Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday's NHL recap: Clinchings and clenchings

Philadelphia feels charitable, gives Central title to Chicago
In a surprise move, members of the Flyers chose to be nice and help someone else out. Well, I guess they benefited too. But still.

Third-period goals by Claude Giroux and Aaron Asham broke a 2-2 tie and Philadelphia knocked off Detroit, 4-3, in the process improving the Flyers' playoff standing, moving two points clear of the Rangers, and giving the Central Division title to Chicago after the Red Wings came up empty.

Daniel Carcillo and Kimmo Timonen staked the Flyers to a 2-0 lead in the game's first seven minutes before strikes by Daniel Cleary and the great Darren Helm tied the game late in the first period in under three minutes.

Blackhawks celebrate with win
Fresh off that division title, Chicago went out and dealt Calgary a big loss.

The Blackhawks scored the game's first three goals en route to a 4-1 win over the Flames, creeping closer to first in the West while Calgary - at the time - lost a chance to pass Colorado, or at worst, maintain pace with the Avalanche.

Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien scored for Chicago, which got 25 saves from Antti Niemi. Ian White scored for the Flames, who have three games remaining and are probably feeling pretty tight right about now.

Working overtime
--Colorado gave up the game's first two goals, scored the next four, blew that two-goal lead, but defeated San Jose in overtime, 5-4, when John-Michael Liles deflected a shot by Ryan Wilson past Evgeni Nabokov. The Avalanche, clinging to that eighth playoff spot which just a few weeks ago seemed to be a given, got two goals from Peter Mueller and one each from Paul Stastny and Kyle Quincey. Dallas was eliminated as a result.

--Not often you see a team score an empty net goal and blow that two-goal lead anyway. Fortunately for Vancouver, it didn't matter when Sami Salo's power play goal in overtime gave the Canucks a 4-3 win over Minnesota and the Northwest Division title.

Meaningless Stat of the night
Detroit hasn't won (in the regular season) in Philadelphia since 1997. All of a whopping six games in those 13 years. Of course, the Red Wings have those minor two wins in the 1997 Stanley Cup final.

Quote of the night
"Hank gave me a good pass and it was like I was on the ladies tees so I just tried to shoot it in one of the corners."
Salo, on the game-winner

Marquee matchup
Monday, April 5 (3 games)
Only one game worth watching really. Boston (36-30-12) at Washington (51-15-12), 7 p.m. ET, the first of back-to-back Capitals games on Versus. The Bruins try to get four points ahead of No. 9 New York. Washington has nothing to play for, except individual honors, having clinched the Presidents' Trophy with San Jose's loss.

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