Game recaps, Flyers team award nominees, religion in the NHL and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

 Game Recaps.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Steven Stamkos scored twice and Ben Bishop picked up his fourth shutout of the season as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Florida Panthers 4-0, eliminating the Panthers from the playoff race.  Bishop collected his 38th win of the season, a new Lightning franchise record.

Rick Nash celebrates his goal against the Devils.

Rick Nash celebrates his goal against the Devils.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 35 shots backstopping the New York Rangers to a 6-1 rout of the New Jersey Devils. Rick Nash scored his career-best 42nd goal while the Rangers secured their 50th win of the season, widening their lead over the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks in the race for the President’s Trophy.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Los Angeles Kings remain tied with the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Marion Gaborik scored his 26th goal of the season while Jeff Carter collected two assists.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders moved closer to clinching a playoff berth with a 3-0 shutout of the Buffalo Sabres.

MLIVE.COM: Darren Helm scored in a shootout to lift the Detroit Red wings to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Cody Eakins overtime penalty-shot goal lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 upset of the Nashville Predators. The win kept the Stars’ slim playoff hopes alive, but they must win all their remaining games while the Winnipeg Jets must remain pointless.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Nick Foligno potted his first career NHL hat trick to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The win was the ninth straight for the Blue Jackets, setting a franchise record for consecutive victories.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored twice as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3, dealing the Sharks’ playoff hopes a serious blow. Ekman-Larsson also tied the franchise record for goals by a defenseman with 23.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Jordan Staal tallied a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”

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 Notable Headlines.

PHILLY.COM: A look at the leading candidates for the Philadelphia Flyers team awards for team MVP and top defenseman. Jakub Voracek, Steve Mason and Claude Giroux are the candidates for team MVP.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Religion isn’t something that’s on display across the NHL.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Time, patience and a confidence boost have elevated winger Jakub Silfverberg among the Anaheim Ducks’ top-six forwards this season.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals head coach Barry Trotz recently reached his 600th career NHL victory.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Long-time NHL referee Paul Devorski will officiate his final NHL game on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Penguins meet the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPORTSNET: Controversial former Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been appointed to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s board of directors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why not? Every circus needs a clown.