NHL Diary: April 8 – Flames Dampen Devils’ Playoff Hopes
Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
TUESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
* The Flyers would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Panthers in any fashion
* The Wild would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Bruins OR if Coyotes lose to the Blue Jackets in any fashion or defeat the Blue Jackets in a shootout OR if the Stars lose to the Predators in any fashion.
OTHER SCENARIOS TONIGHT
* The Coyotes could leapfrog the Stars for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* The Blue Jackets could leapfrog the Red Wings for the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* The Maple Leafs could move within one point of the Blue Jackets for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* The Capitals could leapfrog the Maple Leafs and Devils and move within two points of the Blue Jackets for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* The Avalanche could move within two points of the Blues for first place in the Central Division.
* The Flyers could leapfrog the Rangers for the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division.
* The Lightning could move within two points of the Canadiens for the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division.
* The Blues could tie the Bruins for the most points in the NHL.
QUICK TO APPEAR ON “ELLEN”
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick will make a special appearance on today’s episode of “Ellen.” Check your local listings for air time in your area.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Detroit @ Buffalo, 7:00 p.m., FS-D, MSG-B, BELL TV
Ottawa @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., SNET-E, TVA, MSG PLUS
Carolina @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., FS-CR, MSG
Phoenix @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., FS-A, FS-O
Toronto @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., RDS, SNET-O, SUN
Philadelphia @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., NHLN-US (R), CSN-PH
Washington @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, CSN-DC
Boston @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., NESN, FS-N
Nashville @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., FS-TN, FS-SW+
Colorado @ Edmonton, 9:30 p.m., ALT, SNET-W
COYOTES, BLUE JACKETS TRY TO HELP PLAYOFF HOPES . . .
The Coyotes (36-28-14, 86 points) visit the Blue Jackets (40-31-7, 87 points) at Nationwide Arena, with both teams seeking to help their playoff chances. Phoenix currently is one point behind Dallas (38-29-11, 87 points) for the final Wild Card berth in the Western Conference, while Columbus is three points ahead of New Jersey (34-29-16, 84 points) and Toronto (38-33-8, 84 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Coyotes are 26-17-5 in 48 all-time meetings with the Blue Jackets, but Columbus has won four straight matchups at Nationwide Arena as well as the clubs’ only other contest in 2013-14 (2-0 Jan. 2 in Phoenix). Overall, the Coyotes have earned points in five of their past seven games (2-2-3), while the Blue Jackets are 4-2-1 in their last seven.
. . . MAPLE LEAFS, CAPITALS LOOK TO GAIN GROUND
Currently on the outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs and Capitals will try to gain ground in their quests for the postseason when they visit the Lightning and Blues, respectively. Toronto (38-33-8, 84 points) is coming off a 4-2 loss Saturday against Winnipeg, but has won two of their first three meetings with Tampa Bay this season. Meanwhile, Washington (35-30-13, 83 points), led by former Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, will make its first visit to St. Louis since Dec. 1, 2010, on a national telecast in both the U.S. and Canada. The Capitals will try to build off a 4-3 shootout victory on Saturday, but have lost eight of their last nine trips to Scottrade Center dating to 1997.
(Home Team in Caps)
Calgary 1, NEW JERSEY 0
Minnesota 1, WINNIPEG 0
Anaheim 3, VANCOUVER 0
RAMO, FLAMES DAMPEN DEVILS’ PLAYOFF HOPES . . .
Karri Ramo (31 saves) recorded his second career shutout to backstop the Flames to their third consecutive victory and snap the Devils’ season-long point streak at seven games (4-1-3).
* With the loss, the Devils (34-29-16, 84 points) remained three points behind the idle Blue Jackets (40-31-7, 87 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Columbus also has one game in hand and leads in ROW (CBJ: 35, NJ: 34).
* Ramo improved to 16-13-4 with a 2.53 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 37 appearances this season, all career bests. He has stopped 62-of-63 shots (.984) over the past two games.
