Buckle up. The Western Conference is going to be a mess this week after Sunday's events.
The Blue Jackets and Stars, mired in a dogfight for the final playoff spot in the West, ended up with very different results in two wildly dramatic games on Sunday. The ever-resilient Blue Jackets saw a two-goal lead evaporate in the third period, only to snatch the game back thanks to Ryan Johansen's steal and goal with minutes remaining.
Then they got to sit back and watch one of the most entertaining games of the year in Los Angeles, where the Stars and Kings battled each other and the referees to a stalemate in overtime. It was only fitting that the game-winning goal for the Kings was just as controversial as the calls that got them there in the first place.
Now the Red Wings, Stars and Blue Jackets are closer than ever in the race for eighth. With only a couple of games remaining, it's going to be a wild ride this week.
For the rest of the night's action, read on.
All The NHL Scores
Get caught up on Sunday's NHL scores with recaps from our network of SB Nation team blogs. Here's a quick glance at the full day of action:
Rangers 4, Devils 1
Flames 4, Wild 1
Blue Jackets 4, Sharks 3
Prior to Sunday's games, we presented five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the New Jersey Devils throw a wrench into the Eastern Conference's final week?
Nope. New Jersey was pretty handily defeated by New York on Sunday, eliminating the Devils from playoff contention. The Devils played frustrated and angry and it burned them, writes In Lou We Trust:
Nothing I saw today made me think the Devils deserved better than this scoreline. I haven't had to write that in a while. I wish it wouldn't be at the hands of this team. I'd rather have been kicked and/or knocked out of the playoffs by Montreal or Pittsburgh, but it is what it is.
And that's sad. If we're honest with ourselves, the playoffs were not likely going to happen this season for the Devils. You would just hope that wouldn't be made official by Our Hated Rivals. I didn't want to see it. I certainly didn't feel good hearing "Season's Over" from the normally docile MSG crowd on the NBC broadcast. But they're not wrong. It's true.
2. Could this be one of the biggest nights in Columbus Blue Jackets history?
For a while, it sure didn't look like it. Columbus blew a 3-1 lead heading into the last few minutes of regulation, something you just haven't seen lately the way Sergei Bobrovsky has been playing. And then, out of nowhere, Joe Pavelski coughed up the puck and Ryan Johansen netted the game-winner for Columbus. It was one of the most unpredictable moments of the season and it kept the Jackets' playoff hopes alive.
3. Are the Minnesota Wild OK?
Not at all. Something is clearly wrong with this team, as they dropped yet another game and now find themselves tied with #Lumbus with 51 points. A week ago it looked like the Wild were a lock for the postseason. Now there's a very real possibility that they could continue bottoming out and miss the playoffs entirely.
4. Will Dallas head into the final week controlling their destiny?
They control their destiny, but not in the way they had hoped. The Stars' overtime loss in Los Angeles means that they have to win their final three games to make the playoffs. Simple as that. The two big ones on the schedule are Columbus and Detroit. If the Stars somehow win their next two games, the game against Detroit in Dallas is going to be must-see hockey.
5. Will Florida clinch the best odds in the Draft Lottery?
The Avs spanked St. Louis and Boston spanked the Panthers. The five-point difference between Colorado and Florida is probably more than enough for the Panthers to pick Seth Jones with the first overall pick in June.
What moment from Sunday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
Ryan Johansen's goal was the biggest moment of the Blue Jackets' season...so far.
Stat of the Night
I'm sure most teams don't want to play Columbus in the playoffs at this rate. Especially considering they're no strangers to close games:
Blue Jackets: league leading 28th, 1-goal game. Are 14-7-7— THE STATS GUY (@TH2NSTATSGUY) April 21, 2013
Post to Post
- The Ottawa Senators are frauds.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out with a torn labrum. That's the same injury that Taylor Hall suffered last season. Will the Oilers management ever learn?
- The Avs upset the Blues.
- Finally, this woman made us fall in love with "Sweet Caroline" all over again.