Top o' the morning to ya.
If you're still rubbing the crust off your blood-shot, St. Patty's Day-ridden eyes, then let me assure you that what you see in the playoff picture is not a hallucination. The Penguins are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for the fourth seed in the East. Even though the Flyers still have three games in hand, if they continue to drop 2-0 leads like they did last night against the Red Wings then it shouldn't matter much. Just don't bang 'em up too much before the playoffs please. I'd like to see a healthy Battle of PA, void of all excuses and injury.
But clearly we're getting ahead of ourselves. All of this is based on the perennial "if" factor, which any hockey fan knows can carry a number of scenarios that change from game to game.
Prime example - the Rangers and Canadiens. Both were tied with 80 points coming into the game, but it was the Rangers who edged out the Habs in shootout fashion. Montreal received a pity point for their efforts but Carey Price is likely still shaking from his woeful 0-for-3 save attempts during the shootout.
The Devils picked up another two points, as both Patrick Elias and Martin Brodeur reached milestones in the same night. Elias became the Devils' all-time leading point scorer with a grand total of 703 in a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks.
Quick Penguins comparison: Mario Lemieux has the franchise record with 1,723. Jaromir Jagr a distant second with 1,079.
Brodeur, as you may know, has a number of goaltending records lined up for the taking. Last night MB30 secured win number 552, passing Patrick Roy for the most all-time wins by a goalie. Whether a fan of the team or not, watching Marty's celebration live was definitely a historic hockey moment. John from In Lou We Trust was on hand for the moment and has a great recap for your reading pleasure.
Quick Penguins comparison: Tom Barrasso's 221 wins over 11 seasons as a Penguin (369 all-time).
The Penguins, needless to say, will not catch the Devils, currently seeded at the number two slot in the East with 95 points. Let's just enjoy Evgeni Malkin's MVP run, as Hooks continues to keep the M-V-P chants in motion.
Right behind the Devils in third and likely too far for Pittsburgh's liking is Washington. Last night the Caps turned their erratic style around and shutout the Florida Panthers 3-0. The loss keeps the Panthers in ninth place, one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for a playoff bid.
So to provide a quick rundown and recap:
|New Jersey Devils
|New York Rangers
|Toronto Maple Leafs
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|New York Islanders