Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/30/14 at 09:51 AM ET
BRUINS CLINCH ATLANTIC DIVISION, CONTINUE ROAD DOMINANCE
The Bruins officially clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 4-2 win over the Capitals, becoming the first team to clinch a division this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the victory also extended Boston’s road point streak to 15 games (12-0-3), matching the franchise record set during the 1940-41 season (9-0-6). Their last regulation road loss was Jan. 9 in Los Angeles.
* The win was Boston's eighth consecutive victory away from TD Garden, tying the longest road winning streak in club history - first established in 1971-72 and again in 1992-93. The Bruins also improved to 16-5-0 versus Metropolitan Division opponents this season.
* Jarome Iginla scored his team-leading 29th and 30th goals of the campaign, including his eighth game-winner. Iginla has tallied at least 30 goals 12 times during his 17-season NHL career. He now has 11-1--12 in his past 11 games and is tied with Guy Lafleur for 24th on the all-time goals list with 560. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, at age 36 years, 271 days Iginla became the fourth-oldest player in League history to score at least 30 goals during his first season with a team joining: Brett Hull (2001-02 Red Wings), Mike Gartner (1996-97 Coyotes) and Dino Ciccarelli (1996-97 Lightning) who were all were 37 years old at the time they scored their 30th goal.
* Patrice Bergeron (1-1--2) netted his 26th goal of the season, extending his point streak to seven games (7-3--10). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bergeron is the first Bruins player to score in six consecutive games since Phil Kessel netted seven goals in six games from Nov. 26 to Dec. 8, 2008.
* Six Bruins players rank among the top 10 plus-minus ratings in the League, including the top four spots:
BEST PLUS-MINUS RATING, LEAGUE
1. Patrice Bergeron: +37
2. David Krejci: +36
3. Jarome Iginla: +34
4. Johnny Boychuk: +33
8. Brad Marchand: +29
T-9. Milan Lucic: +28
VARLAMOV BACKSTOPS AVALANCHE TO PLAYOFF BERTH
Semyon Varlamov made a season-high 47 saves, including 20 stops with the Avalanche leading 3-2 in the third period, to help Colorado clinch its first playoff spot since 2009-10 with a victory over San Jose.
* The Avalanche (47-21-6, 100 points) leapfrogged the idle Blackhawks (42-18-15, 99 points) into second in the Central Division and reached the 100-point plateau for the seventh time in franchise history. Colorado has hit the century mark six times since moving to Denver in 1995, most recently in 2003-04.
* The Avalanche were outshot by the Sharks 49-22, including a 29-14 mark after two periods, improving their League-best record in such games to 33-7-3.
* The victory was Varlamov’s League-leading 37th of the season, putting him three wins shy of Patrick Roy’s franchise record (40 in 2000-01). He improved to 7-1-1 this season when facing 40 or more shots. His 20 saves in the third match his highest single-period total of the season; he also made 20 saves on 21 shots in the second period on Mar. 16 at Ottawa.
IDLE BLACKHAWKS ALSO CLINCH
Chicago (idle) became the fifth Western Conference team to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by virtue of Minnesota's victory over Phoenix.
JOHANSEN LIFTS BLUE JACKETS TO OVERTIME WIN
Ryan Johansen scored his first career overtime goal, his team-leading 30th tally of the season, lifting the Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. Columbus (38-30-6, 82 points) remains tied with Detroit (34-26-14, 82 points) but maintain the first Wild Card position based on the ROW tiebreaker (CBJ: 33, DET: 29). Both teams are two points clear of Washington and Toronto in the Wild Card race.
* Johansen is the third player in franchise history to reach the 30-goal plateau, joining Rick Nash (seven times) and Geoff Sanderson (two times), and at the age of 21, Johansen is the youngest player in the League with at least 30 goals this season.
* James Wisniewski assisted on Johansen’s overtime winner, extending his assist streak to three games (0-5--5). With his next point, Wisniewski (6-38--44) will tie Jaroslav Spacek for the single-season record for points by a defenseman (45). He broke Spacek’s single-season record for assists by a defenseman with his helper Friday in Pittsburgh.
* Columbus improved to 8-2-0 in their past 10 contests against Carolina. Saturday’s game was the first time in 18 all-time meetings that the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets had a game go past regulation.
HELM'S HAT TRICK POWERS RED WINGS
Darren Helm scored his first career hat trick and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves as the Red Wings snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win against the Maple Leafs. Helm’s goals were his first since netting two on Nov. 29 against the Islanders. The loss extended Toronto’s skid to eight games, their longest regulation losing streak since 1985.
* Gustav Nyquist scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season, extending his career-high point streak to eight games (10-2--12). He leads the League with 21 goals since Jan. 20 (26 games).
DUCKS REGAIN PACIFIC DIVISION LEAD
Four different Anaheim players had multi-point efforts as the Ducks set a franchise record with their 23rd road win of the season, a 5-1 decision in Vancouver. The Ducks also matched a franchise record with their 48th win of the season, equaling a mark set in 2006-07, the year they won their only Stanley Cup.
* The Ducks (48-18-8, 104 points), who have two games in hand on San Jose, leapfrogged the Sharks (47-20-9, 103 points) into first in the Pacific Division.
* Anaheim has won five straight head-to-head match-ups with Vancouver, including all four games this season, outscoring the Canucks 24-5 in those contests. This marks Anaheim’s longest winning streak in head-to-head match-ups versus the Canucks and the first time they have defeated Vancouver four times in one season.
* Corey Perry scored his team-leading 38th goal of the season, tying him with San Jose’s Joe Pavelski for second in the League.
