Game recaps, updates on Claude Julien, Craig Berube, Joe Thornton and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Playoff Recaps and Headlines.
Note: Game involving Canadian NHL playoff teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/THE TENNESSEAN: Duncan Keith scored in double-overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-3 in Game One of their best of seven first-round playoff matchup. Though the Predators chased ‘Hawks starter Corey Crawford from the net, a sloppy second period allowed Chicago to rally back and tie the game. Scott Darling made 42 saves in relief of Crawford for the win. The Predators also lost center Mike Fisher to a lower-body injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wish every overtime in this year’s playoffs can be as exciting as that first OT period between the Blackhawks and Predators. It was thrilling end-to-end, hard-hitting action.
NEWSDAY/THE WASHINGTON POST: The New York Islanders dominated the surprisingly flat Washington Capitals, cruising to a 4-1 victory to take a 1-0 series lead. Brock Nelson scored twice, Josh Bailey had a two-point performance and Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for the win.
MLIVE.COM/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen’s recent concussion has him re-examining his values but he still hopes to make a comeback. He’s not expected to return this season and will miss his club’s opening-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Meanwhile, the Lightning are using last season’s playoff disappointment as fuel for this season.
STLTODAY.COM/TWINCITIES.COM: The St. Louis Blues have tapped Jake Allen as their starting goalie for Game One of their series against the Minnesota Wild. Forward Matt Cooke (soreness from sports hernia surgery) claims he’s ready to go for the opening game but Wild coach Mike Yeo thinks otherwise.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks’ power-play and physical play are among the keys to their upcoming series against the Winnipeg Jets.
TRIBLIVE.COM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Pittsburgh Penguins hope their special teams can give them an edge in their upcoming series against the New York Rangers. Blueshirts forward J.T. Miller is looking forward to facing the Penguins, who were his childhood favorite.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: A month after getting into a spat with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, center Joe Thornton took a couple of jabs at coach Todd McLellan. Speaking of McLellan, there was nothing to report on his future with the club. McLellan has a year remaining on his contract. It’s expected he will be replaced, but so far there no indication of that from Wilson. That’s prompting speculation over why it hasn’t happened yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have rapidly deteriorated into a soap opera this season. It won’t get any better unless ownership steps in. Thornton’s unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause and ownership’s insistence he’ll finish his career as a Shark suggests Wilson and McLellan could be replaced. While McLellan is likely a goner, it remains to be seen if Wilson suffers the same fate.
CSNNE.COM: In the wake of the Boston Bruins firing GM Peter Chiarelli, head coach Claude Julien’s future remains in doubt. While Julien and his coaching staff “will remain in place at this time”, it sounds as though they could eventually be replaced.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins intend to leave that decision up to whoever becomes their new general manager. Julien could be left twisting in the wind for weeks before a decision is made.
PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall declined to make a decision yet on the fate of head coach Craig Berube, who is expected to be replaced following the club’s poor performance this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Hextall is waiting to compile a list of potential candidates before dumping Berube. Like Julien, Berube could also be left waiting weeks to learn his fate. I believe Hextall has everyone intention of making a coaching change and see little reason why he should drag this out.