All 30 teams played yesterday and for all but four of them, those contests served as their season finale. That's a lot of ground to cover, so I'm not going to waste much time before getting into it, but I do want to first say that Corey Abbott and myself are going to be putting out series-by-series playoff previews. I'll have the first half of it - the Western Conference series - up on Monday while Corey will publish the second half the following day.
So please keep an eye out for our in-depth playoff coverage, but for now let's focus on what happened Saturday...
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SENATORS 6 BRUINS 1
The bad news started for Boston before this contest even began as Tuukka Rask was a late scratch due to an illness. Jonas Gustavsson played between the pipes instead for Boston and stopped just 24 of 30 shots.
Because the Philadelphia Flyers also won yesterday, Boston has been eliminated from the playoffs. The Bruins missed by the smallest of margins as they were tied with Detroit for the third seed in the Atlantic Division, but the Red Wings won on the strength of the tiebreaker ROW by a single regulation/overtime win.
Ottawa forward Zack Smith netted two goals, including the game-winner. With that he finished the season with 25 goals - or 11 more than his previous career-high.
David Pastrnak scored Boston's only goal and even that one was questionable. Ottawa challenged the goal on the grounds that Pastrnak was offside and he very well might have been, but the footage was inconclusive so the ruling on the ice stood.
Andrew Hammond turned aside 39 of 40 shots. He finished the campaign with a 2.65 GAA and .914 save percentage in 24 games. Obviously that's a substantial downgrade from his magical 2014-15 campaign, but it wasn't a bad campaign based on what you would expect from a backup goaltender with a $1.35 million cap hit.
RANGERS 3 RED WINGS 2
It might not be under ideal circumstances given Saturday's defeat, but because Boston lost Saturday as well, Detroit will make the playoffs with the third seed in the Atlantic Division. As stated above, the two teams were tied in points, but the Red Wings controlled the tiebreaker. Detroit has now advanced to the postseason in 25 consecutive seasons, which ties the St. Louis Blues as the third longest streak of all-time.
On the Rangers side, this win pushed them into the third seed in the Metropolitan Division, up from the first Wild Card spot. The Islanders now control that Wild Card spot, but they can pass the Rangers again with a win against Philadelphia on Sunday. The first Wild Card seed will play against the Florida Panthers in the first round while the third Metropolitan Division seed will face the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Rangers forward Eric Staal left the contest after teammate Jesper Fast appeared to accidentally make contact with Staal's head. The Rangers called it a precautionary measure, so Staal might be fine for the playoffs.
Backup Antti Raanta got the start for New York and turned aside 31 of 33 shots. He finished the campaign with a 2.24 GAA and .919 save percentage in 25 games.
Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader scored at 18:26 of the third period, but it proved to be too little, too late. It was his 19th goal and 42nd point in 82 contests.
FLYERS 3 PENGUINS 1
This game was statistically meaningless to Pittsburgh, but with a victory Philadelphia secured the second Wild Card spot and eliminated the Boston Bruins in the process.
On top of that, Pittsburgh lost goalie Matt Murray in the first period after Flyers forward Brayden Schenn crashed into him. The Penguins were already without Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), so Jeff Zatkoff had to step in. To Zatkoff's credit, he stopped a respectable 22 of 24 shots.
Nick Bonino scored the Penguins' lone goal. He finished the campaign with nine markers and 29 points in 63 contests.
Wayne Simmonds was the hero for Philadelphia with two goals, including the game winner. He had 32 goals and 60 points in 81 contests in 2015-16.
DUCKS 5 AVALANCHE 3
Semyon Varlamov allowed five goals on 31 shots. That closes out a rough campaign for him where he posted a 2.81 GAA and .914 save percentage in 57 starts.
Ducks forward Corey Perry registered three assists on Saturday. He had 33 goals and 61 points in 81 games.
Jakob Silfverberg also had a big game for Anaheim with two goals. Thanks to that showing, he's reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his career.
Jarome Iginla found the back of the net on Saturday, giving him 22 goals and 47 points in 82 games. It was also Iginla's 611 career goal, which puts him in sole possession of 16th place on the all-time list, ahead of Bobby Hull. Next up is Joe Sakic, who had 625 career goals.
Ryan Kesler assisted on two of the Ducks' five goals. He finished the regular season with 21 goals and 53 points in 79 contests.
FLAMES 2 WILD 1
Minnesota's Zac Dalpe, playing in just his second career game scored his first career goal at 13:00 of the second period.
