Game recaps, Dustin Byfuglien suspended, Anton Lander re-signed and more in your NHL Canadian Corner.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Patrick Wiercioch scored in overtime to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Senators (90 points) remained three points behind the Boston Bruins (93 points) in the race for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Troy Brouwer’s shootout goal lifted the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin scored twice, including his 473rd career goal, surpassing Peter Bondra for the Capitals’ all-time franchise goalscoring lead.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens goalie Carey Price did not look sharp in this game, illustrating the fact that the Canadiens aren’t very good when he’s not at his best. Ovechkin, meanwhile, is making a convincing case to win his fourth Hart Trophy this season.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: The Chicago Blackhawks clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
CALGARY HERALD: The St. Louis Blues also clinched a playoff berth, downing the Calgary Flames 4-1. 20-year-old Flames center Sean Monahan became the youngest player in franchise history to reach the 30-goal mark.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames (91 points) maintain a slim hold on a playoff berth, sitting one point ahead of the LA Kings.
EDMONTON SUN: The Los Angeles Kings crushed the hapless Oilers 8-2. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced the re-signing of center Anton Lander to a two-year contract extension worth $950K in 2015-16 and $1.05 million in 2016-17.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good for Lander, who was placed on waivers earlier this season amid questions over his NHL potential. He worked very hard this season to prove himself and earned that new deal. The Kings’ victory moves them into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets (both have 90 points) and currently give them the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference on the basis of one fewer loss than the Jets.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien received a four-game suspension for his crosscheck to the neck of New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With their top defenseman out of action for four of their remaining five games this season, the Jets must now prove they can overcome Byfuglien’s absence and clinch a playoff berth. If they don’t, Jets fans will look upon Byfuglien’s suspension as the factor which killed their club’s postseason hopes.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs can still influence the upcoming playoff picture.