Just A Thought
@ESPN_Burnside: What was interesting about the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2, comeback win over the Edmonton Oilers is that the goalie of record for the Ducks, Frederik Andersen, won for the 19th time and pushed his save percentage to an impressive .925 in 26 appearances. Head coach Bruce Boudreau has been resting starter Jonas Hiller after a period of uneven play following the Olympics, giving Andersen three straight starts, all victories. The 24-year-old rookie from Herning, Denmark, stopped 30 of 32 against the Oilers as the Ducks moved to within a point of the St. Louis Blues for top spot in the Western Conference. Now, everyone expects Hiller will reassume the starting role no matter where the Ducks end up in the standings or who they face in the first round. Still, our guess is that Andersen has endeared himself to his teammates and the coaching staff in a way that if Hiller wobbles Boudreau won't hesitate to make a switch.
@CraigCustance: With their 4-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Kings are officially in the playoffs. And while their annual spring surge came too late to improve their playoff seeding beyond their current No. 3 standing in the Western Conference, it may not matter considering how well they're playing right now. According to the team, the Kings are 15-4-0 since February 6, their 45 wins are one off their franchise record and they've won eight consecutive games on the road, an important note for a team that will begin the playoffs on the road. As usual, the Kings are the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs, making Wednesday night's comeback win by the Ducks even bigger. Winning the Pacific and avoiding the Kings in the first round is an absolute must, because right now it's hard to imagine Los Angeles losing to anyone out of the gate.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: I held my breath for a second Wednesday night when Patrice Bergeron went down clutching his left knee after colliding with Detroit's Drew Miller collided during a Bruins power play. Bergeron fell and seemed to be in pain, but then got back up, stayed on the ice and set up a goal as only he can. With Jonathan Toews and Matt Duchene among the star players injured of late, thank goodness Bergeron was able to finish the game and what looked bad moment became just a momentary scare. Bergeron is having yet another sensational season on both sides of the puck, good things always happening when he's on the ice, and he's a guy the Bruins could ill-afford to lose.
@KatieStrangESPN: A lot of people are going to be talking about Gustav Nyquist this morning, and rightfully so. After all, the 24-year-old delivered a stunning breakaway goal that snapped a 2-2 draw in the third period of the Red Wings 3-2 win over the league-leading Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. But how about a little love for Wings netminder Jimmy Howard, whose performance was also critical in Detroit's monster win? Howard made 33 saves to contain a peaking Bruins team that is gaining more and more steam as a potential Stanley Cup favorite. The victory was Detroit's third straight, further helping the team's case for a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance. They currently own the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and if I'm the Pittsburgh Penguins that's not a potential first-round matchup I'd be thrilled about.
Quote Me On That
"Howie kept us in the game and gave us a chance. We didn't play great, but we found a way."
-- Red Wings D Niklas Kronwall on teammate Jimmy Howard
"We've been a team that's worked had all year. We have that never-say-die attitude. If we continue to push and play the right way for a full 60 minutes, we'll be all right."
-- Ducks RW Corey Perry after the win over the Oilers