Senators clinch a playoff berth, Canadiens secure top spot in the Atlantic Division and more in your NHL Canadian Corner.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators completed one of the most stunning comebacks in NHL regular-season history to clinch a playoff berth with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Mark Stone scored twice and Andrew Hammond made 34 saves. After being 14 points out of contention in mid-February, the Sens went 23-4-4 in their last 31 games to qualify for the playoffs. They will face the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Senators for their remarkable comeback. Even if you’re not a Sens fan, you have to be impressed by how this team rallied back when they were seemingly down and out almost two months ago. And if you’re a Canadiens fan, you have to be nervous about the Senators, who were 3-1 in the season series with the Habs. Speaking of the Canadiens…
MONTREAL GAZETTE/TORONTO SUN: The Montreal Canadiens clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 4-3 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Alex Galchenyuk tallied the game winner for the Habs, while the Maple Leafs slink off into the offseason following one of their worst seasons in franchise history.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of speculation over the Leafs offseason plans over in the “Rumors” section, where I daresay there will be lots more to come between now and the end of the playoffs.
THE VANCOUVER SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: Ryan Miller looked rusty in his first game back from a knee injury, but he still backstopped the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Alexander Edler potted the game winner in overtime while Miller gave up five goals on 28 shots. Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle all scored to close out the Oilers season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s thought Miller will get the start when the Canucks meet the Calgary Flames in the opening round of the 2015 playoffs. His struggles in this game won’t inspire much confidence among Canucks fans. Most probably prefer backup Eddie Lack get the start, as he played well in Miller’s absence.
WINNIPEG SUN/CALGARY HERALD: The Winnipeg Jets thumped the Calgary Flames 5-1. With both clubs bound for the playoffs, the Flames rested several core players (Defencemen Kris Russell, T.J. Brodie and Dennis Wideman, the entire No. 1 line of Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, goalie Jonas Hiller) for this one. Flames rookie Sam Bennett and Jets rookie Andrew Copp each picked up their first NHL points in this game.