Recapping the playoff race, injury updates, comparing the careers of Johnny Hockey vs Johnny Football & more in today’s collection of NHL headlines. 

NHL Playoff Race. 

Nazem Kadri's 4-point effort lifted the Maple Leafs over the Ducks.

Nazem Kadri’s 4-point effort lifted the Maple Leafs over the Ducks.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Despite falling in overtime 6-5 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Anaheim Ducks gained a point to clinch a playoff berth. Nazem Kadri netted four points, including the game winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are struggling on their current road trip, but considering where they were three months ago (last in the Western Conference), clinching a postseason spot is at least a source of satisfaction.

LOS ANGELES TIMES:  The Los Angeles Kings dropped a 4-1 decision to the Winnipeg Jets. The loss prevents the Kings from extending their division lead over the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: The Sharks missed an opportunity to gain on the Kings, falling 6-3 to the Edmonton Oilers.

TWINCITIES.COM: Zach Parise’s first-period hat trick led the Minnesota Wild to a 6-2 drubbing of the Calgary Flames, spoiling the return of former Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom.

PHILLY.COM: “Claude Giroux and Radko Gudas scored 19 seconds apart late in the game, lifting the Flyers to a dramatic 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.”

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Riley Sheahan scored twice and Anthony Mantha tallied his first NHL goal as the Detroit Red Wings edges the Montreal Canadiens 4-3.

TRIBLIVE.COM:  The Pittsburgh Penguins six-game winning streak came to a halt as they were blanked 3-0 by the New Jersey Devils. In just his second NHL game, Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood turned in a 39-save performance for the shutout.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars fell to the Arizona Coyotes 3-1, blowing an opportunity to widen their lead over the St. Louis Blues for top spot in the Western Conference.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers downed the Boston Bruins 4-1, leapfrogging the Tampa Bay Lightning into first in the Atlantic Division while handing the slumping Bruins their fifth straight defeat.

TSN: Craig Smith’s shootout goal lifted the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers and Red Wings are tied with 85 points, but the former holds the final wild card berth in the Eastern Conference as they hold a game in hand over the latter. The Bruins are only one point over the Wings in the Atlantic Division and in danger of falling out of a playoff berth. The Penguins loss prevented them from gaining ground on the NY Rangers for second in the Metropolitan Division. In the Western Conference, the Wild now hold a three-point lead over the Avalanche for that final wild-card spot, while the Predators win puts them only two points behind the struggling Chicago Blackhawks for third in the Central Division. 

 

Notable NHL Headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Tyler Myers underwent season-ending knee surgery yesterday and also faces offseason hip surgery.

YAHOO SPORTS: Florida Panthers captain Willie Mitchell (concussion) could return to action, but some doctors are advising against it for his future well being.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mitchell’s played nearly 15 years in the NHL and won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings. At 38, he’s got nothing left to prove. If he’s reached a point in his career where doctors believe he needs to shut it down for the sake of his long-term health, he should listen to them. 

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins suffered a concussion following a clean hit on Tuesday by Arizona Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon remain week-to-week with knee injuries. A further update isn’t expected until at least Sunday.

THE SCORE: Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan is leaning toward returning with the club next season.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll received a four-game suspension for a late hit on Philadelphia’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

SI.COM:  A timeline of the careers of Johnny Football (NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel) and Johnny Hockey (Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clearly, Johnny Hockey’s having the better career.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres are raising their season-ticket prices for next season.