Canadiens clinch home ice advantage, the Jets are eliminated from post-season contention, the Senators clinch a playoff berth and more.
MONTREAL GAZETTE/WINNIPEG SUN: The Montreal Canadiens clinched home ice advantage in the upcoming playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, who were eliminated from post-season contention when the NY Rangers and Ottawa Senators won their respective games last night.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are still jockeying with the Boston Bruins for first in the Northeast Division, as the loser will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs. As for the Jets, it’s a heartbreaking finish to this season, which could spur management to be quite active in the off-season bolstering the lineup.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Sergei Gonchar’s overtime goal lifted the Senators to a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals, clinching a playoff berth for the injury-ravaged Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether or not you’re a Senators fan, you have to respect overcoming the loss of Erik Karlsson (who returned to the lineup last night), Jason Spezza, Craig Anderson, Milan Michalek and Jared Cowen (among others) to clinch a playoff berth. Long-term injuries to that many key players is usually the kiss of death for an NHL team. It’s a testament to the coaching of Paul MacLean, the leadership of veterans like captain Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil, and their depth in young talent that the Senators overcame those obstacles to make the playoffs.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers improves their chances of finishing fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Anaheim Ducks downed the Canucks 3-1 in a listless affair between two clubs which have already clinched playoff berths.
CALGARY HERALD: The Flames fell to the St Louis Blues 4-1.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers rookie defenseman Justin Schultz’s plus-minus is among the worst in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not fully Schultz’s fault. Yes, he’s an NHL rookie and is adjusting to the big league level of play, but the Oilers overall defensive play wasn’t that good.