Canadiens beat the Avalanche, Flames defeat the Sabres, Oilers romp over the Predators, Red Wings edge the Maple Leafs, Rangers crush the Senators, an update on Blake Wheeler and examining the Canucks playoff chances. 

Thomas Vanek (center) celebrates one of his three goals against the Avalanche.

Thomas Vanek (center) celebrates one of his three goals against the Avalanche.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Thomas Vanek’s hat trick (his first goals since joining the Habs) spoiled Patrick Roy’s return to Montreal as the Canadiens beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3.

CALGARY SUN: Mike Cammalleri 20th goal proved the game winner as the Flames downed the Buffalo Sabres 3-1.

EDMONTON JOURNAL:  Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had three-point performances to lead the Oilers over the Nashville Predators 5-1.

TORONTO SUN: Gustav Nyquist scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings hung on for a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jake Gardiner and James van Riemsdyk tallied for the Leafs. The injury-ravaged Wings lost another player in this game, as defenseman Jonathan Ericsson left with a broken finger which might require surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer wasn’t pleased with coach Randy Carlyle’s tepid comments about his performance in this game. I’ll have more in the “Rumors” section. 

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The New York Rangers stuck a dagger in the Senators playoff hopes with an 8-4 victory. The win was Henrik Lundqvist’s 302nd, breaking the franchise record previously held by Mike Richter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens victory and the Leafs loss allowed the former to open a three-point lead over the latter for second in the Atlantic Division. The Senators remain seven points out of a wild card berth with fourteen games remaining in their season. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Blake Wheeler has one goal in his last 15 games but is finding other ways to contribute, like racking up 11 assists over that period.

VANCOUVER SUN: Elliott Pap lists several scenarios under which the Canucks can make the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, these three scenarios require prayer to a higher power for help.