Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
FRIDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
There are no clinching scenarios for Friday’s games.
OSHIE, FIANCÉE FEATURED ON “TODAY” SHOW
Blues forward T.J. Oshie and his fiancée, Lauren Cosgrove, were featured on this morning’s episode of the “TODAY” show. Among the topics covered were the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and their newborn daughter,Lyla, who was born with a rare medical condition called gastroschisis.
Click here to watch the clip.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Montreal @ Ottawa, 7:00 p.m., CBC, RDS
Chicago @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., CSN-CH, FS-O
Washington @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., NBCSN, CSN-DC+
Buffalo @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-D+
Calgary @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., SNET-CGY
Edmonton @ Phoenix, 10:00 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-EDM, FS-A
Nashville @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., SPSO, PRIME
CAPITALS, DEVILS TRY TO KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE
The Capitals (34-29-13, 81 points) visit the Devils (32-28-16, 80 points) at Prudential Center in a critical matchup for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. Both teams currently are on the outside of the postseason picture, trailing the Blue Jackets by four and five points, respectively, for the final Wild Card spot. These clubs are meeting for the fourth and final time in 2013-14; New Jersey is 2-1-0 in their first three matchups (WSH: 1-1-1), but Washington won their most recent battle 3-0 on Feb. 8. The Devils have recorded points in each of their last five games overall (2-0-3), while the Capitals have lost four straight (0-2-2) and are 4-2-3 in their past nine.
(Home Team in Caps)
Columbus 2, PHILADELPHIA 0
CAROLINA 4, Dallas 1
TORONTO 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Calgary 4, TAMPA BAY 1
CHICAGO 3, Minnesota 2 (SO)
ST. LOUIS 2, Buffalo 1
Pittsburgh 4, WINNIPEG 2
COLORADO 3, NY Rangers 2 (SO)
SAN JOSE 2, Los Angeles 1
BOBROVSKY, BLUE JACKETS STYMIE FLYERS . . .
Sergei Bobrovsky (37 saves) recorded his eighth career shutout and fourth of the season to lead the Blue Jackets to their third victory in their past five games (3-1-1).
* With the win, the Blue Jackets (39-30-7, 85 points) moved within two points of the Flyers (39-28-9, 87 points) for the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan Division. They also moved within one point of the idle Red Wings (36-26-14, 86 points) for the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* Bobrovsky picked up his 28th victory of the season, matching a career high set in 2010-11 with the Flyers, his rookie campaign.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bobrovsky is the seventh former Flyer to earn a shutout against his old team and the first to do so since Jan. 28, 2006, when Sean Burke made 38 saves in a 6-0 victory for the Lightning. The other ex-Flyers with a shutout against them: Dunc Wilson, Pete Peeters, Ron Hextall, Garth Snow andRoman Cechmanek.
* James Wisniewski posted 1-1—2, including his first game-winning goal since April 7, 2012 (vs. NYI). He now has 1-6—7 in his past five games.
* With his two-point performance, Wisniewski set a Blue Jackets record for points by a defenseman in a single season (7-39—46 in 69 GP), passing the old mark established by Jaroslav Spacek in 2002-03 (9-36—45 in 81 GP).
* The Blue Jackets earned their first victory in Philadelphia in seven all-time visits (1-5-1).
. . . KADRI, MAPLE LEAFS REMAIN ONE POINT BACK IN WILD CARD CHASE
Nazem Kadri scored 2:51 into overtime to lift the Maple Leafs to their second consecutive victory following an eight-game losing streak.
* With the win, the Maple Leafs (38-32-8, 84 points) remained one point behind the Blue Jackets (39-30-7, 85 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Columbus, however, holds two games in hand and leads in ROW (CBJ: 34, TOR: 29).
* Kadri recorded his first career overtime goal and fourth career game-winner. He now has 19 goals this season, surpassing his career high of 18 set in 2012-13.
* James van Riemsdyk reached the 30-goal milestone for the first time in his five-season NHL career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) and Phil Kessel (36 goals; Madison, Wis.) are only the second pair of U.S.-born players to each score 30 goals in the same season for a Canadian-based team. Erik Cole (35 goals; Oswego, N.Y.) and Max Pacioretty (33 goals; New Canaan, Conn.) were the first duo to accomplish that feat, each recording 30-plus goals for the Canadiens in 2011-12.
* Jake Gardiner picked up an assist on Kadri’s overtime winner and now has at least one point in seven of his last nine games (2-7—9).
PENGUINS CLINCH METROPOLITAN DIVISION TITLE
Knotted 2-2 after 40 minutes, Paul Martin and Brian Gibbons each scored in the third period to lead the Penguins to their third victory in their past four games.
* The Penguins clinched the Metropolitan Division title (via the Flyers’ loss), marking their eighth division title in franchise history. It also marks the second time in club history they have won back-to-back division titles (also 1992-93 and 1993-94).
* Martin recorded the game-winning goal in his first appearance since Feb. 7. He now has two game-winners this season, matching a career high set during his rookie campaign in 2003-04 and equaled in 2007-08.
* Sidney Crosby collected two assists to extend his point streak to six games (2-6—8). The Penguins improved to 28-0-2 when he registers multiple points this season, including an 18-0-0 mark when he posts two or more assists.
