NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2018

by | Mar 25, 2018 | News, NHL

Games recaps, Connor McDavid takes over the lead in the scoring race, Bruce Boudreau reaches a coaching milestone and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race as his club nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. McDavid now has 96 points, one ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov. The loss leaves the Kings with 89 points, sitting just outside of a the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has taken over the lead in the NHL scoring race. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be eliminated from playoff contention, but McDavid is making a statement that he’s not about to quit on this season. His recent surge in the scoring race will provide more fodder for those who believe he’s a Hart Trophy candidate this season. 

The Colorado Avalanche edged the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on an overtime goal by Gabriel Landeskog. Semyon Varlamov made 39 saves for the win. The Avs (90 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference while preventing the Golden Knights (101 points) from clinching a playoff spot. Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland missed his second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are assured of a playoff berth but they have struggled a bit of late, dropping four of their last six contests. 

Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau got his 500th career victory as his club defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1. Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who limited the Predators to 20 shots. With 92 points, the Wild maintain their hold on third place in the Central Division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, picking up their 13th straight home win and tying their franchise record with 45 wins. William Nylander and Nazem Kadri scored the tying and winning goals respectively in the third period for the Leafs (97 points), who sit third in the Atlantic Division.

The St. Louis Blues (89 points) climbed into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Jake Allen turned aside 33 shots for the win as the Blues handed the Jackets their first loss in 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teetering on the brink of falling completely out of the playoff race over two weeks ago, the Blues are now one of the league’s hottest teams, winning five straight games and seven of their last ten. 

New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid kicked out 35 shots to give his club a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the win, the Devils (86 points) sit three over the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

The Panthers, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive by scoring four unanswered third-period goals to double up the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice for the Panthers (83 points). The Panthers were playing without goaltender Roberto Luongo, who missed the game with a minor upper-body injury.

Nicklas Backstrom collected four assists while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each scored twice as the Washington Capitals dumped the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. The Capitals (95 points) opened a five-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Evander Kane scored twice as the San Jose Sharks downed the flickering Calgary Flames 5-1. With 95 points, the Sharks move to within six points of the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights.

Cam Ward made 34 saves backstopping the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was the first game for Senators captain Erik Karlsson following the death of his unborn son.

A 31-save effort by Anton Forsberg gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders, who are falling ever close to being eliminated from playoff contention.

Jimmy Vesey scored twice and set up another as the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are downplaying a scrap during practice between Blake Wheeler and Ben Chiarot as simply “boys being boys.”