With so few games left in the season, each loss is magnified and can cost a club a playoff spot. On Wednesday, two teams needed wins and failed to get the points. In Ottawa, the Senators lost to the Islanders and in Los Angeles, the Kings routed the Coyotes 4-0.
The Los Angeles Kings needed a win to secure their spot in this year’s post season and they did just that with a 17-save performance from Jonathan Quick.
The Kings took a 2-0 lead into the third and then rode a two-goal outburst by Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar to seal the win.
“I think we’ve [added to] the evolution of this team,” captain Dustin Brown said. “Maybe four or five years ago this was a big deal. Now, this is just part of the process.
“There’s nothing to celebrate about making the playoffs. That’s not a goal, it’s an expectation.”
Given the immediacy of Phoenix’s need for points the 17 shots of goal seemed inadequate.
“I thought they just played a better game tonight,” Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal said. “They out-competed us, outhit us, outplay us today. It was simple as that.
“We have five games left. We are still not in the playoffs right now. We all know how important these points are. We have to make sure we win the rest and get in.”
Tanner Pearson scored for LA with only 1:20 gone on the clock and it forced the Coyotes to play catch-up all night instead of taking the game to LA.http://
“We gave up a goal early, got chasing the game right from the beginning,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “That probably wasn’t the ideal circumstances to put ourselves in.”
Meanwhile the Senators came into Wednesday on something of a run and were looking to crawl back within a few points of the final spot. But the New York Islanders got a power play goal from Josh Bailey near the end of the first period and the game winner from Casey Cizikas at 9:31 of the third to ruin Ottawa’s night with a 2-1 win.
“You could see it on that tying goal, they had like five guys in the crease banging away. They’re obviously a desperate team,” said Bailey, who has 66 NHL goals. “We knew it was going to be a tough game and they came at us pretty hard, but we had great goaltending and it was a good win.”
Anders Nilsson made 35 saves to give the Isles the win.
“It’s always fun winning,” Nilsson said. “We have a very young team right now, and obviously it’s very good for the confidence, but the reason that we keep on winning right now is because we are working very hard. We’re working harder than our opponent, and everybody’s sticking up for each other, and that’s why we’re able to walk out with two points and win those one-goal games.”
Craig Anderson took the loss for the Senators making 25 saves on the night.
“We played a really solid game 5-on-5 and the difference was special teams,” Anderson said. “That’s the way this game is, and some nights you’re going to generate lots of opportunities on the power play and some nights you’re not. That was the difference-maker tonight.”
The Sens were looking to close within three points of the final spot in the east.http://
“It hurts, obviously,” Sens coach Paul MacLean said. “It takes any momentum away that we got from the goal by taking a penalty, and again, we put ourselves in a bad spot by taking another penalty. We took four tonight and they got two goals on it, so it’s still something that we continue to address and we have to find a better way to get better results.”
In Detroit, the exploits of Gustav Nyquist will be remembered for quite some time. Nyquist’s 28th goal of the year at 12:48 of the third proved to be the winner as the Red Wings sent the Bruins to a rare regulation loss, 3-2.
“He’s in the zone right now,” said Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 33 saves and played an equally big role in the win. “It’s no different whether you’re hitting the ball every single day in baseball or you’re making grabs like Megatron [Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson]. He’s in the zone right now and just delivering for us.”
The Bruins had not experienced a regulation loss since March 1.
“I think we did a great job until the end,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “[Nyquist] scored that winning goal and we got caught flat-footed there. Instead of getting the puck in deep, we turned it over just inside the [Red Wings blue line] and we’ve got a [defenseman] changing and the other guy’s caught flat-footed. I’m looking more at our team than that [goal], because other than that we had done a pretty good job. We were in decent shape.”
The Bruins had the better of play for the match the club seemed mystified by their inability to close the game out.
“It’s kind of unbelievable that we lost,” Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. “I don’t really know [how]. We matched them. We had good chances and good zone time and everything, so I don’t really know what happened.”
Tomas Jurco had tied the game at two all for Detroit at 11:06 of the third.
“The truth is I don’t know how long I’ll be staying here,” he said. “I mean, I’m not saying that I’m supposed to go down [to the minors], but with the way it is with me, I’m just trying to be good every night. Some nights it doesn’t go well, but I’m just trying to work hard and trying to work through it. Even tonight’s goal … it was hard work. It wasn’t going well for me, I couldn’t score, I was getting frustrated but tonight it finally went in.”
Jurco’s goal set the stage for Nyquist’s game-winning heroics.http://
“That was fun,” Nyquist said. “That was a really good comeback there. It was great to see. The crowd was really into it, too, so that was awesome to see. I think [Chara] came off the bench, so it was tough for him to get enough time to gap up, [and he] got kind of flat-footed. I just tried to use my speed. I came with pretty good speed, so I skated around him wide and I was in alone and just tried to get a quick shot off underneath the glove and I saw it go in.”
Ottawa 1 NY Islanders 2
Detroit 3 Boston 2
Anaheim 3 Edmonton 2
Los Angeles 4 Phoenix 0