NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2018
Game recaps, injury updates, Carey Price sets a franchise milestone, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Taylor Hall scored twice and set up two others to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers. With the win, the Devils (95 points) move into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Hall (93 points) became the fourth player in Devils history to reach 90 points in a season. The Rangers were playing without winger Mats Zuccarello, who could miss the club’s final games of this season with a foot injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is playing like a man possessed down the stretch, determined to reach the playoffs for the first time in his career. His efforts to lead the Devils into their first postseason appearance since 2012 are worthy of consideration for the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player to his team.
The Philadelphia Flyers, meanwhile, dropped into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth by falling 5-4 to the New York Islanders. With 94 points, the Flyers sit one behind the Devils and four up on the Florida Panthers. Mathew Barzal scored the game winner after the Flyers rallied to tie the game on third-period goals by Nolan Patrick (who scored twice) and Claude Giroux.
As for the Panthers, they kept their postseason hopes alive by edging the Nashville Predators 2-1. A game-tying goal by Predators winger Filip Forsberg in the dying seconds of the game was overturned due to a goaltender interference ruling that even drew criticism on social media from celebrity fans Carrie Underwood and Kiefer Sutherland.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn tallied a hat trick in a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. The Stars kept their fading playoff hopes alive. With 90 points, they’re three behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars need help to clinch a playoff berth. They must win their two remaining games while Avalanche (93 points) and St. Louis Blues (92 points) must lose all their remaining games. **UPDATE** Stick tap to “Howard” in the comments section for reminding me that the Stars are already eliminated as the Avs and Blues play each other on Saturday and thus they both cannot lose all their remaining games.
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his franchise-record eighth shutout of the season backstopping his club to a 4-0 win over the Boston Bruins. The Lightning also set a franchise record in points (110). While the Bolts and Bruins are tied in points, the latter holds first place in the conference because they hold a game in hand. Earlier in the day, the Bruins learned defenseman Brandon Carlo suffered a season-ending fracture to his left ankle.
The Winnipeg Jets have their first 50-win season in franchise history as they edged the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on an overtime goal by Kyle Connor. The Jets’ win spoiled Canadiens goaltender Carey Price’s franchise-record 557th start. The Habs also honored Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher for their respective performances this season.
Third-period goals by Sonny Milano and Artemi Panarin set the stage for Pierre-Luc Dubois’ overtime goal as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Cam Atkinson also scored twice and Seth Jones had three assists for the Jackets, while Tyler Bertuzzi tallied two goals for the Wings. The Jackets (96 points) move into a second-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.
Shea Theodore scored the only goal in a shootout as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 after the Canucks tallied three third-period goals to force the extra frame. William Karlsson had a three-point game and call-up forward Brandon Pirri scored twice for the Golden Knights.
Arizona Coyotes netminder Antti Raanta picked up his ninth win in his last 10 starts as his club doused the Calgary Flames 4-1.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: As the Anaheim Ducks try to nail down a playoff berth, they learned yesterday defenseman Cam Fowler will be sidelined two-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury. Goaltender John Gibson is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is expected to miss his sixth consecutive game to an upper-body injury.
CBS SPORTS: St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn MCL and will be sidelined up to six months.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings could be without sidelined defensemen Jake Muzzin and Derek Forbort for some time.