The Vancouver Canucks have run out of things to win -- for now.
The Canucks clinched their first regular-season championship since entering the NHL by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Thursday night. Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist to become the first player this season to reach 100 points. Vancouver's win, which came about three hours after Philadelphia lost 1-0 to Atlanta, assured the Canucks of the Presidents' Trophy -- and the home ice edge for as far as they go in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
San Jose became the second team in the West to clinch a berth by routing Dallas 6-0.
In the East, Tampa Bay became the fifth team to lock up a playoff berth when they held off the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Bolts have 95 points -- the most they've had since getting 106 in their Stanley Cup-winning season of 2003-04.
Here's a look at how the races in each conference shape up after Thursday night's games:
Philadelphia (102 points after Thursday's 1-0 home loss to Atlanta) had 43 shots at Thrashers goaltender Chris Mason but came up empty and failed to build on Tuesday's big win at Pittsburgh. The Flyers still have a one-point lead in the conference and a game in hand on Washington as they prepare to head up the New Jersey Turnpike for a game against the Devils on Friday.
Washington (101 points after Thursday's 4-3 home OT win against Columbus) had to go to overtime to beat the Jackets, with former Columbus forward Jason Chimera getting the winner midway through OT. But the Caps are going to have to make their push for the top spot without defenseman Dennis Wideman, who's week-to-week with a lower-body injury -- meaning that the Caps are without three of their top-six defensemen.
Boston (97 points after a 4-3 home shootout loss to Toronto) missed a chance to lock up the Northeast Division when Toronto rallied to get the game into a shootout and won the tiebreaker. The B's can clinch against Atlanta on Saturday. Happily for the Bruins, there are no shootouts in the playoffs -- Boston has won just two of eight this season.
The next five:
Pittsburgh (98 points after Thursday's 2-1 loss at Tampa Bay) carried the play for most of the night against Tampa Bay, but Mike Rupp was the only Penguin to beat Dwayne Roloson. The Pens could be back in Tampa in the not-too-distant future -- the teams are close to locking up the fourth and fifth spots in the East, which would pair them in the opening round.
Tampa Bay (95 points after Thursday's 2-1 home win against Pittsburgh) got early goals by Steve Downie and Martin St. Louis, then held on to clinch its first playoff berth since 2007 behind the play of Dwayne Roloson, who kept the Penguins at bay on a night on which the Lightning were outshot 37-24. St. Louis' goal gave him five 30-goal seasons. Barring a miracle or a collapse, the Bolts seem to be virtually locked in to fifth place and likely to see the Penguins again in the opening round.
Montreal (89 points) had Thursday off and will be idle again Friday before visiting New Jersey on Saturday. That's probably not good news -- Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has beaten the Canadiens 40 times in his career -- the most wins he's had against any non-division opponent.
Buffalo (87 points) had a welcome day off after back-to-back games. The Sabres didn't say anything about the condition of star goaltender Ryan Miller, who missed Wednesday's 1-0 win against the Rangers with an upper-body injury. Coach Lindy Ruff is expected to address his goaltending situation when the Sabres return to practice on Friday. Miller is listed as day-to-day.
New York Rangers (87 points after Thursday's 6-2 road loss to the Islanders) had five power-play chances in the first 23:07, didn't score and paid the price -- the Isles ran off six unanswered goals, including four against Henrik Lundqvist in the second period. The Rangers, coming off losses to Buffalo and the Isles on consecutive nights, have two days off before visiting Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, then play their last three games at home.
On the outside looking in:
Carolina (84 points) got some help from the Islanders, who whipped the Rangers on Long Island -- which is also Carolina's next stop. The 'Canes visit the Islanders on Saturday before a Sunday showdown against Buffalo in Raleigh.
Toronto (82 points after Thursday's 4-3 shootout win at Boston) kept its thin hopes alive thanks to rookie Nazem Kadri, who scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Leafs a win in Boston. Toronto has won five of its last six entering Saturday's game at Ottawa, but probably needs to win out to have a chance.
Vancouver (113 points after Thursday's 3-1 home win against Los Angeles) delighted the usual sellout crowd at Rogers Arena by wrapping up the first regular-season title in franchise history. League-scoring leader Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist to become the first player in the League to reach 100 points this season. The defense did its job as well -- the Canucks outshot the Kings 16-0 in the third period, becoming the first team to hold an opponent without a shot in a period this season.
San Jose (99 points after Thursday's 6-0 home win against Dallas) became the second team in the West to punch its playoff ticket thanks to perhaps its most dominating effort of the season. Patrick Marleau had 2 goals (and 12 shots on goal), four other players scored and the Sharks outshot Dallas 52-29.
Detroit (98 points) had the day off on Thursday -- Gordie Howe's 83rd birthday. The Wings hope to have center Pavel Datsyuk and starting goaltender Jimmy Howard available for Saturday's big game at Nashville.
The next five:
Phoenix (95 points) used its day off before Friday's home game against Colorado to send rookie defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, their 2009 first-round pick, to AHL San Antonio.
Los Angeles (94 points after Thursday's 3-1 loss at Vancouver) got the jump on the Canucks when Kyle Clifford scored the only goal of the opening period. But after outshooting the Canucks 11-8 in the opening period, L.A. had just eight shots the rest of the way, none in the third period. The Kings host Dallas on Saturday afternoon.
Nashville (94 points after Thursday's 3-2 win at Colorado) did what it had to do on the road against the 14th-place Avs -- win. Goals by Colin Wilson, Jordin Tootoo and Martin Erat were enough to survive a late push by Colorado and get the Predators even in points with L.A., though the Kings have a game in hand. The Preds head home for a huge game against Detroit on Saturday afternoon -- a win will move them within two points of the Wings in the Central Division race.
Anaheim (93 points) has gotten a tremendous lift from the goaltending of Ray Emery, who improved to 6-0-0 with the Ducks by beating the Flames in Calgary on Wednesday. The Ducks are off until they visit San Jose on Saturday.
Chicago (90 points) were off again Thursday. They visit Columbus on Friday before hosting Tampa Bay on Sunday.
On the outside looking in:
Dallas (87 points after Thursday's 6-0 loss at San Jose) was pounded by the Sharks, allowing a season-high 52 shots on goal. The Stars are 0-3-0 on their five-game road trip entering weekend games in Southern California. They still have five games remaining, as does Chicago.
Calgary (87 points) will have a new face in the lineup for Friday's must-win game at St. Louis. Daymond Langkow, sidelined for more than a year with a neck injury, was taken off long-term IR on Thursday, and the team says he's expected to play against the Blues.