Minnesota held the lead until midway through the third period when Brandon Bollig and Patrick Sieloff each found the back of the net just 31 seconds apart. Sieloff was making his NHL debut while it was just Bollig's second goal of the season.
While Minnesota will make the playoffs regardless, the Wild have lost their last five contests. A slump like that is far from ideal going into their first round series against the Western Conference's top seeded Dallas Stars.
Former Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom got the nod for Calgary and turned aside 35 of 36 shots. After the contest the 38-year-old didn't announce his retirement, but he did show some emotion as he told Postmedia's Wes Gilbertson, “If this is the end, it’s a great way, but we’ll see what happens.”
At the other end of the ice, Darcy Kuemper and Devan Dubnyk split the goaltending duties, not because either got hurt or due to poor play - it's simply how the Wild wanted to divide up the final regular season game. Dubnyk stopped all six shots he faced while Kuemper kicked out 17 of 19.
CANADIENS 5 LIGHTNING 2
The Lightning got more bad news yesterday on the injury front. With Steven Stamkos (blood clot) already sidelined, Tampa Bay lost forward Tyler Johnson as well in the first period of Saturday's contest. Johnson might have hurt his forward after Greg Pateryn smashed him into the end boards and it's not clear if he'll be available for Game 1 of the first round.
Alex Galchenyuk finished his season on a high note by scoring two goals and registering an assist. The Canadiens forward had 30 goals and 56 points in 82 games.
Montreal's Max Pacioretty also scored two goals and had an assist on Saturday. He finished with 30 goals and 64 points in 82 games this season, making him and Galchenyuk the only two Canadiens to reach the 30-marker milestone.
Backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy got the start for Tampa Bay and turned aside 24 of 28 shots. He hasn't won a game since Feb. 29.
Jonathan Drouin found the back of the net for the second straight game. He was summoned by the Lightning recently after a controversial campaign that involved Drouin demanding a trade and being temporarily suspended for failing to play with the Lightning's AHL affiliate.
PANTHERS 5 HURRICANES 2
Roberto Luongo turned aside 26 of 28 shots. He posted a 2.35 GAA and .922 save percentage in the regular season and will enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak.
Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen had a goal and an assist. That allowed him to reach the 60-point milestone for the second time in his career (the first was his 65-point showing in 2009-10).
Carolina's Elias Lindholm also scored a goal and registered an assist. He finished 2015-16 with 11 goals and 39 points in 82 games, which matched his 2014-15 sophomore showing in terms of total points.
Rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin registered an assist for Carolina. The 19-year-old finished the season with four goals and 22 points in 79 games.
Aaron Ekblad netted the game-winning goal. He had 15 markers and 36 points in 78 contests.
DEVILS 5 MAPLE LEAFS 1
Toronto has finished the 2015-16 campaign in the NHL basement with a 29-42-11 record. While that doesn't guarantee the Maple Leafs the first pick in the 2016 draft, they do have the best odds going into the lottery.
If this was 39-year-old forward Patrik Elias' final NHL game, he certainly made it a memorable one. After being unable to play for most of the season, Elias scored a goal and registered two assists on Saturday.
On the other end of the spectrum, 19-year-old forward Pavel Zacha made his NHL debut with the Devils. He registered two assists.
Elias and Zacha both assisted on Kyle Palmieri's 30th goal of the 2015-16 campaign. Going into this season, Palmieri had never scored more than 14 goals in a single season. Palmieri also registered 27 assists over the course of the regular season.
Maple Leafs forward P. A. Parenteau found the back of the net on Saturday. He finished the season with 20 goals and 41 points in 77 contests.
BLUE JACKETS 5 BLACKHAWKS 4 (OT)
Although it's been a foregone conclusion for a while now, Patrick Kane has become the first American-born Art Ross Trophy winner. Granted there are still two games on Sunday, but the closest player with a game left is Evgeny Kuznetsov - and Kuznetsov is 29 points behind Kane. The Blackhawks forward had two goals and an assist to bring him up to 46 markers and 106 points in 2015-16.
Scott Hartnell was the hero last night though with two goals and two assists, including the overtime-winning marker. Those goals were Hartnell's 300th and 301st of his career.
Former Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad also found the back of the net and will consequently finish the season on a three-game goal scoring streak. He had 31 goals and 53 points in 78 contests this season.
