NHL Scores: Sharks crush Wild, Kings edge Blue Jackets

Ezra Shaw

The Pacific Division ruled the night on Thursday, with the Sharks and Kings winning two important games.

The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings continued their fierce battle for the fourth spot in the West, both winning their respective games and staying deadlocked with 55 points apiece.

The Sharks beat down the Minnesota Wild, scoring early and often to earn a 6-1 victory. Logan Couture and Martin Havlat both had multiple points, and the Sharks kept the Wild from gaining any ground on them in the standings.

The Kings just edged out the surging Columbus Blue Jackets, putting an end to the Jackets' five-game winning streak and throwing a major wrench into the team's playoff hopes. Columbus has a tenuous hold on the eighth seed, but the teams chasing them all have games in hand.

All The NHL Scores

Get caught up on Thursday's NHL scores with recaps from our network of SB Nation team blogs. Here's a quick glance at the full evening of action:

Islanders 5, Maple Leafs 3

Panthers 1, Rangers 6

Lightning 2, Canadiens 3

Capitals 3, Senators 1

Devils 3, Flyers 0

Hurricanes 3, Jets 4 (OT)

Coyotes 1, Blues 2 (SO)

Canucks 1, Stars 5

Blue Jackets 1, Kings 2

Wild 1, Sharks 6

Five Answers

Prior to Thursday's games, we presented five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.

1. Will the New Jersey Devils end their ten-game winless streak?

They finally did it! The Devils beat the Flyers, 3-0. You can take those bags off your heads, you guys!

2. Will the Montreal Canadiens goaltender woes settle?

Carey Price made 34 saves as the Canadiens won 3-2. He'll be just fine.

3. Who will be in control of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference at night's end?

Both teams won their games, keeping them tied in points. The Rangers have the game-in-hand tiebreaker.

4. Will the Columbus Blue Jackets extend their five-game winning streak?

The Blue Jackets couldn't beat the Cup champs and saw their winning streak snapped.

5. Will the Western Conference standings experience a shake-up?

The Kings and Sharks remained tied in points, with the Kings winning the tiebreaker to keep control of the fourth seed. The Blues passed up the Wild to move into the sixth seed, and the Blue Jackets remain in eighth..

Impact Moment

What moment from Thursday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?

Nicklas Backstrom was struck by a puck and injured. Depending on how his evaluation goes Friday, this could spell trouble for the Capitals.

Stat of the Night

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a very poor night against the Islanders and were outshot badly for most of the game:

The Leafs came back a bit in the third, but if the other team is outshooting you by 20 at any point during a game, that's a good sign you're not playing very well.

Post to Post

More in the NHL:

Bruins fans sing emotional national anthem

Six (!) outdoor games in 2014

Jimmy Howard’s case for the Vezina

The best of our hockey network

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