The Wild had one job, and they blew it. Minnesota just needed a single point to clinch a playoff spot, but instead, their incredible slump continued.
And so did the three-horse race for the final two playoff seeds in the Western Conference. The Wild, Blue Jackets and Red Wings all have a shot at the playoffs ... and all three play later Saturday. So if you like drama, read on and prepare yourself for one heck of a day of hockey.
All The NHL Scores
Get caught up on Friday's NHL scores with recaps from our network of SB Nation team blogs. Here's a quick glance at the full day of action:
Sabres 2, Islanders 1 (SO)
Oilers 6, Wild 1
Blackhawks 3, Flames 1
Avalanche 5, Coyotes 4 (SO)
Prior to Friday's games, we presented five burning questions regarding the day's action. Here are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Minnesota Wild clinch a playoff berth on Friday night?
Not with that kind of performance. Nick Backstrom and Josh Harding gave up six goals on just 11 shots en route to a 6-1 thrashing by the lowly Oilers. To be fair, a few of the goals were due to poor defending and clumsy puck possession by the players in front of them. It was a total team meltdown, and it might end up costing Minnesota a playoff berth.
2. Will the Edmonton Oilers score more than one goal against the Wild?
See above. Nail Yakupov scored the sixth, a goal that perfectly summed up what Minnesota brought to the table on Friday. Sloppy turnovers, abysmal defending and leaky goaltending.
3. Will the Calgary Flames lose a third straight game?
Operation Tank is finally in full effect. The inevitable loss in Chicago -- you'll find out why it was inevitable in a bit -- means that the Flames will finish with at least the fifth overall pick, depending on what Nashville and Tampa Bay do to end the season.
Not today! The Avs might've won, but they also keep slipping away from the first overall pick.
5. Will the Buffalo crowd produce any kind of reaction toward Ryan Miller?
Sabres fans were pretty warm toward Miller all night, especially as they began to realize what kind of game he was having. Miller was perfect other than one miscue trying to play the puck, and Die By The Blade says if it's his last game, he went out on top:
Ryan Miller was, once again, the best player on the ice for the Buffalo Sabres. The more I think about it, the more I think he may have been the best player for the Buffalo Sabres over the past eight years, surpassing Thomas Vanek in my mind. He's been so consistently good for this team year after year, which isn't easy to find between the pipes, and I'm glad the fans gave him a rousing ovation to open and close the night. If this truly was his last game in Buffalo, he went out on a high note.
Impact Moment of the Night
What moment from Friday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
After the Wild's loss on Friday, the race is still wide open for the West's final two playoff berths heading into the final day of the season. Columbus has to win and hope Detroit or Minnesota lose to make the playoffs. Minnesota needs a win against Colorado or a loss by the Jackets. The Red Wings have the easiest route: earn one point against Dallas and they've booked their postseason ticket.
Stat of the Night
It's almost as if they were twins or something:
Blackhawks finish with 18 home wins in 24 games, which is more than the Blue Jackets, Canadiens and Islanders had in 41 last season.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) April 26, 2013
Post to Post
- The Isles had a good chance to determine their playoff seeding but wasted it.
- Jochen Hecht is retiring after a long career in Buffalo.
- It can't get worse for the Wild.
- Finally, Brian Burke is suing someone called SLOBBERFACE. No, really.