Game recaps, Sharks eliminated from playoff contention, three stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Derek Stepan scored the game-tying and game-winning goals as the New York Rangers rallied to a 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, snapping the latter’s nine-game winning streak. If the Rangers defeat the New Jersey Devils tonight, they will win the President’s Trophy for the first time since 1994.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres needed a loss to “clinch” the 30th overall seed but they leaped to a 4-0 lead and held on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Anders Lindback made a career-best 49 saves for the win while Tyler Ennis, Brian Gionta, Zach Bogosian and Johan Larsson had two-point performances.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good on the Sabres for actually giving a damn at this late stage in the season even in a nothing game where their fate is pretty much sealed.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-1, eliminating the latter from playoff contention for the first time since 2003. The Stars, however, were also eliminated as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the Minnesota Wild 2-0.
NOTE: Games and stories involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, Philadelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno were the NHL three stars for the week ending April 5, 2015.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: A Sharks source said a Sportsnet report claiming head coach Todd McLellan would become a free agent if general manager Doug Wilson is fired is inaccurate.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators rookie winger Filip Forsberg has regained his scoring touch following a recent lengthy slump. Forsberg has eight points in his last nine games, a significant improvement over the one point in the previous nine.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad isn’t concerned about the possibility of winning the Calder Trophy as this season’s NHL rookie of the year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad is my choice for the Calder. No disrespect to Nashville’s Filip Forsberg, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau or Ottawa’s Mark Stone, but the 19-year-old Ekblad plays a much larger role than those three, blossoming into a reliable top-pairing defenseman at a very young age.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had earlier tapped Brian Elliott as his starting goalie for the upcoming playoffs, but now intends to stick with Jake Allen, who’s been sharp in recent performances.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders rookie Anders Lee is trying to rediscover his scoring touch. Lee has no goals and one assist in his last ten games.