NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2017
Ducks push Oilers to brink of elimination, Blues force Game 6 against Predators & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Corey Perry’s double-overtime goal capped a stunning 4-3 comeback victory by the Anaheim Ducks over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Oilers held a 3-0 lead late in the third period, but the Ducks pulled goalie John Gibson and rallied on goals by Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell.
The tying goal proved controversial, as Ducks center Ryan Kesler appeared to interfere with Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, but it was allowed following video review. Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Drake Cagglula scored for the Oilers, who are now down three games to two and facing elimination as the series returns to Edmonton on Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking loss for the Oilers, who seemed to have this game in the bag until the Ducks pulled Gibson late in the third. I think Kesler interfered with Talbot on the game-tying goal, but he was checked into the Oilers goalie by one of his own defensemen. Not saying that excuses it, but it explains why the ruling went the way it did.
Had the Oilers played better defensively after the Ducks pulled their goalie, it wouldn’t have set the stage for that game-tying goal. Full marks to the Ducks for battling back and refusing to quit. However, when a team coughs up a three-goal lead with just over three minutes remaining in the third after the opponent has pulled the goalie, it isn’t the result of bad luck, fluky bounces or missed calls. It’s because they played poorly in their own zone.
Jaden Schwartz’s goal early in the third period was the winner as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 to stave off elimination in their second-round series. The Predators still hold a 3-2 lead as the series returns to Nashville for Game 6 on Sunday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (concussion) skated in a full-contract practice with his teammates on Friday. While his return for Game 5 today against the Washington Capitals isn’t guaranteed, Crosby isn’t ruling out the possibility. He also insists he’s not rushing his return. “I felt pretty good right on from the next day to now,” Crosby said. “Probably as good as you could expect.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Penguins up 3-1 in the series and poised to eliminate the Capitals, Crosby’s potential return to the lineup could be a determining factor that decides the outcome of Game 5.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin practiced on the third line on Friday in advance of tonight’s crucial game against the Penguins. Head coach Barry Trotz explained he was looking at shaking up his club’s scoring while also spreading their offensive weapons throughout the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To Ovechkin’s credit, he didn’t kick up a fuss over this obvious demotion. Whether he stays on the third line for long or the experiment actually improves the Capitals’ scoring remains to be seen.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cautions the New York Rangers not to be overconfident entering Game 5 today in their series with the Ottawa Senators. The Rangers overcame a 2-0 series deficit with two convincing wins on home ice.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: A week after acquiring goaltending Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks, the Carolina Hurricanes announced they signed him to a four-year, $16.6-million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big raise for Darling, who goes from an annual cap hit of just over $587K with the Blackhawks to $4.15 million annually. The 28-year-old netminder was a solid backup with the Blackhawks, posting a career record of 39-17-9 with a 2.37 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage with four shutouts.
The Hurricanes obviously believe Darling is ready to become a full-fledged NHL starter. If he pans out this will be a steal of a deal for them. This signing also means Darling will be protected in the expansion draft, leaving Cam Ward and Eddie Lack exposed. If they’re passed over by the Vegas Golden Knights, one of them could be shopped in the trade market or bought out.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Former NHL player Kevin Stevens “was sentenced Thursday in U.S District Court in Boston to three years’ probation and fined $10,000” after pleading guilty to illegally selling prescription painkillers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stevens is fortunate not to serve jail time for this. He’s had a difficult life since his playing career ended. Here’s hoping he can get back on track.