The Washington Capitals clinch the Southeast Division title, the NY Islanders, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues clinch playoff berths, Dustin Brown could face supplemental discipline, updates on Todd Bertuzzi and James Neal and much more.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals clinched the Southeast Division and the third overall seed with a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, leaving the latter’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have completed an impressive comeback. Six weeks ago they were mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, and even I had written off their playoff chances. They’ve been the hottest team in the league since then, powered by Alexander Ovechkin’s offensive resurgence and their improved overall team play.
NEWSDAY: Though the New York Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout, they still clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some could be snarky about the Isles clinching despite losing in a shootout, but it’s their play prior to this game which put them into position to clinch a berth. They deserve it, and could be a tough first round opponent.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars, putting the latter on the brink of elimination from post-season contention.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars remain three points out of eighth overall. They’ll need the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings to stumble in their final games to have a shot.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, marking the first time the Blues have made the post-season in consecutive season since 2004.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild moved a step closer to clinching a playoff berth, downing the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Kings captain Dustin Brown could face supplemental discipline for elbowing Wild forward Jason Pominville in the head. Pominville didn’t return to the game.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers played spoiler by downing the NY Rangers 3-2, preventing the latter from clinching a playoff spot. The Rangers can still clinch a berth with a win on Thursday over the Carolina Hurricanes.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers honored Bostonians during last night’s game against the Bruins, then went on to beat the B’s 5-2.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Ryan Miller had a bounce-back game, Thomas Vanek had a three-point night and Steve Ott scored the winning goal as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. The Penguins did get some good news, as forward James Neal and defenseman Paul Martin may be on the verge of returning to the lineup.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Todd Bertuzzi could return to the Red Wings lineup for tonight’s game against the LA Kings.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed Matt Calvert to a two-year, $1.975 million contract extension, while the Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Mathieu Roy for the remainder of this season.