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It was a much needed win for the Rangers as the night before the Carolina Hurricanes had bumped them out of 8th place in the East.
So when the Devils scored a goal just over two minutes into the game Rangers fans everywhere went into a panic mode.
Originally credited to Ilya Kovalchuk the goal was changed to Nick Palmieri during the intermission; but it was the return of Rangers captain Chris Drury that tied the game. With his first goal of the season Drury was back in the line up after missing the majority of the season with injuries.
It would be a real Ilya Kocalchuk goal in the final minute of the period that would send the teams to intermission with a 2-1 lead by the Devils.
The Rangers could come back for the second fully motivated to make the playoffs. Less than two minutes into the second Wojtek Wolski scored his first goal in 18 games to make it a 2-2 game. It was Ryan McDonagh just over halfway though the period with his first ever NHL goal (the goal would eventually be the most crucial game winner in the Rangers season as they eventually clinched a playoff spot after the Hurricanes lost to the Lightning later in the day – not a bad way to score your first NHL goal):
Brandon Prust would make it 4-2 for the Rangers after 40 minutes of play; and Vinny Prospal would net his 9th of the season to put New York up 5-2 heading into the tail end of the game.
Boston took the lead with a the sixth goal of the season from Daniel Paille only to see Bobby Butler tie the game at 1 before 20 minutes in play had expired.
An early second period penalty to Ottawa’s Ryan Shannon for hi-sticking lead to a Boston power play goal by Nathan Horton to but the Bruins up 2-1 over the Senators at the same time teammate Milan Lucic would be called for roughing.
Nearing the halfway point in the game Ottawa’s Zack Smith and Boston’s Nathan Horton would be given five minute fighting majors:
It would be a backhand from Bruin’s Rich Peverley that would get past Senators goaltender Curtis McElhinney for the 3-1 win.
Montreal Canadiens 4 Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Ryan White would score his second goal of the season early in the first period and give the Canadiens the early lead over the Maple Leafs. Minutes after the goal White would get a five minute fighting major for fighting with Toronto’s Mike Brown (whom was given a two-minute roughing penalty as well).
The extra penalty to the Maple Leafs would lead to a power play goal by Brian Gionta and give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead just over six minutes into the game.
It would be Toronto’s Phil Kessel whom would put the only goal past Carey Price at the 13:13 mark in the first.
The second period would se Gionta score another power play goal after Toronto’s Darryl Boyce was called for roughing.
After Candiens Benoit Pouliot was called for hooking in the final half of the third it would be a short handed goal for Montreal as Tomas Plekanec would put a wrist short past James Reimer.
Scoring many and often was the Flyers motto for last night’s game against the Islanders as defenseman Kimmo Timonen scored his sixth of the season just 16 seconds into the game. It was Scott Harnell seconds later to make it 2-0 for the Flyers and only 47 seconds of the game had been played.
Just over two minutes into the game the Flyers would see Daniel Carcillo given a 10 minute misconduct while the Islanders saw Zenon Konopka and Trever Gillies receive the 10 minute misconduct and Travis Hamonic with a 2 minute unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Islanders would shortly after see Michal Grabner score their first goal of the game and then Travis Hamonic would tie the game with a power play goal after Flyers Andrej Meszaros was called for elbowing.
Philadelphia would see Danny Briere give them a go ahead goal less than two seconds later only to turnaround and have John Tavares score to tie the game at three after the first twenty minutes of play.
The second period would start with Flyers captain Mike Richards being called for slashing that would set up Islanders PA Parenteau for the power play goal to take the lead.
At exactly eight minutes into the second Flyers Andrej Meszaros would tie the game again and just over ten minutes latter Scott Hartnell would give the Flyers the lead that they would not look back from.
In the third period the Flyers would get a power play and see Meszaros score his second of the game. The final second in the game would see Darroll Powe score with a wrist shot into the Islanders empty net to give them the 7-4 win.
Tampa Bay Lightning 6 Carolina Hurricanes 2
In a game that meant going to the playoffs or ending the season for the Hurricanes saw Tampa Bay be too much for the tropical storm as the heated battle for 8th place in the East came to an end and now the New York Rangers will face the Washington Capitals for the first round and the Hurricanes will be able to represent their native countries in the World Championship.
Not going down without a fight the Hurricanes put 44 shots on goal; but Lightning’s Mike Smith played on his A game heading into the playoffs and only allowed two of those to get past him.
Tampa took a 3-0 lead in the first as Dominic Moore, Vincent Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos would each put one past Cam Ward.
The second period saw the Lightning make it 4-0 with the ninth of the season from Brett Clark. It was penalty trouble for Tampa as Dominic Morre was called for interference and then 4 seconds later Dane Tyrell was called for tripping. Carolina would take advantage and Cory Stillman would score on the power play.
The third period saw Rangers fans start to panic as Chad LaRose would bring the Hurricanes within two of the Lightning. It would be two empty net goals late in the third that would see the Hurricanes season come to an end and see New York celebrate a playoff berth after missing the year before.
The Rangers will now face off against the Capitals who knocked the Rangers out in the first round the last time they made the playoffs in 2009.
