At 19:58 of the third period in the Avalanche/Islanders game, the referees awarded a goal to Colorado after New York forward Thomas Vanek threw his stick at Paul Stasny, who possessed the puck in the neutral zone with New York's goalie removed from the net. According to rule 53.7, If, when the opposing goalkeeper has been removed, a member of the defending team, including the Coach or any non-playing person, throws or shoots any part of a stick or any other object or piece of equipment at the puck or puck carrier in the neutral or his own defending zone, thereby preventing the puck carrier from having a clear shot at an "open net", a goal shall be awarded to the attacking side." Good goal Colorado.
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday