NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2017

by | Mar 30, 2017 | News, NHL

Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin (center) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game recaps, expansion draft update and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

 NHL.COM: First period goals from Artemi Panarin, Richard Panik, Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa powered the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 thumping of the injury-ravaged Pittsburgh Penguins, who were missing eight regulars from their lineup. With 105 points, the Hawks widened their lead over the Minnesota Wild for top spot in the Western Conference by nine points. 

Evgeni Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson and Kevin Shattenkirk each collected two points to give the Washington Capitals a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Caps (110 points) widened their lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for top spot in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference standings by five points. 

Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron scored as the St. Louis Blues downed the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. It was the Blues’ sixth win in their last seven games as they move into third in the Central Division. With 90 points, they’re one ahead of the Nashville Predators. 

Jarome Iginla had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” (goal, assist and a fight) to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 victory over his former club, the Calgary Flames. The win keeps the Kings’ fading playoff hopes alive and stalled the Flames’ hope of clinching a playoff berth. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames can secure a playoff spot with a win in their next game, when they face the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

In Beijing yesterday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two preseason games this September in China. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Speaking of Bettman, unsealed documents show he pushed NHL general managers back in 2013-14 to ignore media questions about fighting. The documents were revealed as part an ongoing lawsuit over the league’s handling of concussion injuries. 

SPORTSNET: NHL teams will unveil its lists of protected and unprotected players for the June expansion draft, perhaps within 24 hours of the submission due date (5 pm ET on June 17, 2017). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was believed the general managers didn’t want to reveal their lists so as not to potentially jeopardize potential contract talks with their unprotected players. However, it makes sense to make those lists public. Most of the names would be leaked to the media anyway, making a mockery of any attempt at secrecy by the league.  

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos could be very close to returning to action. He’s been sidelined since November by a knee injury. 

ESPN.COM: Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise could miss the next three games due to swelling and bruising around his eye from a high stick to the face from Washington Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson earlier this week. Fortunately, Parise escaped serious injury. 

THE DENVER POST: Tyson Jost, the Colorado Avalanche’s first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2016 NHL draft, signed a three-year entry-level contract and is expected to join the club for their remaining games this season.