Washington Capitals 0 Florida Panthers 1
It was a scoreless game up until 13:55 of the third period when Bill Thomas would score his fourth of the season and give the Panthers the win over division rivals.
Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be the first star of the game as he turned aside all 28 shots he faces from the Capitals. Vokoun’s Captials counterpart Michal Neuvirth would take the third star of the game with a save percentage of 0.957 as he only allowed the one shot from Thomas out of the 23 shots he faced from the Panthers.
The Blue Jackets saw their season come to an end with a loss to the Sabres.
Columbus had the first lead of the game after Derek Dorsett scored a wrap-around goal early in the second; only to have Buffalo’s Jason Pominville put a slap shot past Steve Mason to tie the game at one. Chris Butler and Tyler Ennis would make it 3-1 for the Sabres before Jared Boll would bring it within one before heading to intermission.
The third period would see the Blue Jackets tie the game early put penalty trouble would give the Sabres two power play goals.
Late in the third Kristian Huselius would score for Columbus in a last ditch effort but fall short with 33 seconds left in the game.
Nashville Predators 0 St. Louis Blues 2
It would be a battle of the goaltenders as Nashville’s Pekka Rinne fell to the St. Louis Blues Jaroslav Halak.
TJ Oshie scored a must see goal for the first of the game with a backhand past Rinne early in the second to break the scoreless game between the two central division rivals:
It would be Blues Alexander Steen with a wrist shot in the final minute of the game that made it 2-0 over the playoff bound Predators.
It was a hard fought game between the two Canadian cities as it was the non playoff bound Flames whom would score first. A second period power play goal from captain Jarome Iginla would put the Flames on the scoreboard first followed by another power play goal form Mikael Backlund.
In the third period the scoreboard would belong to the Canucks Alexandre Burrows would bring Vancouver with in one while Ryan Kesler would tie the game on the power play.
At 7:03 in the third Calgary was asses a two minute slashing to Robyn Regehr and a 2 minute unsportsmanlike conduct to Iginla while Vancouver saw Mikael Samuelsson get two for roughing and Burrows with 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Minutes later at 9:14 Canucks Maxim Lapierre would get two for roughing while Flames Matt Stajan would get two for roughing and two for slashing (served by Tim Jackman).
Overtime would see no penalties; but a goal from Christian Ehrhoff halfway though extra time would give the Canucks the win.
The Ducks put 20 shots on goal to the Kings 44 but that was no problem for Dan Ellis as he turned aside 43 of them for a 0.977 save percentage.
Anaheim took the lead with goals from Brandon McMillan and a power play goal form Saku Koivu in the first. The goals were scattered around the following first period penalties:
ANA Francois Bachman – hi-sticking (4 minutes)
ANA Jarkko Ruutu – Roughing (2 minutes)
ANA Lubomir Visnovksy – Roughing (2 minutes)
LAK Jarret Stoll – Roughing (2 minutes)
ANA Lubomir Viscously – Roughing (2 minutes)
LAK Ryan Smyth – Too many men (2 minutes)
LAK Matt Greene – Hooking (2 minutes)
ANA George Parros – Fighting Major (5 minutes)
LAK Kevin Westgarth – Fighting Major (5 minutes)
The second period saw less penalties but the Ducks were able to pull to a 3-0 lead with a power play goal for Francois Beauchemin after Kings Kevin Westgarth was called for roughing. It would be a power play goal from Ryan Smyth that would put the Kings on the score board late in the second after Ducks Toni Lydman was called for holding.
There would be no scoring in the third but the following penalties were called at 16:38 in the period:
LAK Brad Richardson – Cross checking (2 minutes)
LAK Kyle Clifford – Fighting Major (5 minutes)
ANA Sheldon Brookbank – Fighting Major (5 minutes)
LAK Brad Richardson – Fighting Major (5 minutes)
ANA Teemu Selanne – Fighting Major (5 minutes)
ANA Sheldon Brookbank – Roughing (2 minutes)
LAK Wayne Simmonds – Roughing (2 minutes)
Check out the Teemu Selanne and Brand Richardson fight:
Sharks go up on the Coyotes as Sharks goaltender (and last years Stanley Cup winner) Antti Niemi post a 0.972 save percentage turning aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced from Phoenix.
Sharks broke the scoreless streak of the game at 7:11 in the second with a slap shot from Ian White. It would be a late period goal from Joe Pavelski on the power play after Coyotes Martin Hanzal was called for roughing.
It was Lauri Korpikoski nearing the half way point in the third that made it 2-1 Sharks over Coyotes and a late power play goal from Logan Couture made it 3-1 for San Jose over Phoenix.
Up into the Netting
NCAA Frozen Four came down to overtime before Minnesota-Duluth defeated the University of Michigan 3-2.
According to @FightNightatJoe: Sparta Sarpsborg won the Norwegian hockey championship.
The Eastern Conference is locked! Take a look at your 2011 Eastern Conference first round match ups:
Washington Capitals / New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers / Buffalo Sabres
Boston Bruins / Montreal Canadiens
Pittsbugh Penguins / Tampa Bay Lightning
The Western Conference is not locked and the Blackhawks could still fall out of the playoffs today but as of right now this is the Western Conference: