Playoff game recaps, Calder Trophy finalists announced and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/MLIVE.COM: Tyler Johnson scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, tying their best-of-seven series at two games apiece. One reason for Johnson’s offensive success was his shadow, Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening, was forced from the game late in the third period to receive stitches in his right hand. Glendening expects to return to action for Game Five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to the Lightning’s late-game outburst the Wings appeared to have this one in the bag and on the verge of taking a 3-1 series lead. This game could be a momentum changer in this series.
THE TENNESSEAN/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Filip Forsberg tallied a hat trick and Mike Fisher returned to the lineup as the Nashville Predators staved off elimination with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, who lead the series three games to two. The series returns to Chicago for Game Six, where Corey Crawford could replace Scott Darling in the Blackhawks’ goal.
THE WASHINGTON POST/NEWSDAY: Evgeni Kuznetsov scored twice to lead the Washington Capitals to a 5-1 thumping of the New York Islanders, who lost another defenseman when Calvin de Haan (shoulder injury) left the game. The series shifts back to Long Island for Game Six with the Capitals leading the series three games to two, leaving the Isles hoping the friendly confines of Nassau Coliseum can help them extend the series.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
NEW YORK POST/NHL.COM: New York Rangers star Rick Nash is once again being criticized over his playoff performance on social media, while Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin has been hampered by an undisclosed injury.
STARTRIBUNE.COM/STLTODAY.COM: Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild hope to put their poor Game Four performance against the Blues behind them, while Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has provided a spark for his club since returning from a mid-season injury.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks now have time to ponder their second-round playoff opponent, which could be the Calgary Flames, who are backstopped in goal by former Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller.
Other Notable NHL Headlines.
NHL.COM: Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Ottawa’s Mark Stone are finalists for the 2015 Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few eyebrows were raised when Nashville’s Filip Forsberg didn’t make the cut. That’s due in part to Forsberg’s late-season slump while Stone had a strong second half.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Sharks owner Hasso Plattner is standing behind embattled GM Doug Wilson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former coach Todd McLellan took the fall for the Sharks’ failure to reach the playoffs this season. Right or wrong, Wilson is getting an opportunity to dig himself out of the mess which is largely his creation. If the Sharks fail to improve next season, Wilson could pay the price.
CSNNE.COM: Claude Julien sounds as though he feels his days as Boston Bruins head coach are numbered.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If so, he won’t be unemployed for long. Several clubs (Toronto, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Edmonton, San Jose) are in the market for new head coaches. Julien could land with one of them.
NHLPA.COM: Defenseman Hal Gill is retiring after 16 NHL seasons with Boston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Nashville and Philadelphia. He was part of the Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup championship team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the implementation of new rules following the season-killing lockout of 2004-05 to speed up the game, it was assumed Gill would struggle to adjust. He proved his critics wrong, going on to become an effective shutdown blueliner. He also played a key part in the development of Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban when the two were teammates several years ago.
THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Dan Carcillo mourns the death of friend and former teammate Steve Montador, calling upon the NHL and NHLPA to provide more help for struggling former NHL players with mental health issues.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars broadcaster Ralph Strangis is leaving the organization after 25 years.