Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/02/14 at 10:54 AM ET
LIGHTNING EDGE CANADIENS, BOTH TEAMS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOTS
The Lightning scored three unanswered goals, including Tyler Johnson’s shorthanded winner midway through the third period, to improve to 8-1-4 in their last 13 games, including a 5-0-3 mark in their past eight at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
* Both the Lightning and Canadiens clinched berths in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay clinched its first berth since 2010-11, while Montreal clinched its eighth berth in the past 10 seasons.
* With the win, the Lightning (42-25-9, 93 points) leapfrogged the Canadiens (43-27-7, 93 points) for the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay also finished its four-game season series against Montreal with a 3-0-1 record (MTL: 1-1-2).
* Johnson scored his 23rd goal of the season, matching Steven Stamkos’ franchise record for goals by a rookie (2008-09). Johnson leads all first-year players in goals this season (tied with Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon) and also ranks third in assists (25) and points (48).
* Johnson now has five shorthanded goals and five power-plays goals this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other rookie in NHL history to post at least five shorthanded goals and five power-play goals in the same season was Dennis Maruk, who did so for the California Golden Seals in 1975-76 (5 SHGs, 7 PPGs).
* Ryan Callahan recorded the tying goal and now has 6-4—10 in 14 games since joining the Lightning.
LANDESKOG POWERS AVALANCHE COMEBACK
Down 2-0 entering the third period, Gabriel Landeskog scored the tying goal with 4:57 remaining in regulation and potted the game-winner with 32.2 seconds left in overtime to lead the Avalanche to their fourth consecutive victory.
* With the win, the Avalanche (48-21-6, 102 points) moved three points ahead of the idle Blackhawks (42-19-15, 99 points) for the No. 2 seed in the Central Division. Colorado also holds one game in hand.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Landeskog is the first player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to score the tying goal in the final five minutes of regulation and then win the game in overtime. The only other NHL player to pull off that feat in that past two seasons is Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette, who did so in a 4-3 victory over the Senators on Dec. 21, 2013.
* Landeskog now has 5-2—7 during a four-game point streak. He has set career highs in goals (26), assists (37) and points (63) this season, his third in the NHL.
* Nathan MacKinnon posted two assists for his 13th multi-point game of the season. He leads all rookies in goals (23, tied), assists (35) and points (58).
* Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves to earn his League-leading 38th victory of the season, one more than Ben Bishop (TB) and Antti Niemi (SJ).
* The Avalanche improved to 27-4-6 (.730) in one-goal games this season, the best winning percentage in the NHL. They also lead the League with 27 one-goal victories, three more than the Ducks and Sharks.
STARS BLANK CAPITALS, TAKE OVER FINAL WILD CARD SPOT IN WEST
Kari Lehtonen (35 saves) recorded his 26th career shutout and fourth of the season to backstop the Stars to their third consecutive win and fifth victory in their past six games.
* With the win, the Stars (37-27-11, 85 points) leapfrogged the Coyotes (36-27-13, 85 points), who lost in a shootout, for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Dallas holds one game in hand and also leads in ROW (DAL: 34, PHX: 30).
* Tyler Seguin scored his team-leading 33rd goal and seventh game-winner of the season. He also paces the club with 77 points, tied for fourth in the NHL (with Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel).
* Dustin Jeffrey (2-0—2) posted his first multi-goal game since Jan. 20, 2012 (2-1—3 vs. MTL). He had two total goals in his last 45 games prior to Tuesday.
* Alex Chiasson collected a career-high three assists.
MILLER, BLUES SHUT OUT FLYERS . . .
Ryan Miller made 31 saves, and stopped both attempts he faced in the shootout, to earn his first shutout since March 21, 2012, and lead the Blues to their fourth victory in their past five games.
* With the win, the Blues (51-17-7, 109 points) moved within one point of the idle Bruins (52-17-6, 110 points) in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. They also moved three points ahead of the idle Ducks (49-18-8, 106 points) for the top seed in the Western Conference.
* The Blues recorded their 51st victory of the season, matching a franchise record set in 1999-00 (51-19-12).
* Miller improved to 10-3-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and one shutout in 14 games since joining the Blues.
* T.J. Oshie scored the deciding goal in the shootout. He leads all players with nine shootout goals this season (9-for-12, 75.0%) and is tied for the League lead with five game-deciding goals (matching Kings forward Anze Kopitar).
* Oshie also improved to 27-for-48 (57.1%) in the shootout for his career, the highest conversation rate among active players with at least 10 attempts. His 14 career game-deciding goals are tied for third among active players, one behind Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Islanders forward Frans Nielsen.
. . . RANGERS SET ROAD RECORD, CREATE SPACE IN METROPOLITAN
Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves to lead the Rangers to their seventh win in their past eight games overall as well as their sixth victory in their last seven as visitors.
* With the win, the Rangers (43-30-4, 90 points) moved three points ahead of the Flyers (39-27-9, 87 points), who lost in a shootout, for the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia, however, holds two games in hand.
* The Rangers picked up their League-leading 25th road victory of the season (25-14-0), establishing a franchise record.
