NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2018
Game recaps plus updates on Carey Price, David Backes, Ilya Kovalchuk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators are the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth by doubling up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons each scored twice for the Predators (104 points), extending the club’s point streak to 14 games. The Avs (84 points) failed to strengthen their hold on the first wild-card spot in the West.
Evander Kane had his first four-goal NHL game to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 7-4 beatdown of the Calgary Flames. With 87 points, the Sharks opened a three-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division. The Flames, meanwhile, are four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Washington Capitals (89 points) opened a two-point lead atop the Metropolitan Division with a 6-3 drubbing of the New York Islanders. Capitals forward Alex Chiasson had a goal and two assists, while teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov left the game in the second period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He will be re-evaluated today.
The Dallas Stars are barely clinging to the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference after falling 3-2 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators. Winger Mike Hoffman tallied the game winner. With 84 points, the Stars are tied with the Anaheim Ducks but hold the advantage with 38 victories compared to the Ducks’ 36 wins.
Speaking of the Ducks, they moved into a tie with the Stars by clipping the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. Anaheim goaltender John Gibson made 28 saves for the win, while the Wings dropped their ninth consecutive game. The Ducks will have to jockey for playoff position without defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who’s out two-to-five weeks following surgery to remove scar tissue from his left hand.
The Minnesota Wild maintained their hold on third in the Central Division with a 4-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, handing the latter their fourth straight home defeat. The Golden Knights have struggled of late, winning only four of their last 10 contests.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has resumed practicing with his teammates after missing 12 games thus far to a concussion. He’s hoping to return to action before the end of the season and hasn’t ruled out playing for Canada in the IIHF World Championships.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins winger David Backes won’t receive supplemental discipline after receiving a match penalty for hitting Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck in the head during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.
TSN: Former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk told a Russian sports channel he wants to return to the NHL this summer. Kovalchuk departed for the KHL in the summer of 2013.