Leafs crushed by the Blue Jackets, Flames and Jets close to clinching playoff berths, Canucks re-sign two players, updates on Max Pacioretty and more.
TORONTO STAR: The Columbus Blue Jackets walloped the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0. The Leafs final game of the season is Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing really worth recapping in this one. It did, however, highlight the difference between these two non-playoff clubs. The Blue Jackets are playing very well of late, making a point that they’re not as bad as their record for this season. They are obviously looking forward to a healthier 2015-16 campaign. The Leafs just looked like a thoroughly defeated club facing an uncertain future that can’t wait for this season from hell to end.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames can secure a playoff berth tonight with a win over the visiting Los Angeles Kings. A Flames victory could also leave the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings all but eliminated from playoff contention.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Winnipeg Jets can clinch a postseason spot with a victory over the Colorado Avalanche or the Flames defeating the Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Let’s just make this very simple for the Flames and Jets: Win, and you’re in.
LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty (upper-body injury) will not dress for the final two games of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are playing coy over the nature of Pacioretty’s injury but it’s widely assumed to be a concussion. If so, there’s no reason for the Habs to rush him back into action. Give him time to rest and hope he’ll be ready when the playoffs open in a a week’s time.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: One reason behind the Senators’ surge toward a possible playoff berth is the play of forward Mark Stone, who is now tied for second with Nashville’s Filip Forsberg in rookie scoring with 61 points, one shy of Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone is playing his way into serious consideration for the Calder Trophy. Even if he doesn’t win, his play this season – as well as that of the Senators other promising young forwards – bodes well for the club going forward.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed forward Derek Dorsett to a four-year contract extension worth $2.65 million annually and defenseman Luca Sbisa to a three-year deal worth $3.6 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Canucks re-upped these two. Both have been key role players this season and important factors in the club’s better-than-expected improvement. Dorsett’s salary is about right for a gritty checking-line forward. Sbisa’s salary seems a tad high for a third-pairing blueliner, but he has logged big minutes and filled in where needed when injuries struck the Canucks’ lineup this season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have recalled goalie Laurent Brossoit and forward Curtis Hamilton on an emergency basis while Richard Bachman has been loaned to their Oklahoma City farm club.