Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
THURSDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
* The Bruins would clinch the Atlantic Division title if they defeat the Blackhawks in any fashion AND the Lightning lose to the Islanders in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Blackhawks AND the Lightning lose to the Islanders in regulation.
* The Penguins would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Kings.
* The Blackhawks would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Bruins OR if the Coyotes lose to the Devils in any fashion.
* The Avalanche would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Canucks in any fashion AND the Coyotes lose to the Devils in any fashion.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Chicago @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CSN-CH, NESN
Phoenix @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., FS-A, MSG
Los Angeles @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., FS-W, ROOT
Montreal @ Detroit, 7:00 p.m., TSN, RDS, FS-D
NY Islanders @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., MSG PLUS, SUN
Carolina @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., FS-CR, FS-F
Minnesota @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW
Buffalo @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-TN
Vancouver @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., SNET-P, ALT
Winnipeg @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., TSN-JETS, CSN-CA
BLACKHAWKS VISIT TD GARDEN FOR FIRST TIME SINCE CUP WIN
The Blackhawks (42-16-15, 99 points) visit the Bruins (49-17-6, 104 points) at TD Garden for the first time since Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, when they clinched their fifth championship in franchise history. These clubs have faced off one time this season, a 3-2 shootout victory by Chicago Jan. 19 at United Center. Boston, however, is 6-1-2 in their last nine regular-season matchups (dating to Dec. 29, 2006). Overall, the Bruins are 12-0-1 in their past 13 games, while the Blackhawks are 4-1-1 in their last six.
RED WINGS BATTLE CANADIENS IN PLAYOFF PUSH
The Red Wings (33-25-14, 80 points) play host to the Canadiens (41-26-7, 89 points) at Joe Louis Arena in the third of four meetings this season. Detroit has won their first two matchups, scoring a 4-1 victory Jan. 24 in the Motor City and 2-1 overtime win Feb. 26 in Montreal. The Red Wings, who are 4-2-1 in their last seven, currently hold the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, but are tied with the Blue Jackets, Capitals and Maple Leafs with 80 points. The Canadiens, meanwhile, have won three straight and six of their last seven to move into second place in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the Lightning.
(Home Team in Caps)
Vancouver 5, MINNESOTA 2
NY RANGERS 3, Philadelphia 1
Anaheim 3, CALGARY 2
LUNDQVIST, RANGERS CONTINUE HOME DOMINANCE OF FLYERS
Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves – but fell 1:53 shy of his sixth shutout of the season – to backstop the Rangers to their fifth consecutive victory, their longest winning streak since Dec. 30, 2011-Jan. 10, 2012 (5-0-0).
* With the win, the Rangers (41-29-4, 86 points) moved three points ahead of the Flyers (38-27-7, 83 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia, however, holds two games in hand.
* The Rangers recorded their eighth consecutive victory over the Flyers at Madison Square Garden (dating to March 6, 2011). They have outscored Philadelphia 31-9 in that span and have held the Flyers to two or fewer goals in all eight contests during the streak.
* Lundqvist improved to 30-22-4 with a 2.41 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and five shutouts in 57 appearances this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first goaltender in League history to reach the 30-win milestone in eight of his first nine NHL seasons.
* Lundqvist also improved to 8-2-0 with a 1.70 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in his last 10 outings, including a 1.79 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and one shutout during the team’s five-game winning streak (during which he has started every game).
* Ryan McDonagh scored what proved to be the winning goal for the second consecutive game, extending his point streak to five games (3-4—7). He now was three game-winning goals in his past five contests and four in 74 total games this season; McDonagh had three game-winners in 169 career contests entering 2013-14.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McDonagh is the first Rangers defenseman to score the winning goal in consecutive games since Dec. 29-30, 2003, when Tom Poti did so in overtime victories over the Coyotes and Kings.
* McDonagh now has 6-7—13 in 14 games in March. Elias says his six goals are the most by a Rangers defenseman in one calendar month since January 1998, when Brian Leetch also scored six times.
BOOTH POWERS CANUCKS PAST WILD
David Booth (2-0—2) recorded his 10th career multi-goal game, and first since March 3, 2012, to lead the Canucks to their third consecutive victory.
* With the win, the Canucks (34-30-10, 78 points) moved within four points of the Coyotes (35-26-12, 82 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix, however, holds one game in hand.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Booth is the first Canucks player to score two unassisted goals in one game since Dec. 23, 1998, when Markus Naslund did so in a 5-2 victory over the Flames.
* Eddie Lack made 29 saves, including 21 over the final two periods, to improve to 15-14-4 with a 2.32 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and four shutouts in 36 appearances this season.
* One game after posting a career-high four assists/points, Zack Kassian tallied his second game-winning goal of the season and the third of his NHL career.
* Daniel Sedin scored his first goal since Dec. 30 and now is one point shy of 800 in his NHL career (305-494—799 in 971 GP).
DUCKS USE STRONG THIRD PERIOD TO TOP CENTURY MARK
Down 2-1 after 40 minutes, Mathieu Perreault and Andrew Cogliano each scored third-period goals to power the Ducks to their second consecutive victory and fourth win in their past six outings.
* With the win, the Ducks (47-18-7, 101 points) moved within two points of the Sharks (47-18-9, 103 points) for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Anaheim also holds two games in hand.
* The Ducks reached the 100-point milestone for the third time in franchise history and first time since 2007-08 (47-27-8, 102 points).
* Perreault scored his 16th goal of the season to extend his point streak to a career-long six games (4-2—6).
* Cogliano potted his fifth game-winning goal of the season, matching a career high set during his rookie campaign in 2007-08.
* Jonas Hiller made 32 saves to improve to 29-11-6 with a 2.38 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and five shutouts in 47 appearances this season. He now is one victory shy of reaching the 30-win milestone for the second time in his NHL career (2009-10: 30-23-4 in 59 GP).
* The Ducks improved to 19-7-1 in their past 27 meetings with the Flames (dating to Nov. 29, 2007).
CUTS FOR A CAUSE
Twenty-one Bruins, led by host Shawn Thornton and in partnership with 98.5 The Sports Hub, participated in the 7th annual Cuts for a Cause Wednesday, raising nearly $120,000 for children battling cancer.
Click here for a recap of the event.
Flyers forward Jakub Voracek scored his 100th NHL goal to extend his point streak to four games (3-2—5) . . . Wild forward Charlie Coyle found the back of the net for the third consecutive game (3-1—4) . . . Playing in his 300th NHL game, Flames forwardBrian McGrattan set a career high with his fourth goal of the season . . . The Hockey Hall of Fame announced that Blue Jackets president John Davidson will take over as its new Chairman of the Selection Committee effective April 1. It also announced three new members of the Selection Committee: Bob Clarke, David Poile and Luc Robitaille . . .ICYMI: Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made a young fan’s night by giving her his stick after warm-ups.
Source: NHL Media