Some notes from around the league include Johnny Gaudreau not being available for Monday’s game in Los Angeles as he has gone home to attend to a family matter…the Rangers recalled their two first round picks this season as Lias Andersson, the seventh overall selection as well as Filip Chytil, 21st overall, will see action the rest of the way. The Rangers have seven games remaining so both -will not hit the 10 game mark for using up a year on their entry-level contract…Toby Enstrom looks to be gone for the regular season with a lower body injury but should be back for the playoffs.
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PITTSBURGH 5 PHILADELPHIA 4 (Overtime)
The battle of Pennsylvania went into overtime where Bryan Rust scored the winner as he deflected a Sidney Crosby pass past Petr Mrazek to give the Penguins a 5-4 win and moved closer to clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Matt Murray stopped 41 shots as the Flyers outshot Pittsburgh 45-32. Murray won his 24th of the season. He has not had the type of season that most thought he would have as his GAA is 2.88 while his save percentage is .908. Those are well-below average in the NHL and if he has been your goalie this season, your fantasy team has suffered.
Jordan Weal led the way for the Flyers with a goal and two assists with Sean Couturier and defensemen Travis Sanheim and Brandon Manning also finding the back of the net. It was only Sanheim’s second goal of the campaign. Shayne Gostisbehere had a pair of assists for Philadelphia who are first in the wild card and six points ahead of ninth place Florida. The Panthers do have three games in hand.
Alex Lyon started the game for the Flyers but was pulled only 2:37 into the second period after giving up three goals on only 11 shots. Mrazek came in and stopped 19-of-21 shots to take the overtime loss.
VANCOUVER 4 DALLAS 1
It looked for a good portion of the season that the Dallas Stars were going to return to the playoffs after last season’s aberration. But it appears that last season was not an aberration as they have lost eight straight games and are five points out of the final wild card with only six games left.
Lowly Vancouver came to town with only 61 points, tied for second last overall in the NHL, but the Canucks spanked the Stars by the tune of 4-1, putting another nail in the coffin of the Stars.
Dallas actually jumped out into the lead as Mattias Janmark scored his 19th of the season on a shorthanded effort. But just 30 seconds later, Reid Boucher scored his third of the season on the power play. All three of Boucher’s goals have come against the Stars.
The Canucks took a 2-1 lead after the second as Nic Dowd scored on the power play while Jake Virtanen and Tyler Motte completed the scoring in the third. All four Vancouver goals were scored by players who have yet to hit double digits in goal scoring as it was Dowd’s third, Virtanen’s ninth and Motte’s fourth of the season.
Jacob Markstrom picked up the rare win as he stopped 30-of-31 shots for his 20th win of the season.
Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves on only 26 shots for the loss.
Jussi Jokinen had a pair of assists for Vancouver.
WINNIPEG 5 NASHVILLE 4 (Shootout)
Mark Scheifele scored the only goal of the shootout as the Winnipeg Jets clinched a playoff spot and defeated their chief divisional rival, the Nashville Predators 5-4.
Rookie Kyle Connor led the way for the Jets with a goal and two assists to give him 29 goals and 50 points. The 29 goals are tied for the rookie lead with the injured Brock Boeser and Boeser will not return this season.
BOSTON 2 MINNESOTA 1 (Overtime)
Brad Marchand scored the overtime winner and had an assist to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over Minnesota. The win gives the Bruins 104 points, two behind Tampa Bay with a game in hand. The Lightning have 45 regulation and overtime wins while Boston has 44.
The Bruins welcomed the return of Patrice Bergeron to the lineup and he celebrated by setting up both goals including David Pastrnak’s 30th goal of the season. Bergeron missed 13 games with a fractured foot.
Torey Krug also returned to the lineup and picked up his 40th assist of the season. He missed a couple of games with an upper body injury and was on the ice for both Boston goals.
Alex Stalock made 26 saves in taking the loss.
ANAHEIM 5 EDMONTON 4 (Overtime)
Hampus Lindholm’s 12th goal of the season was the overtime winner as the Anaheim Ducks moved two points up on their cross-town rivals in the race for third in the Pacific, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-4.
Adam Henrique’s second of the game with only 1:29 left in the third period tied the game at four and sent it into overtime.
Corey Perry had a goal and an assist for Anaheim while Josh Manson also scored for the Ducks.
Ethan Bear picked up his first NHL goal and it looked to be the winner until Henrique tied things up. Bear scored on the power play (it was a rare man-advantage goal for the worst power play in the NHL) on a gorgeous pass from Connor McDavid (what else is new).
McDavid had his usual big night with a goal and two assists to give him 99 points, including 39 goals and 60 assists. It was his 24th goal in the last 27 games as McDavid has thrusted himself to the top of the scoring race and has a four point lead over Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning.