Game recaps, Kings re-sign Tanner Pearson, more Masterton nominees and other notable stories in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The New York Rangers clinched the Metropolitan Division title (and home ice through the first two rounds of the playoffs) with a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced Devan Dubnyk as their nominee for the 2015 Masterton Trophy.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Zach Trotman’s game-winning goal was also his first in the NHL as the Boston Bruins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Roberto Luongo collected his 400th career NHL victory backstopping the Florida Panthers to a 6-1 blowout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Jaromir Jagr tallied his 721st career goal and 1,077th assist, moving into a tie with Ron Francis for fourth on the all-time points list with 1, 798.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets won their eighth straight game downing the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Earlier in the day, the Jackets announced Nick Foligno as their nominee for the Masterton Trophy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.” The Bruins and Panthers’ victories doesn’t change anything in the race for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins remain five points ahead of the Panthers, and three up on the Ottawa Senators.
NBC SPORTS: The Los Angeles Kings yesterday re-signed winger Tanner Pearson to a two-year, $2.8 million contract extension. Pearson, 22, was slated to become a restricted free agent in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Kings re-upped Pearson with an affordable short-term bridge deal. Given their limited cap space and Pearson’s lack of arbitration rights coming off an entry-level deal, the Kings management in this case had to use its leverage . I expect they’ll do the same with Tyler Toffoli. He and Pearson will take the short-term deals now in hopes of bigger rewards in two years’ time, when they’ll both have arbitration rights. It was also a wise decision by the Kings to re-up Pearson now to avoid the possibility of his receiving an offer sheet from a rival club this summer.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks announced forward Andrew Cogliano is their candidate for the Masterton Trophy.
THE TENNESSEAN: Sidelined Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber, James Neal and Matt Cullen have returned to the lineup.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Losing young winger Val Nicushkin for most of this season to injury was a serious blow to the Stars playoff hopes.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Bad news for Tampa Bay Lightning fans who live outside Florida, as you won’t be allowed to purchase playoff tickets.
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: What happens if promising prospect Jack Eichel decides to stay in college rather than make the jump to the NHL next season?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could affect where Eichel gets selected in this year’s NHL draft. In the bubble world of the NHL, a top prospect who prefers staying in college to playing in the bigs (even for one season) would still be looked upon in some circles as an oddball. Considered the de facto number two pick after Connor McDavid, any club selecting Eichel will expect him to end his college career and jump to the NHL next season. If he states his intent to stay in college for another year during his pre-draft team interviews, some GMs would question his commitment to an NHL career.