NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2018
Golden Knights and Lightning advance to Conference Finals. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Western Conference Final after blanking the San Jose Sharks 3-0, winning their second-round series in six games. Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for his playoff-leading fourth shutout. Jonathan Marchessault, Nate Schmidt and Cody Eakin were the goal scorers. Vegas awaits the winner of the Nashville Predators-Winnipeg Jets series
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks had the most scoring opportunities in this one, clanking shots off posts and missing open-net chances. Once they fell behind 2-0 in the second period, however, their fate was sealed. It was a well-deserved victory by the Golden Knights, who’ve defied expectations throughout this season. Whoever faces them in the Conference Final should not take them lightly.
For the third time in four years, the Tampa Bay Lightning head to the Eastern Conference Final. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves and J.T. Miller tallied the game winner in a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins to take their second-round match-up in five games. The Lightning await the winner of the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins series. The Bruins also lost winger David Backes to an upper-body injury following a collision with Miller in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After suffering a lopsided loss in Game 1 the Lightning brought their depth to bear and won the next four games. The Bruins’ lack of secondary scoring proved their undoing, tallying just two goals at even strength since Game 2 and none in the final three games.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals coach Barry Trotz expects Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson to play in Game 6 tonight against the Penguins. Both players suffered upper-body injuries in the previous contest between the two clubs on Saturday.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Down three games to two, the Penguins intend to draw upon their previous experience facing eliminations over the past two seasons in hopes of forcing a seventh and deciding game against the Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ previous postseason dominance haunts the Capitals, or at least their fans anyway. The last thing they want is to see this go to a seventh game when the Penguins were seemingly on the ropes heading into Game 6. If the Capitals lose tonight, the old doubts could creep back into their minds.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators must get their act together or face elimination tonight at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets coach Paul Maurice expects a difficult game tonight against the Predators but believes his club can tough out a victory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have had difficulty containing the Jets offense in this series. That’s been a bit surprising to me. The Jets are certainly a very talented team and deserve to be in this position but Nashville defensive game hasn’t been as stingy as I expected it could be. Only in Game 4 did they really do a good job shutting down Winnipeg’s scoring. Heading into Game 6, the Jets have outscored the Predators 22-14.