Flyers get costly win over Red Wings…Sidney Crosby cleared for contact…Blues thump Blackhawks…Devils finally get to Henrik Lundqvist…Coyotes drop fourth straight…Looking to Joe Thornton to lead Sharks into the playoffs…Stars pursue Pacific Division title…Kings edge Predators…Duchene injured in Avs win….Bruins lose another player to injury…Lightning lose Garon, game…Capitals fall to Hurricanes….Karlsson fined.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, but it came at a cost, with Jakub Voracek knocked from the game by a big hit from Red Wings blueliner Niklas Kronwall, while Jaromir Jagr was forced to leave the game with a lower body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t appear that Kronwall intentionally targeted Voracek’s head, and there was no penalty on the play,but the league is expected to review the hit.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact, leading to speculation he could return to game action as early as Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby has said he doesn’t expect to be out much longer, which is a good sign, but Sunday as a return date isn’t set in stone. Don’t be surprised if his return comes later next week.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues snapped the Chicago Blackhawks win streak at 3, thumping the ‘Hawks 5-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Concerns over their offensive production and road record aside, the Blues will be a very tough opponent for whichever team is unfortunate enough to face them in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
NJ.COM: The Devils finally got to NY Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, scoring four times on route to a 4-1 win over the Blueshirts.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Phoenix Coyotes dropped their fourth straight, losing 3-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes were unbeaten in regulation in February, but this recent losing skid has knocked them out of first in the Pacific Division. They need to get back on track, as a playoff contender shouldn’t be losing twice to the lowly Blue Jackets.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars downed the Vancouver Canucks 5-2, pushing their recent record to 7-0-1 in their last eight games, as they push for the Pacific Division title.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Joe Nieuwendyk is being rewarded for not making any major moves at the trade deadline. Sometimes, the best trades you’ll make are the ones you don’t.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks are in danger of missing the playoffs, presenting a big challenge for captain Joe Thornton to rally his teammates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks do lack defensive grit at forward and defense, but this is a team too talented to be teetering on the brink. If they fail, it’ll only provide more ammunition to Thornton’s critics that he’s a poor leader who folds in the clutch.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Justin Williams scored twice as the Kings won their third straight, downing the Nashville Predators 5-4.
DENVER POST: Steve Downie has three assists in the Colorado Avalanche’s 7-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, but they also lost center Matt Duchene to a right ankle injury.
CSNNE.COM: The Bruins lost another player to injury, this time forward Benoit Pouliot, who was sidelined during their 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning lost goalie Mathieu Garon to injury, and lost to the Ottawa Senators 7-3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could push GM Steve Yzerman to look for a suitable replacement, perhaps via waivers, where Marty Turco is on waivers before he can join the Boston Bruins.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals rallied to force overtime against the Carolina Hurricanes, only to suffer another costly defeat.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson was fined $2,500.00 for slashing Florida Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim.