NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2019
Blue Jackets, Islanders and Blues take 2-0 series leads, Golden Knights tie their series with Sharks, plus the latest on Connor McDavid, Todd McLellan, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead in their opening-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a convincing 5-1 Game 2 victory. Matt Duchene had a goal and three assists, Artemi Panarin collected two points, and Zach Werenski had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist, and a five-minute fighting major after scrapping with the Lightning’s Brayden Point. Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov will have a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player discipline for boarding Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara late in the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After blowing a three-goal lead to fall 4-3 in Game 1, the consensus was the Bolts let that game get away from them. They cannot use that excuse for Game 2, as they were outworked and out-hustled by a motivated Blue Jackets club riding a big shot of confidence from their come-from-behind victory in the previous contest.
As the game went on, the Lightning lost their composure, resulting in Kucherov’s ill-disciplined antics late in the third when the game was out of reach. With the series shifting to Columbus for Games 3 and 4, the Blue Jackets are riding high while the Bolts are struggling to cope with real adversity for the first time this season.
Third-period goals by Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey lifted the New York Islanders to a 3-1 Game 2 victory and a 2-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Robin Lehner made 32 saves for the Isles while Eberle and Mathew Barzal each had two-point performances. Erik Gudbranson scored for the Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A thoroughly entertaining and hard-fought playoff game that could’ve gone either way until Eberle broke the tie and Bailey put it out of reach. This is the first time since the 1983 Stanley Cup playoffs that the Islanders have taken a 2-0 lead in a playoff series. This year’s version has served notice to the veteran-laden Penguins as the series moves to Pittsburgh for the next two games that they’re a hungry bunch not satisfied with exceeding expectations during the regular season.
Ryan O’Reilly scored the only goal in the third period as the St. Louis Blues edged the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 to take a 2-0 lead in their opening-round series. Oskar Sundqvist scored twice for the Blues while Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine tallied for the Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs were sloppy defensively but the Blues made the most of it. Jets goalie Connor Hellebucyk was not at his best in this one. Neither was Blues rookie netminder Jordan Binnington but he didn’t need to be as his teammates bailed him out.
Special teams made the difference for the Vegas Golden Knights in their 5-3 series-tying victory in Game 2 of their matchup with the San Jose Sharks. Colin Miller and William Karlsson tallied shorthanded goals and Mark Stone scored on the power play. The Sharks believed the game turned when Logan Couture’s apparent go-ahead goal in the second period with the score tied at three was waved off for goaltender interference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Pete DeBoer didn’t believe the call was goalie interference because Sharks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was outside his crease and it wasn’t Couture’s intent to interfere with Fleury. Regardless, the call stood, the Golden Knights went on to win the game and the series is tied heading to Las Vegas for Games 3 and 4.
SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers sought second and third opinions regarding Connor McDavid’s leg injury while they formulate a recovery plan for their captain. While x-rays revealed McDavid didn’t suffer any broken bones, the exact nature of the injury remains publicly unknown.
TSN/LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Oilers coach Todd McLellan is no longer considered a candidate for the Buffalo Sabres’ head-coaching position. McLellan remains the leading contender to become coach of the Los Angeles Kings.
WGR 550: Former Oilers coach Ralph Krueger could become a candidate for the Sabres’ job.
NBC SPORTS: Center David Backes is expected to rejoin the Boston Bruins lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch from Game 1 of their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk skipped practice yesterday for a maintenance day after being shaken up in Game 1.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche prospect defenseman Cale Makar is the winner of the 2019 Hobey Baker Award.