NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2019
Game recaps, Steven Stamkos ties a franchise record, Chris Kreider fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tied Vincent Lecavalier’s franchise record for most goals (383) in a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. League scoring leader Nikita Kucherov reached 115 points with a four-point performance as the Bolts overcame a 3-0 deficit, including four goals in the third period.
Arizona Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza tallied his first career NHL hat trick as his club thumped the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Coyotes (77 points) widened their lead over the Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves for the Coyotes, who’ve won eight of their last 10 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite being wracked with injuries, the Coyotes have surged up the standings over the last two months. Exceeding expectations to clinch a playoff spot this season could provide this rebuilding club with a much-needed boost going forward. At the very least, it’s a feel-good story.
The Dallas Stars’ 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild was overshadowed by Stars goalie Ben Bishop exiting the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Bishop had set the franchise record for the longest shutout streak and was going for his fourth consecutive shutout prior to the injury. He’s listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated on Friday. With the win, the Stars (79 points) moved into third place in the Central Division while the Wild (74 points) slipped three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop was playing his way into the Vezina Trophy conversation. Hopefully, his injury isn’t too serious.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith kicked out 26 shots to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and Nick Bjugstad each had two points as the Penguins (87 points) opened a four-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Anders Lee scored the game-winner late in the third period as the New York Islanders (89 points) edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. It was the Islanders’ fourth win in their last five games, putting them two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan. The Canadiens (81 points) remained tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a must-win game for the Canadiens, who are struggling at the worst possible time, dropping six of their last 10 contests. With 11 games remaining in the schedule, the Habs have little room for error here. If the Blue Jackets get hot over the next three weeks, the Canadiens can forget about the playoffs.
Speaking of the Capitals, they picked up their eighth victory in their last nine games by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Brett Connolly led the way for the Capitals with two goals and an assist. The Flyers (76 points) remain five points behind the Blue Jackets and Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have been hot of late, picking up points in seven of their last 10 games. However, this loss prevented them from narrowing the gap between them and the Blue Jackets for that final wild-card spot.
Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, handing the latter their third straight defeat. The Jets (86 points) maintained their hold on top spot in the Central Division.
The Nashville Predators remains one point behind the Jets. Colton Sissons had a goal and an assist to give the Predators a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Ottawa Senators goalie Anders Nilsson had a 35-save shutout performance backstopping his club to a 2-0 blanking of the St. Louis Blues. Christian Wolanin and Chris Tierney were the goal scorers and Senators prospects Erik Brannstrom and Max Veronneau looked good in their NHL debuts. The Blues (79 points) dropped down into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist as the Florida Panthers doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. Earlier in the day, Sharks winger Evander Kane revealed his wife lost their child during pregnancy. He’s been out of the lineup since Feb. 26. Meanwhile, the Sharks announced defenseman Radim Simek requires surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kane and his wife for their loss. Truly heartbreaking news.
NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider was fined $5,000.00 for elbowing Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson.
Roussel hurt his knee and is out for the remainder of the year, confirms Coach Green.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 14, 2019