The Dallas Stars just need a single point in their last two games in order to secure the first Wild Card spot. So as a precaution, the Stars are resting several players — Jamie Benn, Mats Zuccarello, Roman Polak, and Ben Bishop — tonight as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bishop is to be expected, given his recent injury, though fans might be concerned to hear Zuccarello listed. But no worries — Zuccarello is a-okay.
“Just maintenance,” [head coach Jim] Montgomery said. “He felt great, and he felt his timing was really good. He doesn’t know if he even needs to play Saturday to be ready for playoffs. There’s no concern injury-wise or health-wise. He’ll be fine for playoffs.”
Meanwhile Tyler Seguin, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell will play both tonight and tomorrow against the Minnesota Wild. That would make all three members of this year’s 82-Games Club:
“I think that is a tremendous feather in their cap to be able to say you withstood the rigors of an NHL season and have helped us in all 82 games,” Montgomery said. “And the three players we are talking about are key cogs in our team.”
You can read more from Mark Stepneski here.
According to the stats, Ben Bishop is the best goaltender in the NHL this year. But that doesn’t mean he’s the favorite to win the Vezina:
Ben Bishop has been the NHL’s best goalie, but his Vezina Trophy case is complicated https://t.co/c335gKoJrD— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 4, 2019
It’s okay everyone; you can believe in Dallas as potential dark horse Stanley Cup candidate.
Oh jeez, where to begin...
- The Washington Capitals secured first place in the Metro last night as they beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. [Japers’ Rink]
- Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff spot, thanks to a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings. [Pensburgh]
- Same goes for the Carolina Hurricanes, who ended a nine year postseason drought with a 3-1 over against the New Jersey Devils. [Canes Country]
- The Arizona Coyotes beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 last night... [NHL]
- But it didn’t matter, as the Colorado Avalanche rallied to beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime, giving them the final playoff spot in the West. [Mile High Hockey]
- Winnipeg’s loss opened the door for the Nashville Predators, who took the Central Division lead with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. [On the Forecheck]
- Finally, the St. Louis Blues could still steal the division crown thanks to a 7-3 thumping of the Philadelphia Flyers. [Broadstreet Hockey]
Today, the Columbus Blue Jackets can clinch the final spot in the East with a win over the New York Rangers, and the Stars can — as already mentioned — lock into the first Wild Card by getting a point against Chicago. The Central won’t be decided until Saturday, nor will the seeding of the Metropolitan teams besides Washington.
Anyways, here are the Western Conference standings. Saturday will be fun...
Around the League
Here’s you’re daily reminder that the Stanley Cup playoffs are awesome, even when we don’t think they will be:
Sometimes a playoff series you don't think will be very good can turn out to be great: https://t.co/bvhZ58UQMl— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) April 4, 2019
The NHL season ends tomorrow, which means we should be seeing a good number of head coach firings on Sunday:
Which coaches are toast? Which coaches survive? After asking around, here is the latest NHL Coaches Hot Seat ranking. https://t.co/BDgoBhg6gl— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 4, 2019
The 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship began yesterday, and Team USA kicked off their tournament with a bang:
Finally, you know about Miro Heiskanen and Rasmus Dahlin, but what about some of the other top rookie defensemen this year?