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COLUMBUS Martin Fehervary Capitals Jersey , Ohio — The final playoff push begins Tuesday night for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
With three games left in the regular season, the Blue Jackets (44-29-6) are close to clinching a spot in the postseason for the second consecutive year. A win at Nationwide Arena over the Detroit Red Wings (30-38-11) would secure a place in the field.
In the tightly bunched Metropolitan Division, the Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers share third place with 94 points. Both have three games left.
The New Jersey Devils are lurking one point behind in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Florida Panthers still have faint hopes but need basically a miracle to get in.
“I think everyone is aware of the situation as far as the standings go,” Blue Jackets defenseman Ian Cole said, “but you try not to get too wrapped up in it. You want to concentrate on what the Columbus Blue Jackets have to do out on the ice. Having that mindset has led to some success for us.”
The Blue Jackets and Flyers still have a chance to move up in the standings. Both enter Tuesday’s games just two points behind Cole’s former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, for second place in the Metro.
With the Penguins idle and the Flyers playing the New York Islanders on Tuesday, the evening could end with a three-way tie for second. Then, two nights later, the Blue Jackets play host to the Penguins.
Finishing second in the division would mean home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and so there’s still plenty to play for this week. The Blue Jackets close the season on Saturday at Nashville.
But Columbus coach John Tortorella refused to talk about the scenarios, repeatedly deflecting questions about the playoffs.
“I’m pleased that we still have an opportunity to play another game and we’re still in the hunt,” Tortorella said. “Get ready for Detroit. I’m happy that game means something.”
Asked again about the NHL postseason Mitch Haniger Seattle Mariners Jersey , Tortorella answered, “I’m glad tomorrow is an important game for us.”
The Blue Jackets practiced Monday at less than full strength.
“We just have a little bit of sickness running through the team,” Tortorella said.
One player he’s definitely ruling out Tuesday is defenseman Markus Nutivaara, who is day to day after suffering an upper-body injury in the Blue Jackets’ 5-4 overtime loss on Saturday in Vancouver to the Canucks.
Defenseman Jack Jackson, a healthy scratch the past few games, could be a candidate to replace Nutivaara. Sergei Bobrovsky also is expected back in goal after sitting out Saturday in Vancouver.
The Blue Jackets finished March with a 12-3-1 record, going 12-1-1 in their past 14 games. They closed the month by rallying from a three-goal deficit in the final minutes against the Canucks to force overtime and pick up a point in the standings.
Cam Atkinson scored one of the goals in the comeback, giving him a seven-game points streak, and Artemi Panarin had four assists in the game, giving him 25 points in March.
“It’s a great lesson for our team that it’s never over, especially in this league here right now,” Tortorella said. “There’s so many mistakes made that you never know what’s going to happen.”
The Red Wings aren’t going to the playoffs, but they’re not going down without a respectable fight. They bring a three-game winning streak to Columbus after beating the Ottawa Senators 2-0 on Sunday.
“I’ve asked these guys for a couple weeks now to go out and compete like crazy Cheap Josh Allen Jersey ,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “They’ve continued to do that. And even when it was tough, they kept competing like crazy. I’m not looking them in the eyes and not putting together a good lineup.”
At the same time, winning could actually hurt the Red Wings’ prospects of getting a high pick in this summer’s draft.
“I understand the importance of trying to get that first pick. I’m not naive to that,” Blashill said. “But would you want athletes that didn’t play to win? That would be crazy. We’re going to play to win tomorrow night. We’re going to do everything we can and we’ll see what the result is.”
Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who posted his first shutout of the season on Sunday, agreed with his coach.
“We still want to go out there, we still want to perform, we still want to play our best, we still, you know, want to win games,” Howard said.
Robbie Ray looked like he was in All-Star form while making his first start in nearly two months.
Ray returned from the disabled list and pitched six scoreless innings to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 on Wednesday night.
”That was about as good as it could have been http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-connor-williams-jersey ,” Ray said.
Ray (3-0) allowed two hits and issued two walks.
”I know there was one inning where his pitch count climbed, but aside from that I know it was vintage Robbie Ray,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Ray struck out six while throwing 56 of his 83 pitches for strikes in his first game since April 29. Ray had been on the disabled list with a strained right oblique.
”He turns into a different animal the day that he is starting and I saw it throughout his entire outing so it’s good to have him back,” Lovullo said.
Ray has won a career-long nine consecutive decisions over his last 15 starts since Aug. 24, 2017.
Daniel Descalso homered and Deven Marrero knocked in a run for the Diamondbacks, who have won six of seven.
Brad Boxberger allowed Starlin Castro’s leadoff homer in the ninth and walked the ensuing batter before retiring the next three for his 19th save in 23 chances.
Wei-Yin Chen (2-5) allowed one run and five hits in six innings for the Marlins.
”I pitched well, but the pitcher on the other side pitched better than me,” Chen said through a translator. ”He was successful in putting down our offense.”
Miami was held to just three hits.
The Marlins threatened in the fourth when Ray issued walks to the first two batters, but he calmly retired the next three, including the final two on strikeouts.
”I’m pretty tough on myself so I just took a step off the mound and told myself that, `You’re better than this, you shouldn’t be walking these guys, make them put it in play like you have been Joel Iyiegbuniwe Color Rush Jersey , get back in the zone, and get your outs,”’ Ray said. ”And I was able to get my focus back and get out of it.”
Ketel Marte doubled to lead off the fifth and scored on Marrero’s base hit.
Descalso hit a pinch-hit home run to lead off the eighth off Adam Conley in a battle of lefties. It was his sixth career pinch-hit homer and his ninth home run of the season.
”I don’t care if it’s righty, lefty, my job is to go up there and get a hit,” Descalso said. ”I feel like I’ve always had a pretty good approach against lefties. Conley is a tough lefty, his numbers are really good, but he fell behind there 2-0 and I was looking for something over the middle and he left a fastball that I could handle pretty easily.”
Castro’s homer was his fifth of the season and second in as many days.
”He always gets his hits,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”We saw a little bit of power the last two nights. Hopefully, he can keep riding that.”
HIRANO TIES CLUB RECORD
Arizona’s Yoshihisa Hirano pitched one inning of relief and extended his scoreless game streak to 24, tying a club record set by J.J. Putz in 2012 and Brandon Lyon in 2008.
ANDERSON EXTENDS STREAK
Marlins rookie Brian Anderson walked in the fourth to extend his career-best, on-base streak to 24 games. That’s the longest active streak in the National League.
Diamondbacks: C Alex Avila (hamstring) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 24. ”He’s felt it for a while, but it was the game in Pittsburgh where it really jumped up on him and it became uncomfortable Trent Murphy Color Rush Jersey ,” Lovullo said. … OF Steven Souza (pectoral) is 3 for 9 with a double and an RBI in two rehab assignment games with Single-A Visalia.
Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto (wrist) missed his third consecutive game. ”He took some swings, still a little sore,” Mattingly said. ”I talked to him before that if he’s feeling anything in there at all, I don’t want him swinging. That’s the one thing with hands and hitters, you start changing things and the next thing you know we’re going to be in an 0-for-20 (slump) or something, so we need to make sure he’s feeling like he can be himself. He was feeling it still at the finish of his swing. Better today than yesterday, but still not where we’re willing to take a chance.”
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (7-5, 3.66 ERA) will start the fourth and final game of the series on Thursday. Greinke is 5-0 with a 1.77 ERA in five starts at Marlins Park.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (2-4, 4.91) is coming off a win at Colorado in which he tossed six innings and allowed one run with eight strikeouts.