* Lundqvist compiled 30-plus saves for the 17th time this season, improving to 13-3-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in those contests.
* Martin St. Louis scored his first goal with the Rangers and his first shorthanded goal since Feb. 9, 2010 (vs. VAN). He also reached the 30-goal milestone for the seventh time in his NHL career and first time since 2010-11.
* Mats Zuccarello picked up an assist and now leads the team with 17-37—54 this season, the most points by a Norwegian-born player in one season in NHL history (previously, Espen Knutsen: 11-42—53 for CBJ in 2000-01).
* The Rangers won their fourth consecutive game versus the Canucks dating to Jan. 13, 2011.
SHARKS NIP OILERS, MOVE WITHIN ONE OF DUCKS IN PACIFIC
Trailing 4-3 with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation, Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau both found the back of the net to help the Sharks snap a two-game skid.
* With the win, the Sharks (48-20-9, 105 points) moved within one point of the idle Ducks (49-18-8, 106 points) for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Anaheim, however, holds two games in hand.
* Marleau recorded his 82nd career game-winning goal, which ranks fourth among active skaters and tied for 22nd all-time (with Mike Bossy).
* Dan Boyle posted 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to five games (3-3—6). Joe Pavelski (4-3—7) and Burns (2-4—6) also stretched their point streaks to four games.
* The Sharks improved to 17-3-3 in their last 23 meetings with the Oilers, including a 4-1-0 mark this season.
MAPLE LEAFS END SKID, KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE
David Clarkson scored what proved to be the game-winning goal to help the Maple Leafs snap an eight-game losing streak.
* With the win, the Maple Leafs (37-32-8, 82 points) moved within one point of the Blue Jackets (38-30-7, 83 points), who lost in overtime, for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* Clarkson snapped a 17-game goal drought and recorded his first game-winner since April 20, 2013.
* Jonathan Bernier made 22 saves to pick up his first victory since March 10. He improved to 3-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in four career games versus the Flames, including a 2-0-0 mark this season.
CROSBY BECOMES FIRST PLAYER TO REACH 100 POINTS
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to become the first player to reach the 100-point milestone this season (36-64—100).
* Crosby has reached the milestone five times in his NHL career, most recently in 2009-10 (51-58—109). He posted a career-high 120 points (36-84—120) in 2006-07 en route to capturing the Hart Memorial Trophy.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Crosby is the eighth player in NHL history to record five 100-point seasons before his 27th birthday.
* Crosby now has 2-4—6 during a five-game point streak. He also extended his point streak versus the Hurricanes to 11 games (3-14—17).
MURRAY HEARING SET FOR THURSDAY
Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Thursday for his hit against Lightning defenseman Mike Kostka during the third period of Tuesday’s game at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Murray was issued a match penalty on the play at 17:47 of the third period.
The following grounds for the proposed supplemental discipline are being considered: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to these infractions accordingly upon further review.
Andrew Ladd scored in regulation and in the shootout to help the Jets snap a two-game skid . . . Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made 33 saves, and stopped 7-of-9 attempts in the shootout, to record his first NHL victory . . . Flyers goaltender Ray Emery was credited with the shootout loss, but made 28 saves for his 16th career shutout and second of the season . . . The Oilers’ line of Taylor Hall (1-3—4), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2-1—3) and Jordan Eberle (1-2—3) combined for 10 points . . . Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (2-0—2) recorded his first multi-goal game . . . Jets forward Bryan Little posted an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (2-6—8), matching a career long . . . Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner collected two assists to push his point streak to six games (4-3—7) . . . Sabres forward Tyler Ennis and Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson reached the 20-goal milestone for the second and first time, respectively, in their NHL careers . . . Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie played in his 300th NHL game . . . Islanders forward Mike Halmo scored his first career goal . . . Panthers defenseman Jonathan Racine made his NHL debut.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Islanders @ Ottawa, 7:00 p.m., TSN, MSG PLUS, TVA
Boston @ Detroit, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2, RDS
Edmonton @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-EDM, KDOC
Phoenix @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2
“RIVALRY NIGHT” FEATURES DOUBLEHEADER
NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast features two games, both with playoff implications:
First, the Red Wings (35-26-14, 84 points) play host to the Bruins (52-17-6, 110 points) at Joe Louis Arena in their fourth and final meeting of 2013-14. Detroit has won two of their first three matchups, including a 6-1 victory in their most recent game Nov. 27 in the Motor City. The Red Wings have won two straight overall and currently hold a one-point lead over the Blue Jackets for the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins, meanwhile, are 15-0-1 in their last 16 overall and 13-0-3 in their past 16 as visitors dating to Jan. 11.
Following that game, the Coyotes (36-27-13, 85 points) visit the Kings (44-26-6, 94 points) at STAPLES Center in their fifth and final meeting of the regular season. Phoenix has won three of their first four matchups, including a 4-3 victory in their most recent game March 17 in Los Angeles. The Coyotes have secured points in four of their past five contests overall (2-1-2) and are tied with the Stars with 85 points, but have played one more game, putting them on the outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. The Kings, meanwhile, have won six of their last seven and 14 of their past 18 dating to Feb. 6.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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