Game recaps, previews of tonight’s matches, Todd McLellan parts ways with the Sharks and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/TRIBLIVE.COM: Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider scored while Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves as the New York Rangers held on for a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. Patric Hornqvist scored the sole goal for the Penguins, who managed only 11 shot on Lundqvist through the first two periods. The Penguins’ struggles appear to be taking a toll upon their general manager Jim Rutherford, who berated a Pittsburgh columnist following the game.
TWINCITIES.COM/STLTODAY.COM: The Minnesota Wild’s disciplined defensive game carried them to a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues, giving them a 2-1 series lead. Zach Parise and Jason Pominville each had a goal and an assist, while Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves for the shutout. The Wild took no penalties in this game, ignoring efforts by Blues pest Steve Ott to goad a couple of them into fighting.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/THE TENNESSEAN: The Chicago Blackhawks intend to stick with Scott Darling as their starting goalie for Game Four, while the Nashville Predators must find a way to solve him. In the two games Darling has faced the Predators in this series, he’s given up only two goals on 79 shots.
NEWSDAY/CSNWASHINGTON.COM: New York Islanders winger Kyle Okposo has regained his dominant physical form, while the Washington Capitals will be without forward Eric Fehr (upper-body injury) for the next two games of this series.
THE DETROIT NEWS/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Detroit Red Wings welcome forward Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Brendan Smith back into their lineup. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula has done little things in a big way for his club against the Red Wings.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Coach Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks have “mutually agreed” to part ways. McLellan, who had a year remaining on his contract, coached the Sharks for the past seven seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one San Jose pundit observed, the pressure is now upon GM Doug Wilson to rebuild this club into a playoff contender again. It could take more than a coaching change to do that. It’s widely believed the Sharks suffered more from a culture problem than a coaching one. The biggest issue is how Wilson and former captain Joe Thornton can co-exist. Everyone knows Wilson prefers to move Thornton, who holds a full no-movement clause and has no intention of waiving it. Until this issue is address, the Sharks’ problems will likely carry over into next season. As for McLellan, there will be considerable interest (hello there, Toronto, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Edmonton) in him, but it could cost a team which signs him a compensatory draft pick because he’s still under contract.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique had surgery last Thursday to repair two torn ligaments in his left wrist.
CBS SPORTS: There’s been multiple cases of awful fan behavior in several NHL cities during the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind these are the actions of a few idiots, most likely fueled by booze and stupidity, and isn’t reflective of the fan bases in those cities. Still, these actions are embarrassing and something the security staffs in the respective arenas must focus on to ensure these incidents don’t continue.
ESPN.COM: Las Vegas’ NHL season ticket drive has reached 11,000. It is believed 2017-18 is the earliest an NHL franchise could be playing in that city.
NBC SPORTS: Former NHL agitator Ville Nieminen has retired. Niminen played seven seasons in the NHL with Colorado, Pittsburgh, Chicago, NY Rangers, San Jose and St. Louis from 1999-2000 to 2006-07, winning a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He’s spent the past several season playing in Russia, Sweden and Finland.