NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2017
Game recaps, injury updates and reaction to NHL’s decision not to go to 2018 Winter Olympics in your morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2014 by blanking the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Tuukka Rask turned in a 28-save shutout performance and winger David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins (94 points), who likely ended the Lightning’s thin playoff hopes. With 88 points, the Bolts are five out of a wild-card berth with three games remaining in the season.
The Bruins got the win without left wing Brad Marchand, who was ejected for spearing Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin in the groin. The incident is under review by the league’s department of player safety.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand has a long suspension history and was fined $10,000 earlier this season for a dangerous trip on Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall. He could end up missing the start of the playoffs if the league decides on a lengthy suspension.
The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to clinch a playoff berth as they fell 4-1 to the Washington Capitals (114 points), who move ever closer to clinching their second straight Presidents’ Trophy. The Capitals played without defenseman John Carlson, who was a late scratch with a lower-body injury. The Leafs (93 points) fall one back of the Bruins and Ottawa Senators into the final wild-card spot in the East.
Craig Anderson made 24 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the Senators downed the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. With 94 points, the Sens moved into a tie for second in the Atlantic Division with the Bruins, but still haven’t clinched a playoff spot. Sens winger Clarke MacArthur returned to lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion in training camp last fall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe MacArthur’s risking serious injury, but I admire his determination to continue his playing career. Here’s hoping he stays healthy.
Thomas Hickey scored in overtime to lift the New York Islanders to a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators. The Isles (88 points) move to within five points of a wild-card spot in the East.
The Minnesota Wild defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 to clinch second place in the Central Division and officially eliminate the Canes from the playoff race. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game with a lower-body injury but it’s not believed to be serious. Before the game, the two clubs honored Wild center and former Hurricanes captain Eric Staal on his 1,000th NHL game.
Matt Murray turned aside 38 shots while Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each collected two points to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins (109 points) moved three ahead of the Jackets for second in the Metropolitan Division.
Patrick Eaves, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Wagner scored to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames to move four points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for top spot in the Pacific Division. It was a costly win for the Ducks, as defenseman Cam Fowler left the game in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with Flames blueliner Mark Giordano. No word yet as to how long Fowler could be sidelined.
Nick Shore had a goal and three assists as the Los Angeles Kings upset the Edmonton Oilers 6-4. The Oilers are four point back of the Ducks for top spot in the Pacific. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice for the Oilers.
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 to move into a tie with the Oilers for second in the Pacific Division. The Sharks played without Joe Thornton (left leg injury) and Logan Couture (facial injury) and are hoping both will be back when the playoffs begin next week.
Erik Johnson scored in overtime and Matt Duchene picked up three assists as the Colorado Avalanche overcame a 3-0 deficit to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3.
Patrik Laine scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Julius Honka’s first NHL goal came in overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, who were playing without winger Radim Vrbata (lower-body injury, day-to-day).
Keith Kinkaid kicked out 35 shots and John Moore tallied the only goal as the New Jersey Devils edged the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0.
SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league isn’t looking to negotiate its position on Olympic participation. The league announced on Monday it would not participate in the 2018 Winter Games on Pyeongchang, South Korea. “NHL clubs have not wanted to go to the Olympics and we have been saying that for months if not years,” said Bettman. “All we’ve done is confirmed it.”
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The International Ice Hockey Federation hasn’t given up on its efforts to broker a deal between the NHL and the International Olympic Committee.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Alex Ovechkin intends to participate in the 2018 Olympic with or without the league’s approval. “I didn’t change my mind, and I won’t,” Ovechkin said. “It’s my country. You know, I think everybody wants to play there, and it’s the biggest opportunity in your life to play in the Olympic Games. So I don’t know. Somebody going to tell me don’t go, I don’t care. I just go.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on this situation in the Soapbox section.