Canada in shock as its NHL teams fail to reach the play-offs
Philadelphia Flyers' 2-1 overtime victory against Washington Capitals on Wednesday ensured there would be no Canadian teams in the NHL play-offs for the first time in 46 years.
The result sealed Ottawa Senators' fate as they joined Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks in failing to reach the end-of-season showdown.
The Senators' failure to qualify is arguably the biggest surprise. In Erik Karlsson the Sens have the league's best offensive defenseman, while their signing of Dion Phaneuf from the Leafs was a big statement of intent.
With younger players such as Codi Ceci, Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman in their ranks the future looks bright, but when a team goes a franchise record 13 games without scoring on the powerplay maybe it isn't that much of a surprise to see them miss out?
The Canadiens' hopes of qualifying were doomed from the moment they lost star netminder Carey Price to injury.
With Price between the pipes, the Canadiens are capable of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, but their record of 18-32-4 since he was sidelined shows just what he brings to the team.
New Maple Leafs' boss Mike Babcock expected a season of struggle as he set about rebuilding an underachieving roster.
Phaneuf, James Reimer and Phil Kessel were all traded, while injuries to forwards James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul haven't helped Babcock's cause, but six wins in their past nine games is a sign that things are beginning to improve.
Youngsters Zach Hyman and Nikita Soshnikov have looked impressive, but Babcock still has plenty of work to do both defensively and in the netminding department.
Jonathan Bernier has posted a 11-20-3 season to date, with rookie Garret Sparks putting him under pressure courtesy of a 6-5-1 record.
Vancouver's over-reliance on the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, has come back to haunt them this season with the lack of support from elsewhere a major factor in the Canucks' failure to reach the post season.
Their goal differential of minus-49 is the worst in the league as is their average of just 2.21 goals per game.
Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom have posted .917 save percentages this season highlighting goaltending isn't an issue.
Winnipeg Jets have struggled in the strong Central Division, with the likes of Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks potential Stanley Cup winners from that section.
Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been tied to a new long-term deal giving the Jets a solid base to build on, while Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele are talented forwards on their day.
Jets' main area of concern is their powerplay, which is operating at under 15 percent.
The Flames have relied heavily on youth this season with Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett looking promising forwards for the future.
Jyrki Jokipakka, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton are rising stars on the blueline, but Flames' main failing has been in goal, with the team's save of percentage of .890 the worst in the NHL.
Karri Ramo, Niklas Backstrom, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Niklas Backstrom have shared the netminding duties, but none have posted a winning record.
Despite having four first-overall draft picks on their roster, the Oilers have been unable to find a winning formula with the franchise seemingly weighed down by the pressure of failing to reach the play-offs since 2006.
Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitlbut look to be a solid enough core of forwards, but the Oilers have struggled badly in defense.
With Russian forward, Nail Yakupov, requesting a move away from the club Head Coach Todd McLellan has a big job on his hands to improve the Oilers' fortunes.