The Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout to put them a full 38 points ahead of the last place Montreal Canadiens in the East. The Habs only have 18 games (36 potential points) left in their season, so by definition, they are out of the playoffs. In fact, they are officially the first team out of the playoffs, with Arizona left with a magic number of 7 (points lost) before they are eliminated as well.
The Montreal Canadiens are the first team to be eliminated from 2021-2022 playoff contention.— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 26, 2022
Katya did some digging into whether the Canadiens were the first team in NHL history to be the last team eliminated in the playoffs one year (losing in the finals), before ending up the first team eliminated the following season. We can’t say for certain, but we are fairly certain the Habs are the first team to ever do this in the Expansion Era (post 1967). Impressive stuff.
Capitals @ Sabres Recap: Caps Prevail 4-3 in Hard-Fought Shootout Win
In Leafs prospect news, Nick Abruzzese is probably on his way to Toronto very soon after his team Harvard were eliminated in the NCAA men’s hockey tournament. He’ll be expected to sign an ELC shortly. At his age of 22, he must sign a two-year ELC with the Leafs. Can’t be three. Can’t be one. So if anyone’s hearing anything about the contract negotiations, know they heard it from the CBA.
Meanwhile, fellow prospect Matthew Knies won’t be joining him just yet as he led a comeback for Minnesota against UMass before ultimately winning in overtime. Knies’ NCAA career stays alive another few days as he moves onto the quarterfinals. Minnesota plays Western Michigan this Sunday.
#LeafsForever prospect Matthew Knies with his biggest goal of the year. He catches a clearing attempt and snipes it from the slot to tie the game and keep their season alive. pic.twitter.com/TNVs91N9dW— Mr. Knies Guy (@brigstew86) March 26, 2022
Greg Carvel: "That goal by Knies, it's ridiculous. He looked like Auston Matthews. What are you going to do?" https://t.co/zWoz5gpi6g— Patrick Donnelly (@PatDonn12) March 26, 2022
#LeafsForever prospect Matthew Knies wanted to end it in overtime and would skate it through a brick wall if he had to. pic.twitter.com/XnHxwQ6hDc— Mr. Knies Guy (@brigstew86) March 26, 2022
Matt Knies gets running around and turns the momentum in Minnesota's favor with a pair of big hits before they climb within one:#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/EKgmOgTFre— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) March 25, 2022
In Leafs practice news, Timothy Liljegren was added to the second power play unit next to partner Mark Giordano yesterday, with Ilya Mikheyev coming off the unit. Liljegren had been taken off both special teams recently with the acquisition of Giordano, which left him only getting 13 minutes at 5v5 a night, while Giordano played 18 with power play and penalty kill. This move is just meant to give Liljegren a little more ice time and even out the usage for everyone.
#Leafs indeed going with a new-look PP2 that sees 3F and 2D with Liljegren subbing in for Mikheyev.— David Alter (@dalter) March 25, 2022
And finally, this story out of Calgary where the Flames are suing their insurance company over pandemic losses.
“The presence of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 virus in the Saddledome during NHL games made the normal use of the Saddledome impossible for almost two years,” reads the statement of claim filed at the Calgary courthouse earlier this month.
Happy Saturday everyone, it’s the start of a full weekend of Toronto hockey. Leafs on Saturday. Marlies on Saturday. Leafs on Sunday. Knies on Sunday.