Oilers down the Ducks, Canadiens shooting for playoff home-ice advantage, Senators playing for pride, examining what went wrong for the Leafs, the Canucks woeful power play, plus the latest on Evander Kane and Sean Monahan.
EDMONTON SUN: Taylor Hall had a three-point performance and Viktor Fasth made 34 saves as the Oilers downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall has 77 points in 72 games this season, among the few positives in this miserable season for the Oilers.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens are shooting for home-ice advantage in the upcoming playoffs. Sitting second in the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens have opened a four-point lead over the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning.
OTTAWA SUN: Though making the playoffs is a long shot for the Senators, they’re playing for pride in their remaining games in this season.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle breaks down what’s gone wrong for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Among the factors: not adequately replacing puck-possession players like Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski last summer, a weak fourth line, and failing to do more to bolster the defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recommend all Leafs fans read Mirtle’s analysis on the Leafs woes this season. His assessment is spot-on. It’s up to Leafs management to address the problems this summer or expect more of the same next season. Puck possession rules in today’s NHL game and the Leafs simply aren’t a good possession team.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma believes the Canucks inept power play killed their season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a significant factor but not the main one. What killed the Canucks season was lack of quality scoring depth. When their best forwards were hampered or sidelined by injuries, their losses mounted.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Gary Lawless believes Jets coach Paul Maurice was sending a message to his team by making Evander Kane a healthy scratch for Saturday’s Jets-Maple Leafs game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That message will be lost if Maurice doesn’t return as coach next season.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames rookie Sean Monahan returns to New Jersey for the first time since he was drafted by the Flames last summer. The 2013 NHL Draft was held in Newark.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite injury and some adjustment to the NHL game, Monahan had a strong debut for the Flames, with 20 goals and 32 points in 71 games this season.