* Mathieu Perreault scored his 18th goal of the season, extending his point streak eight games (6-3--9). Patrick Maroon (2-4--6) and Sami Vatanen (0-5--5) each extended their point streaks to four games.
PRICE AND PACIORETTY LEAD HABS IN FLORIDA
Carey Price stopped 36 of 37 pucks he faced and Max Pacioretty established a new career-high with his 34th and 35th goals of the season, as Montreal jumped to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory in Florida.
* Pacioretty extended his goal streak to three games (4-1--5), with his first tally standing as his 10th winner of the season to take over the League-lead in that category. He is the first Canadiens player to reach double-digits in winning goals since Vincent Damphousse scored 10 in 1993-94.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pacioretty is the fifth Canadiens player since 1994-95 to score 35 or more goals in a season; he joins Pierre Turgeon and Vincent Damphousse who each scored 38 goals in 1995-96 as well as Alex Kovalev (35, 2007-08) and Erik Cole (35, 2011-12).
* With the victory, Montreal (43-26-7, 93 points) maintained their two-point lead on Tampa Bay (41-24-9, 91 points) for second in the Atlantic Division.
* Thomas Vanek (1-1--2) posted his second consecutive multi-point game to extend his point streak to three games (2-4--6). He now has 21-11--32 in 33 career games versus Florida.
STAMKOS WINS IT IN OT
With Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop off the ice for a delayed penalty, Steven Stamkos sent an errant pass into his own net to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead at 8:14 of the third period. The Lightning captain amended his own-goal with an assist on Ryan Callahan’s power-play goal less than two minutes later and scored his second of the game at 1:53 of overtime, giving Tampa Bay a 4-3 victory in Buffalo.
* Stamkos now has 10-12--22 in 23 career games versus Buffalo.
* The Lightning extended their point streak to 11 games (7-0-4), with nine of those games decided by one goal.
* Valtteri Filppula assisted on Stamkos’ winner, extending his career-high point streak to 11 games (4-11--15). With Tyler Seguin’s point streak ending at 11 games in Dallas' win, Filppula now holds the longest active point streak in the NHL.
WILD COMEBACK IN PHOENIX
Phoenix held a 1-0 lead through the balance of the game but Zach Parise tied the score at 8:03 of the third, sparking the Wild to a 3-1 victory at Jobing.com Arena. Parise added his 27th goal of the season into the empty net, tying Jason Pominville for the team lead.
* The win gives Minnesota (38-26-11, 87 points) a three-point lead over Phoenix (36-27-12, 84 points) for the first Western Conference Wild Card spot. The Coyotes hold the second Wild Card position, one point ahead of the Stars with a game in hand.
* Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix’s all-time wins leader 130) improved to 3-0-2 with Minnesota and 10-3-1 in 15 career starts against his former team.
* Wild captain Mikko Koivu assisted on both Parise goals, extending his point streak to five games (1-6--7).
STARS INCH CLOSER TO WILD CARD
Colton Sceviour tallied his second straight multi-point game - his first career two-goal performance - and Kari Lehtonen made 33 saves to spark the Stars to a 4-2 win in St. Louis.
* Dallas (36-27-11, 83 points) moved within one point of Phoenix for the second Western Conference Wild Card spot (36-27-12, 84 points).
* Stars coach Lindy Ruff was behind the bench for his 1,239th game as a NHL head coach, tying Bryan Murray for 10th on the all-time list.
Islanders forward Frans Nielsen scored his 23rd goal of the season and netted the game-deciding goal in the shootout. It was the 15th time in Nielsen’s career that he scored a shootout deciding goal, tying him with Sidney Crosby for the all-time lead. . . Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 32 saves in his 100th NHL game. Teammate Troy Brouwer recorded his 100th NHL assist. . . San Jose’s Dan Boyle (2-2--4) and Joe Pavelski (4-2--6) each scored, extending their point streaks to four and three games, respectively. . . Buffalo’s Cody Hodgson scored his first goal since Mar. 6, also against Tampa Bay. He now has 4-6--10 in nine career games versus the Lightning. . . Blues forward Alexander Steen scored twice in his 600th NHL game, extending his point streak to four games (3-4--7). . . Dallas forward Vernon Fiddler recorded his 200th NHL point with an assist on the Stars’ second goal. . . The Kings have won six straight games and 14 of their past 17 contests. . . Anze Kopitar scored twice and now has 8-11--19 in his past 18 games. . . Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle played in his 100th career game in the same rink where he made his NHL debut last season. . . Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner tallied two assists, extending his assist streak to four games (0-6--6).
SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Boston @ Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m., NBC
Calgary @ Ottawa, 5:00 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-E, TVA
Tampa Bay @ Detroit, 5:00 p.m., SUN, FS-D
Chicago @ Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m., RDS2, NBCSN
Washington @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., CSN-DC, FS-TN
NY Rangers @ Edmonton, 8:00 p.m., TSN, MSG-PLUS
RED HOT BOSTON VISITS PHILADELPHIA
The Philadelphia Flyers (39-27-7, 85 points), who sit one point behind the NY Rangers for second in the Metropolitan, will face the red-hot Boston Bruins (51-17-6, 108 points) who have not lost in regulation on the road in 15 games (since Jan. 9).
SOLDIER FIELD REMATCH
Chicago and Pittsburgh face-off for the second time this season with both teams in need of some momentum heading into the playoffs – both teams are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. Their first game of the season was on Mar. 1 at Soldier Field in the final installment of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The Blackhawks won the first-ever regular-season tilt between captains Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby, 5-1, despite heavy snow fall.
Blackhawks tickets available now.
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