Several teams had the chance to clinch playoff berths and post-season seeding Tuesday night. The biggest story of the busy evening came from the Washington Capitals, as they beat their division rival Winnipeg Jets 5-3 to clinch the Southeast Division championship and the third spot in the Eastern Conference.
The loss for Winnipeg keeps them outside of the playoffs looking in, and the teams they are chasing all have games in hand. It will take some good fortune in the final games of the season for the Jets to squeak into the eighth spot.
Out in the Western Conference, a late victory by the San Jose Sharks earned them a guaranteed playoff spot, which means that the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks will all be in the post-season this year. California for the win!
Elsewhere in the NHL on Tuesday night, the Islanders clinched a playoff spot with a loss, the lowly Sabres beat the mighty Penguins AGAIN, another solid defensive effort from the St. Louis Blues guaranteed them a chance at the post-season. Read on for all the details.
All The NHL Scores
Get caught up on Tuesday's NHL scores with recaps from our network of SB Nation team blogs. Here's a quick glance at the full evening of action:
Prior to Tuesday's games, we presented five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Washington Capitals clinch the Southeast Division?
They did it! The Capitals beat the Jets 5-3 in regulation to clinch the division title and the third spot in the East, completing a monstrous second half to the regular season that has vaulted Alexander Ovechkin into the goal-scoring lead in the NHL.
2. Will either New York team clinch a playoff spot?
The New York Islanders did it! They clinched their first post-season appearance since 2007. Good for them!
The Rangers lost to the Florida Panthers, so they don't get to clinch just yet -- and honestly they probably don't deserve to make the playoffs if they're going to lose to the Panthers.
3. Will the San Jose Sharks clinch a playoff spot?
Yes they did! The Sharks came from behind with two goals in the final minutes of their game against the Dallas Stars to win 3-2 clinch a playoff spot.
The loss for the Stars leaves them with no margin for error if they want to make the playoffs. The outlook is pretty grim.
Perron played 17 minutes for the Blues and registered two shots on goal but no points. He's not on the fourth line any longer, but he also isn't among the leading forwards in ice time on the Blues. He might have some more work to do if he wants to be back on the top line and top power play unit, but coach Ken Htchcock had encouraging words when asked about him:
Hitch on Perron: "I was very impressed with his response. It comes to this sometimes. I was very impressed with his response." #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 24, 2013
5. Will the Minnesota Wild's line changes make any difference in their game?
The Wild edged the Kings 2-1, and Cal Clutterbuck did get a goal playing on his new line. It wasn't exactly an offensive explosion though, so we should probably withhold judgment on the success of this particular experiment.
What moment from Tuesday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
Dustin Brown's elbow on Jason Pominville could result in a star forward missing time with an injury, a suspension, or possibly both heading into the playoffs. That's a lot of impact from one little play.
Stat of the Night
Strange night in East. Eliminated teams - Devils (MTL), Florida (NYR), Canes (NYI), Flyers (BOS) & Buffalo (PIT) - all beat teams in top 8— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) April 24, 2013
Post to Post
- The Hurricanes got their first shootout victory of the entire season Tuesday night.
- All three California teams are going to the playoffs. Battle of California is going to be insufferable.
- The Capitals won the final Southeast Division championship. Here's how they did it.
- Finally, the St. Louis Blues are going to the playoffs, and they're bringing Jay Bouwmeester with them!
Bouwmeester has played in 762 NHL games, including 633 consecutive, without ever appearing in a single playoff game. (1/2)— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 24, 2013
When asked about what it feels like to FINALLY make it to the playoffs, the reserved Bouwmeester said his soft voice: "It's good, I guess."— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 24, 2013