Brian Gionta extended his point-scoring streak to 14 games and Patrik Elias had two goals to lead the surging New Jersey Devils to their 10th straight win, 5-1 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon.
The Devils and Flyers each have 99 points, good for a fifth-place tie in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Both are one-point behind the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers. The three teams each have one game remaining.
The Atlanta Thrashers have never made the playoffs. Unless everything falls into place the last two days of the regular season, they’ll be sitting home again.
The Thrashers, who have won four straight and are 6-1-1 in their last eight games, still find themselves three points behind Tampa Bay for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Seventh-place Montreal also is within reach, but the Canadiens have a four-point cushion in the playoff race.
So it comes down to this: Atlanta must win its final two games – at Washington on Monday, at Florida the following night – and hope either Tampa Bay or Montreal loses its regular-season finale. Those teams will both be playing at home on Tuesday.
Ryan Miller made 31 saves for his first shutout of the season in the Buffalo Sabres’ 6-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. Chris Drury scored twice and Brian Campbell had a goal and two assists in the playoff-bound Sabres’ home finale. And to add salt on the wound, Sabres forward Andrew Peters mimicked a couple of golf swings towards the bench of Leaf players who were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday.