Steven Stamkos to undergo vascular surgery, latest on the playoff race & more in today’s collection of notable NHL headlines. 

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to undergo blood-clot surgery.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to undergo blood-clot surgery.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be sidelined 1-3 months due to upcoming surgery to remove a blood clot near his right arm.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff berth by blanking the New York Islander 5-0, but they did so without starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s sidelined by a concussion. A return date for Fleury isn’t known. The Penguins’ victory is good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as it assures the latter they’ll have the Penguins first-round pick in this year’s draft as part of the lingering legacy of last summer’s Phil Kessel trade.

PHILLY.COM:  A two-goal performance by Wayne Simmonds and some stellar goaltending from Steve Mason lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM:  The Florida Panthers overcame a 3-0 deficit to edge the Montreal Canadiens 4-3, and are one game away from securing a postseason spot.

 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: An energetic game by Antoine Roussel helped the Dallas Stars down the Los Angeles Kings in a 3-2 comeback victory.

THE DETROIT NEWS:  A 32-save performance by Jimmy Howard carried the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, vaulting the Wings over the Boston Bruins into third place – and a possible playoff berth – in the Atlantic Division.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:  New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, delaying the Rangers’ chance to clinch a postseason spot and likely costing them second place in the Metropolitan Division.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Two goals by Tomas Hertl paved the way for Logan Couture’s shootout winner as the San Jose Sharks edged the Nashville Predators 3-2.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov suffered a concussion from an unpenalized hit by Washington’s Tom Wilson during the Avs recent loss to the Capitals..

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos’ lengthy absence could seriously hamper the Lightning’s Stanley Cup aspirations this spring. The Penguins could also find themselves in a spot of difficulty if Fleury is sidelined for a long period of time. The Wings have a tenuous hold on third in the Atlantic, as the Boston Bruins (78 games played) hold a game in hand. The Flyers, however, hold two games in hand over the Wings and one over the Bruins.