Western Conference, while Washington trails Columbus by one point for the final Wild Card spot in the East. The Stars have won four of their past five outings, while the Capitals are 4-1-3 in their last eight, including three straight losses. Dallas also has won its last four games versus Washington, including a 2-1 victory Oct. 5 in their only other meeting of 2013-14.
CANADIENS VISIT LIGHTNING IN ATLANTIC DIVISION SHOWDOWN
The Canadiens (43-26-7, 93 points) visit the Lightning (41-25-9, 91 points) at Tampa Bay Times Forum in a key matchup for playoff positioning in the Atlantic Division. Montreal currently holds a two-point lead over Tampa Bay for the No. 2 seed in the division, but has played one extra game. The Canadiens enter tonight’s matchup having won five straight and eight of their last nine, while the Lightning are 7-1-4 in their past 12 dating to March 8. Tonight’s game marks the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between these clubs, with Tampa Bay posting a 2-0-1 record thus far (MTL: 1-0-2), including a 2-1 overtime victory in their most recent matchup Feb. 1 at Bell Centre.
VIGNEAULT MAKES REGULAR-SEASON RETURN TO VANCOUVER
Former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault makes his regular-season return to Vancouver when the Rangers (42-30-4, 88 points) visit the Canucks (34-31-11, 79 points) at Rogers Arena. Vigneault served as Vancouver’s bench boss for seven seasons, posting a 313-170-57 record to become the franchise’s all-time leader in wins and winning percentage. He also guided the team to six playoff appearances (including the 2011 Stanley Cup Final), helped the Canucks capture six division titles and twice led the club to the Presidents’ Trophy.
“For me, this is night and day compared to when we came in at training camp,” said Vigneault, referring to the Rangers’ preseason visit to Rogers Arena Sept. 26. “Training camp was a very emotional time for me. It was my first time back [since being fired last spring]. Now, it’s all about winning games. We’re in a tough fight to get into the playoffs. We need all the points we can get.”
(Home Team in Caps)
OTTAWA 2, Carolina 1 (SO)
NEW JERSEY 6, Florida 3
ANAHEIM 5, Winnipeg 4 (OT)
Minnesota 3, LOS ANGELES 2
DUCKS STAGE LARGEST COMEBACK IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
Trailing 4-0 late in the second period, the Ducks scored five unanswered goals – including Corey Perry’s tying marker with 22.7 seconds remaining in regulation andStephane Robidas’ game-winner 16 seconds into overtime – to complete the largest comeback in franchise history.
* With the win, the Ducks (49-18-8, 106 points) moved three points ahead of the idle Sharks (47-20-9, 103 points) for first place in the Pacific Division. They also moved within one point of the idle Blues (50-17-7, 107 points) for the top seed in the Western Conference.
* Prior to Monday, the Ducks had won seven games when trailing by three goals, but had never overcome a deficit of four or more. Their most recent victory when trailing by three goals was on Jan. 23, 2010, when they erased a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Blues 4-3 in a shootout.
* With Monday’s victory, the Ducks established a franchise record for wins in a single season (49). Their previous record of 48 was set in 2006-07, when they captured the first Stanley Cup in club history.
* The Ducks improved to 6-2-1 in their last nine games, including a 4-0-1 mark in their past five.
* Robidas scored his third career overtime goal and first since Dec. 4, 2010 (vs. MIN). He also recorded his eighth career game-winning goal and first since Feb. 9, 2012 (at CBJ).
* Thirteen skaters registered at least one point for the Ducks, including multi-point efforts by Ryan Getzlaf (1-1—2) and Patrick Maroon (0-2—2).
* Mathieu Perreault posted an assist to extend his point streak to a career-long nine games (6-4—10).
* Maroon also stretched his assist/point streak to a career-long five games (2-6—8).
Down by 4 and the Ducks fans still stayed with us! Gotta love that, thank you all! #ducksnation
— Frederik Andersen (@f_andersen30) April 1, 2014
Honda center you guys were great tonight. Never say never with #ducksnation behind us.
— Matt Beleskey (@Matt_Beleskey) April 1, 2014
— Pat Maroon (@patmaroon) April 1, 2014
WILD RALLY PAST KINGS
Trailing 2-1 after two periods, the Wild scored a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes to record their second consecutive third-period comeback victory (following a 3-1 win over the Coyotes on Saturday).
* With the win, the Wild (39-26-11, 89 points) moved five points ahead of the idle Coyotes (36-27-12, 84 points) for the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Mikko Koivu (1-1—2) recorded his fourth game-winning goal of the season, a career high. He also extended his point streak to six games (2-7—9).
* Koivu posted his team-leading 12th multi-point game of the season. The Wild improved to 11-1-0 when he registers two or more points.
* Zach Parise added 1-1—2 for his 11th multi-point game of the season. The Wild improved to 18-3-2 when he finds the back of the net.
* Ilya Bryzgalov made 18 saves to improve to 4-0-2 with a 2.16 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout in seven games since joining the Wild.
* Mike Yeo recorded his 100th head-coaching victory (all with the Wild).
* The Wild improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games versus the Kings dating to March 31, 2012.
ZAJAC, JAGR POWER DEVILS
Travis Zajac (3-1—4) and Jaromir Jagr (1-3—4) both posted four points to help the Devils improve to 3-1-2 in their last six games.
* With the win, the Devils (32-28-15, 79 points) moved within three points of the idle Blue Jackets (38-30-6, 82 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Columbus, however, holds one game in hand.
* Zajac recorded his first career hat trick and the first by a Devils player since March 8, 2012, when Ilya Kovalchuk scored three goals against the Islanders. Zajac also registered his first multi-goal game since March 11, 2011 (at ATL: 2-0—2) and matched a career high with four points, last accomplished Jan. 29, 2010 (vs. TOR: 1-3—4).
* Jagr posted his 56th career four-point game, the most of any active player, and first since Jan. 19, 2013. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is only the fourth player in NHL history to collect four points in a game at age 42. The others: Gordie Howe (February 1971), Tim Horton (January 1972) and Teemu Selanne (twice: January and February 2013).
* With 705-1,047—1,752 in his NHL career, Jagr now trails Mike Gartner (708) by three goals for sixth all-time, Gordie Howe (1,049) by two assists for eighth all-time and Steve Yzerman (1,755) by three points for sixth all-time.
SENATORS EDGE HURRICANES TO KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE
Ales Hemsky scored the lone goal in the shootout to lead the Senators to their third consecutive victory and fourth win in their past five outings (4-0-1).
* With the win, the Senators (32-29-14, 78 points) moved within four points of the idle Blue Jackets (38-30-6, 82 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Columbus, however, holds one game in hand.
* Hemsky also picked up an assist and now has 2-10—12 in 13 games since joining the Senators, including 0-4—4 during a three-game point streak.
* Craig Anderson made 30 saves, and denied all three shootout attempts he faced, to record his third consecutive victory.
Source: NHL Media