Ongoing decline of scoring, odds of the 2016 first-overall pick landing in Canada & more in today’s collection of notable NHL headlines.

Playoff Race.

Rangers celebrate a goal in their 5-2 win over the Bruins.

Rangers celebrate a goal in their 5-2 win over the Bruins.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Henrik Lundqvist made 39 saves and the Rangers netted two power-play goals to down the Boston Bruins 5-2.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders snapped a four-game winless skid with a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers win gives them a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for second in the Metropolitan Division. The Isles victory puts them four points over the Philadelphia Flyers in the overall Eastern Conference playoff standings and moves them to within a point of the Penguins. The Bruins, meanwhile, still hold the final guaranteed playoff berth in the Atlantic Division, but they’ve dropped four straight and sit only three points above the Detroit Red Wings. 

Injury Updates.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: P.K. Subban (neck injury, day-to-day) is getting closer to returning to the Canadiens lineup.

OTTAWA SUN: It’s uncertain when Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf (lower-body injury) will return to action.

Notable NHL Headlines.

TSN: Bob McKenzie claims there’s an over 70 percent chance the 2016 first-overall pick ends up with a Canadian NHL team.

ESPN.COM: With Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin the only player with a realistic shot this season of reaching 50 goals, Pierre LeBrun wonders if 50-goal seasons are becoming a thing of the past.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry became only the 11th player to reach 30 goals this season. It’s Perry’s sixth 30-goal season, tying Paul Kariya for second in franchise history. Teemu Selanne holds the club record with seven 30-goal seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as there’s inconsistent officiating, uncalled obstruction masquerading as defensive hockey, over-sized goalie equipment and coaching systems that stifle offensive creativity in favor of plodding defensive systems, scoring in the NHL will continue to suffer. The league is attempting to address part of this problem by introducing rules to restrict the size of goalie equipment, but it appears reluctant to address the other issues. 

 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Calgary Flames goalie and former Minnesota Wild Niklas Backstrom has an opportunity to play spoiler when he faces his former club tonight. The The Wild are battling for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Flames, young stars and pending restricted free agents Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan hope to play together for the next decade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Expect the Flames to lock up both to lucrative long-term deals. And as TSN’s Bob McKenzie recently reminded us, Gaudreau is ineligible to receive an offer sheet. Monahan could get one, but the Flames will undoubtedly match. 

STLTODAY.COM: The role of playoff starting goalie for the St. Louis Blues is Brian Elliott’s to lose.

NBC SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll faces a disciplinary hearing for his late hit on Philadelphia Flyers winger Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Jonathan Drouin was suspended one game by the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for missing a team meeting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just keep digging that hole deeper, Jonathan. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have suspended prospect Garrett Ross indefinitely pending the outcome of a criminal proceeding stemming from a revenge porn felony charge.