Blues, Flames take care of business (Islanders ... do not)
For a while there, it seemed like the idle Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs would be Monday’s “winners.” That changed when the Carolina Hurricanes salvaged a standings point and the Tampa Bay Lightning stormed back to beat the Blackhawks.
Still, there were some teams who came through (beyond the Lightning) and those who fell flat, so let’s cover some of the results in short.
West teams get it done
Unlike their counterparts out East, West teams jockeying for position avoided “unforced errors” in losing to non-playoff teams.
The St. Louis Blues beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 while the Calgary Flames topped the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Johnny Gaudreau generated his 200th point (and 201st) in Calgary’s win, while Alex Steen generated four assists. (Vladimir Tarasenko also enjoyed a three-point night.)
This keeps the Blues and Flames in position to advance. St. Louis is one point behind the Nashville Predators for third in the Central while the Flames are a point behind both the Sharks and Oilers for second and third in the Pacific (while remaining in shouting distance of the division title).
East teams stumble, some get over it
Again, the Lightning fought through hurdles to win and the Hurricanes managed that “charity point.”
Overall, East teams struggled. The New York Islanders fell to the Predators by a score of 3-1. Your mileage may vary on the Florida Panthers’ chances, especially after they fell 4-2 to the Buffalo Sabres.
Brian Gionta scored in his 1,000th game as Buffalo won, by the way.
Here’s what the race for the final spot in the East looks like after tonight:
Final wild card: Bruins - 84 points in 75 games played
Lightning - 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders - 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes - 80 points in 74 GP