There were 11 games last night, so yadda yadda yadda, let us recap.
RANGERS 5, SENATORS 1
-- It's a technicality for these top teams, but the Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot for 2015, and no other team did so on Thursday. Plenty are close, though.
The big question is: how much of a blow did this loss place on Ottawa? May this eventually keep them from being the Rangers' first-round opponent?
Ottawa remains ahead of Boston for now, but the margin is slim.
-- Andrew Hammond was apparently hobbling around after being pulled for the first time in his ridiculous-yet-charming run. The writing seemed to be on the wall that he'd hit a roadblock at some point soon, so this isn't as big of a shock to those who've been noticing a few goals get by The Hamburglar in recent games.
I wouldn't count him out after one tough night, yet considering his lack of impressive stats elsewhere, I'd also beware of a lull.
-- Chris Kreider scored two goals to hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career. He's once again a great source of grit stats like PIM and hits to go along with solid (sometimes very good) offensive production.
DUCKS 3, BRUINS 2 (OT)
-- Rough one for the Bruins, who generated a 2-1 lead 27 seconds into the third period when Loui Eriksson scored on the power play. Corey Perry scored the (debated) tying goal with 39 seconds remaining - his 32nd of this season - while Ryan Getzlaf got the OT winner. Naturally.
-- The Ducks have been just flat-out ridiculous in close games and third periods. Maybe there are some traits that make them so good in these situations, yet I'd wager a lot of it is based on luck.
-- Ryan Spooner scored the Bruins' other goal, also on the power play. He now has 13 points in 21 games, including four in as many contests.
-- Frederik Andersen moved to 32-11-5 on the season. Things have been rocky lately, but he's delivered wonderfully considering where he was drafted ... in the cases where he was actually drafted.
-- David Krejci looked a little limited in his return, but he did still make some nice plays, including grabbing an assist. Solid stuff overall, I’d say.
COYOTES 4, SABRES 3 (OT)
-- Ah, a blooper bowl, and best yet ... there's another match between these two teams on Monday. I wonder if the fans will react in as fascinating ways in Arizona?
-- Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his 21st goal of the season, setting a new mark for Swedish defensemen. That's a pretty tough barrier for Erik Karlsson to aim for, but it could be fun to watch him chase OEL (who still has time to pour on).
-- No real surprise that Arizona generated a 42-35 SOG advantage, as I stand by Buffalo being among the worst teams in recent memory.
-- With a goal and an assist, Tyler Ennis has 42 points, one short of last season's total. He's two short on goals (19 now, 21 last season) and is also chasing his career-high of 49 from 2010-11.
KINGS 3, ISLANDERS 2
-- Johnny Boychuk has blown away career highs in goals (eight), assists (25) and points (33) this season, even in just 65 games. As much as that normally raises red flags - especially since he's already 31 - but this could be that rare moment when a guy gets promoted and proves that he deserved more reps. His eight goals have come on 173 SOG, making for a 4.6 shooting percentage that isn't outrageously higher than his 3.3 career average.
-- Anze Kopitar scored the game-winner, his 16th goal and 60th point of the season. This extends his point streak to five games: two goals, six assists for eight points.
-- Jonathan Quick is now on a three-game winning streak, improving his record to 33-19-12.
CAPITALS 3, DEVILS 2 (OT)
-- Braden Holtby has now won four of five games, giving him 36 wins. Forty certainly seems like a strong possibility for Washington's No. 1 guy.
-- Adam Larsson broke a four-game drought with an assist, his 22nd point. I think 2015-16 could be a breakthrough year for the 22-year-old.
HURRICANES 5, PENGUINS 2
-- It's plausible that Alexander Semin may have better days ahead (assuming he doesn't come to a wink-wink, Kovalchukian agreement with Carolina just to go the KHL), but the remarkable thing about his disastrous season is how infrequently he's using his ridiculous shot. What a bummer.
-- Excluding the pattern-killing 2012-13 season (when he scored 18 goals), Eric Staal has had at least 20 goals in every season since the 2005-06 campaign. He hit that mark with a goal and two assists. He has a good chance of matching 2012-13's 53 points - again, in 48 games - with 47 in 68 games this season. Easily his worst work since he scored 31 points as a rookie in 2003-04.
-- Not sure how many people are dealing with Christian Ehrhoff's headaches (sadly, in some ways literally), but it should be clear enough just to move on.
PANTHERS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 1
-- Brandon Pirri scored two more goals, giving him 20 tallies and two assists for 22 points. Wonderful. Naturally, the jokes don't land as much when you consider that he generated about a goal every other game (20 in 41).
-- Roberto Luongo stopped 24 out of 25 shots to improve his record to 26-17-11.
SHARKS 6, RED WINGS 4
-- Jimmy Howard only made it through one period of play, allowing three goals on 10 shots. Petr Mrazek actually took the loss, falling to 14-7-1. He's a legit threat to Howard, at least in these closing moments.
-- Danny DeKeyser collected two assists as his second full season (27 points) continues to build on 2013-14's 23-point output.
-- Big game for Patrick Marleau: two goals, one assist, +3 rating, two PIM and four SOG.
PREDATORS 3, LIGHTNING 2
-- Pekka Rinne deserves a lot of credit in this win, his 40th of the 2014-15 season. This is the second time he's reached the elusive 40-win plateau, and he has plenty of time to best his career-high of 43 victories in 2011-12 (when he needed 73 games to do so ... he's hit 40 in just 59 this season).
-- Nashville only fired 19 SOG versus 30 for Tampa Bay, with three of their 11 shots beating Ben Bishop before Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped the eight shots he saw in a quiet 31:41 TOI. Not sure how much of that was Tampa Bay dominating vs. Nashville easing off the gas, but Peter Laviolette would be wise to avoid the latter approach, even with a superb goalie like Rinne on his team.
-- More strong work from Vladislav Namestnikov, who has six points in 10 games in the month of March.
JETS 5, CANADIENS 2
-- Ondrej Pavelec is now on a six-game winning streak, and he was spectacular on Thursday, stopping 39 out of 41 shots. Earlier this season, I remarked that goalie results were so weird that I wouldn't be as shocked as usual if Pavelec turned things around. And now he's doing it.
(Puts hands up and shakes head.)
-- Brendan Gallagher has a goal in four straight games, bumping his season total to 23. He's nicely improving on last season's totals, although his feistiness hasn't converted as well as far as PIMs go (73 last season, 31 this year).
-- Dustin Byfuglien returned to action, scoring a goal but putting up modest peripherals.
-- Montreal generated almost as many SOG in the first period (20) as Winnipeg did in the entire game (22). Hmm.
AVALANCHE 4, CANUCKS 1
-- Is Ryan O'Reilly still available in your league? Really, great! Go add him. Right now. It's cool, I can wait.
-- Avalanche management, probably: "See, we were right about Reto Berra all along!"