NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2018

by | Mar 29, 2018 | News, NHL

Game recaps, Bruins re-sign Zdeno Chara and new NHL draft lottery odds revealed in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Auston Matthews scored his 30th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Florida Panthers 4-3 (Photo via NHL Images)

 NHL.COM: A three-goal first period enabled the Toronto Maple Leafs to hold off the Florida Panthers 4-3. James van Riemsdyk tallied his 200th career NHL goal and Auston Matthews got his 30th of the season for the Leafs (99 points), who set a single-season franchise record with their 46th victory and 27th home wins, putting them on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice for the Panthers (85 points), who remain three points out of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s overtime goal gave the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers. With the win, the Capitals (99 points) hold a seven-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Metropolitan Division. 

The Philadelphia Flyers (92 points) moved into third place in the Metro Division by edging the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov were the Flyers’ goalscorers. The Avs (90 points) remain one point out of a Western Conference playoff berth. 

A two-goal performance by Kevin Connauton helped the Arizona Coyotes nip the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2, ending the latter’s five-game points streak. The Coyotes are 9-5-1 in their last 15 games. Arizona rookie Clayton Keller collected an assist to extend his personal points streak to 10 games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ struggles during the first half of the season doomed their playoff hopes, but they’ve shown considerable improvement over the second half. That bodes well for a long-overdue breakthrough performance next season. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins yesterday reached an agreement on a new one-year contract with defenseman and team captain Zdeno Chara. He’ll earn a base salary of $5 million with $1.75 million in performance bonuses. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a reasonable contract for the 41-year-old Chara. In 68 games, he’s tallied seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points, with a plus-minus of plus-26 while averaging a team-leading 23 minutes of ice time per game. While no longer the dominant defenseman he once was, the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder remains a very effective two-way blueliner and leader for the Bruins. Chara also serves as a mentor for young rearguards Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. 

The 2018 NHL Draft Lottery will take place on Saturday, April 28. The odds are as follows:

Non-Playoff Team (Fewest Points to Most), 2018 Odds, 2017 Odds*, 2015 & 2016 Odds

1, 18.5%, 18.0%, 20.0%

2, 13.5%, 12.1%, 13.5%

3, 11.5%, 10.3%, 11.5%

4, 9.5%, 10.3%, 9.5%

5, 8.5%, 8.5%, 8.5%

6, 7.5%, 7.6%, 7.5%

7, 6.5%, 6.7%, 6.5%

8, 6.0%, 5.8%, 6.0%

9, 5.0%, 5.4%, 5.0%

10, 3.5%, 4.5%, 3.5%

11, 3.0%, 3.2%, 3.0%

12, 2.5%, 2.7%, 2.5%

13, 2.0%, 2.2%, 2.0%

14, 1.5%, 1.8%, 1.0%

15, 1.0%, 0.9%