Player of the Night: Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers. With his team clinging to the 8th seed and with a chance to knock the rival New Jersey Devils out of playoff contention, the Captain of the Rangers took it upon himself to set the tone for his team. 34 seconds into the game, Ryan Callahan took the puck behind the net and backhanded it in off a fooled Marty Brodeur. Callahan didn’t let up as shortly thereafter he delivered two solid hits on one shift that got the crowd on their feet. The Rangers never looked back as they went on to win 4-1. Ryan Callahan is riding a four game point streak and playing 23 minutes a night at the most important time of the year.
Poundworthy Performances: Mark Letestu (Blue Jackets) scored twice and added an assist in the 4-3 win over San Jose. Jiri Tlusty (Hurricanes) broke the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career by scoring twice against Tampa. His linemate, Alexander Semin, added a goal and two assists in the 3-2 win. Jamie McGinn led the Avalanche to a 5-3 win over the Blues with 2 goals & 1 assist. LA’s game winner against Dallas bounced in off Jeff Carter (Kings) for his 25th and he actually got some assists! Carter picked up 2 assists bumping up his season total to 7. 25 goals and 7 assists, what a weird season. Dustin Brown (Kings) scored a pair. Martin St. Louis (Lightning) is now just one point behind Sidney Crosby for the Art Ross Trophy. With three games remaining, it’s looking like St. Louis could become the oldest player ever to lead the NHL in scoring. It would also be the biggest gap between winning the award as St. Louis last won the Art Ross in 2003-04.
Eastern Conference: The New Jersey Devils were officially eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. Winnipeg is currently the only team on the outside with a chance to get in and they have two ways to do it. They’re three points behind the Capitals for the division lead and three points behind the Senators & Rangers for the 8th seed.
Western Conference: Things are less straightforward in the West because Chicago, Anaheim, Vancouver and LA are the only teams who have clinched. Columbus and Minnesota are tied for 7th with 51 points each. Detroit and Dallas, each with 48 points, are on the outside looking in. Minnesota has 3 games left, Columbus has 2, Detroit has 4 and Dallas has 3.
Tilt of the Night : Nathan Beaulieu vs Luke Adam (AHL)
The Blue Paint: Tuukka Rask (Bruins) made 28 saves in a 3-0 win over the Panthers for his 4th shutout of the season. Joey MacDonald (Flames) stopped 34 of 35 in a 4-1 win over Minnesota. Dan Ellis (Hurricanes) made 36 saves in a 3-2 win over Tampa. Henrik Lundqivst (Rangers) stopped 26 of 27 and out-dueled Martin Brodeur. Jonas Hiller (Ducks) stopped 27 of 28 as the first star in a 3-1 win over Edmonton.
Weekend Firsts: Kevin Henderson (Predators) and Mark Cundari (Flames) scored their first NHL goals in their first NHL games. Mark Pysyk (Sabres) scored his first NHL goal. Carl Soderberg (Bruins) recorded his first NHL point. Cam Fowler (Ducks) scored his first goal of the season. Brett Carson (Flames), Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers), and Tuukka Rask (Bruins) recorded their first points of the season. Brad Richards (Rangers) recorded his first NHL hat trick in 896 games.
More Shnarps: Alex Ovechkin has a two goal lead on Steven Stamkos for the Rocket Richard Trophy. You’d never know that Andrew Desjardins (Sharks) has just two goals on the season after watching this highlight. Ryan Getzlaf (Ducks) takes a pass off his skate to his backhand and gives Corey Perry a perfect pass for a tap in. Braden Holtby (Capitals) wants to let everyone know that they should stay away from his crease.
Tweet of the Night: Kevin Weekes’ Hockey Night In Canada Cake
Thanks to cakebossbuddy canadiantire for our Awesome Cake to celebrate our hockeynight 60th… instagram.com/p/YWH3L2N7vW/
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) April 20, 2013
Around The AHL Weekend Wrap-up
Redmond returns: Zach Redmond of the Winnipeg Jets returned to the ice for the first time since his life-threatening leg injury in February. Redmond played Friday and Sunday for the St. John’s IceCaps and recorded an assist in both games.
Rylan Schwartz (Worcester), Joonas Rask (Milwaukee), Riley Wetmore (Bridgeport), Cody Ceci (Binghamton), Tyler Biggs (Toronto), Zach Budish (Milwaukee), and Olivier Archambault (Hamilton) scored their first AHL goals. Blake Kessel (Adirondack) scored his first two goals of the season.
Awards: Tyler Johnson (Syracuse Crunch) won the Les Cunningham Award for the AHL’s Most Valuable Player. The undrafted center out of Spokane, Washington put up 65 points in 62 games this season leading the Crunch to a 43-22-6-5 record for third place in the Eastern Conference. Johnson also won the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorer. Brandon Pirri (Rockford IceHogs) won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy for the AHL’s leading scorer. Jeff Zatkoff & Brad Thiessen (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins) were awarded the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the goaltenders on the team which allowed the fewest goals in the regular season.
The Calder Cup Playoffs begin on Friday.
ECHL Poundworthy Playoff Recap: The Conference Semifinals got underway this weekend and all four series are tied at 1-1. Louis Domingue (Gwinnett) and Jean-Francois Berube (Ontario) recorded shutouts. Bobby Hughes (Alaska) scored three goals in three different ways (powerplay, shorthanded, even strength) on Saturday in a 5-3 loss to Stockton. Yannick Tifu (Reading) had back-to-back two goal games against Florida. He’s on a four game goal scoring streak in the playoffs with 7 goals in those 4 games.