NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2019
Game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning set a single-season franchise record for wins (55) and points (114) by defeating the Washington Capitals 6-3. Lightning winger Alex Killorn netted his first career NHL hat trick while league scoring leading Nikita Kucherov added two assists for 117 points on the season. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to move within two goals of reaching the 50-goal mark this season.
Jordan Binnington made 40 and Vince Dunn scored twice to give the St. Louis Blues a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dunn also set a franchise first by becoming the third Blues defenseman to reach the 10-goal mark this season. The Blues (81 points) also lead the league in goals by defensemen (44) and sit third in the Central Division while the Penguins (87 points) remain two points behind the New York Islanders for second in the Metropolitan Division.
The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 decision to the Detroit Red Wings, who snapped a four-game losing skid. Jonathan Bernier made 41 saves while Andreas Athanasiou scored twice for the Wings. The Isles sit two points behind the Metro Division-leading Washington Capitals. They skated without winger Casey Cizikas, who was a late scratch after suffering a lower-body strain in warmups. The Wings played without Justin Abdelkader and Trevor Daley. Abdelkader’s season is over after suffering a hairline fracture in his leg during Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay.
Third-period goals by Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 decision over the Los Angeles Kings. Dadonov scored twice in this contest. With the win, the Panthers (76 points) sit eight points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have been hot of late, winning four straight games to give themselves an outside shot of reaching the postseason.
The Calgary Flames missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth by falling 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets. Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault were the goal scorers for the Jets (88 points), who remain one up on the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Central Division. The Flames (95 points) remain one point ahead of the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and first overall in the Western Conference. Flames defenseman Michael Stone returned to action for the first time since being diagnosed with a blood clot in his arm in November.
Brad Marchand’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Bruins (95 points) opened a four-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. Matt Duchene scored his 30th goal of the season as the Jackets (84 points) hold a three-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Jackets captain Nick Foligno missed the game attending to a personal matter unrelated to his daughter’s recent surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling a bit following their recent trade deadline acquisitions, the Blue Jackets have points in five of their last seven contests.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, dropped a 2-0 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks. Corey Crawford turned in a 48-save shutout performance while Connor Murphy and Brendan Perlini scored for the Hawks (73 points), who sit five points out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, the Canadiens seemed in good shape to secure a playoff berth. They’ve since won just six games in their last 17. With 10 games remaining in their schedule, they’re running out of time to reverse their fortunes.
Magnus Paajarvi scored twice and Zack Smith collected three assists as the Ottawa Senators upset the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2. Leafs center John Tavares tallied his 40th goal of the season while defenseman Morgan Rielly netted his 20th.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those goals by Tavares and Rielly were personal single-season milestones. That’s cold comfort, however, when one considers how the Leafs defense and goaltending has collapsed in their last four games. They’ve given up 23 goals over that stretch, allowing six goals in three of those four contests.
Jordan Staal picked up his 500th career win as his Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Curtis McElhinney made 35 saves for the Hurricanes (85 points), who hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot and sit two points behind the Penguins for third place in the Metro Division. Sabres winger and former Hurricanes Jeff Skinner tallied his 37th goal of the season to match his career-high from 2016-17. Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella sat out the game with an upper-body injury.
The Minnesota Wild (76 points) kept their Western Conference wild-card hopes alive by beating the New York Rangers 5-2 to end their three-game losing skid. Ryan Donato scored two goals for the Wild and now has 11 points in 12 games since coming to Minnesota in a trade with Boston.
Connor McDavid’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes (78 points), who hold a two-point lead over the Wild. Alex Galchenyuk scored both goals for the Coyotes. The Oilers (71 points) are seven points out of a playoff spot in the West.
The San Jose Sharks also missed an opportunity to clinch a postseason spot by falling to the Nashville Predators 4-2. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice for the Predators. Sharks winger Evander Kane returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 26 following an injury and his wife losing their child during pregnancy.