* Mark Giordano scored the lone goal (via the power play) early in the third period. He has posted career highs in goals (14), points (46), power-play goals (7) and shots on goal (172) in 61 games this season.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Giordano is just the third defenseman in Flames history to record the lone goal in a 1-0 victory. The others: Barry Gibbs (March 14, 1975 vs. NYR) and Derek Smith (Nov. 29, 2011 vs. NSH).
. . . RANGERS CLINCH POSTSEASON BERTH
By virtue of the Devils’ loss to the Flames, the Rangers clinched their eight playoff berth in the past nine seasons, including their fourth consecutive trip.
GIBSON FLAWLESS FOR DUCKS IN NHL DEBUT
Making his NHL debut, John Gibson stopped all 18 shots he faced to earn his first career shutout and help the Ducks snap a two-game slide.
* With the win, the Ducks (51-20-8, 110 points) moved three points ahead of the idle Sharks (49-21-9, 107 points) for first place in the Pacific Division. These clubs will meet for the fifth and final time this season on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast.
* The Ducks also moved within one point of the idle Blues (52-19-7, 111 points) for the top spot in the Western Conference and within three points of the idle Bruins (53-18-7, 113 points) in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Gibson is the first goaltender to post a shutout in his NHL debut since April 1, 2009, when Al Montoya made 23 saves for the Coyotes in a 3-0 victory over the Avalanche. At 20 years, 297 days, Gibson also is the youngest goaltender to record a shutout in his NHL debut since Nov. 1, 1985, when Daren Puppa(20 years, 223 days) stopped every shot he faced for the Sabres in a 2-0 win over the Oilers.
* Elias also says Gibson is the first goaltender in Ducks history to earn a shutout in his team debut and the youngest goaltender to appear in a game with the club, breaking Ilya Bryzgalov’s old mark (21 years, 108 days).
* Daniel Winnik scored the game-winning goal (while shorthanded) and now has 2-3—5 in his past five games. He has posted a career-high 23 assists and 29 points in 73 games this season.
* The Ducks tied a franchise record with their 110th point of the season. They last reached that mark in 2006-07, when they went 48-20-14 en route to capturing the Stanley Cup.
BRYZGALOV, WILD POST SECOND STRAIGHT SHUTOUT
Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves to pick up his second consecutive shutout and help the Wild extend their point streak to five games (4-0-1).
* With the win, the Wild (41-26-12, 94 points) moved seven points ahead of the idle Stars (38-29-11, 87 points) for the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Bryzgalov extended his shutout streak to 142:15 following a 4-0 victory over the Penguins on Saturday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Wild goaltender to record consecutive shutouts since Jan. 4-6, 2009, when Niklas Backstrom did so against the Avalanche and Bruins, respectively.
* This marks the third time Bryzgalov has earned back-to-back shutouts in his NHL career – he posted three consecutive shutouts for the Flyers March 8-13, 2012, and two straight blank sheets for the Coyotes Feb. 5-7, 2011.
* Bryzgalov improved to 8-0-5 with a 1.65 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in his last 13 starts, including a 6-0-3 mark with a 1.52 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and three shutouts in nine starts since joining the Wild. Elias says he is the first goaltender in Wild history to earn at least one point in each of his first nine starts with the team.
* Charlie Coyle potted the lone goal to extend his point streak to four games (2-3—5). He has recorded at least one point in eight of his past nine games, totaling 5-5—10.
Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson, who began the 2013-14 season with the Ontario Reign of the ECHL, made 16 saves in his NHL debut . . . Canucks forward Chris Higginsplayed in his 600th career game . . . Jets forward Jim Slater skated in his 500th NHL game, all of which have been with the Jets/Thrashers franchise . . . The Department of Player Safety suspended Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo for four games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel . . . The Lightning signed vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman to a four-year contract extension.
Source: NHL MediaNHL Diary: April 8 - Flames Dampen Devils' Playoff Hopes by Sports Talk Florida