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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.
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THE RACES ARE SHAPING UP
If we learned anything over the weekend, it's that the playoff races are bringing out the best in every division.
Granted, the races aren't as wide open as in recent years. Conceivably, only four teams are in play for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, while just two are grappling for the same berth in the Western Conference. But even within the division races themselves, teams managed to step up the intensity over the weekend.
Dallas took down Chicago and grasped first in the Central on Friday, and then conceded a costly two points to the Blues the next night. The Flyers essentially did the same thing, letting the Penguins scamper further away in the Wild Card hunt with two wins and four points. And Minnesota jumped ahead of the Avalanche on Saturday, leaving Colorado outside of the playoff picture after a costly loss in Winnipeg.
We might already have a general idea of who will make the playoffs, sure. But that won't take away from the intensity of these last two weeks. (If it does, feel free to yell at me.)
WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT
- Pittsburgh might be down one of its best scorers (more on that in a minute) but that didn't keep them from blitzing the Rangers on Sunday.
- The Rangers had a big weekend and blew it.
- The streakiest team in the NHL snapped its latest losing skid.
- The Leafs won? In a shutout? Wait, in a 1-0 shutout?
- I don't believe you.
- Meanwhile, the Red Wings blame that loss on a butt goal. I don't know who to believe.
- You know that "missing top Penguins scorer" I mentioned? It's Evgeni Malkin, who will miss 6-8 weeks with an injury.
- What have the Dallas Stars lost with all of their defensive injuries?
- The St. Louis Blues have learned SCORE!
- But ST. LOUIS BLUES can't learn more than for moves! Delete a move to make room for SCORE?
- Alright! ST. LOUIS BLUES forgot INEPTITUDE! And ... ST. LOUIS BLUES learned SCORE!
- /ends playlet
- Here are 18 venues to Make The Winter Classic Great Again.
- Eastern Conference playoff incumbents won't go quietly.
- A rogue bird invaded the Blue Jackets arena. No word on whether they shot it with the cannon.