NHL Recap: Ovechkin in Form, Bruins Beat Down, Sharks in Trouble

Ryan O'Leary@BR0LearyFeatured Columnist IMarch 20, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 19:  Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins moves in and scores at 2:25 of the first period against James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the TD Garden on March 19, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you've watched highlights from last night's NHL action, you no doubt saw the fist-a-cuffs that ignited the New Jersey/New York rivalry game.

Just three seconds into the contest, a backyard brawl broke out involving Eric Boulton, Cam Janssen and Ryan Carter for the Devils with the Rangers countering Mike Rupp, Stu Bickel and Brandon Prust.

No official results were released on who won each bout, but one thing's for sure: the fights sparked a hard-fought, physical tilt.

The Rangers won 4-2, clinching a playoff spot, but despite the positive outcome, John Tortorella was not happy with his counterpart Peter DeBoer.

Tortorella took umbrage with DeBoer starting his fourth liners to begin the game, and was seen screaming at the Devils bench as the game began.

In a post-game interview, DeBoer pointed to the fact that the last time the two sides met in New Jersey, Tortorella and the Rangers began the game with their fourth line. 


Either way, playoff hockey is in the air, and it feels good. If there's any justice in this world, hopefully the Devils and Rangers will meet up in the postseason.

A couple more highlights from last night:

Ovechkin Returning to Form

It certainly hasn't been Alexander Ovechkin's best season, but at least he's saving his best for last.

Ovechkin tallied two goals in a 5-3 Washington win over Detroit last night. Make it 32 goals on the season for Ovechkin, seven of which have come in the last seven games. Not bad considering a very lethargic start.

With the win, the Caps stay two points ahead of Buffalo for the eighth seed in the East.

Bruins Torch the Leafs

The Bruins came early and often last night, pounding rival Toronto 8-0 in the final meeting between both teams this season.

Boston swept the six-game season series against Toronto this season, and more importantly, the win instills confidence in a team that had been reeling of late, losing four of its last five.

The Bruins got goals from seven different players, led by Brian Rolston's goal and three assists.

Time Running out for San Jose

If the Sharks are planning to make a playoff argument, last night was not a strong opening statement.

At home, hosting the downtrodden Ducks, San Jose fell 5-3. A team that prides itself on home-ice advantage couldn't capitalize on what should have been two easy points, falling to a tie for ninth in the Western Conference with 10 games left.

Provide your own feedback! Any favorite moments from last night's slate? Comment below!

Ryan O'Leary is a writer and researcher for Bleacher Report's Video Production Department with seven years experience in the sports industry. Ryan covered the 2010 Vancouver Olympic hockey tournament with CTV and has spent time covering the IIHF World Championships, NHL and collegiate hockey during his career.