NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2018
The Sedins have a memorable final home game in Vancouver, the Predators win the Presidents’ Trophy and the Devils clinch a playoff berth. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Sedin twins had a storybook ending to their final NHL home game. Daniel scored twice, including the winner in overtime, and brother Henrik had assists on both goals as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Sedins’ final game will be Saturday in Edmonton against the Oilers.
For the first time since 2012, the New Jersey Devils are heading to the playoffs. Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood scored in the second period as the Devils squeaked past the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Keith Kinkaid made 31 saves and Patrick Maroon collected two assists for New Jersey, who have 97 points and sit one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers, who hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the first time in his eight-year NHL career. Devils left wing and leading scorer Taylor Hall is going to the postseason.
Speaking of the Flyers, a third-period goal by Jakub Voracek gave them a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, opening a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers (92 points) for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
As for the Panthers, they kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Boston Bruins 3-2. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for the win in his 1,000th career NHL games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have one more victory than the Flyers and hold a game in hand. Florida can clinch a playoff berth if they win both of their final two games and the Flyers suffer a regulation loss on Saturday against the New York Rangers.
The San Jose Sharks (100 points) moved closer to securing home-ice advantage in the upcoming playoffs by doubling up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. The Sharks sit in second place in the Pacific Division. The Avalanche (93 points) failed to widen their lead over the St. Louis Blues (92 points) for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Blues hold a game in hand and will face the Avs on Saturday in what will be decisive game for both clubs.
The Nashville Predators clinched their first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history by defeating the Washington Capitals 4-3 thanks to third-period goals by Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 47th goal of the season while teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice.
The Winnipeg Jets ensured they will finish second in the Central Division by defeating the Calgary Flames 2-1. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for his 43rd win over the season, tying the single-season record for an American-born netminder. Flames rookie Spencer Foo tallied his first career NHL goal.
Dustin Brown scored four goals, including the overtime winner, as the Los Angeles Kings tamed the Minnesota Wild 5-4. The Kings (98 points) retook position of third place in the Pacific Division.
Phil Kessel scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. With the win, the Penguins (98 points) sit one point ahead of the Jackets for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Despite the loss, the Jackets also secured a playoff berth.
Connor McDavid collected three assists as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. With 106 points, McDavid holds an eight-point lead over Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux in the NHL scoring race and is all but assured of winning the Art Ross Trophy for the second straight year.
Anthony Beauvillier’s second-period goal stood up as the game winner as the New York Islanders edged the New York Rangers 2-1 to sweep their season series.
Nicolas Deslauriers scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens clipped the Detroit Red Wings 4-3.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have re-signed goaltender Antti Raanta to a three-year contract believed to be worth roughly $4 million per season. Raanta was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July. As per Cap Friendly, he’s completing a two-year deal worth $1 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta, 28, would’ve been the best goaltender available in this summer’s UFA market. Despite being hampered by injuries, he put up solid numbers this season. He won 21 of 45 starts, with a 2.24 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and three shutouts. His strong play during the second half of this season is a significant factor behind his club’s improvement during that period. Raanta gets a healthy pay raise and the opportunity to establish himself as a starting goaltender while the Coyotes lock up him for a reasonable term.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks confirmed general manager Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quennville will return with the club next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the once-mighty Blackhawks missing the postseason for the first time in a decade there was some anticipation Bowman and/or Quenneville might be fired. Given the club’s previous success, however, ownership is obviously willing to give the duo an opportunity to improve the roster next season.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators forwards Mark Stone (high-ankle sprain) and Marian Gaborik (herniated disk) are done for the season.