You know the playoffs are approaching when you get nights in the NHL as crazy as Monday night.
The entire hockey world focused on Ottawa, where everyone expected the Senators to exact vengeance on Matt Cooke for injuring Erik Karlsson. The end result was a feisty battle that eventually spilled over into the locker room. (You'll have to read on to find out more about that particular incident.)
Meanwhile, a player insulted the gay community, a bride and groom got cheesy about Johnny Oduya and a columnist went scorched Earth about Matt Cooke. Why wouldn't you read on?
All The NHL Scores
Get caught up on Monday's NHL scores with recaps from our network of SB Nation team blogs. Here's a quick glance at the full day of action:
Penguins 3, Senators 1
Red Wings 4, Coyotes 0
Canucks 3, Blackhawks 1
Prior to Monday's games, we presented five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Chicago Blackhawks win the Presidents' Trophy?
The Vancouver Canucks did something no team has been able to do this season: completely outmatch the Blackhawks. Chicago never came close to gaining any momentum against Vancouver, and it cost them a quick three-goal deficit. As Second City Hockey tweeted, the only thing the Hawks did well was defend their empty net for two minutes. The Presidents' Trophy will have to wait.
2. Will the Canucks clinch the Northwest Division?
Meanwhile, Vancouver has now won the Northwest for five consecutive seasons. It is moving in with the Kings and Ducks next year, so don't expect it to be so easy next time around.
3. Will the Anaheim Ducks win the Pacific Division?
Edmonton looked like they had already packed their bags for the golf links. The Ducks had no interference in winning the Pacific crown, which is a sentence nobody thought would be written before the season.
4. Will the Phoenix Coyotes help two teams punch playoff tickets?
The Coyotes lost. Phoenix helped nobody. They are awful.
Ed. Note: Pat's bias broke free of his objective chains for a minute, but we've got it sedated and under control. Our apologies.
The Coyotes lost, dimming their playoff hopes even further and keeping Detroit, Columbus and Dallas alive in the playoff race. Phoenix has been shutout nine times this season, which isn't a mark of a playoff team anyways.
5. Will the Ottawa Senators clinch a playoff spot?
Nope. The Senators focused too much on revenge against Matt Cooke and forgot to play hockey. The Penguins might've been playing with their "B" team, but they got huge performances from Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla. The Senators will try again against the Capitals on Thursday.
Impact Moment of the Night
What moment from Monday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
Chris Neil's hit on Simon Despres was the peak of a bizzare circus of a game in Ottawa. Will Neil face any league discipline?
Impact Moment of the Night (Off-Ice Edition)
Tyler Seguin got himself in trouble by tweeting something with a homophobic phrase. This will almost certainly get talked about Tuesday considering the NHL just partnered with the You Can Play Project. Will he face any repercussions for the tweet?
Stat of the Night
It's almost as if they were twins or something:
It took Daniel Sedin 905 games to pass M. Naslund on all-time Canucks scoring list. It also took Henrik 905 games as well. Of course it did.— TC Carling (@TC_Carling) April 22, 2013
Post to Post
- Winnipeg kept its playoff hopes alive in Buffalo.
- Detroit's playoff aspirations are also still alive thanks to some special special teams play.
- Two Blackhawks fans got married in a really punny way. (Featuring an angry bride!)
- Finally, Don Brennan's column in the Ottawa Sun is either the greatest thing to happen to journalism or the sign that journalism is dead. I'll just leave this here and let you be the judge:
On the way out, I found Cooke waiting to have a word in private with me.
He wanted to tell me I have no balls. At first I think he said "small balls." But by the time he had finished, and knew Penguins GM Ray Shero was listening, he had decided I had none. Oh, and I believe he also mumbled something about me having no penis before disappearing into the players-only room, which I found interesting.