With the trade deadline now behind us it’s time to once again focus on the playoff chase that will only intensify as the season draws to a close. Last night there were only five games on the schedule, but plenty of playoff implications were at stake, so let’s take a look.
The young Edmonton Oilers are hot, red hot. They dismantled the Calgary Flames last night with an 8-2 drubbing to win their fifth straight and as of this morning they sit in eighth place in the West. The kids are flying high and playing with confidence and it’s obvious on the ice when they’re scoring early and often lately. They finally have that sense of fearless style of play that they need to have to help push them to the next level. Taylor Hall led the charge with
The one-sided victory over the Flames is like rubbing salt in the wound for Calgary. It reinforces that the Oilers have endured the painful process of re-building while Calgary is just starting down that long and lonely road. There are some lean years ahead in Cow-town and the young, upstart Oilers could have some fun with them over the next few years.
Having won five in a row you’d think that the Oilers would have surpassed a few other playoff teams in the standings. But thanks to the San Jose Sharks also riding a winning streak of their own, Edmonton continues to chase them. San Jose won their sixth in a row last night, doubling up the Minnesota Wild 4-2. With the win the Sharks jump to fifth in the west and are tied with Vancouver for fourth.
So the Oilers and Sharks are hot and the Pittsburgh Penguins are not. Do you think they miss their captain and leader Sidney Crosby? Since his injury the Pens have struggled. They had their impressive winning streak snapped and have now lost two games in a row. Now this may not be the justice to say they are cold or struggling, it is afterall only two games. But when you consider they were kicked 6-1 by the New York Rangers last night and 4-1 to the lowly Buffalo Sabres before that, it’s easy to say they are struggling. They still remain in first place in the east and will be just fine. Let’s just call this a minor bump in the road.
Out west the Anaheim Ducks continue to win. Nothing new to see here folks, just one of the best and most consistent teams in the league who continue to rack up points with a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars. The Ducks are now just two points back of Chicago for first place in the west but have played two more games than the Hawks.
The upset of the night came in Philadelphia where the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. The Flyers trailed 3-2 heading into the third and final frame where they scored three times to secure the victory. Philly remains four points out of a playoff spot while Montreal is just one point up on the Boston Bruins for the division lead and the second seed in the east. Boston does have one game in hand.
A busy night tonight on the ice with ten games on tap. Be sure to check us out The Morning After for your inside look at all the night’s action and storylines.