The action was intense on Saturday as history was in the making. The Washington Capitals pulled off an amazing mid-season turn around to seal up the Southeast Division title with a 3-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers. The Panthers defeat of the Carolina Hurricanes the night before opened the door to a Caps' clinch. Other action emphasized movement up and down the standings for many of the playoff-bound teams while the rest of the league continue to play out the last couple of days. There were 14 teams in motion in 7 games around the the league. Former Islanders lent their support where they could. Let us take a brief gander at the FI happenings:
* Winger Todd Bertuzzi assisted on the game winning goal 6:28 into the 3rd period as the Anaheim Ducks edged the host Los Angeles Kings for a 4-3 win. Bertuzzi has 14 goals and 25 assists for 39 points on 67 games. He snapped a 3 game point-less drought with the helper.
* Bryan Smolinski had an assist on the powerplay insurance goal as the Montreal Canadiens beat the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Smoke has 8 goals and 17 assists for 25 points on 64 games. He has had 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) over the last 2 contests. For the 14th straight season Smolinski has reached the 25+ point plateau, though this has been his least prolific season since he had 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) on only 9 games with the Boston Bruins during the 1992-93 season. Jason Blake added one more to his single season high assists tally as he recorded a helper on the lone Leafs' goal. Blake finished the season with 15 goals and 37 assists for 52 points on all 82 Toronto games.
* Already out of the running following Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks finished the season with another head-scratching lack of offense and sadly another poor showing from Roberto Luongo. Luongo stopped only 6 of 9 shots before being replaced in the 2nd as the Canucks fell to the visiting Calgary Flames 7-1. Luongo finished the season with a 35-29-9 record having lost 7 of his last 8 starts. Luongo was pulled early in 3 of those losses. He finished with a .917 save percentage, a 2.38 goals again average (largely bloated over the last few weeks of play) and 6 shutouts. On a lighter note, Trevor Linden received the 1st star of the game honor despite not recording a point. Linden, the one-time captain of the Canucks, may very well have played his last NHL game. Between the spotlight he received following the game and the hints he dropped it appears Linden is going to hang up his skates. An officially announcement has yet to be made. In 1382 career games Linden has recorded 375 goals and 492 assists for 867 points. He is currently the 99th highest point scorer in the history of the NHL. Linden played most of his career in Vancouver but also saw time with the Isles, Canadiens and Capitals.
Check with FIW soon as we only have 1 day remaining the the 2007-08 regular season.