NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2018
Saturday’s games saw an unusually high number of injuries. It’s no April Fool’s, it’s your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jake DeBrusk scored twice and David Krejci collected three assists to lead the Boston Bruins (109 points) to a 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter a potentially lethal blow to their playoff hopes. With the loss, the Panthers (86 points) sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with five games left. The Bruins regained first place in the Eastern Conference but lost defenseman Brandon Carlo (ankle) and center Riley Nash (head) to injuries. They also learned winger Rick Nash, who’s been sidelined with a suspected concussion since March 17, is making progress toward returning to action.
The Devils, meanwhile, extended their lead over the Panthers by nipping the New York Islanders 4-3. Taylor Hall scored twice for New Jersey. Before the game, the Devils honored longtime broadcaster Stan Fischler, who is retiring at the end of this season to spend more time with his family.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (96 points) clinched a playoff berth for the 12th consecutive season by beating the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. The Penguins sit three points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh winger Phil Kessel left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury. An update on his status could be made today.
The Vegas Golden Knights (107 points) clinched a playoff berth and the Pacific Division title by defeating the San Jose Sharks 3-2. William Karlsson snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period with his 42nd goal of the season. Before the game, the Golden Knights raised a banner in memory of the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. The team also announced it is retiring No. 58.
Second period goals by Josh Morrissey, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Copp powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jets also welcomed back defenseman Jacob Trouba, who missed the last two weeks with a concussion. Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott left the game in the first period after taking a shot off his left foot.
Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel collected five assists and teammate Sam Reinhart tallied a hat trick to lead their club to a 7-4 upset of the Nashville Predators. Sabres defenseman Viktor Antipin was stretchered from the game in the second period after being hit from behind by Predators winger Scott Hartnell, who received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Predators rookie Eeli Tovanen was held pointless in his NHL debut.
Alex Edler scored in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks squeaked past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. The Jackets forced the extra frame with three goals in the final four minutes of the third period. The loss spoiled a strong game for Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin (four assists) and Seth Jones (one goal, three assists). Columbus sits in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.
The Dallas Stars (88 points) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild to move within four points of the St. Louis Blues for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It was a costly loss for the Wild as defenseman Ryan Suter left the game late in the second period with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.
Antti Raanta turned in a 34-save shutout as the Arizona Coyotes blanked the Blues 6-0. Max Domi and Dylan Strome each collected three assists.
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves backstopping the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard made 31 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season as his club blanked the Ottawa Senators 2-0.
The Calgary Flames snapped a seven-game losing skid by edging the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a late scratch with a lower-body injury.
DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche received bad news yesterday, as goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower-body injury) will miss the remainder of the regular-season while defenseman Erik Johnson is out at least six weeks with a fractured patella.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their starting goaltender and top defenseman could be a serious blow for the Avalanche’s playoff hopes. They were able to cope with their absences to injuries earlier in the season and must do the same again if they’re to keep their postseason chances alive. They’re tied with the St. Louis Blues (92 points) but the Blues have the advantage with one more victory. Both clubs have four games remaining.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is on the verge of setting the NHL record for shooting futility. He’s managed just one goal on 183 shots on goal in 79 games this season.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.