Playoff berths were on the line Thursday night, and after all was said and done, two teams had clinched spots and two teams were left on the outside looking in.
The New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators both locked up playoff spots in the East with victories, meaning that the eight playoff teams in the East are all set. Neither the Winnipeg Jets nor the Dallas Stars were in control of their own playoff destinies on Thursday, and both teams were eliminated from contention before their own games were even finished.
Elsewhere in the NHL on Thursday night, two of the top goalies in the league posted shutouts, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets stayed afloat in the West, and the Ducks got their 30th win of the season.
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:
Prior to Thursday's games, we presented five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Winnipeg Jets be eliminated from postseason contention?
All of the playoff teams in the East have been determined...and the Jets aren't among them. The Rangers and Senators both won and clinched, and that spelled the end of a chance at the postseason for Winnipeg.
2. Will any playoff spots be clinched in the Western Conference?
3. What is Erik Karlsson's return going to consist of?
Karlsson plays 27:11 to lead all players. Eight shots, also tops.— James Gordon (@SensReporter) April 26, 2013
4. Will an All-Staal line be used by the Carolina Hurricanes?
The brothers started the game together, drawing a huge cheer from the crowd when they were announced in the arena. The fun didn't last all night long though, as Jared finished the night with only around 12 minutes of ice time, compared to over 22 minutes for each of his brothers.
5. Will the St. Louis Blues overtake the fourth seed in the West?
What moment from Thursday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
The Rangers clinched a playoff spot Thursday night, but they also lost Ryane Clowe to an injury.
Stat of the Night
Jiri Tlusty is fifth in the NHL in goals. Good ol' 48-game season.— Fear The Fin (@fearthefin) April 26, 2013
Post to Post
- Dean Lombardi on Brown's suspension and Willie Mitchell's future.
- The Canadiens will start the playoffs on home ice for just the second time since 1992.
- Ilya Kovalchuk was disappointed in his performance this season.
- Finally, the MVP voting this season is going to be interesting:
If you get right down to it, you probably shouldn't be allowed to vote for NHL awards if Bobrovsky isn't your MVP. Think about it.— Dave Lozo (@DaveLozo) April 26, 2013
The idea that anyone but Crosby could win the Hart when he has more points than Ovechkin in 11 fewer games is pretty stupid.— Eyes on the Prize (@HabsEOTP) April 26, 2013