NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2019
Game recaps, injury updates, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo reaches a milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Claude Giroux scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in their 2019 Stadium Series game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia before a sellout crowd of 69,620. The Penguins also lost defensemen Brian Dumoulin to a concussion following a hit from Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds and Kris Letang to an upper-body injury in the ensuing scrum. Simmonds received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Flyers (65 points) moved to within six points of a playoff spot while the Penguins (32 wins, 72 points) slipped out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Dallas Stars 3-0. Hurricanes center Jordan Staal picked up an assist in his first game since being sidelined with concussion symptoms on Dec. 22. The win moves the Hurricanes (33 wins, 72 points) ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Stars, clinging to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference (30 wins, 65 points), subsequently acquired Mats Zuccarello from the Rangers. Follow this link for details and my reaction.
Sergei Bobrovsky’s 26-save shutout performance enabled the Columbus Blue Jackets to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Matt Duchene tallied his first goal since being acquired by the Jackets on Friday. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson left the game in the second period with a groin strain. The Jackets now sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points. Following the game, the Jackets acquired winger Ryan Dzingel from the Ottawa Senators. Follow this link for details and reaction.
Sam Reinhart’s hat trick powered the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals to snap their four-game losing skid. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 44th goal. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner suffered a scare when he had to be helped from the ice in the second period with an ankle injury but return to play in the third. The Sabres (66 points) sit six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Shootout goals by Tyler Bozak and Sammy Blais helped the St. Louis Blues to edge the Boston Bruins 2-1. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury but it’s not believed to be serious. Earlier in the day, the Blues placed center Brayden Schenn (upper body) on injured reserve.
Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo picked up his 484th career victory backstopping his club to a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. With the win, Luongo tied Ed Belfour for third place on the all-time wins list. The Panthers also re-signed winger Frank Vatrano to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.35 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatrano, 24, is enjoying a breakout performance with the Panthers, tallying 20 goals and 33 points in 59 games this season. It’s an affordable deal that could prove a real bargain for the Panthers if he carries over that 20-plus goal per season pace throughout the term of his new contract.
Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and Philipp Grubauer kicked out 38 shots as the Colorado Avalanche shut out the Nashville Predators 5-0. The win vaulted the Avalanche (65 points) into the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. Zach Hyman scored twice, including the winner late in the third period. The Canadiens (73 points) sit one ahead of the Hurricanes for the first wild-card spot in the East.
Robin Lehner picked up a shutout with a 36-save effort as the New York Islanders blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. The Canucks (60 points) sit five points out of a Western Conference playoff spot.
Charlottetown, PEI native Josh Currie scored his first career NHL goal and Sam Gagner tallied the winner as the Edmonton Oilers nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. The Oilers were playing without Connor McDavid, who’s serving a two-game suspension.
A three-goal first period carried the New York Rangers to a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ryan Strome scored twice for the Rangers.