NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2018
Game recaps plus updates on Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine, Jonathan Toews and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Anze Kopitar scored four goals as the Los Angeles Kings crushed the Colorado Avalanche 7-1. Tobias Rieder also scored twice for the Kings (89 points), who moved back into third place in the Pacific Division by one point over the Anaheim Ducks. With 88 points, the Avs hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their franchise-record 51st win of the season with a 7-6 victory over the New York Islanders. The win also moves the Lightning (106 points) into first place overall with the Nashville Predators. J.T. Miller scored twice and Brayden Point had a three-point performance for Tampa Bay. Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Ryan Pulock each scored two goals for the Isles.
Sergei Bobrovsky’s 33-save shutout performance carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Jackets’ 10th straight win, moving them into a tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins (89 points) for second in the Metropolitan Division. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist. The Panthers, with 81 points, remain one behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Connor McDavid’s four-point game (two goals, two assists) powered the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-2 thrashing of the Ottawa Senators. With 94 points, McDavid sits one behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the NHL scoring race. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced defenseman Oscar Klefbom underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If McDavid wins the scoring title this season it’ll strengthen the case for those who believe he should win this year’s Hart Trophy, despite the fact the Oilers won’t make the playoffs.
Auston Matthews signaled his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup with a goal to help his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-2. Matthews missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury. Morgan Rielly collected three assists for the Leafs, who snapped the Predators’ 15-game points streak.
The Vegas Golden Knights became the first expansion team to reach 100 points in a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. Logan Couture netted the game winner for the Sharks (93 points), who remain four ahead of Los Angeles for second in the Pacific Division.
The Washington Capitals blanked the Detroit Red Wings 1-0, officially eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Brett Connolly scored the only goal and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 39 shots. Earlier in the day, the Wings announced defenseman Mike Green will undergo season-ending cervical spine surgery. Meanwhile, the Capitals recalled goalie Pheonix Copley as starter Braden Holtby appeared to suffer a leg injury in a recent game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And now you know why the Red Wings couldn’t find any takers for Green at last month’s NHL trade deadline.
Claude Giroux collected three assists and Travis Konency tallied twice as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Rangers 4-3. The Flyers (88 points) remain one point behind Columbus for third in the Metropolitan Division.
Third-period goals by Valentin Zykov and Jeff Skinner lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The duo each scored twice for Carolina (75 points), who sit seven points behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Vancouver Canucks snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. Alex Edler scored two goals for the Canucks. The Blackhawks played without captain Jonathan Toews, who’s expected to miss several games because of an upper-body injury.
TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine suffered a bruised leg after blocking a shot in a recent game against Los Angeles. While the injury isn’t serious, the Jets offered no timeline for his return.
CBS SPORTS: Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza (back injury) could miss the remainder of the regular season.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo received a fine for cross-checking Boston Bruins winger Jordan Szwarz.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: With Corey Schneider struggling, the New Jersey Devils could ride the hot hand with backup Keith Kinkaid in their quest to clinch a playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider’s been in a horrible slump lately, going winless in his last 11 starts with a .868 save percentage. Kinkaid, meanwhile, won nine of his last 12 starts with a .931 save percentage.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks broadcaster Ed Olczyk announced he’s now cancer free. He’d been battling colon cancer since last fall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, “Edzo!” Good news indeed.