Game recaps, Kings eliminated from playoff contention, Blues clinch Central Division, Islanders reach the playoffs and more.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Los Angeles Kings won’t get the opportunity to defend their Stanley Cup championship in the playoffs. They were eliminated from postseason contention with a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Kings are the first defending Cup champion to be eliminated from playoff participation since the 2007 Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: More details on the Flames victory, as well as recaps of other NHL games involving Canadian teams, can be found in “Canadian Corner.”
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues clinched the Central Division by hanging on for a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jake Allen made 21 saves while Dmitrij Jaskins and Paul Stastny tallied for the Blues.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers doubled up the Boston Bruins 4-2, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the Bruins playoff hopes. The Bruins are now one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and two behind the Ottawa Senators for the wild-card berths in the Eastern Conference. Former Bruin Jaromir Jagr collected two assists in the Panthers win.
SPECTORS NOTE: As per the Boston Globe, the Bruins “must win Game No. 82 on Saturday against Tampa Bay and have Ottawa, the hottest team in the league, lose in regulation on Saturday against Philadelphia. They could also get in if they get a point against the Lightning and have Pittsburgh lose or manage just one point in their final two games against the Islanders and Buffalo. The odds of all this taking place are not in Boston’s favor.”
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Lightning tied a franchise record for points (106) with a 4-3 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils. Tyler Johnston scored twice, including the game winner.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild reached 100 points as goalie Darcy Kuemper, appearing in his first game since mid-January, backstopped his club to a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier fought twice with Hurricanes defenseman Keegan Lowe (son of former NHL blueliner and Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe), but Lecavalier may have suffered a concussion as he missed the third period.
NEWSDAY: With the Florida Panthers defeating the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders clinched a playoff berth.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin believes teamwork will help his struggling club secure a postseason spot.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Devils center Travis Zajac is feeling the criticism from fans and pundits over another disappointing season.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Tyler Ennis is adjusting to playing on the wing.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Veteran Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan isn’t ready to retire yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to GJ Berg for the link.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards could set the franchise record for coaching wins if his club defeats the Buffalo Sabres tonight. Richards is currently tied with Ken Hitchcock at 125 victories.