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On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild were seeking a sixth consecutive win. They entered the third period needing to win 20 minutes of hockey to move to 111 points on the season.
Twenty seconds into the final frame, however, the Arizona Coyotes scored, and did so again minutes later to get out to a 3-1 lead. As has been the case for the entire season, leads that are hard to come by have been even harder to hold for the team from Nevada, and in a span of 24 seconds, the Coyotes saw the lead evaporate.
A penalty at the midpoint of the period gave the league’s 30th-ranked power play a shot, and for the first time in six games, Arizona scored a goal on the man advantage. It wasn’t until the final minutes with the net empty that Minnesota began to push for the tie, but Phil Kessel put the puck in the abandoned cage, and that gave the Coyotes their first win since April 3.
With their 17th regulation win, the Coyotes moved to 53 points on the season. That moves them two ahead of the Montreal Canadiens for 31st spot in the standings, and they secured the first tiebreaker by getting one more than the maximum number of regulation victories that the Canadiens can achieve.
That means that if Montreal earns zero points tonight at Madison Square Garden versus the New York Rangers, the Habs are guaranteed to finish last in the league, and claim the 18.5% chance of winning the draft lottery that comes with it.
Tale of the Tape
|45.0% (29th)||Scoring-chances-for %||46.0% (23rd)|
|2.55 (31st)||Goals per game||3.05 (16th)|
|3.90 (32nd)||Goals against per game||2.48 (2nd)|
|13.5% (31st)||PP%||25.8% (4th)|
|75.6% (26th)||PK%||82.2% (8th)|
Sunday’s game versus the Boston Bruins was the only one remaining on the schedule that the Habs may have wanted to win just out of spite for their rival, but with that game now just one of a string of nine consecutive losses, any motivation to pull out a victory has been tapped. There will be some desire to help Nick Suzuki reach 60 points and Josh Anderson hit 20 goals, but there is no chance to play spoiler in their final two games versus teams locked into their seeded playoff positions.
The Rangers know they will be starting their post-season at home, but they’re still not sure which team they will be playing. The Washington Capitals have a chance to catch the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third seed in the Metropolitan Division. That race won’t be decided until Friday — a night when the Rangers host the Capitals in the final game for both teams.
The Rangers enter this evening’s game having played last night when their comeback effort versus the Metro-leading Carolina Hurricanes fell a goal short. In what may have been a preview of the division final, Chris Kreider netted his 52nd goal of the season, and Adam Fox recorded his 62nd assist, outpacing the scoring rate he had last year as the winner of the Norris Trophy.
While we’re on the topic of Kreider, Carey Price is getting dropped off on the team’s trip to the rink to visit with his doctor regarding his injured knee. It’s quite obvious that the surgery recovery hasn’t gone the way the goaltender had hoped, leaving him unable to play his position the way he needs to. Now discussions begin on next steps regarding an injury that has lingered for several years.
The status of Price is the biggest question mark for the Canadiens heading into the off-season, but there are several players whose status is also up in the air this summer. This could be the last week we see some veterans in Habs jerseys, and with lineup options, there will very likely be a player or two dressing for their final game. They will surely want to finish their tenure on a positive note, but the Rangers haven’t made a habit of allowing their opponents many goals this season.