NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2017
Blues, Oilers and Rangers advance to second round, Vezina Trophy finalists revealed & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Magnus Paajarvi scored in overtime as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 to win their opening-round series four games to one. The Blues will face the Nashville Predators in the second round. Wild center Eric Staal was hospitalized after crashing head first into the end boards in the second period. He was listed as stable and alert.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully Staal avoided serious injury. After another disappointing playoff exit, changes could be coming for the Wild this summer. This series also proved the Blues still have the grit and the goaltending to grind out victory in a low-scoring series.
Cam Talbot made 27 saves backstopping the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, eliminating the latter from the opening round in six games. The Oilers will meet the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After reaching the Cup Final last year, this is a discouraging finish for the Sharks. It also raises questions over the futures of long-time Sharks stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. This series victory is a significant confidence boost for the Oilers, especially for young stars such as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Mats Zuccarello scored twice as the New York Rangers downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 to take their best-of-seven series in six games. The Rangers await the winner of the Ottawa Senators-Boston Bruins series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling through this season, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist reminded everyone following this series that he’s still capable of rising to the occasion in the playoffs. The Canadiens lack of offense was their downfall in this one.
Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens are the 2017 finalists for the Vezina Trophy.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins center David Krejci (knee injury) is questionable for Game Six today against the Ottawa Senators.
WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner (upper-body injury) could be close to rejoining the lineup. The Capitals face the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 tonight.