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NHL Game Updates:
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders, Matt Murray returned for the Penguins, but Pittsburgh struggles to score as te Islanders win 4-1.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ New York Rangers, That's nine straight wins for the Jackets, who climbed into the third spot in the Metropolatin Division from out a playoff spot a few weeks ago. They win 5-3 thanks to an Artemi Panarin hat trick.
Dallas Stars @ Washington Capitals, Dallas has fallen hard after sitting in a Central Division playoff spot a few weeks ago. The Stars are now on the outside looking in thanks to a 4-3 loss to the Capitals.
Edmonton Oilers @ Carolina Hurricanes, The Oilers light up the 'Canes for seven goals, win 7-3.
Florida Panthers @ Ottawa Senators, The Panthers also score seven, and creep even closer to a Wild Card spot with a 7-2 win. Seven different Panthers score in this one.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Detroit Red Wings, The Flyers pick up a big point in the shooutout against the Red Wings. The could have used two, but they fall 5-4 n Detroit.
Los Angeles Kings @ Winnipeg Jets, Kyle Connor scores twice, including the game winner in overtime. The Jets win 2-1 in a rugged, hard-hitting battle between two playoff teams.
Colorado Avalanche @ Chicago Blackhawks, The Blackhawks are officially eliminated from the postseason, the first time since 2007-08, and just the second time in the careers of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Avalanche win 5-1.
Vancouver Canucks @ Vegas Golden Knights, Good news: Vegas wins again, this time 4-1, pushing their points total to 99 in their first season. Bad news: Marc-Andre Fleury was hurt again.
New Jersey Devils @ San Jose Sharks, The story here is the depth scoring. The Sharks get goals from Eric Fehr (3rd of the season), Jannik Hansen (1st), and Barclay Goodrow (7th) to win 6-2.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs in a potential first-round playoff preview. Tampa Bay is the only Eastern Conference team to qualify for the playoffs so far this season, and Toronto is firmly locked into the third place in the Atlantic Division.
The Maples Leafs race out to 3-0 lead in this one. James van Reimsdyk gets the only goal in the first period. JVR wrists a puck past goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy after receiving a pass from Mitch Marner in the slot.
van Reimsdyk picks up another tally in the second when he flips a rebound in past the Lightning goalie. The Toronto forward is all alone in front of Vasilevskiy, and picks up his 33rd of the season on the backhand shot.
Toronto would make it 3-0 at 15:41 of the second period when Zach Hyman finds a loose puck and wrists a puck to the top, left corner of the net for his 14th of the year.
The Lightning would answer in the second period when Victor Hedman gets the Bolts on the board. Hedman cuts into the left faceoff circle and fires one past Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, who is screened in the Toronto goal.
It was all Tampa Bay in the third period. Goals by Ryan McDonagh, his second as a member of the Lightning, Nikita Kucherov, and Alex Killorn give the Lightning their first lead of the game at 4-3. Toronto would not answer, and Tampa Bay would finish the game victorious with a 4-3 win.
Both of these teams impressed me at stretches in this game, both showing off their speed in this one. This felt like a playoff matchup, with some hard-hitting and good defensive play on both sides. The Lightning seemed a little sloppy early, which is indicative of their play lately. They seemed to have lost their drive to play consistently well after getting out to such a good start to the season. The Lightning also were undisciplined, taking four penalties, which lead to a Maple Leaf powerplay that went 1/3.
Come back tomorrow when we recap the Boston Bruins taking on the St. Louis Blues in an important tilt in the playoff races in both conferences.
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