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NHL News and Notes: The End of an Era, Clinching Playoff Spots, and the Wild, Wild Card

The Wings and Oilers end their respective eras, teams are clinching playoffs spots, and the Eastern wild card race is very wild.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

All good things must come to an end, and I guess the same can go for bad things.

After falling to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, coupled with wins by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for the first time in 25 years.

Out West, the Edmonton Oilers have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2006, ending a ten-year playoff drought in the process. The longest playoff drought now belongs to the Hurricanes who knocked out the Wings.

You see, it all comes together.

That is unless, of course, the Hurricanes make the playoffs and cap off what will have to be a truly miraculous run to end the year.

The Eastern wild card truly is wild going down the stretch with the Hurricanes among a group of four teams competing for the final playoff spot.

Here are the big talking points from the past week in the NHL.


NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

On March 28, 2017, two eras came to an end.

The Red Wings have been eliminated from playoff contentions for the first time since April 4, 1990. In 1990, Ice Ice Baby was the first rap song to ever top the charts, season one of the Simpsons went on air for Fox, and George H. W. Bush was president of the United States.

We also saw the end of a much shorter era, Edmonton’s playoff drought. They defeated the Los Angeles Kings last night, securing their first playoff berth since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.

Times are changing, try to keep up.


NHL: Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s late March and teams are starting to punch their tickets to the playoffs.

The Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and the Oilers have all clinched playoff spots, which leave four spots open in the East and three spots open in the West.

The Wild, in particular, should be happy that they clinched when they did. They’re 1-7-2 over their last ten and have really started to come apart as of late.

The teams that go furthest in the playoffs are the ones that ramp it up at the right time, and the Wild are trailing off at a bad time.

It’s a what have you done for me lately league, and the Wild haven’t done much.

The Wild, Wild Card

Jamie Kellner

The story to watch down the stretch is undoubtedly the Eastern Conference wild card race.

There are four teams within four points of each other for the final playoff spot - the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, and Carolina Hurricanes.

Boston currently holds that final spot, but all three teams trailing them have a game in hand on them and they’re all well within striking distance.

This is a Hurricanes blog, so let’s dissect this in regards to what needs to happen for them to break their seven-year playoff drought.

Carolina has points in 12 straight games (8-0-4) and they’re the hottest team in the league, but they still have work to do and they need help.

Not only does Carolina need to almost win out, they also need Boston and Tampa to falter a little bit and they need the Isles to win fewer games than they do between now and the end of the regular season.

If the Canes do make the playoffs, they’d be the only team to do it with a road record south of .500. So, if you’re looking for reasons why they aren’t in a better situation, go ahead and look back to October and a plethora of blown leads early in the season.

So, it’s not probable.

However, after seeing what they did in February, it’s really shocking that they even have a chance of making the playoffs. They are in the midst of their best stretch of hockey in years and who knows, they might just pull off something truly amazing.