NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2019
Game recaps, the Blues and Golden Knights clinch playoff berths, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sean Monahan scored twice and set up two others as the Calgary Flames roasted the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Flames (103 points) sit eight points over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference standings.
The St. Louis Blues gave up four unanswered goals to the New York Rangers in a 4-2 loss but still clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On New Year’s Day, the Blues were last in the Western Conference and had the league’s second-worst record while stars such as Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo were regular fixtures in the trade-rumor mill. Credit for their impressive second-half rally belongs to interim coach Craig Berube and rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Despite falling 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights also clinched a postseason spot. Paul Stastny scored both goals for Vegas while Eric Staal had a goal and an assist for the Wild (81 points), who sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Blues and Golden Knights secured their playoff spots because the Arizona Coyotes dropped a 3-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon tallied the only goal in the shootout. With 85 points, the Avalanche sit three up on the Coyotes for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Nashville Predators (94 points) moved into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. P.K. Subban and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist. Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta returned to action after missing 21 games with a shoulder injury.
Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard combined for a 28-save shutout as the Detroit Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils 4-0. Bernier made 21 saves before leaving the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is expected to return to action tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. He’s been sidelined since Feb. 14 by an ankle injury.
TSN: Ottawa Senators defenseman Max Lajoie is expected to be sidelined eight-to-10 weeks after undergoing season-ending sports hernia surgery. Rookie blueliner Erik Brannstrom is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.