NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2017
Game recaps, more opening-round match-ups determined, Bryan Bickell to retire & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor Brown scored the game winner late in the third period to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013, eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders from the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference.
Leafs starting goalie Frederik Andersen left the game in the second period with an apparent head injury following a collision with Penguins forward Tom Sestito. No word yet on his status for the playoffs.
The Boston Bruins (95 points) fell to the Washington Capitals 3-1, leaving them tied for third with the Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo left the game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for the start of the playoffs later this week. The Bruins are also missing blueliner Torey Krug (lower body).
The Ottawa Senators clinched (98 points) clinched second spot in the Atlantic Division with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers.
Connor McDavid tallied his 100th career NHL assist as the Edmonton Oilers (101 points) secured home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. It’s the first time since the Oilers reached 100 points since 1986-87.
Vladimir Tarasenko’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues (97 points) a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blues clinched third place in the Central Division and will face the Minnesota Wild in the opening round of the playoffs. Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell has announced his retirement following this season. He was diagnosed last November with multiple sclerosis.
The Wild set a franchise record for wins (49) and points (106) with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
Chris Tierney had a two-point game as the San Jose Sharks downed the Calgary Flames 3-1. The Sharks (99 points) secured third place in the Pacific Division while the Flames hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Sharks scratched captain Joe Pavelski, ending his ironman streak at 495 games.
The Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Before the game, long-time Devils star Patrik Elias went through a final warm-up with his teammates and was overcome with emotion during the ceremonial puck drop with his family. Elias recently announced his retirement.
Drew Doughty’s overtime goal gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks, who’ve now dropped four straight games. It was also the final game for long-time Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller, who’s retiring after 44 seasons behind the mike.
The Winnipeg Jets finished their season with a seven-game win streak by edging the Nashville Predators 2-1. The Preds face the Blackhawks in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, handing the playoff-bound Jackets their sixth straight loss entering their final game of the regular season today against the Leafs. Flyers goalie Steve Mason picked up his 200th career win.
Alex Galchenyuk’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the second-to-last NHL game at the Joe Louis Arena. The Habs end the season atop the Atlantic Division with 103 points.
James Reimer turned in a 30-save shutout as the Florida Panthers snapped a six-game losing skid by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. It was the final NHL game for retiring Panthers enforcer Shawn Thornton.
Tyler Seguin’s shootout goal lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Four of the eight opening-round series are now set. In the East, it’s the Penguins vs the Blue Jackets and the Canadiens vs the Rangers. In the West, the Blackhawks face the Predators and the Wild tangle with the Blues.
NBC SPORTS: The NHL Draft Lottery will reportedly take place on April 29.