NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2019
Blue Jackets rally to defeat Lightning, Islanders down Penguins in overtime, and Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen’s record-setting performance highlight the opening night of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets scored four unanswered goals (three in the third period) to overcome a 3-0 deficit to edge the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Seth Jones tallied the game-winner while Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist. Game 2 goes Friday night in Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was all Lightning as they rolled to a 3-0 lead and appeared poised to run the Blue Jackets out of the building. Credit the Jackets for not rolling over as they turned things around in the second with a much better effort, forcing the Bolts into costly turnovers and defensive breakdowns, especially on Anderson’s game-tying shorthanded goal and David Savard’s Orr-like tally that preceded it. The Bolts were also their own worst enemies, doing a poor job protecting their lead and failing to play with the same level of intensity that they showed in the opening period.
A breathtaking rush by Mathew Barzal set the stage for Josh Bailey’s overtime goal to give the New York Islanders a 4-3 Game 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Barzal dipsy-doodled his way into a prime scoring chance with a backhander that clanged off the right post and right to Bailey who cashed in on the rebound. Isles goalie Robin Lehner made 41 saves and Jordan Eberle scored his first career playoff goal. Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. The two clubs clash again in Game 2 on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a great individual effort by Barzal in overtime. Looks like he handled the heat of his first career playoff game just fine.
Dallas Stars rookie Miro Heiskanen made history by scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round series. The 19-year-old became the youngest defenseman in franchise history to score a playoff goal and the third teenage blueliner in league history to have a multi-goal playoff game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No nerves for Heiskanen in his postseason debut, playing like a poised veteran in this one. The Predators did themselves no favors with their special-team play, going oh-for-four with the man advantage and giving up a power-play goal.
Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each collected two points to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory in Game 1 of their series with the Vegas Golden Knights. Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl each had a goal and an assist while captain Joe Pavelski scored the opening goal of the game with his face. He left the game but returned in the second period wearing a full-face visor. The two clubs meet again for Game 2 on Friday.
Third-period goals by David Perron and Tyler Bozak enabled the St. Louis Blues to nip the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in a physical opening game to their series. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 24 saves for his first career NHL playoff victory. Patrik Laine tallied the sole Jets goal. Game 2 goes Friday night in Winnipeg.
Earlier in the day, Binnington had to address controversial tweets he made in 2013 and 2014 regarding women in burkhas and cab drivers who speak different languages. “I was a teenager and that’s what life’s about. You live and learn and you grow as a human so, you know, I’m just here to play a couple hockey games,” he said. League deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement that didn’t condone Binnington’s tweets but added there wasn’t any basis to address five-year-old tweets from a player who wasn’t part of the league at the time.
TSN: Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen will return to action in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series tonight against the Calgary Flames. He’d been sidelined since March 21 with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch for Game 1 tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
SPORTSNET: The NHL Player Association has filed an appeal on behalf of former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov over his suspension for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs.