Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
WEDNESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
* There are no clinching scenarios for Wednesday’s games.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Vancouver @ Minnesota, 7:30 p.m., SNET-P, FS-N
Philadelphia @ NY Rangers, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2, RDS
Anaheim @ Calgary, 10:00 p.m., TSN, FS-W
RANGERS, FLYERS MEET IN METROPOLITAN DIVISION SHOWDOWN
The Rangers (40-29-4, 84 points) play host to the Flyers (38-26-7, 83 points) at Madison Square Garden on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast. New York has a one-point edge over Philadelphia for second place in the Metropolitan Division, but the Flyers hold two games in hand. These clubs have faced off three times this season, with the home team winning each contest (PHI: 2-1-0, NYR: 1-2-0). New York also has won seven consecutive home games against Philadelphia dating to March 6, 2011. Overall, the Rangers have won four straight, while the Flyers are 5-1-0 in their past six.
(Home Team in Caps)
St. Louis 5, TORONTO 3
Phoenix 3, PITTSBURGH 2
Los Angeles 5, WASHINGTON 4 (SO)
NY Islanders 5, CAROLINA 4
MONTREAL 2, Buffalo 0
FLORIDA 3, Ottawa 2 (SO)
COLUMBUS 4, Detroit 2
CHICAGO 4, Dallas 2
Colorado 5, NASHVILLE 4 (SO)
San Jose 5, EDMONTON 2
IDLE DUCKS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
By virtue of the Stars’ loss to the Blackhawks, the Ducks clinched their 10th playoff berth in franchise history, including their seventh in the past nine seasons.
KNOTTED AT 80
Four teams finished Tuesday night’s games tied with 80 points in the race for the Eastern Conference Wild Cards:
BLUE JACKETS RALLY PAST RED WINGS TO TAKE OVER TOP WILD CARD SPOT
Tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes, Cam Atkinson scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to lead the Blue Jackets to their eighth victory in their past 13 games (8-4-1).
* With the win, the Blue Jackets (37-29-6, 80 points) jumped over the Red Wings (33-25-14, 80 points), Capitals (34-27-12, 80 points) and Maple Leafs (36-30-8, 80 points) for the top Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* The Blue Jackets improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine meetings with the Red Wings. They also improved to 6-0-1 in their past seven head-to-head matchups at Nationwide Arena.
* Ryan Johansen recorded his team-leading 28th and 29th goals of the season as well as his 14th multi-point performance. He has 29-25—54 in 72 games this season after totaling 14-19—33 in his first 107 career contests.
* Brandon Dubinsky posted 1-1—2 for his 11th multi-point game of the season and the 65th of his NHL career.
* James Wisniewski picked up three assists. He now has 36 helpers this season, tied for the most by a defenseman in Blue Jackets history (Jaroslav Spacek: 2002-03).
* Curtis McElhinney stopped 22-of-23 shots in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky, who left the game after the first period due to illness. McElhinney earned his first victory since Jan. 11 and first career win versus the Red Wings (1-2-1).
STRONG THIRD PERIOD PROPELS KINGS OVER CAPITALS
Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter potted the lone markers in the shootout to help the Kings overcome a two-goal, third-period deficit and pick up their seventh consecutive road victory, one shy of the franchise record set in 1974-75.
* With the win, the Kings (42-25-6, 90 points) maintained an eight-point lead over the Coyotes (35-26-12, 82 points) for third place in the Pacific Division.
* Trailing 3-1 after 40 minutes, the Kings scored three third-period goals to improve to 12-3-0 in their past 15 outings. They also picked up their sixth victory of the season when behind after two periods (6-20-1).
* Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and denied both shootout attempts he faced to improve to 10-2-0 with a 1.64 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and two shutouts in his last 12 appearances.
* The Kings recorded their seventh consecutive victory over the Capitals dating to Nov. 20, 2008.
BACKES’ HAT TRICK LIFTS BLUES OVER MAPLE LEAFS . . .
David Backes recorded his second career hat trick – and first since April 2, 2009 (4-0—4) – to lift the Blues to their second consecutive win and 10th victory in their past 13 outings (10-2-1).
* With the win, the Blues (49-16-7, 105 points) leapfrogged the idle Bruins (49-17-6, 104 points) for the top spot in the NHL standings.
* Backes now has 27 goals in 67 games this season, four off his career high set in 2008-09 (82 GP) and matched in 2010-11 (82 GP). He also now has 7-3—10 in eight career games versus the Maple Leafs, including 5-0—5 in two meetings this season.
* Alexander Steen posted 1-2—3, including his ninth game-winning goal of the season to tie Alex Ovechkin, Max Pacioretty and Corey Perry for the League lead. Originally selected by the Maple Leafs with the 24th overall pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, Steen now has 4-3—7 in five career games against his former team.
* T.J. Oshie added 1-2—3 for his 14th multi-point game of the season. Already with career highs in assists (39) and points (57), Oshie now is one goal shy of matching his single-season best, set in 2011-12 (19).
