NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2018
Game recaps, draft lottery odds to improve and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets reached 100 points for the first time by edging the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Kyle Connor tallied the winner in overtime while Mark Scheifele collected three points. The Ducks (89 points) picked up a point to sit one ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall scored in overtime to give his club a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. That goal also gave Hall a career-high 81 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist. With the win, the Devils (84 points) opened a three-point hold on the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
The Boston Bruins scored three unanswered third-period goals as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-2. Brad Marchand led the way with a goal and two assists. The loss dropped the Stars four points behind the Colorado Avalanche (88 points) for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are in a death spiral. A month ago, they sat fifth overall in the Western Conference (35 wins and 74 points in 62 games) and a playoff berth seem assured. Since then, they won just three of their last 11 games.
Patrik Berglund scored twice as the St. Louis Blues downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. The Blues (87 points) are now one point behind the Avs for the final playoff berth in the West. It was a costly win, however, as defenseman Carl Gunnarsson suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over two weeks ago, the Blues were mired in a slump and in danger of falling completely out of the playoff chase. They’ve since rallied by winning four straight and seven of their last 10 games.
Antti Niemi made 35 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames are shutting down first-line center Sean Monahan due to hip and wrist injuries that will require surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that news, the Flames’ fading playoff hopes were dealt a death blow.
THE SCORE: The NHLPA has approved the NHL’s recommendations to change the odds for the draft lottery. As per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, ” 18.5 per cent chance for 31st, 13.5 for 30th, 11.5 for 29th — down to 1 per cent for 17th.”
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Former Florida Panthers owner H. Wayne Huizenga died Thursday at the age of 80 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Huizenga’s family and friends.
OTTAWA SUN/SPORTSNET: Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told the club’s season-ticket holders he will attempt to re-sign superstar and team captain Erik Karlsson this summer. Karlsson will become eligible in July 2019 for unrestricted free agent status. Meanwhile, embattled team owner Eugene Melnyk will hold two town hall meetings “in the coming weeks as the club attempts to quell public criticism in the midst of a disappointing season.”