The latest on the playoff race, Patrick Kane hits a milestone and more in today’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
The Playoff Race.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Patrick Kane’s hat trick proved crucial for the Chicago Blackhawks as they held on for a 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins Kane became the first Blackhawk to reach 100 points for the first time since Jeremy Roenick in 1993-94.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is now all but assured of winning the Art Ross Trophy, becoming the first American-born player to do so. He’ll also be the only player to reach 100 points this season.
MIAMI HERALD: The Bruins loss to the Blackhawks ensured the Florida Panthers, who were idle on Sunday, clinched a playoff berth.
STLTODAY.COM: Despite losing starting goalie Jake Allen early in the game to an injury, the St. Louis Blues skated to a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche thanks in part to the play of third-stringer Anders Nilsson.
Avs center Matt Duchene reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career, but his celebration during a blowout loss (which drove another nail into the coffin that is the Avalanche’s playoff hopes) didn’t sit well with head coach Patrick Roy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word of how serious Allen’s injury is or how long he’ll be sidelined. As for Roy’s comments about Duchene, I’ll have more about that in my “Rumors” section later today.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The surging Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their 12th win in 13 games with a 6-2 beatdown of the Philadelphia Flyers.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild missed a golden opportunity to clinch a playoff berth, falling 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks moved back into first place in the Pacific Division with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As noted above, the Bruins loss means the Panthers secured a postseason spot. The Flyers loss means the Bruins remain one point behind Philadelphia and the Detroit Red Wings for one of the two remaining playoff berths in the Eastern Conference, with the Flyers holding a game in hand. The Avs playoffs hopes are hanging by a thread, as they’re five points behind the Wild (87 points and two games remaining in their schedule) with three game left. Ideally, the Avalanche must win all three and hope the Wild lose their last two in regulation.
Notable NHL Headlines.
USA TODAY: Detroit’s 24-year playoff streak in jeopardy and Washington’s Braden Holtby’s pursuit of Martin Brodeur’s single-season wins record are among eight storylines worth watching in the final week of the 2015-16 regular season.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Steven Stamkos’ vascular surgery (sidelining him between one-to-three months) has Martin Fennelly feeling like he’s seen the last of Stamkos in a Lightning jersey. The Bolts captain is eligible this summer for unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fennelly’s not the only person wondering if Stamkos played his final game with the Lightning. Less than three months to go until the start of unrestricted free agency. He’ll attract considerable interest if he tests the open market.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri faces a disciplinary hearing for crosschecking Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri’s a repeat offender, so I expect he’ll be taking a seat for what remains of the regular season.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Good news for the Sharks, as sidelined defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower-body injury) expects to be ready to return for the upcoming playoffs.
PHILLY.COM: Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth (knee injury) is skating again but probably won’t return before the end of the regular season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens are recalling NHL All-Star Game MVP John Scott for the final week of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not a fan of Scott’s style of play, but given how he was dicked around by the league over his farcical election by the fans to the All-Star Game and the grace he displayed in handling the situation, I’m glad to see he’ll finish this season in the NHL. It’s probably the last time he’ll skate in the big league.
NEWSDAY: The poor ice conditions at Barclays Center is cause for concern for the New York Islanders.