With only three games on the schedule Wednesday night, there was really only one team -- the Vancouver Canucks --playing for its postseason lives.
The Canucks were able to keep their slimmest of slim playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 win in Minnesota thanks to a pair of goals from David Booth, a goal-line save by defenseman Alexander Edler and a 29-save performance from goaltender Eddie Lack.
With just eight games remaining on their schedule, the Canucks are still four points out of the final wild card spot, with two teams ahead of them, making it a nearly insurmountable hill to climb. A loss on Wednesday would have pretty much ended any hope the Canucks had, so they're at least able to fight on for another day.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Rangers continued their home-ice dominance over the Philadelphia Flyers with a 3-1 win in what was a likely first-round playoff preview, while the Ducks were 3-2 winners in Calgary once Teemu Selanne finished his battle with the smelling salts.
All the NHL Scores
Canucks 5, Wild 2
Rangers 3, Flyers 1
Ducks 3, Flames 2
Three Things We Learned
1. Ryan McDonagh should be a Norris Trophy favorite
Defensively, Ryan McDonagh has always been good enough to be considered for the Norris Trophy, which is awarded annually to the league's best all-around defenseman. But you know what gets attention when it comes to award votes? Offense. That is a new dimension that McDonagh has added to his arsenal this season and it continued on Wednesday night in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Flyers when he scored his 14th goal of the season on a beautiful shot that cleanly beat Flyers goalie Steve Mason.
2. The Wild are fading again
The Minnesota Wild have made a habit out of fading down the stretch over the past couple of seasons, and it seems to be happening once again this year. After their 5-2 loss at home to the Canucks on Wednesday, the Wild have won just eight of their past 18 games as they continue to sit in the first wild card spot in the Wester Conference. It's late enough in the season and they still have enough of a lead in the playoff race that it's probably not going to cost them a postseason spot, but this team once again looks like one that's not quite ready to take the next step.
3. Zac Rinaldo scores a different kind of goal than everybody else
It doesn't count, of course, and that's probably a good thing.
The one play or moment from Wednesday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
It's very likely that the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are going meet in the opening round of the playoffs, a development that could be bad news for the Flyers if the Rangers are able to secure home-ice advantage for the series. The Flyers' 3-1 loss on Wednesday extended their current losing streak at Madison Square Garden to eight games over the past three years, a stretch that has seen them get outscored by a 30-9 margin.
Stat of the Night
Brian McGrattan keeps scoring goals, and this is a new and shocking development. Before this season, McGrattan, known entirely for his ability to take punches and dish them out, had scored six goals in more than 230 games. On Wednesday, he scored his fourth goal this season and his third goal just this month.