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NHL scores 2015: Red Wings down Rangers, Senators keep rolling

A light Wednesday schedule included big wins for Detroit and Ottawa.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Take a quick look at the NHL standings, and you'll notice the Eastern Conference is split almost perfectly down the middle. The top seven teams are legitimately good; the bottom nine, conversely, range from pretenders to downright awful.

Those in the more talented group are virtually guaranteed playoff berths. At this point, it's just a matter of seeding -- and that's where things get fuzzy.

The first-place Canadiens and seventh-place Capitals are currently separated by only seven points. There is a remarkable amount of parity here, and it was evident on Wednesday when the Rangers visited Joe Louis Arena to face the Red Wings.

Detroit came out on top in overtime, 2-1, in what was a predictably competitive affair. Marek Zidlicky, acquired from New Jersey before the trade deadline, lit the lamp 1:09 into the extra frame to seal the victory, providing the Wings with their third straight win. The Blueshirts, meanwhile, fell to 7-1-2 in their last 10.

It's remains unclear how the totem pole will look come April, but with no clear favorite, the Eastern Conference playoffs are shaping up to be incredibly entertaining.


Ottawa Senators 3, Winnipeg Jets 1

Detroit Red Wings 2, New York Rangers 1 (OT)

Colorado Avalanche 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 1

Anaheim Ducks 3, Montreal Canadiens1

3 things we learned

1. Ottawa isn't out of it...yet

The Senators seemed destined for a lottery pick when they fired head coach Paul MacLean in December. Now, having won seven of 10, Ottawa is creeping back into the postseason conversation. Its possession numbers have been trending in the right direction. Its goaltending has been spectacular. Its offense is far more productive.

However, the odds are stacked against them: According to, they currently have a 28.7 chance of getting in. But given the way the Sens have played of late, and given who they've beaten, there's reason for optimism -- if not today, then next season.

2. Michael Hutchinson is regressing

Not too long ago, Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson was in the Calder Trophy conversation. That is no longer the case.

Hutchinson, 25, has been struggling in recent weeks and was yanked tonight after surrendering three goals on 17 shots. His save percentage is down to .918, and he's allowed three or more goals in seven of his last 12 appearances. Though he should have a bright future ahead of him, he may not be ready to carry the Jets on their shoulders just yet.

3. It's best not to skate within 10 feet of Dustin Byfuglien

Impact moment

The Penguins were set to make a late push in Colorado after Evgeni Malkin cut the Avs' lead to 2-1. But an impressive tally from Gabriel Landeskog gave the Avalanche a two-goal cushion that stood until the final horn.

Stat of the night

Andrew Hammond has been playing extremely well. The Toronto Maple Leafs have not.