Penguins take 3-1 series lead over Capitals, Coyotes to announce new GM and more in this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
NHL Playoff News.
TRIBLIVE.COM/THE WASHINGTON POST: Patric Hornqvist’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, taking a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series and pushing the Capitals to the brink of elimination. Pens rookie goalie Matt Murray made 34 saves for the win. A lack of discipline by the Caps and an inability to score on the power play contributed to their defeat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals face daunting odds. Teams with a 3-1 series lead go on to win 90 percent of the time. Once again, the ghosts of playoff failures past are probably resurfacing in the minds of the Capitals and their fans.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues captain David Backes has become captain clutch in this year’s playoffs. He leads all postseason scorers with three game-winning goals, two of those coming in overtime.
CBS SPORTS: The Dallas Stars’ goaltending is the biggest flaw among the remaining playoff teams. The combined save percentage of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi is a postseason-worst .892.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams with that type of goaltending rarely get far in the playoffs. The Stars need a better effort from Lehtonen and Niemi if they hope to overcome their current 2-1 series deficit against the St. Louis Blues.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forward Brian Boyle won’t face supplemental discipline for his high hit on New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey in Game 3 of their best-of-seven second-round series.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders coach Jack Capuano seems uncertain what to do with struggling sophomore winger Ryan Strome, who was a healthy scratch in Game 3 against the Lightning. Strome was also scratched from two games during the Isles first-round series against the Florida Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strome’s struggles are carrying over from his inconsistent regular season. He has four points in six playoff games, but all of those came in just two of those games.
THE TENNESSEAN/THE MERCURY NEWS: Lineup changes (including center Mike Ribeiro being a healthy scratch), the strong performance of goalie Pekka Rinne and successful special-team play were keys to the Nashville Predators winning Game 3 of their series against the San Jose Sharks. As the Preds appear to be carrying momentum into Game 4, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer isn’t ruling out making some lineup changes of his own.
NATIONAL POST: For all the talk by NHL players about their need to have respect toward each other, they’ve shown very little of it in this year’s playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the league’s officiating and department of player safety deserves their fair share of the blame for the dirty play, the players must also do more. So far, we’ve only heard empty rhetoric from them and virtually nothing from the NHLPA leadership. Until the PA and its membership decides to get serious about this issue, the dirty play will continue.
Notable NHL Headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, New York Islanders center John Tavares and Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber are the finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes are expected to name 26-year-old John Chayka as their next general manager at a press conference today. He’ll become the youngest GM in the NHL.
MLIVE.COM: After 15 NHL seasons, Detroit Red Wings forward Brad Richards faces an uncertain future. He’s an unrestricted free agent in July and produced a career-low 28 points in 68 games this season.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: If you’ve got $7.1 million to spend, you can buy Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf’s Corona Del Mar home.
CALGARY SUN: Former Flames coach Bob Hartley hopes to land on his feet elsewhere in the NHL before next season.
THE PROVINCE: Marc Crawford said he’s better prepared in his bid to return to the NHL coaching ranks.