Sunday's NHL schedule featured nine games and a number of teams were dealt crucial losses while some sorta-saved their seasons.
--Even with a 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay that vaulted Florida three spots in the standings, the Panthers are still seven points back of Boston. Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and Cory Stillman each had a goal and assist for Florida. The Lightning dropped to 14th.
--A day after knocking off the defending champions on the road on a rookie's first goal just before the final buzzer, Carolina laid something of an egg at home, falling behind 4-0 in an eventual 5-3 loss to Buffalo. Jochen Hecht scored twice and Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek had two assists for the Sabres. The Hurricanes fell eight points back with 10 games left.
Two second-period goals by Chuck Kobasew and Josh Harding's 29 saves helped Minnesota take down the Flames, 4-3, a costly loss for Calgary, which remained two points back of Detroit. The Red Wings have a game in hand. A loss would've been worse for the Wild, who are seven back with 10 to play.
Teemu Selanne's 600th goal, plus an assist, helped Anaheim take down Colorado, 5-2. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and assist and Corey Perry notched three helpers for the Ducks, who played without Bobby Ryan. Anaheim is seven points out with 11 to play.
Broom broom go the Thrashers
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 44 shots and the Thrashers swept a home-and-home and the season series with Philadelphia, 3-1. Atlanta remains a point behind Boston and the two play Tuesday. Ron Hainsey had a goal and two assists and Rich Peverley had a goal and assist.
Two goals in a span of 48 seconds in the final four minutes, one by Patric Hornqvist and the other by Dustin Boyd (his second) gave Nashville a shocking 3-2 win over St. Louis. The Blues are six points out.
The four-pointer of the night
Tuukka Rask fended off 23 New York attempts and Boston held off the Rangers, 2-1, in a meeting of No. 8 vs. No. 10. The Bruins, who got goals from Miroslav Satan and Dennis Wideman, opened a five-point gap between them and the Rangers.
I think the Jack Adams Trophy for Coach of the Year is Dave Tippett's to lose.
Radim Vrbata's solid overall night and Adrian Aucoin's fifth goal in five career shootout attempts boosted Phoenix past Dallas, 3-2, for its ninth straight win, a victory that puts the Coyotes atop the Pacific Division and tied with Chicago for the most points in the West.
Vrbata registered a goal and assist, both on the power play, and scored the tying shootout goal in the bottom of round three. Jason LaBarbera made 30 saves.
Stunner of the night
The Olympic break might not be an excuse, but for whatever reason, the Sharks are spiraling out of control. Their three best forwards, probably their four best, and top defenseman had long Olympic runs and their starting goalie had an abysmal performance. All that seems to be carrying over after San Jose hit absolute rock-bottom in a stunning 5-1 loss at Edmonton. The Sharks have lost six straight, the last five in regulation.
Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves and was 3:02 away from his first career shutout when Ryane Clowe scored. Dustin Penner, Fernando Pisani and Shawn Horcoff had a goal and assist each for the Oilers.
Stat of the night
3 - Players to score 600 goals after winning the Calder Trophy: Selanne, Luc Robitaille and Mario Lemieux. Selanne is the 18th player overall to score 600 goals.
Quote of the night
"At least we didn't get booed out again."
Rask, comparing Sunday's end-game reception from the fans to Thursday's after a 3-0 loss
There's only three games on the schedule for Monday but each should be good. First, there's a rematch of the last two Stanley Cup Finals, with Pittsburgh (42-24-6) at Detroit (35-23-13), 7 p.m. ET on Versus. At 7:30 p.m., Ottawa (37-30-5) visits Montreal (36-29-7). Both teams have 79 points. Finally, Colorado (40-25-6) heads to Los Angeles (41-24-5) at 10:30 p.m. Nashville has passed both teams in the standings and the Avalanche and Kings might be looking over their shoulders.
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