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NHL Game Updates:
Buffalo Sabres @ Toronto Maple Leafs, The Sabres are victorious in this one 3-2. Toronto is comfortably in third place in the Atlantic Division, but hopes of moving up into second place are almost gone.
Florida Panthers @ New York Islanders, The Panthers are now just one point behind the Devils for the final Wild Card spot thanks to a 3-0 win. The frustrated Islanders were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
Ottawa Senators @ Carolina Hurricanes, The Ottawa Senators look like they are all focused on the summer and not the rest of this season. I can't blame these guys for that, as their dreadful season continues with a 4-1 loss in Raleigh.
Detroit Red Wings @ Montreal Canadiens, Two non-playoff teams duked it out in this one, and it was the home Canadiens who were victorious 4-2. Brendan Gallagher now has 30 goals this season after potting two tonight.
Arizona Coyotes @ Tampa Bay Lightning, The roller coaster ride that is the Tampa Bay Lightning continues as they lose 4-1 on home ice to the Coyotes. The Lightning are in coast mode right now, as they have been atop the standings for most of the season. That won't get it done, even against and NHL bottom feeder.
San Jose Sharks @ Chicago Blackhawks, The Sharks get shootout goals from Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc to win their eighth straight game, their longest since the 2008-09 season. Evander Kane, who will be a free agent this summer, scored again for the Sharks. 4-3 (SO) was the final here.
Colorado Avalanche @ Vegas Golden Knights, Vegas needed just one point to clinch a playoff spot. They got two with a 4-1 victory. I don't know what's more impressive, Jonathan Marchessault with 72 points in 73 games this season or William Karlsson with 40 goals on the year.
Calgary Flames @ Los Angeles Kings, Calgary has been falling out of the playoff picture for weeks, but they were officially eliminated tonight thanks to a 3-0 loss to the Kings.
Washington Capitals v New York Rangers:
The Metropolitan Division leading Washington Capitals visit the New York Rangers tonight as they look to continue their push towards the playoffs. The Capitals have a comfortable three-point cushion on the Pittsburgh Penguins, while the Rangers do not have the opportunity to qualify for the postseason.
The Capitals started fast in this one. T.J. Oshie scored less than three minutes into the opening period. Oshie is left alone coming down the right-wing side and fired a puck past rookie goalie Alexander Georgiev from the right face-off circle.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen would add to the lead at 5:13 with his seventh of the year. Niskanen was again left alone, and Georgiev has little chance to make a stop after Niskanen has several seconds to perfect his shot.
The onslaught continued when Alex Ovechkin scored his 45th of the season at 8:54. Ovechkin blasts the puck past Georgiev on the powerplay, and the Rangers decided to go with goalie Ondrej Pavelec for the rest of this contest.
Pavelec didn't fare much better in the first period, as Evgeny Kuznetsov got his 24th of the season on a Rangers powerplay. The Capitals took this 4-0 lead into the second period.
Fortunately for the Rangers, the Capitals' offense goes quiet the rest of the way. Lias Andersson would score his first NHL goal in the second period, and Mats Zuccarello would beat goaltender Philipp Grubauer in the third. The Rangers would only muster two as they fall 4-2.
The Capitals open up a five point lead for the Metro Division lead with the win tonight. The Caps surged through the first period, but looked tired in stretches in the second and third periods. Look for some players to take maintenance days the rest of the way, especially if Washington locks up a playoff spot in the coming days.
It is just a matter of time for the Capitals, as teams have around six games left on their schedules. The Florida Panthers sit in ninth place in the East with 85 points, 12 less than Washington. A few wins or a couple of losses by the Panthers and New Jersey Devils, and the Caps will qualify for the playoffs.
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