NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2018
Sharks eliminate Ducks, Selke Trophy nominees revealed and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks are the second team to advance to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Martin Jones made 30 saves and Tomas Hertl scored the game winner as the Sharks edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 to sweep their best-of-seven opening-round series. The Sharks will face the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks did a fine job neutralizing the Ducks offense, limiting them to just four goals in this series. That lack of production has already spurred some speculation suggesting Ducks general manager Bob Murray might shake up his roster core this summer.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied a goal and an assist to pass Mario Lemieux as his club’s all-time playoff scorer as the Penguins blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0 to take a 3-1 lead in their opening-round series. Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray made 26 saves to pick up his second shutout of the series. Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin also each had a goal and an assist. The Penguins can wrap up the series in Game 5 on Friday night in Pittsburgh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin got the game winner but Kessel’s goal was the backbreaker. Until that point, the Flyers had sustained pressure on the Penguins in hopes of tying the game. Once Kessel made it 2-0, the Flyers were finished.
Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up another to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils, taking a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. Kucherov also laid out Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen with a thunderous check, forcing Vatanen from the game with an upper-body injury. The Lightning can finish off the series in Game 5 on Saturday in Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils didn’t do themselves any favors on the power play. While they successfully killed five penalties, they cashed in just once in six attempts with the man advantage.
The Nashville Predators hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche to take a 3-1 lead in their series. The Preds took a 3-0 lead, thanks in part to another highlight-reel goal by Filip Forsberg, and held off a third-period surge by Colorado. Avs goaltender Jonathan Bernier left the game with a lower-body injury at the start of the third period and was replaced by Andrew Hammond. The Predators can clinch the series with a win on Friday in Nashville.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Give the Avalanche credit for their “never-say-die” attitude throughout this series. They’ve been a feisty opponent for the heavily favored Predators.
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar are this year’s nominees for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bergeron wins it’ll be his fifth Selke award, surpassing Hall-of-Famer Bob Gainey.
The NHL department of player safety handed down a one-game suspension to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey for cross-checking Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal.
TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov (lower-body injury) will miss Game 4 tonight against the Boston Bruins.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers approached goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to give him the option of being moved by the trade deadline. “We told Hank that if he didn’t want to ride it out through this process, we’d find a good landing place for him,” said team president Jim Dolan. Lundqvist, however, said he wanted to stay and be part of the club’s rebuilding process. “I’m very happy that’s the way he feels. I think with him at the top of his game, that gives us our best chance of competing for a playoff spot next year,” said Dolan.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron underwent surgery on his right shoulder and could be sidelined up to six months.