Last night featured a few monumental events in the standings. For starters, the Senators beat the lollygagging Rangers to pass the idle Penguins into the first Card spot. Additionally, the Panthers beat the Bruins (THANKS CATS!) to give Ottawa a two-point cushion on Boston with only one game left for each. Boston holds the tiebreaker, but as long as Ottawa gets to OT one more time, they're in the playoffs for sure. Finally, the West playoff picture was decided, as the Flames beat the Kings and the Jets got a single point against the Avalanche.
All this got me thinking - does this help Erik Karlsson's Norris Trophy chances? For my money, I thought Drew Doughty was deserving of the trophy. He was putting up gaudy possession stats, all while playing 3-4 minutes more than his regular season average for ice time. Not to mention the fact that he's never actually won one despite being one of the best defencemen in the league for years. But with L.A. missing the playoffs, does that hurt Doughty's Norris chances? It's not as clear-cut as the Hart Trophy, which is never won by a non-playoff player. But if Doughty failed to drag his team into the playoffs, might the trophy go to someone who manged to? Like, perhaps, Karlsson? I still think it's a long shot - regardless of Bob McKenzie's informal coaches' poll - but it's still fun to consider.
Tonight's game that matters
I left the subheading singular because there's only one.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
If the Isles win this one, the Sens' odds of making the playoffs go up 1.8%. So, not much. But still, it makes the last day of the season that much more interesting, because both Pittsburgh and Boston have the potential to miss the playoffs. I'm torn as to which of those two I'd rather see miss the playoffs, but either way, the resulting organizational meltdown could be one for the ages.