Say it ain't so, Canada. For the first time in 46 years, the birthplace of hockey will have no team represented in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
Yes, folks, it's true. The country that continuously lauds its success at this sport over people's heads is without a playoff team to cheer for. Just a year removed from sending five of their seven teams to the playoffs, none of the Canadian teams this season could make a bid for one of the 16 coveted spots.
Thanks to a combination of a thrilling Flyers overtime win over the Jets and the Red Wings' ability to hang on against the Sabres, Canada's teams have officially been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race. The 21-year drought without a Stanley Cup across its borders is about to become 22. Any recent memory of Canadian hockey success is now to be found at the international level.
Coincidentally, the elimination also came on the same day the Washington Capitals captured a win to secure the Presidents Trophy as the league's top team in points. As you could expect, Americans took that news as level-headed and rationally as any patriot would.
But wait! Late breaking math says there is one last gasp for Canadian hockey fans thanks to the wacky points system the NHL uses to determine positioning.
@iancmclaren DET has both BOS/PHI. If DET wins both, and BOS/PHI lose rest, PHI 87, BOS 88, OTT 89— Mark Scheig (@THWMark) March 29, 2016
The Senators are technically alive, if you count having to win out while three other teams have to do a perfectly synchronized routine of losing all but two games left in their schedule. But really, that's as dead as dead can be. Don't let a highly improbable scenario give you hope and ruin my narrative in the process.
It's time to let go Canada, there's always next year.
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3 things we learned
1. The Flyers remain in the playoffs by the skin of their fingernails
And Philadelphia has Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere to thank. The Flyers almost squandered a 2-0 lead against the Jets thanks to the curse of the most dreaded lead in hockey and the fact that they let up on the gas in the second period. However, the Flyers' captain and newest rookie sensation delivered the team the second of two much needed points after combining for one thrilling end to an overtime.
2. Detroit almost lost because someone threw an octopus on the ice DURING PLAY
The Red Wings have one of the strangest traditions in sports, which involves throwing an octopus onto the ice. The official team website can do the tale more justice than I, but one fan took this tradition to heart by throwing an octopus onto the ice during play itself.
seriously? DURING PLAY? give the team a penalty. pic.twitter.com/TagyCvEi2F— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 29, 2016
Thanks to the delay, the Sabres managed to claw themselves back into the game and give Detroit the scare of its season. Fans, clearly, weren't amused with the throw.
Wait a few minutes to throw the octopus, create a delay after the Glendening goal, and you save the shutout. smdh— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) March 29, 2016
it's all that octopus' fault.— Economical Dunkist™ (@Whoabot) March 29, 2016
3. Colorado remains in the hunt
The Avalanche had to survive a last-minute scare of their own, but they fought off the league's hottest team from Nashville and secured themselves two much-needed points to keep them three behind Minnesota. With a murder's row of games against the Blues, Capitals, Stars, Ducks and Predators again, the Avalanche will need all the points they can get in the final weeks of the season.
Jonathan Quick's Kings may have fallen to the Sharks, but man this has to be the best save of the year. No joke.
Stat of the Night
The players in question, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, had three total points in the Coyotes' 5-2 loss to the Flames.