* Dan Bylsma picked up his 250th career victory, becoming the fastest head coach in NHL history to reach the milestone:
FASTEST HEAD COACHES TO 250 WINS, NHL HISTORY
1. Dan Bylsma (PIT): 396 games
2. Bruce Boudreau (WSH, ANA): 416 games
3. Todd McLellan (SJ): 424 games
CARDIAC AVALANCHE COME BACK AGAIN . . .
Tyson Barrie scored the tying goal with 51.4 seconds remaining in regulation and then tallied the lone goal in the shootout to power the Avalanche to their fifth consecutive victory.
* The win marked the second time in as many games the Avalanche scored the tying goal in the final five minutes of regulation and then won in extra time. On Tuesday,Gabriel Landeskog netted the tying marker with 4:57 left in the third period before scoring the overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.
* Barrie now has 11 goals in 59 games this season; he had two goals in 42 career contests entering 2013-14. Thursday also marked his first career shootout attempt and goal.
* Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts he faced to pick up his League-leading 39th victory of the season. Varlamov also recorded his 24th home-ice win of the season, matching Patrick Roy’s franchise record set in 2000-01. He now is one victory shy of tying Roy’s club mark for wins in a season (40), also established 2000-01.
* Paul Stastny collected an assist to extend his point streak to five games (1-5—6).
* The Avalanche improved to 28-4-6 (.737) in one-goal games this season, the best winning percentage in the NHL. They also lead the League with 28 one-goal victories, three more than the Ducks and Sharks. Each of their five victories during their current winning streak has been by a one-goal margin.
. . . BLACKHAWKS EDGE WILD TO KEEP PACE IN CENTRAL
Marian Hossa scored the lone goal in the shootout to help the Blackhawks snap a three-game skid.
* With the win, the Blackhawks (43-19-15, 101 points) remained three points behind the Avalanche (49-21-6, 104 points) for the No. 2 seed in the Central Division. Colorado, however, holds one game in hand and leads in ROW (COL: 44, CHI: 37).
* Corey Crawford made 25 saves and denied all three shootout attempts he faced to reach the 30-win milestone for the third time in his NHL career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the fifth goaltender to record at least 30 victories in each of the last three full NHL seasons, joining Marc-Andre Fleury, Kari Lehtonen, Henrik Lundvqistand Antti Niemi.
SHARKS NIP KINGS IN POTENTIAL PLAYOFF PREVIEW
Brent Burns and Logan Couture both scored second-period goals to power the Sharks to their second consecutive victory and 11th win in their last 17 games (11-3-3).
* With the win, the Sharks (49-20-9, 107 points) moved within one point of the idle Ducks (50-18-8, 108 points) for first place in the Pacific Division. Anaheim, however, holds two games in hand and leads in ROW (ANA: 48, SJ: 39).
* Burns recorded his 46th point of the season (23-23—46 in 65 GP), matching a career high set in 2010-11 (17-29—46 in 80 GP). He now has 3-4—7 during a five-game point streak.
* Dan Boyle posted an assist to stretch his point streak to six games (3-4—7).
* The home team improved to 20-1-1 in the last 22 meetings between the Sharks and Kings, including the playoffs.
ELLIOTT LEADS BLUES TO RECORD-SETTING VICTORY
Brian Elliott made 24 saves to backstop the Blues to their second consecutive victory and fifth win in their last six games.
* With the win, the Blues (52-17-7, 111 points) leapfrogged the Bruins (52-18-7, 111 points), who lost in overtime, for the top spot in the NHL standings. St. Louis has played one fewer game, but Boston leads in ROW (BOS: 49, STL: 43).
* The Blues posted their 52nd victory of the season, breaking the old club record set in 1999-00 (51-19-12).
* Elliott fell 56 seconds shy of his fifth shutout of the season, but improved to 18-5-2 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in 29 appearances. He also improved to 10-1-0 with a 2.07 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and one shutout in 13 games at Scottrade Center this season.
* Brenden Morrow scored his third game-winning goal of the season, his most in one campaign since 2010-11 (5).
Ondrej Palat scored Tampa Bay’s lone goal, becoming the second Lightning rookie to reach the 20-goal milestone this season (Tyler Johnson: 23). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Palat and Johnson are the first rookie teammates to each score 20 goals since Jonathan Toews (24 goals) and Patrick Kane (21) did so for the Blackhawks in 2007-08 . . . The Kings suffered their first road loss since Jan. 28, snapping their road winning streak at eight games (tied for the franchise record) . . . John-Michael Lilesposted 1-2—3, tying a career high, to lead the Hurricanes to their first victory over the Stars since Dec. 16, 2009 . . . Flames forward Kevin Westgarth recorded his first career game-winning goal (164 GP) . . . Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron collected 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to 10 games (9-5—14), matching a career high . . . Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier played in his 1,100th NHL game . . . Penguins defensemanBrooks Orpik skated in his 700th career game . . . Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo played in his 300th NHL game . . . Sabres forward Brian Flynn appeared in his 100th career game . . . Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe made his NHL debut . . . The Department of Player Safety suspended Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murrayfor three games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Lightning defensemanMichael Kostka . . . Professional wrestler Chris Jericho served as the social media captain at the Lightning-Flames game . . . Actor Eamonn Walker, from the cast of NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” played (and won) “Shoot the Puck” at the Blackhawks-Wild game.
Source: NHL Media