* The Blues improved to 4-0-2 in their last six games against the Maple Leafs and extended their point streak in Toronto to nine games (7-0-2), the longest active streak by a visiting club at Air Canada Centre.
. . . PAVELSKI’S THREE GOALS POWER SHARK ATTACK
Joe Pavelski tallied his third hat trick of the season (and of his career) to help the Sharks improve to 9-1-3 in their past 13 outings.
* With the win, the Sharks (47-18-9, 103 points) moved four points ahead of the idle Ducks (46-18-7, 99 points) for the top spot in the Pacific Division. The Ducks, however, hold three games in hand and lead in ROW (ANA: 44, SJ: 37).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pavelski is just the second player in Sharks history to record three or more hat tricks in one season. Jonathan Cheechoo had two such campaigns, posting five hat tricks in 2005-06 and three in 2006-07.
* Joe Thornton collected two assists. He ranks second in the NHL with 60 helpers this season, one behind League leader Sidney Crosby.
* Brent Burns also picked up two assists and now has 2-4—6 in his past five games.
COYOTES EDGE PENGUINS TO STRETCH WILD CARD LEAD . . .
Mikkel Boedker scored the decisive goal midway through the second period, his first game-winner of 2013-14, to lift the Coyotes to their fourth victory in their last six outings (4-1-1).
* With the win, the Coyotes (35-26-12, 82 points) moved three points ahead of the Stars (34-27-11, 79 points) – who lost in regulation to the Blackhawks – for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Thomas Greiss made 23 saves for his first victory since Jan. 28. He improved to 8-5-2 with a 2.35 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts in 17 appearances this season.
* The Coyotes earned their first win in Pittsburgh since Oct. 7, 2009, a 3-0 victory at Mellon Arena.
. . . BLACKHAWKS DEAL BLOW TO STARS’ PLAYOFF HOPES
Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw both collected 1-1—2 to lead the Blackhawks to their fourth victory in their past six games (4-1-1).
* With the win, the Blackhawks (42-16-15, 99 points) maintained a three-point lead over the Avalanche (45-21-6, 96 points) for second place in the Central Division.
* Keith recorded his 11th multi-point game of the season, including his third game-winning goal. He leads all defensemen – and ranks fourth in the NHL – with 51 assists in 72 games.
* Shaw posted his fifth multi-point game of the season and now has 5-5—10 in his past 10 outings.
* Patrick Sharp collected two assists and finished the season series with 4-6—10 in five games against the Stars.
* Teuvo Teravainen played 11:39 and went 7-for-7 in the face-off circle in his NHL debut.
LANDESKOG LEADS AVALANCHE PAST PREDATORS
Gabriel Landeskog posted 2-1—3 and tallied the decisive goal in the shootout to help the Avalanche rally from three separate deficits and snap a three-game skid (0-2-1).
* The Avalanche picked up their 45th victory of 2013-14, their highest single-season total since 2001-02 (45-28-9).
* The Avalanche improved to 11-4-1 in their last 16 road games. They rank second in the NHL with 47 points as visitors this season (22-10-3).
* The Avalanche earned their League-leading 24th one-goal victory of the season. At 24-4-6, they also lead the NHL with a .706 winning percentage in one-goal games.
* Landeskog now has 23-36—59 in 71 games this season, all career highs.
PRICE, CANADIENS SHUT THE DOOR
Carey Price stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his 24th career shutout and lead the Canadiens to their third consecutive victory.
* With the win, the Canadiens (41-26-7, 89 points) leapfrogged the idle Lightning (39-24-9, 87 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning, however, hold two games in hand.
* Price now has 20 shutouts over the past four seasons: eight in 2010-11, three in 2011-12, four in 2012-13 and five in 2013-14. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Canadiens goaltender to register at least 20 shutouts over a four-season span sinceKen Dryden did so during the final four seasons of his NHL career (28 from 1975-76 through 1978-79).
* Max Pacioretty scored his 100th career goal, which also proved to be the game-winner. He now is tied for the League lead – with Alex Ovechkin, Corey Perry andAlexander Steen – with nine game-winning goals this season.
Gustav Nyquist scored both Red Wings goals to extend his goal/point streak to six games (9-1—10). He paces the NHL with 20 goals in 24 games since Jan. 20 . . . Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin potted his League-leading 47th and 48th goals of the season (and 21st and 22nd via the power play) . . . Colin McDonald (2-1—3) and Matt Martin (2-0—2) both scored twice to lead the Islanders to their third win in their last four games . . . Vincent Trocheck found the back of the net in regulation and the shootout to help the Panthers snap a three-game skid . . . Stars forward Tyler Seguin posted an assist to extend his point streak to a career-long 10 games (7-10—17) . . . Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up an assist to stretch his point streak to eight games (3-9—12) . . . Matt Cullen and Roman Josi both scored twice for the Predators . . . Stars forward Ryan Garbutt (2-0—2) tallied his second multi-goal game of the season . . . Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov potted his first NHL goal (shorthanded) with 41.5 seconds remaining to force overtime . . . Hurricanes forward Riley Nash played in his 100th career game.
Source: NHL Media