Updated: March 17, 2014, 10:08 AM ET

Just A Thought


Scott Burnside@ESPN_Burnside: It was quite a weekend for Craig Berube and the Philadelphia Flyersm who they swept their in-state rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers' season began as a train wreck, and even when Berube took over as head coach three games in the future didn't look all that bright. They've not only revived their playoff hopes with strong play the past four months, but their impressive sweep of Pittsburgh -- winning 4-0 and 4-3 -- has moved them into second place in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia is entertaining the idea of not just making the playoffs, but earning home-ice advantage in the first round and perhaps doing some damage. Wayne Simmonds was a force in the last two games and Matt Read had two shorthanded goals, including the game-winner, on Sunday to make fans salivate for a possible Pens/Flyers playoff matchup at some point this spring.

Craig Custance@CraigCustance: In the end it may not mean a thing, but there are signs of growth from the Edmonton Oilers lately under Dallas Eakins. On Sunday, the Oilers beat the Hurricanes 2-1 on the road. No great accomplishment, but it helped Edmonton earn five of a possible eight points on its four-game road trip. The midseason tweaks GM Craig MacTavish has made in Edmonton have been positive. Goalie Ben Scrivens won again and has a .932 save percentage with the Oilers, so far fending off the expectations that his stats would take a nosedive when he left the protection of the Los Angeles Kings' defensive system. Matt Hendricks has been another positive influence on this young team, scoring occasionally but also setting an example on how to work. There are still offseason changes to be made by MacTavish, but at least there's some hope for Edmonton fans to grab on to.

Pierre LeBrun@Real_ESPNLeBrun: It was also a big weekend for the Montreal Canadiens, who got just what they needed with four big points. Sunday's 2-0 win at Buffalo capped two good days that began with what looked to be another loss on Saturday, with the Habs down 4-1 with less than three-and-a-half minutes to play against the visiting Ottawa Senators. But the ghosts of the old Montreal Forum were revived and the Canadiens scored three times in the final 3:22 before winning in overtime. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Habs are the first team in NHL history to win a game after trailing by three goals in the final five minutes of the third period. Montreal now begins the week in second place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs and two ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have two games in hand on both the Habs and Leafs. That three-way battle appears headed to the wire.

Katie Strang@KatieStrangESPN: When Henrik Lundqvist is locked in he's difficult to beat, but that's exactly what San Jose Sharks counterpart Antti Niemi did with a spectacular 41-save performance against the Rangers on Sunday night. Niemi was aggressive in gobbling up every one of the Rangers' Grade-A opportunities, earning his fourth shutout of the season with a 1-0 win over the Blueshirts and helping the Sharks improve to a stunning 10-1-1 in the past 12 games. Granted, he got a little help from the league office in Toronto on a controversial call in the second period, when officials cited "inconclusive evidence" in upholding a shaky no-goal ruling on Carl Hagelin's wraparound attempt that appeared to beat Niemi at the left post, but he was otherwise pristine in helping the Sharks wrap up a three-game road trip on a high note. There are a lot of reasons to like San Jose as a playoff contender, including their group of young skill players and their considerable depth down the middle, but goaltending is proving to be another strength as they push the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division title.

Picture This

CapitalsRob Carr/Getty Images"Did you see that?!?" The Capitals' youngest fans had the best seats in the house for the Leafs game.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.