The Columbus Blue Jackets couldn’t have asked for a better off night. Though they missed an opportunity to reclaim a playoff spot on Friday when they suffered a 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday, two of the other key teams Columbus is chasing got crushed Friday night. The Anaheim Ducks earned an 8-2 win over Montreal while Carolina suffered an 8-1 loss to Winnipeg. The Canadiens and Hurricanes hold the two Wild Card spots and are still at 79 points while Columbus is just behind them at 77 points. Montreal is in the worst position of that trio with 69 games played compared to Columbus and Carolina’s 67.
As for the victors, this win pushed the Jets into first place in the Central Division. They only have a one-point edge over the Nashville Predators, but have played in two fewer games, so the Jets are in control of that situation. Anaheim is almost certainly going to miss the playoffs given that they’re 11 points behind in the Wild Card race, but at least their offense finally seems to be showing signs of life. The Ducks have struggled in that department for most of the season, but have scored 15 goals over their last three games. It might be too late for them to squeak into the postseason, but there’s at least potential for them to finish the season with something of a silver lining.
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FLORIDA 6 MINNESOTA 2
Aleksander Barkov assisted on five of Florida’s six goals. He’s up to 29 goals and 75 points in 68 contests this season.
Jonathan Huberdeau also came up big with a goal and three assists. He has 21 goals and 72 points in 68 games.
J.T. Brown had a goal and an assist for Minnesota. That gives him two goals and six points in 44 contests.
Sam Montembeault kicked out 25 of 27 shots Friday night. This was his second career game and first win.
WASHINGTON 3 NEW JERSEY 0
Braden Holtby stopped all 25 shots to earn the shutout. He’s won five consecutive games and has surrendered just eight goals over that span.
Blake Coleman had a team-high five shots against Holtby. He has 18 goals on 176 shots for a 10.2% success rate.
Andre Burakovsky scored the game-winning goal. It was his 11th goal and 23rd point in 62 games.
Nicklas Backstrom also found the back of the net for Washington. That gives him 17 goals and 64 points in 67 contests.
Mackenzie Blackwood saved 33 of 35 Capitals shots. He has a 2.23 GAA and .932 save percentage in 16 games, but despite those impressive numbers, his record is just 6-7-0.
WINNIPEG 8 CAROLINA 1
Most of the Jets got one or two points with Nikolaj Ehlers recording a team-high three points (a goal and two assists). That gives Ehlers 17 goals and 32 points in 47 contests.
Curtis McElhinney was in net for all eight goals, which were scored over 29 shots. He’s 17-8-2 with a 2.52 GAA and .914 save percentage in 27 starts.
Greg McKegg scored the Hurricanes’ lone goal. It was his sixth marker and 11th point in 27 games.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 28 of 29 Hurricanes shots. He improved to 12-5-2 with a 2.45 GAA and .929 save percentage in 19 contests.
ANAHEIM 8 MONTREAL 2
Troy Terry had the most points with a goal and two assists. This was his second straight three-point game, which gives the rookie four goals and 10 points in 22 contests.
John Gibson saved 35 of 37 Canadiens shots. He’s 19-21-8 with a 2.90 GAA and .915 save percentage in 50 games.
Shea Weber scored a goal and registered an assist for Montreal. The defenseman has 10 goals and 25 points in 44 games.
Carey Price surrendered all eight goals on 29 shots. He has a 28-20-5 record, 2.62 GAA, and .914 save percentage in 54 games this season.