NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 10, 2019
Game recaps, including Nikita Kucherov sets a franchise points record and Marc-Andre Fleury reaches another goalie milestone, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and Philipp Grubauer made 18 saves as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. The Avalanche (72 points) sit two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
The San Jose Sharks (90 points) moved into the top spot in the Western Conference by edging the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Kevin Labanc tallied the winner in overtime as the Sharks picked up their fourth straight win.
John Tavares collected three points as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Leon Draisaitl had two assists for the Oilers (67 points), who remain seven points out of playoff contention in the Western Conference.
The red-hot Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 19 games (15-0-4) by nipping the Ottawa Senators 3-2. David Krejci tallied the game-winner with 45 seconds remaining in the third period. The Bruins played without winger Jake DeBrusk, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored twice to set a franchise single-season record of 110 points on route to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. He’s also the first NHL player to reach 110 points in a season since Henrik Sedin in 2010. The Bolts are also the first team to clinch a playoff berth this season. They skated without defensemen Dan Girardi and Adam Erne, who are both listed as day-to-day.
The Philadelphia Flyers (74 points) moved to within five points of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot by defeating the New York Islanders 5-2. Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk was very upset with Flyers winger Jakub Voracek after he injured Boychuk with a questionable hit. “He’s skating off the ice and he’s pointing at me like it’s WrestleMania or something,” Voracek said following the game. The two clubs face off again on March 23. The Isles (85 points) remain two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Ryan Strome and Vladislav Namestnikov each had three-point performances as the New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the New Jersey Devils 4-2.
The Columbus Blue Jackets (79 points) moved ahead of the Montreal Canadiens into the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1, ending an eight-game losing streak against the Penguins. Cam Atkinson scored twice for the Blue Jackets.
Christian Dvorak and Michael Grabner each scored twice to give the Arizona Coyotes a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. With 73 points, the Coyotes are one point out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Carolina Hurricanes (81 points) maintained their hold on third place in the Metropolitan Division by beating the Nashville Predators 5-3. Nino Niederreiter scored twice and Petr Mrazek kicked out 31 shots. Predators winger Filip Forsberg missed the game with an upper-body injury (day-to-day) while Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland was also sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
Corey Crawford made 26 stops backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, snapping the latter’s five-game winning streak. David Kampf and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Blackhawks while the Stars (75 points) still cling to the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 438th career victory on route to a 6-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Fleury moved past Jacques Plante into eighth place on the all-time wins list. Canucks winger Jake Virtanen returned to action after missing 10 games with a fractured rib.
SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie was fined $4,121.86 for cross-checking Montreal Canadiens defenseman Christian Folin.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL and NHL Players Association continue to hold small-group meetings to discuss a possible solution to the escrow issue that has troubled the players for some time. “I think everybody realizes that’s the No. 1 thing that has to get worked on here and other things can fall into place. I understand they are having serious discussions at ways to handle this,” said Friedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, the escrow issue is the only issue that could derail efforts by both sides to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement without resorting to yet another lockout. While the current CBA is scheduled to expire in September 2022, the league and the PA each have the option this September to trigger an early-out, which would take place in September 2020.
There’s a feeling among many observers that both sides want to avoid another contentious round of CBA talks. If they can reach some sort of agreement on reducing the percentage of escrow clawed back from players’ salaries before September, a new CBA could come together rather quickly.