Artemi Panarin had two goals and an assist, so the Blackhawks rookie will finish the campaign with a stunning 30 goals and 77 points in 80 games. Among rookie since the start of the salary cap era, Panarin ranks fifth in terms of total points, just behind Paul Stastny (78 points in 2006-07).
Columbus' Alexander Wennberg had a goal and two assists. He wrapped up 2015-16 with eight goals and 40 points in 69 games.
SABRES 4 ISLANDERS 3 (OT)
Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark turned aside 21 of 24 shots to end his rookie campaign on a three-game winning streak. He had an 8-10-2 record, 2.60 GAA, and .930 save percentage in 20 contests.
Brian Gionta scored two goals, including the game winner. He had 12 goals and 33 points in 79 contests.
John Tavares tied the game in the third period, allowing the Islanders to at least get a consolation point out of this one. He has 33 goals and 70 points in 78 contests.
Christopher Gibson made just his second career start in his third NHL game overall. He saved 22 of 26 shots, giving him a 3.12 GAA and .893 save percentage this season.
Evan Rodrigues had a goal and an assist in his second career NHL game. He was held off the scoresheet in his debut on Friday.
CAPITALS 5 BLUES 1
Vladimir Tarasenko netted the Blues' lone goal. It was his 40th marker of the 2015-16 campaign and it means he'll be taking an eight-game scoring streak into the playoffs.
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo extended his own five-game point streak with an assist on Tarasenko's marker. He had seven goals and 37 points in 73 contests.
Nicklas Backstrom registered three assists for Washington Saturday night. He has 20 goals and 70 points in 75 games in 2015-16.
STARS 3 PREDATORS 2
With this victory, Dallas captured the top spot in the Western Conference. The Stars 50-23-9 regular season record was second only to the Washington Capitals.
Jason Spezza led the charge for the Stars with a hat trick. His 33 goals this season was one short of his career-high of 34 - a mark which he's reached three times (2006-07, 2007-08, and 2011-12).
Predators goalie Carter Hutton stopped 21 of 24 shots. He had a 2.33 GAA and .918 save percentage in 17 contests in 2015-16.
Calle Jarnkrok found the back of the net for Nashville. That closes the book on his 16-goal and 30-point campaign.
CANUCKS 4 OILERS 3 (SO)
It wouldn't be surprising to see Nail Yakupov traded this summer, but if this is the end of his Oilers' career, he finished it on a high note. He had four points in his last four games, including two assists on Saturday. That still only gives him 23 points in 60 contests though.
Vancouver's Emerson Etem found the back of the net to extend his point streak to five games. Like Yakupov, Etem's hot finish is in contrast to his overall production as Etem finished with seven goals and 15 points in 58 contests.
Jacob Markstrom kicked out 35 of 38 Oilers shots. He posted a 2.73 GAA and .915 save percentage in 33 games this season.
Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski registered two assists. He had six goals and 18 points in 80 contests.
Patrick Maroon netted a goal for the Oilers. He had eight markers and 14 points in 16 contests with Edmonton after recording 13 points in 56 games with Anaheim.
JETS 4 KINGS 3 (SO)
Winnipeg rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to cost Los Angeles a potentially important point. While the Kings have closed out their season with 102 points in 82 contests, Anaheim still has a game left and is only one point behind in the battle for the Pacific Division title.
Tyler Toffoli found the back of the net as he's only been held off the scoresheet once in his last five games. He closed out the season with 31 goals and 58 points in 82 contests.
Jets forward Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist. He set a new career-high this season with 78 points in 82 games.
Nikolaj Ehlers also had a goal and an assist last night. He finished his rookie campaign with 15 goals and 38 points in 72 contests.
Mark Scheifele registered an assist to finish the season with a 10-game point streak. He had 29 goals and 61 points in 71 contests.
SHARKS 1 COYOTES 0
James Reimer has been breathing down Martin Jones neck in the battle to become the Sharks' top playoff goaltender. Jones did all he could last night to push himself into that role as he turned aside all 20 Coyotes shots to earn his sixth shutout of 2015-16.
Mike Smith was significantly busier, turning aside 31 of 32 shots. He finished 2015-16 with a 2.63 GAA and .916 save percentage in 32 starts.
Joe Pavelski scored the lone goal. He finished the season with 38 markers and 78 points in 82 contests.
Joe Thornton got an assist to extend his point streak to seven games. He had 19 goals and 82 points in 82 games.
San Jose finished the campaign with the third seed in the Pacific Division and will face either Los Angeles or Anaheim, depending on the outcome of today's game between the Ducks and Capitals.