Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Capitals close gap on Penguins in Metropolitan

Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily look at the races for the 2022 NHL postseason. There are seven days left in the regular season and the races in each of the four divisions are tight. The top three teams in each of the four divisions and the next two highest-place finishers in each conference reached the playoffs.

Here is a look at the NHL standings and everything else that could impact the playoff picture.

On Tap

There is one game on the schedule Monday with no playoff implications.

About last night

There were 11 games Sunday, 10 with playoff implications:

Carolina Hurricanes 5, New York Islanders 2: Pyotr Kochetkov made seven saves in relief of goalie Antti Raanta and the Hurricanes won their fourth consecutive game to tie a Carolina/Hartford Whalers record for wins (52) and points (112) in a season, set by the 2005-06 Stanley Cup champions. The Hurricanes moved four points ahead of the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Raanta made 17 saves before leaving with a lower-body injury at 12:57 of the second period; goalie frederik andersen you have missed four games with a lower-body injury and will be reevaluated in the next few days. The Islanders have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Edmonton Oilers 2: Connor McDavid had two assists to set an NHL career-high with 118 points (43 goals, 75 assists) for the Oilers, who have clinched a berth in the playoffs and remain two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for second in the Pacific Division. The Blue Jackets have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Philadelphia Flyers 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 1: sidney crosby scored for the Penguins, who lost for the seventh time in 11 games (4-6-1) and have a one-point lead on the Washington Capitals for third in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Winnipeg Jets 4, Colorado Avalanche 1: The Jets scored four straight goals in the third period, three in a span of 3:21, and the Avalanche lost their fourth straight game. Colorado has clinched the Western Conference but is four points behind the Florida Panthers in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy, which goes to the top regular-season team. Winnipeg has been eliminated from playoff contention.

Boston Bruins 5, Montreal Canadiens 3: Patrice Bergeron had two goals and an assist, Erik Haula scored one of his two goals on a penalty shot and jeremy swayman made 23 saves for the Bruins, who have won four of five and lead the Capitals by three points for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference with three regular-season games remaining. The Canadiens have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Tampa Bay Lightning 8, Florida Panthers 4: Nikita Kucherov had two goals and three assists for the Lightning, who have won three in a row and have a three-point lead on the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers, who have clinched the Eastern Conference and have a four-point lead on the Avalanche in the Presidents’ Trophy race, had their team-record 13-game winning streak end.

Washington Capitals 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (SO): alex ovechkin is day to day after leaving with an upper-body injury early in the third period for the Capitals, who are 7-1-2 in their past 10 games and one point behind the Penguins for third in the Metropolitan Division. The Maple Leafs are five points ahead of the Lightning for second in the Atlantic Division.

Minnesota Wild 5, Nashville Predators 4 (OT): Dmitry Kulikov scored with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime for the Wild, who have won five straight and are tied with the St. Louis Blues for a second in the Central Division with one game in hand. The Predators are one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

St. Louis Blues 6, Anaheim Ducks 3: Ivan Barbashev had a goal and two assists, and Ville Husso made 14 saves for the Blues, who extended their team-record point streak to 16 games (14-0-2). The Blues are tied with the Wild for a second in the Central but have played one more game. st louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo did not play in the third period because of a lower-body injury and is day to day. The Ducks have been eliminated from playoff contention. Anaheim forward Ryan Getzlaf had an assist in his final NHL game and retires as the Ducks’ leading scorer with 1,019 points (282 goals, 737 assists) in 1,157 NHL games.

San Jose Sharks 5, Vegas Golden Knights 4 (SO): logan thompson made 25 saves for the Golden Knights, who gained a point in the shootout loss and moved within three points of the Stars for the second wild card into the playoffs from the West. Robin Lehner was the backup goalie after missing practice Friday and Saturday for maintenance. The Sharks have been eliminated from playoff contention.

If the playoffs started Monday

Here is a look at the matchups for the first round as they stand entering games Monday:

Eastern Conference

(1A) Florida Panthers vs. (WC2) Washington Capitals

(1M) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (WC1) Boston Bruins

(2A) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (3A) Tampa Bay Lightning

(2M) New York Rangers vs. (3M) Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

(1C) Colorado Avalanche vs. (WC2) Dallas Stars

(1P) Calgary Flames vs. (WC1) Nashville Predators

(2C) Minnesota Wild vs. (3C) St.Louis Blues

(2L) Edmonton Oilers vs. (3P) Los Angeles Kings

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