Game recaps, including the Senators moving into a playoff berth, plus the Leafs attendance is suffering and much more in your Canadian Corner.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Ottawa Senators got third period goals from Mika Zibanejad, Alex Chiasson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mike Hoffman with on route to a 5-2 victory over the struggling San Jose Sharks. The win vaults the Senators into the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Boston Bruins. The Senators are 15-1-1 in their last 17 games, while goalie Andrew Hammond’s record now stands at 14-0-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been on a remarkable run since mid-February. The only question is if they can maintain this incredible streak over the remaining three weeks of this regular season. Now that they’ve played their way into a playoff spot, they’ll have to work even harder to maintain their grip on that wild-card berth.
CALGARY SUN: Karri Ramo made 25 saves -including one which robbed Gabriel Landeskog of what could’ve been a sure first-period goal – backstopping the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. David Jones, Jiri Hudler and Lance Bouma scored for the Flames. Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly each collected two points in a losing cause for the Avs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The inconsistent Pavelec has gotten hot at the right time for the Jets. This victory puts them four points ahead of the LA Kings and helped them keep pace with the Minnesota Wild, who are one point ahead of them in the wild-card standings.
TORONTO SUN: The free-falling Maple Leafs lost again, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Minnesota Wild.
NATIONAL POST: The Leafs loss to the Wild also saw them reach a dubious milestone, setting the lowest attendance figure (18, 366) in the 16-year history of the Air Canada Centre, which seats 18,819. This past Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada bumped the Leafs from its telecast for the first time since 1972.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granted, that decline in attendance isn’t that great, but it is a troubling sign for the Leafs that the fans are finally fed up with mediocrity. Getting bumped from HNiC sends an even-stronger message about the fans displeasure. Forget about wasting time and good money tossing jerseys on the ice to voice your displeasure, Leafs fans. You want to get ownership’s attention, stop going to the games. And don’t tell me they’ll move the team if attendance plummets. We all know the Leafs aren’t leaving Toronto.
LA PRESSE: The Canadiens may be among the league’s worst teams in advance stats, but they’re not very concerned about it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It helps when your starting goalie is having the best season in franchise history.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Among the reasons the Canucks remain in playoff contention is their depth, the play of backup goalie Eddie Lack, the resurgence of the Sedin twins and the play of winger Radim Vrbata.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a late collapse, the Canucks are poised to clinch a playoff berth, exceeding most of their fans’ expectations for this season. The Canucks will have earned it. A future which looked bleak a year ago suddenly appears bright.