Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves on Tuesday night to stop the Columbus Blue Jackets in their tracks, and as a result, the Dallas Stars are still feeling good about their playoff hopes on this Wednesday morning. Dallas essentially needs every point at this stage of the game, and with the win, they moved within two points of the final playoff spot in the West. With three games left, their tragic number stands at five points.
How'd they get the win? Well, beyond Lehtonen's goose egg, Steve Ott's goal five minutes into the game wound up as the game-winner. Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow each scored empty netters in the final minute, because hey, Columbus, what's the difference between a 2-0 loss and a 3-0 loss when you've dropped 17 of your last 20?
Elsewhere in the NHL...
Sabres 4, Lightning 2: Tampa's hopes of home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs took a big hit thanks to their regulation loss in Buffalo, while the home team jumped up to the No. 7 position in the East with the victory. With two games left, they sit a comfortable five points over the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes.
Oilers 2, Canucks 0: Nothing to play for here. Moving on.
Penguins 4, Devils 2: Thanks to the Flyers' loss in Ottawa, Pittsburgh pulled closer to the Atlantic Division lead with this victory over New Jersey. They now sit just one point behind Philadelphia for that spot, while they expanded their lead over No. 5 Tampa Bay to three points. All without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Senators 5, Flyers 2: If you're a Philadelphia Flyers fan and you're not concerned about the effort your team has put in over the last few weeks, you probably don't have a pulse. The Flyers dropped their fourth straight game, lost control of the Eastern lead and allowed the Penguins to crawl within a point all in a nights work.
Predators 6, Thrashers 3: Nashville jumped all the way up to the No. 4 seed in the West with the big win over Atlanta, and in the process, improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. That's the way to lock up a playoff spot, and with one more point in the final two games (or one point relinquished by No. 9 Dallas), they'll be officially on their way.