Devils Snap Streak in Motown
The New Jersey Devils had not beaten the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena since 1996. Last night the streak was broken. Alex Ponikarovsky and Petr Sykora scored for the Devils while Tomas Holmstrom replied for the Red Wings.
Ponikarovsky had a couple whacks at a loose puck beside Jimmy Howard and finally buried it for a lead in the first period. Holmstrom replied on a nice passing play by Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler on an empty net. Sykora scored the winner in the third on a quick wrist shot from the slot.
The Wings were once again subpar and dropped a game to a team that had nothing to play for (New Jersey locked up 6th place in the Eastern Conference).
Howard played well, but you need goals to win and Detroit couldn't muster any chances, even in the last three minutes of the game when they couldn't get the puck out of their own end.
Detroit is now 5th in the West. Nashville won last night and Chicago picked up a point in a shootout loss. Detroit's playoff opponents are now potentially Nashville, Los Angeles and San Jose. Here's how each would play out (via MLive.com):
-If the Red Wings win in any fashion (regulation, overtime or shootout) and Nashville loses in regulation at Colorado: Detroit finishes fourth and Nashville fifth.
-If the Red Wings win in any fashion (regulation, overtime or shootout) and Nashville gains at least one point against Colorado: Nashville finishes fourth and Detroit fifth.
-If the Red Wings lose in overtime or a shootout (result of Nashville-Colorado game becomes irrelevant): Nashville finishes fourth and Detroit fifth.
-If the Red Wings lose in regulation (result of Nashville-Colorado game becomes irrelevant): Nashville finishes fourth, Chicago is fifth; Detroit is sixth and plays winner of the Pacific Division.
Confused yet? The only game tonight is St. Louis and Phoenix. Mlive also shows the Pacific Division race:
-Phoenix controls its own destiny. If the Coyotes win their final two games (tonight at St. Louis, Saturday at Minnesota) in any fashion (regulation, OT or shootout), they win the Pacific and will be seeded third in the West.
-If Phoenix gains three points in its final two games, it will finish tied with the winner of the Los Angeles at San Jose game on Saturday. It will come down to tie-breakers: 1. Regulation/OT wins, 2. Points gained in games between the tied teams.
-That first tie-breaker will depend on the outcome of the games. But in that second tie-breaker (season series points), Phoenix wins over San Jose and Los Angeles wins over Phoenix.
-If Phoenix gains two points or less in its final two games, the winner of the Los Angeles-San Jose game will win the Pacific Division.