Big Buff lost poise

Dustin Byfuglien is an awesome player — 260 pounds of brute force with a crazy hard shot who can hybrid between forward and defense. He's as intimidating as they come, often treating forwards like rag dolls.

Just ask the Wild's Mikael Granlund, whose was body-slammed by Big Buff in December and broke his wrist.

But the Winnipeg Jets star lost it last week. Not only did he frighteningly cross-check the back of the Rangers' J.T. Miller's neck (somehow uncalled by referee Dan O'Rourke), he destroyed the final minute with the Jets trying to tie by attacking Mats Zuccarello.

The Jets, fighting for their playoff lives, will play four of their final five games without Byfuglien, who was slapped with a four-game suspension for the Miller infraction.

If the Jets miss the playoffs for the fourth time since relocating from Atlanta to Winnipeg, Byfuglien will regret his temper the rest of the offseason.

Ovechkin closes gap

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin scored his 51st goal of the season and franchise-record 473rd career goal in highlight fashion Thursday against Hart Trophy frontrunner Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's nose-to-nose, head-to-head," Caps coach Barry Trotz said of the battle for the league's MVP award.

Earlier in the day, Trotz said in his mind, Price was still the leading contender. Afterward, he said, "I think it's a lot closer now. It might be a photo finish."

A playoffs mentality

The Toronto Maple Leafs are up 2-1 in their playoff series. Well, kinda sorta. With the lowly Leafs playing for nothing but pride, interim coach Peter Horachek asked his team to play the season's final seven games like it was the playoffs.

"I was anxious to get in," Horachek said. "I think it's a good way to keep the guys focused on playing these games. I do not want them just to play, I want them to play hard."