Nightmare or nothing major? Shootout determines playoff team
Haters of the shootout probably weren't too pleased that Philadelphia and New York needed a shootout in their do-or-die game to decide the final playoff spot. But if it helps, a tie would've given the berth to Philadelphia.
Instead, it was Claude Giroux's goal in round three followed by Brian Boucher's save on Olli Jokinen that lifted Philadelphia not just to a 2-1 shootout win over New York but also to the seventh seed and a date with New Jersey in the first round.
The Flyers trailed 1-0 on Jody Shelley's second goal in two games - both against Philadelphia - until Matt Carle swooped in and banged home a rebound on the power play with 13:06 remaining in the third period.
As usual, the Rangers' lack of offense doomed them, and Henrik Lundqvist was hung out to dry. The New York netminder stopped 46 shots while his teammates mustered just 25 shots on Boucher. Lundqvist made a number of sensational saves late in the game but it was all for naught.
Fittingly, New York lost the game despite getting an early goal but then went a total of 13:40 of game time without a shot, including the last 13:05 of the first period. In the teams' previous game, Philadelphia scored early, went without a shot for over 17 minutes and lost the game.
Other games going long
Of which there were many. Five of the eight games Sunday needed overtime or a shootout to determine a winner.
--Michael Ryder scored twice in regulation, David Krejci and Miroslav Satan had shootout goals and Boston defeated Washington, 4-3. Alex Ovechkin was blanked, leaving him at 50 goals and 109 points and giving Henrik Sedin the scoring title. I liked what Caps coach Bruce Boudreau did in the shootout, giving role players Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley chances to show their stuff. (Note: It was ugly.) The game was meaningless so he could afford to do something like that.
--Jimmy Howard made 27 saves and Brad Stuart scored in overtime to give Detroit a 3-2 win over Chicago, giving the Red Wings the fifth seed and a matchup with Phoenix and leaving the Blackhawks with the No. 2 seed. They will play Nashville.
--Dustin Brown's goal 1:31 into overtime gave Los Angeles a 2-1 win over Colorado. The Kings finish as the sixth seed and play Vancouver.
--Sidney Crosby made a late, improbable push for the Art Ross, registering five points, including goals 50 and 51, midway through Pittsburgh's 6-5 overtime win over the Islanders. Jordan Leopold scored in the extra frame. Crosby finished with 109 points, three behind Sedin. Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists.
--Steven Stamkos scored his 51st goal into an empty net with 13 seconds remaining in Tampa Bay's 3-1 win over Florida. Stamkos shares the Rocket Richard Trophy for the most goals with Crosby. In case anyone's curious, Ovechkin had a league-high five empty net goals, Stamkos scored three and Crosby had just one.
--Jamie Langenbrunner's power play goal into an empty net with three seconds remaining broke a 1-1 tie to give New Jersey a 2-1 win over Buffalo and the No. 2 seed. The Sabres pulled goalie Patrick Lalime, who made 32 saves, in an effort to earn a regulation win, the only way to ensure they would finish second.
--Ryan Carter scored twice and Anaheim sent its fans home the right way with a 7-2 rout of Edmonton in what might be Teemu Selanne's last game. Selanne scored his 606th career goal.
Stat of the night
121 - Final points total for Washington, the first non-Original Six team to attain 120 or more points.
Quotes of the night
"I've said it before, but this team is way, way too good to miss the playoffs. The good thing is there's still a bright future for this team, good chemistry, so it's all good signs. ... I have some extra months to recover from this season and to decide, so I'm going to use it."
"I'm pretty sure there will be a decision fairly soon. It's important for everybody. Nobody enjoys going through this. We all felt we had a better team than we showed this year."
Scott Niedermayer, who like Selanne might or might not have played his last game in the NHL
The playoffs begin Wednesday. Stay tuned in the coming days for playoff capsules for the East and West.