The latest on the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Stars, Sharks, Rangers & Islanders, plus updates on Tyler Myers, Patrice Bergeron, Jordan Staal, Daniel Briere, Brooks Laich and more.

Brandon Saad celebrates his shootout winner over the Red Wings.

Brandon Saad celebrates his shootout winner over the Red Wings.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Chicago Blackhawks clinched the Central Division crown and swept their season series with the Detroit Red Wings by downing the latter 3-2 in a shootout.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Columbus Blue Jackets kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues, moving to within two points of the eighth overall Detroit Red Wings. The Jackets now embark on a crucial six-game road trip which will determine their fate this season.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars won their fourth straight game with a 5-2 victory over the fading Nashville Predators, finding themselves locked in a three-way tie for ninth overall in the Western Conference, two points back of the eighth overall Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When the Stars dealt away Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr before the trade deadline, it was seen as management waving the white flag on the season. Instead, it appears to have inspired the Stars, who remain very much in contention for a playoff berth.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The playoff chase between the NY Rangers and NY Islanders has breathed new life into a long-time rivalry which had grown stale through years of mediocrity by the Isles. The two clubs face off against each other tonight with the Islanders in seventh, two points up on the eighth overall Rangers, who have the Winnipeg Jets breathing down their necks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Screw Montreal vs Toronto tonight. The Habs have clinched a playoff berth and the Leafs will do so in the very near future. The game I wanna watch is  the Isles and Rangers, who are battling for their playoff lives. Shades of Game Five of the 1984 Patrick Division semis, I hope!

MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks have won eight of their last 10 games since trading away three of their veterans before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nah, those moves weren’t intended to send a message to the rest of the roster at all!

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers is out for the rest of the season with a broken bone in his leg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the cherry on the shit sundae for the Buffalo Sabres this season. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins top center Patrice Bergeron (concussion) traveled with the club on its recent road trip, but there’s no timetable as to his return.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal expected better of himself in his first season with the club.

PHILLY.COM: Daniel Briere (concussion) is expected back in the Flyers lineup when they take on the Sabres in Buffalo this afternoon.

WASHINGTON POST: It remains uncertain when Brooks Laich (lower body injury) could return to the Capitals lineup.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche will retire the number of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote in a ceremony next season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: With the recent NHL lockout fading into history and in the memories of NHL fans, NHLPA director Donald Fehr is happy to be out of the media spotlight.