Recaps of the Lightning-Sabres, Rangers-Flyers and Islanders-Capitals games, plus the latest on Mike Smith, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jonas Gustavsson and more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Paul Holmgren claims his club isn’t giving up on a playoff berth, but they’re now 14th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of eighth overall and on a three-game losing skid. If they don’t string some wins together soon, their season is done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The win allowed the Islanders to remain two points behind the Rangers, who currently sit eighth overall in the East.
TAMPA BAY TIMES/BUFFALO NEWS: Goals by Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, snapping their 3-game losing skid. Sabres star Thomas Vanek left the game in the third period with an apparent hip injury and will be re-evaluated today.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The Phoenix Coyotes have placed goaltender Mike Smith on injured reserve retroactive to March 21 for an upper body injury, though it’s believed he could come off the list by this Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll need him back soon if they hope to salvage their fading playoff hopes.
NJ.COM: There’s an outside chance forward Alexei Ponikarovsky (lower body injury) could rejoin the New Jersey Devils later this week.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Backup Jonas Gustavsson has been a monster for the Detroit Red Wings.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher isn’t feeling pressured to extend the contracts of RFAs Cal Clutterbuck or Jared Spurgeon before the Apirl 3 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why should he? They’re restricted free agents, so Fletcher’s under no pressure to re-sign them, plus the Wild are playing very well and are in good shape to clinch their first playoff berth in five years.