Milestones for two Capitals highlight final Saturday of 2016 NHL season
There was no shortage of drama on the final Saturday of the NHL regular season, with 15 games on the schedule that brought plenty of playoff berths—and a couple of milestones along the way. Here are some highlights:
• The Boston Bruins were eliminated from postseason contention after a humiliating 6–1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on home ice. “I wish I had an explanation,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara after the loss.
• With that Bruins loss and the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3–1, the Flyers clinched the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia went on an incredible late season run, winning 16 of its last 22 games.
• The Detroit Red Wings also snuck into the playoffs even after their 3–2 loss to the New York Rangers. The Red Wings' wild-card berth means their playoff streak continues: they've now qualified for the postseason 25 seasons in a row.
• Over in St. Louis, the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals notched a 5–1 win over the Blues and two of their stars set personal milestones in the process. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick to hit 50 goals on the season for the seventh time in his career. With the win, goalkeeper Braden Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s regular season record for wins with 48. It should be noted that it took Holtby 12 less games than Brodeur to get to 48 wins. Barry Trotz now has a decision to make on whether he wants to give Holtby a chance to break the record by starting him in Sunday's final game of the season against the Ducks.
• There were some lowlights, too: The Toronto Maple Leafs' 5–1 loss to the New Jersey Devils ensures that the Leafs will finish dead last in the NHL standings (with a 29–42-11 record). They will have the best odds (20%) to win the Auston Matthews sweepstakes. “We’re going to get a lot better very fast,” said Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock after the game.