Just A Thought
@ESPN_Burnside: The Phoenix Coyotes' come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center Monday night was notable for a variety of reasons. First, if you're a fan of the Coyotes or if you happened to pick them to win the Stanley Cup as some people (one person?) did, the 4-3 win pushed them back into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, leapfrogging idle Dallas. The Coyotes have two more points, but the Stars have two games in hand. Coupled with Minnesota's loss in Boston, Phoenix pulled to within three points of the first wild-card spot, though the Wild hold a game in hand. The Kings trailed 2-0 early but came back to take a 3-2 lead after two periods, and the loss marked the first time this season they failed to win after leading through 40 minutes (20-1-0). In fact, the Kings are an amazing 126-2-11 when leading after two periods dating to April 2009. Overall, the loss was the third in a row for a Kings team that had recently won eight straight.
@CraigCustance: The Tampa Bay Lightning began a six-game homestand the day following the trade deadline -- the first six games of the post-Martin St. Louis era. So you can forgive the Lightning players for their slow start at the outset, considering the subtraction of a player considered the heart and soul of the team. They lost the first three games to the Buffalo Sabres, Bruins and Coyotes, but we're learning that with or without St. Louis, they remain a resilient group. They rallied to win the next three, capped by a 4-3 win Monday night over the Vancouver Canucks. Ryan Callahan, acquired in exchange for St. Louis, registered points in four of those six games as his comfort level grows in Tampa. Against the Canucks, coach Jon Cooper skated Callahan for 21:35, his most ice time yet for the Lightning. Perhaps more importantly, Steven Stamkos is finally heating up after returning from a broken leg, with two goals in his past three games.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Scotty, I envision you wearing your Coyotes pajamas when typing that entry! Speaking of leapfrogging, though, Tampa Bay did just that after the nervy 4-3 win at home over Vancouver. The victory puts Tampa Bay at 81 points, tied with the Montreal Canadiens but with a game in hand. The Toronto Maple Leafs get pushed down the wild-card standings for now. Both the Canadiens and Maple Leafs are in action Tuesday night as this three-way battle in the Atlantic appears poised to go down to the wire, specifically Tampa Bay's efforts to wreck the first Habs-Leafs playoff series since 1979. Oh, and Tampa Bay plays at Toronto on Wednesday night in another big one.
@KatieStrangESPN: The St. Louis Blues became the first team to reach the 100-point mark this season with a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, continuing to build momentum toward the playoffs. The Blues knocked off the Jets even without two of their top forwards (T.J. Oshie, who was absent because of the birth of his first child, and Vladimir Tarasenko, who is expected to miss six weeks with a hand injury). The loss of Tarasenko may prove costly, but the Blues still have plenty of firepower without him. They also have goaltender Ryan Miller, who has not disappointed since coming over in a trade with Buffalo. Miller, who has yet to suffer a regulation loss with the Blues, made 16 saves to improve to 7-0-1 with his new club.
Quote Me On That
"We've still got to fix some things. You take a lead into the third, we know, especially teams that are fighting for their playoff lives, they're going to throw everything at us. We have to be a little smarter."
-- Lightning F Steven Stamkos after his team fought off the Canucks
"I know how good they are here. They have such a great blue line, and so many good forwards. So it was big for us to find two points in regulation."
-- Coyotes captain Shane Doan on the win over the Kings