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NHL Game Updates:
Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins, The Penguins win a 5-4 game in overtime. The Flyers sit six points ahead of the Florida Panthers for a playoff spot, so if they keep getting points, they will make the playoffs.
Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars, The Dallas Stars, who I tried to fix on Sunday afternoon, are in a free fall. This time, the Stars lose 4-1 on home ice to the lowly Vancouver Canucks.
Boston Bruins @ Minnesota Wild, Both of these teams will be in the playoffs, but the Minnesota Wild still need to punch their ticket. Getting an overtime points helps for the Wild, but Boston gets the extra point for the win, and the Bruins now sit just two behind Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division lead.
Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid did not get the memo that the Oilers stink this year. He has a goal and two assists, strengthening his point total on the year to 99. The Ducks, however, pick up two big points in overtime to move them into third place in the Pacific.
Nashville Predators v Winnipeg Jets:
I'm not sure if they NHL schedule makers knew that the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets would be fighting it out this late in the regular season for the top spot in the Central Division, but the schedule has given us some great hockey lately. The two have clashed twice since the trade deadline (February 26th), and meet again tonight to argue over who will play a Wild Card team instead of the third-place team in the division.
When these two teams get together, they play fast and physical. The Jets looked like the more aggressive team with the body registered 29 hits in the game. Both teams looked like they didn't like each other, and those feelings of resentment will only get strong if they meet in the playoffs.
Ryan Ellis would make it 3-1 for the Predators three minutes later. Ellis has eight goals and 26 points in 37 games since returning to the lineup after missing the first half of the season due to injury.
The Jets tie to the game at 13:53 of the second after goals by Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little. That tie would only last a couple of minutes because Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson would score his 28th of the season to make it 4-3 after two periods.
Blake Wheeler made it 4-4 just 0:59 into the third period. The Jets captain now has 85 points on the season, a career high.
No one would score during the rest of regulation, and neither team could get it done in the overtime period. The Jets looked like the hungrier, faster team during that stretch, and looked like they could overwhelm Nashville for a game winner.
With the win, the Winnpeg Jets qualified for the playoffs. They sit five points behind the Preadators in the Central Division, and will likely play the third-place team in the division to open the playoffs. Right now, that team would be the Minnesota Wild.
I think the Winnipeg Jets are a team to watch this season. If the Pittsburgh Penguins can win two straight Stanley Cups by playing a faster run-and-gun game, the Jets could use the same strategy to try to replicate the feat. I don't know that the Jets have that playoff experience needed to close out four playoff series, but they certainly have the ingredients to score with anyone in the league.
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