NHL Three Stars: Predators clinch; Kings, Flyers eliminated

No. 1 Star: Anton Khudobin, Boston Bruins

The No. 2 netminder in Boston filled in just fine for Tuukka Rask against the always dangerous Chicago Blackhawks. Khudobin made 41 saves in Bruins 3-2 win. Boston is currently second in the Atlantic Division with a one point lead over the idle Toronto Maple Leafs who have two games in hand.

No. 2 Star: Anders Lee, New York Islanders

With John Tavares out of the lineup for – at the very least – the end of the regular season, the Isles are looking to everyone else to pick up the slack. Enter Anders Lee. In a critical game against the Buffalo Sabres, Lee netted two goals (31 on the season) as the Islanders beat Buffalo, 3-2. Both of Lee’s goals were unassisted. The win helps, but the Isles’ playoff hopes remain on life support.

No. 3 Star: Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues

Allen continues to build on his career-highs in wins earning his 31st of the year on a 35 save effort against the Nashville Predators. The netminder appears to be finding his confidence at just the right time.

Honorable Mention: Artemi Panarin scored his 29th goal of the year by causing some possible head trauma to teammate Richard Panik … The Capitals scored three straight goals before Columbus put two on the board in the 3-2 Washington win. The Caps inch ever closer to the President’s Trophy. The Blue Jackets and Caps was one of the most physical games all season. It would be a really fun playoff match up … Tomas Hertl scored two goals 1:51 second as the San Jose Sharks went on to beat the Vancouver Canucks, 3-1.

 

… The Blues handed the Nashville Predators a 4-1 defeat, leaving the Preds to hope the Los Angeles Kings would lose to Arizona in order to clinch a playoff spot. Spoiler alert: they did. Vladimir Tarasenko netted his 37 goal of the year … Patrick Eaves scored his 30th goal of the year in the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames. Ryan Kesler picked up three points in the win. Logan Shaw was the hero for Anaheim with a goal to give the Ducks the lead in the final 3:06 of the third period … Joshua Ho-Sang scored the other goal for the Islanders in the win. Even Robin Lehner marveled at the kid’s skill:

 

… Matt Murray made 33 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2. Elias Lindholm assisted on both Carolina goals … Mikko Koivu and Erik Haula picked up two points each as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 5-2 … Ondrej Palat scored a goal and two assists in the 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Essa Lindell provided the assists on all three Dallas goals. Tammpa rookie Adam Erne netted two goals in the game, the first of which was gorgeous:

… The Arizona Coyotes wanted to be spoilers against the Los Angeles Kings and they accomplished their goal. Anthony Duclair scored his first goal since Dec. 29 as the ‘Yotes went on to beat LA, 2-1. The Kings are officially eliminated from the playoffs. But hey! At least Jonathan Quick had a really sweet save? … The New York Rangers secured the first wild card position in the East by beating the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3.

Did You Know?

 

Dishonorable Mention: Joe Thornton left the game with what appears to be a possibly significant leg injury … The Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals erupted in a mini-melee after Alex Ovechkin slammed Zach Werenski into the boards. Werenski left the game and did not return … Viktor Arvidsson was taken out by the invisible snipers and David Perron was blamed for it … Philly nearly came all the way back from a 4-1 deficit, but couldn’t score on the power play the Rangers gifted them in the final minutes. With the loss, the Flyers were eliminated from post-season contention … Alec Martinez scored a power play goal on Mike Smith in the most Mike Smith way possible: