NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2017
Game recaps, Blue Jackets & Blackhawks clinch playoff berths & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby tallied his 10th career hat trick to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 blanking of the Florida Panthers. Crosby moved into a tie (80 points) in the scoring race with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and took over the lead in the goal-scoring race, becoming the first player this season to reach 40 goals. The Penguins (99 points) sit one point back of the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division.
Boone Jenner had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets clinched a playoff berth by downing the New Jersey Devils 4-1. It also marked the first time in franchise history they’ve reached 100 points in a season. The win moved them into a tie with the first-overall Capitals.
The Chicago Blackhawks also clinched a playoff spot with a five-goal third-period rally to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. Jonathan Toews scored twice for the Hawks (99 points), who opened a seven-point lead in the Central Division and the Western Conference standings over the slumping Minnesota Wild.
Josh Morrissey’s third-period goal lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-4 win over the Wild, who had overcome a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in the second period. It’s the Wild’s fifth straight loss.
Paul Byron reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career and Carey Price turned aside 30 shots to give the Montreal Canadiens a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Habs (90 points) swept their back-to-back weekend series with Ottawa to remain atop the Atlantic Division, opening a four-point lead over the Sens.
Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames downed the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. The Flames (86 points) regained third place in the Pacific Division, one point up on the Edmonton Oilers, while the Kings (75 points) remain six points away from the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Flames rookie winger Matthew Tkachuk could face disciplinary action for a vicious elbow to the head of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who was able to finish to game. The Flames also played without forward Micheal Ferland, who was being tested for mumps.
Brayden Schenn’s overtime goal gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, moving the Flyers (74 points) to within five points of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Flyers captain Claude Giroux also admitted he found it difficult this season to adjust from last spring’s hip surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would certainly explain why Giroux’s production (51 points) has been so low this season.
THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Jannik Hansen traveled with the club to Dallas Sunday after appearing to catch a stick in the face during the club’s loss to Anaheim on Saturday. That could mean he’ll return to the lineup at some point during their four-game road trip this week.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes recalled defenseman Zybnek Michalek and forward Laurent Dauphin from the AHL Tucson Roadrunners.
NEW YORK TIMES: Former NHL players and longtime friends Michal Handzus and Richard Zednik has returned to their Slovakian hometown of Banska Bystrica for the next chapter in their hockey lives.