Washington Capitals' John Carlson (74) hugs goalie Braden Hotby… (J Pat Carter / Associated…)
When the Washington Capitals took the lead in the Southeast Division on Thursday and became the No. 3-ranked team in the East, it was the first time they held a playoff position this season. The Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets have faded and the Capitals have taken advantage by winning seven of their last 10 games.
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tanner Glass was generous to give up his number, 10, to new teammate Brenden Morrow. Glass, who switched to 15, followed that with an even classier move: He said via Twitter any fans who had his jersey with his old number on the back could get it changed to 15 at the team store, "and I'll pay for the switch. First 15 are on me!"
Beginners' luck? Left wing Ryane Clowe scored his first two goals of the season Wednesday after being traded from San Jose to the New York Rangers. On Thursday, winger Marian Gaborik scored the winner in his Columbus debut; Ben Bishop, traded by Ottawa to Tampa Bay, recorded a 45-save shutout against Carolina; Jaromir Jagr was credited with the only goal in Boston's 1-0 victory over New Jersey; and defenseman Robyn Regehr earned an assist and had six hits in the Kings' 3-0 victory over Minnesota. New Penguin Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation and the shootout Friday in a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
One day after the Phoenix Coyotes honored Steve Sullivan for playing 1,000 NHL games, they traded him to New Jersey for a seventh-round draft pick. At least he got the gifts first. The league-owned Coyotes also traded impending free agents Matthew Lombardi and Raffi Torres, virtually conceding the season. While their future is uncertain, the Coyotes must build around drafting and developing, and they got picks and former Ducks prospect Brandon McMillan in those trades.
Is there an NHL player more cursed than Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul? He was hit in the head twice in the same shift early in Toronto's game Thursday and didn't return. According to CBC.com's Tim Wharnsby, Lupul has missed 157 games over the last six seasons. He had eight goals and 14 points in 10 games this season.
The defending East champion New Jersey Devils are in danger of missing the playoffs. They're 0-3-3 since they lost winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a shoulder injury and have won only two of their last 10, falling to ninth in the East.