For the record, it was a Riley Sheahan slapshot that propelled Detroit to an amazing 23rd straight playoff berth. And even though the Red Wings fell 4-3 in a shootout to Pittsburgh, the youngster’s tying goal in the dying minutes was enough to help knock Washington and New Jersey out of the post-season picture.
In another rousing game, Columbus completed the death of the Caps and Devils by ousting Dallas. The Jackets began the game with a 1-0 lead, as this was the carry-over for the previous contest stopped by Rich Peverley‘s cardiac incident. From there, Columbus got a huge break early when a bad bounce deep in the Dallas zone helped Artem Anisimov put the Jackets up 2-0.
The Stars, playing their fourth game in five nights, just couldn’t catch a break early. Shawn Horcoff high-sticked Jared Boll and because Boll bled, the Stars veteran got four minutes instead of two. Columbus used almost the entirety of those four minutes before beating Tim Thomas again for a 3-0 lead.
Dallas, which is also fighting for a playoff spot, showed remarkable resilience in the third period and coach Lindy Ruff provided some great entertainment value by pulling Thomas in favor of an extra attacker during a Stars power play in the middle of the frame. It worked, with Trevor Daley scoring, so Ruff pulled Thomas again with nearly three minutes left in the game. This time, the Stars were confounded and Columbus survived for the 3-1 win.
Based on the run Columbus has been on lately, the Jackets will be no easy out in the playoffs. Sergei Bobrovsky is clearly at the top of his game again, while the team is moving the puck crisply and finding different heroes every night. Although, as Detroit found out tonight, Pittsburgh is near the top for a reason and Boston won’t let up on anybody, so the Jackets won’t have much time to enjoy the franchise’s second playoff berth ever.