Check out the latest on the playoff race in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TWINCITIES.COM: Despite a 3-0 shutout loss to the San Jose Sharks and being booed off the ice by their fans, the Minnesota Wild clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators ended their playoff hopes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild will also be the only team to reach the playoffs with less than 90 points. The last time that happened was 2009-10.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins playoff hopes took a hit with a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers need five points to clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
THE DETROIT NEWS: For the Red Wings, it’s now or next year for their playoff hopes, facing the Philadelphia Flyers tonight and the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The final two playoff berths in the Eastern Conference are all that remain to be decided. The schedule favors the Flyers, who have four games remaining compared to the Red Wings (three) and the Bruins (two). All three have 91 points, with the Wings currently holding third place in the Atlantic Division and the Flyers owning the final wild-card spot.
NEWSDAY: Thomas Hickey’s overtime goal lifted the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. The win also secured a postseason berth.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers won the Atlantic Division title with a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, but learned captain Ryan McDonagh is out for at least the remainder of the regular season. The injury-depleted Lightning were playing without defenseman Victor Hedman and Ryan Callahan, who joined Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman on the sidelines.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 4-3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have 102 points and the Rangers 99 with both clubs having two game remaining in the schedule. The Rangers still have a chance to overtake the Pens for second place in the Metropolitan Division, but it’s a slim one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings and Ducks are tied with 99 points, but the latter hold first in the Pacific Division because they have three games remaining while the Kings have two.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Artem Anisimov (upper-body injury) joined Marian Hossa, Corey Crawford and Andrew Shaw on the sidelines as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Arizona Coyotes 6-2.
YAHOO SPORTS: “Beset by sagging ratings and negative critical reviews”, Rogers Sportsnet fired production head Gord Cutler. Over the last two seasons, ratings for Hockey Night in Canada fell by 30 percent.