Here are the Central Division morning papers:
- A dominant third period performance from Henrik Zetterberg allowed the Wings to sneak out a 3-1 victory over the Blue Jackets. The Red Wings have seven defensemen for six spots on their blue line, but all the competing players are saying the right things, writes George Sipple. The defensive crunch has been made a little easier with Derek Meech’s move to forward.
- The Jackets not only blew a third period lead, but they lost both Dan Fritsche and Jared Boll to injury last night, writes Tom Reed. Meanwhile, young defenseman Aaron Rome has impressed his coach with his recent play.
- The fact that the rest of the Predators’ games are intra-division may help the team’s playoff push, writes Jessica Hopp. In an effort to improve his team’s chances, Barry Trotz has challenged his first line to be better.
- The Blues sure don’t lack in the position versatility department, writes Jeremy Rutherford.
- On a night when Chicago honored Tony Esposito, current Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin paid homage to him by pitching a 5-0 shutout versus the Capitals.
Here are the Pacific Division morning papers:
- Brilliant special teams allowed the Ducks to leave Dallas last night with an important 2-1 victory, writes Dan Wood.
- The Kings have lost rookie defenseman Jack Johnson for the remainder of the season with a fractured foot.
- The Sharks clinched a spot in the Western Conference playoffs last night with a 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting Wild. In injury news, the Sharks are hoping to have Ryan Clowe back come playoff time.
- Shane Doan has set a career high for points in a season and there are still eight games remaining this season, writes Jim Gintonio. (Writer’s note: When did Shane Doan get 70 points this season? Did anyone notice that?)
- With a close 2-1 loss to the Ducks on Thursday, the Stars may have lost their chance at home-ice advantage for the playoffs, writes Mike Heika.
Here are the Northwest Division morning papers:
- “Definitely, I’ve seen a change in Jarome over the past four or five days. He’s talked more in the meetings. He’s pulled guys aside and said stuff to them,” said Craig Conroy about Jarome Iginla’s recent upping of the ante in the Flames dressing room. Bruce Dowbiggen of the Calgary Herald proposes taking the “C’ off of Jarome Iginla and giving it to another Flames player to make other players in the room more accountable.
- The Wild rallied to register an important point in the standings last night in San Jose, writes Michael Russo. The Wild lost Kurtis Foster for the season last night as he was pushed from behind into the end boards by Torrey Mitchell and broke his leg.
- With no one expecting their recent surge, the Oilers don’t really feel any pressure, writes Joanne Ireland. Ladislav Smid predicts lots of fights in tonight’s game. Coach Craig MacTavish has a difficult decision on his hands when it comes to naming tonight’s starting netminder.
- The Canucks are ready to stick up for one another if tonight’s game gets rough, writes Ben Kuzma. Forget making the playoffs, the Canucks want to make the playoffs and avoid the seventh spot, writes Tony Gallagher.
- To say tonight’s game at Calgary is important would be a huge understatement for the Avalanche.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.
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