NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2018

by | Mar 21, 2018 | News, NHL

Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 602nd career goal and collected two assists in a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. Ovechkin moved past Jari Kurri into 19th among the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring leaders. The Capitals (91 points) widen their lead in the Metropolitan Division over the Pittsburgh Penguins by four points. As for the struggling Stars (84 points), they’re two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Stars forwards Jason Spezza (back) and Brett Ritchie (lower-body) missed the game with injuries.

The New York Islanders kept their fading playoff hopes alive by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles (72 points), who sit 10 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Artemi Panarin’s hat trick carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)

A hat trick by Artemi Panarin carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers. It was the Jackets’ ninth straight win, moving them into a tie with the Penguins in the Metro Division.

The Florida Panthers moved within one point of the New Jersey Devils by downing the Ottawa Senators 7-2. Jared McCann had a goal and two assists. The Senators were playing without captain Erik Karlsson, who was with his wife following the loss of their unborn child. The couple was expecting a son in April.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Karlsson and his wife. The family asks that we respect their wishes for privacy during this difficult time. 

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1, eliminating the latter from playoff contention for the first time in 10 years. Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 44 saves,  Alex Kerfoot scored two goals and center Nathan MacKinnon (two assists) moved into second place in the NHL scoring race with 91 points. With 88 points, Colorado sits two points up on the Anaheim Ducks for the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks was overshadowed by the first-period departure of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after being struck in the mask by a shot from Brandon Sutter. Vegas coach Gerard Gallant couldn’t provide a post-game update. More information could be made available today. 

Kyle Connor scored both goals for the Winnipeg Jets in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Jets sniper Patrik Laine left the game in the second period after injuring his left leg blocking a shot by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez. Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice doesn’t consider the injury serious. Earlier in the day, the Jets revealed blueliner Jacob Trouba was diagnosed with a concussion. No word as to how long he’ll be sidelined. 

A ten-game winless skid is over for the Detroit Red Wings as they edged the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by Frans Nielsen. The loss dropped the Flyers (86 points) into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Dylan Larkin scored twice and set up another for the Red Wings. Flyers captain Claude Giroux collected three assists.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-1 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to nip the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy set a franchise record with his 41st win of the season. James van Riemsdyk scored twice for the Leafs. Tampa Bay winger Ryan Callahan left the game in the first period with what appeared to be an injured right shoulder. A further update could be provided later today.  

Brent Burns collected three assists as the San Jose Sharks picked up their fifth straight win by hammering the New Jersey Devils 6-2. With 91 points, the Sharks hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists as the Edmonton Oilers crushed the Carolina Hurricanes 7-3. Oilers winger Pontus Aberg had a goal and two assists.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins winger David Backes (leg injury) is unlikely to play in the club’s upcoming four-game road trip. 

TSN: “The league announced Tuesday that GMs want the final decision on video reviews of goalie interference to rest with the hockey operations department in Toronto instead of referees on the ice.”