NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 20, 2018
Lightning push Capitals to brink of elimination, the end of Marian Hossa’s playing career and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: After dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning have rallied to push the Washington Capitals to brink of elimination. Ryan Callahan scored and set up another as the Lightning jumped to a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 victory in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals, who face a must-win situation in Game 6 on Monday in Washington.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals gave up goals within the opening minute of the first two periods, forcing them to play catch-up throughout the game. They managed to make it interesting but Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves to ensure the victory, especially when the Capitals pushed in the third period.
It wasn’t a good night for Washington’s defense pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen, as they were on the ice for all three Lightning goals. The only bright spot for the Capitals was they prevented the Lightning from scoring a power-play goal.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa told a Slovakian newspaper that his playing career is over. Hossa, 39, sat out last season because of a skin condition related to wearing hockey equipment and the medication needed to control the allergy.
Hossa cannot officially retire as the Blackhawks will be slapped with salary-cap recapture penalties, so the team will place him on long-term injured reserve for each of the remaining three seasons on his contract. They could also attempt to trade his rights to a club in need of reaching the salary-cap minimum.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some hockey fans consider the notion of the Blackhawks (or another club if his rights are dealt to another club), placing Hossa on LTIR as salary-cap circumvention. However, there’s nothing in the collective bargaining agreement that prevents either scenario. Perhaps we’ll see some tweaking of the LTIR rules in the next round of CBA negotiations to address this issue.
If Hossa’s playing career is truly over, he leaves as a three-time Stanley Cup champion who morphed from an offensive star earlier in his career to a solid two-way performer. In 1,309 career game, he tallied 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The performance of Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is a big reason why his club holds a 3-1 series lead over the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Final.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Jets fail to generate more traffic and in-close scoring opportunities in front of Fleury in Game 5 today in Winnipeg, there won’t be a Game 6.
WINNIPEG SUN: By the numbers, the Jets should be in better shape in this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have largely out-played the Golden Knights in the last two games. However, their propensity for defensive turnovers ending up in the back of their net are the biggest reason why they’re on the brink of elimination.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets will play the 2018 Kraft Hockeyville USA game in Clinton, NY on September 25, 2018.