Latest on the playoff race, injury updates and more in this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines. 

Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby's overtime goal against the Rangers.

Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal against the Rangers.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Chicago Blackhawks clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Andrew Ladd scored his third goal in two game and goalie Scott Darling made 26 saves. Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov missed the game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day, though he’s not expected to be sidelined for long.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Phil Kessel netted a goal and an assist for the Penguins, while Eric Staal scored twice in a losing cause for the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins moved to within three points of the Rangers for second in the Metropolitan Division. The Blackhawks opened a four-point lead over the Nashville Predators for third in the Central Division and to within four points of the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars. 

NBC SPORTS:  More bad news for the Colorado Avalanche, as top forward Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene will miss the next two games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Avalanche falling five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference, losing MacKinnon and Duchene couldn’t come at a worse time. 

THE DENVER POST: Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said rookie right wing Mikko Rantanen won’t play his 10th NHL game this season in order to preserve the first year of his entry-level contract.


PHILLY.COM:  Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux wasn’t seriously injured after striking his head against the boards during Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, Giroux will be in the lineup for today’s game against Winnipeg.

OTTAWA SUN:  Senators winger Clarke MacArthur may have lost this season to a concussion, but he’s hoping to return to action next season.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER:  Center Ryan Kesler will return to the Anaheim Ducks lineup for today’s game against Edmonton after missing the last two games attending to a family matter.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Having been hampered by injury earlier this season, Lightning center Tyler Johnson is returning to form at the right time for his club.

SPORTSNET:  Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri may be garnering a reputation among NHL officials.

ESPN.COM: Multiple sources claims the Wisconsin Badgers will name Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Tony Granato as their new men’s hockey team head coach.