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Playoff Pulse: Avs move into eighth in West

Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 1:27 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Playoff Pulse: Avs move into eighth in West
Gabriel Landeskog was so ill, he didn't know if he could contribute against the Ducks, but he recovered in time to score the OT winner for the Avs.
Gabriel Landeskog was ill enough Monday morning to stay out of the Colorado Avalanche's morning skate. Roughly 12 hours later, he helped his club move into playoff position in the Western Conference.

The 19-year-old rookie beat Jonas Hiller at 1:52 of overtime to lift the Avs to a thrilling 3-2 victory against the Anaheim Ducks at the Pepsi Center. The win moved Colorado (37-30-4) into eighth place in the West, two points ahead of the Calgary Flames. Calgary was idle Monday night and fell from eighth place to 10th as the San Jose Sharks also moved ahead of the Flames with a win at Edmonton.

"It was one of those games where I didn't know if I was going to be able to contribute out there," Landeskog said. "I kind of hung in there. I thought I was holding our line down a little bit. I was struggling most of the game, but those are the kind of games where you have to take it one shift at a time, take short shifts and kind of let my teammates do the job. To get an opportunity in OT, I just wanted to get it on net for it to go in."

With nine games on Tuesday's schedule, here's a look at how the races in each conference shape up after the four games played on Monday:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Division leaders:

New York Rangers (93 points) did not play. The Blueshirts host Carolina on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN in the United States, TSN2 in Canada).

Boston (83 points) was idle Monday. The Bruins will visit Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Florida (77 points) had a day off Monday. The Panthers host Toronto on Tuesday night.

The next five:

Pittsburgh (89 points)
still has a few days off before it visits the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

Philadelphia (85 points) hosts New Jersey at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.

New Jersey (85 points) concludes its home-and-home series with Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

Ottawa (81 points) was idle Monday. The Sens are off until Wednesday, when they'll visit Montreal.

Washington (76 points) continues its pursuit of a Southeast Division crown with a trip to New York on Tuesday night against the Islanders.

On the outside looking in:

Buffalo (74 points after Monday's 3-2 overtime win against Montreal)
inched closer to a playoff spot thanks to Tyler Myers' overtime tally against the Canadiens at First Niagara Center. The Sabres host Colorado on Wednesday night.

Winnipeg (72 points) had the third of four off-days before beginning a three-game homestand on Wednesday against Dallas.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Division leaders:

St. Louis (97 points) continues its seven-game road trip Tuesday night at Chicago.

Vancouver (92 points) was off again Monday. The Canucks will host Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Dallas (81 points) did not play Monday.  The Stars, who are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games, are in Minnesota on Tuesday night.

The next five:

Detroit (91 points)
was idle Monday.  The Red Wings play their next three games in California, beginning Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Nashville (89 points after Monday's 5-4 shootout win at Phoenix) held off the Coyotes and moved with in two points of the No. 4 seed.  The Preds' trip continues Thursday night at San Jose.

Chicago (82 points) did not play Monday. The Blackhawks host St. Louis on Tuesday night, when they hope to have captain Jonathan Toews back in the lineup.

Phoenix (79 points after Monday's 5-4 shootout loss to Nashville) tried to rally for a victory, but could only muster one point in the standings with a shootout loss to the Predators. Phoenix will visit Vancouver on Wednesday night.

Colorado (78 points after Monday's 3-2 overtime win against Anaheim) moved back into playoff position thanks to Gabriel Landeskog's overtime goal at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche will be in Buffalo on Wednesday.

On the outside looking in:

San Jose (77 points after Monday's 3-2 win at Edmonton)
got back on the right track with a win against the Oilers at Rexall Place. Now in ninth place, the Sharks are in Calgary on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN in Canada).

Calgary (76 points) was idle Monday and fell from eighth place to 10th due to victories by both Colorado and San Jose. The Flames face the Sharks in a huge showdown at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN in Canada).

Los Angeles (76 points) did not play Monday. The Kings return home to face the Red Wings on Tuesday at the Staples Center.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions