NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2019

by | Apr 17, 2019 | News, NHL | 27 comments

Lightning and Penguins swept from the opening round, Jets tied their series with the Blues, and Golden Knights take 3-1 series lead over the Sharks. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets won their first playoff series in franchise history by sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 7-3 victory in Game 4 of their opening-round series. The Lightning became the first team in league history to win the Presidents’ Trophy and get swept from the first round of the playoffs. Jackets rookie Alexandre Texier scored twice, Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and two assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves. 

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky backstopped his club to a four-game opening-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets dominated the Lightning at both ends of the rink in this series. They got clutch goaltending from Bobrovsky, played a solid overall defensive game while their forecheck forced the Bolts defenders into costly turnovers. The Lightning were also their own worst enemies, struggling to deal with adversity for the first time this season. Changes could be coming for the Bolts this summer. I’ll have more on that later today in the Rumors section.

Robin Lehner kicked out 32 shots and Jordan Eberle scored in his fourth straight playoff game as the New York Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to sweep the latter from the opening round in four games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Lehner’s goaltending and the Isles stifling defensive play frustrated the Penguins time and again. When the Pens would score a goal, the Isles would quickly counter and regain the momentum. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was held to just one point in this series. Like the Lightning, the Penguins could be facing some offseason changes. Check ’em out later today in the Rumors section. 

The Vegas Golden Knights took a commanding 3-1 lead in their series with the San Jose Sharks by blanking the latter 5-0 in Game 4. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had a 28-save shutout while Max Pacioretty scored twice and set up two others. The series returns to San Jose for Game 5 on Thursday. Sharks winger Evander Kane received a game misconduct after cross-checking Golden Knights center Paul Stastny and sucker-punching Colin Miller in the face. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaky goaltending, a porous defense and a growing lack of composure have caused the Sharks to unravel following their convincing 5-2 victory in Game 1. Left unaddressed, they’ll be hitting the golf course after Game 5.

Kyle Connor’s overtime goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues, tying their opening-round series at two games apiece. Connor also assisted Mark Scheifele’s game-tying goal after St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring early in the third period. The series returns to Winnipeg for Game 5 on Thursday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have been the better team in this series since Game 2. Goalie Connor Hellebucyk looks like he’s returned to form in the last two games while their defensive play has also improved over that time. 

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov has been placed in concussion protocol after being knocked out in a fight with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin in Game 3 of their opening-round series on Monday. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Svechnikov was evaluated at a hospital and looks normal and feels great, but the club won’t be rushing him back into the lineup. Svechnikov isn’t expected to play in Game 4 on Thursday.  

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings yesterday announced the hiring of Todd McLellan as their new head coach. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there as the Kings had courted McLellan for some time. He guided the Edmonton Oilers to their first playoff appearance in 11 years in 2017. He also coached the San Jose Sharks to two Western Conference finals and three Pacific Division titles. McLellan is expected to help this rebuilding team improve an offense that was 30th overall this season while also improving their defensive game. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild reached a 10-year extension agreement with the city of St. Paul to continue playing at the Xcel Energy Center through 2035. That will include upgrades to the arena and parking areas.


  1. Wow. Watching the pens was ugly. There isn’t a area that couldn’t be pointed at for blame. Interestingly one of the few players who did his job decent was gudbranson.

    • Hi Chrisms

      Agree with a couple of exceptions

      Sid played well. He forced turnovers; set players up; was great on the back check; and almost had 4 goals …. post ; knob of stick; fantastic save; sprawling D man in crease

      Guentzel nice start ; had some pretty fair shifts ; not extraordinary but pretty fair

      Pettersson had one mistake then rectified for the rest of the game …. pretty good composure for the youngster …. too bad JJ doesn’t learn from him

      McC …. played very well on the very few shifts he got with Sid/Guentzel ; and was dragged down by others when placed elsewhere in the line up

      Geno…. no show

      Phil …. ABSOLUTELY rotten …. he steered away (10 feet) from ALL Isles…. we betterhear that he was playing with broken ribs or something similar

      Letang , tried but had some key flubs

      Dumo … usually level headed …. made some mistakes

      ZAR…. not good at all

      Horny …. cantankerous but there it bits and spurts

      Cullen …, retired before the game

      Rust maybe a ratio of 2 good shifts to three meh or bad shifts…. a few really bad shifts

      Simone …. lost in the wind

      Shultz …. unfortunately many shifts with JJ … so tough playing

      JJ …. atrocious as always …. lucked out of what easily could have been a minus 3 or 4 night and ended even

      The rest ….. meh at best

      Coach …. brutal …. should NOT have played JJ and should have stuck while game with Sid/Guentzel/McC

      Sad all around …. serious changes needed off season

      • Pengy, I know where you’re coming from in defense of the player who is arguably the best to ever suit up in the history of the game (and I include Gretzky in that sentiment – vastly different era when he played). but when you zero in on things like “almost had 4 goals …. post ; knob of stick; fantastic save; sprawling D man in crease …” that can apply to a LOT of players throughout the league in any one game – seasonal or playoffs. The bottom line is, he did not score a goal and had but one assist in 4 games.

      • Dead on George. Playing well without results isn’t good enough. The number one reason the pens lost the series has to be lack of production from the stars. It’s not the only reason. But the biggest.

        Pengy your obsession with jack is a bit odd. He played bad sure but a number 4 d man didn’t make or break any of the games on his own.

      • Sorry George and Chrisms

        First of all , I do think my future son-in-law is one of the best 4 players to ever play ; but Bobby IMO; was the penultimate

        Now setting aside all bias and emotion wrt to the Pens/isles series and dealing only with logic and pragmatically:

        Re loss of series on one guy …. well games 2 and 3 I do lay on JJ… that’s just a fact …. bone head penalties; causing both GWGs; costly play hemming Pens in their zone shift after shift; broken breakout plays…..yep JJ

        George and Chrisms you are right wrt my skewed view knobs/posts/etc if looking at the season as a whole …. this was 4 games and Sid had a seriously disproportionate number of “near misses” over those games…. massively different from the norm….. it is what it is; but massively different and he was consistently driving plays and chances and as always playing a very good 200’ game

        I don’t want to take anything from the Isles…. well coached ; played hungry played hard.

        Remember , 1st game goes to OT

        Lehner was a complete brick wall

        Geno and Phil no shows throughout

        Letang sub par

        Motivation lacking throughout the team

        50/50 battles often lost

        Stupid stupid penalties

        I had a gut feeling before the drop of the puck in game 1, that that Pens could lose the series (with or without JJ)….. Pens had the toughest time this year with Isles and the 4 reg season games ended in same wins, game points for both teams ; just one goal separating them; plus their goalie tandem was the best tandem in the league ….. by far…. they had a 1A/1A tandem ….forget about 1A/1B

        There was no way I envisioned a sweep by Isles

        I stand by my conviction that Llosses in games 2 and 3 completely lie directly with JJ and indirectly (and fairly so, mostly) with Sully for playing him instead of Maata

        Pens lost to a better team and deserve the loss

        If Sully had NOT played JJ; I would be insane to even consider Isles up 3-0 going into last night

        At the very least it’s 1-2 and Pens I believe with the massive confidence of playing without JJ; win last night …. series tied 2-2 then

        Still odds in Isles favour ; but Pens have a chance…. series 2-2…. and JJ banned … I really think series would have had a strong chance of going still to Isles but decided in 3rd period of game 7

        So …. sweep …. setting aside the fantastic play by Isles; all on JJ/ Sully (for playing him)

        Pens absolutely must divest of JJ …, buyout is best option…. I posted as well today my rationale/logic in this

        Wouldn’t Betman have a complete heyday if the ECF were Car hosting Clb? It could happen (well at least as at now , the chance still exists, LOL)

        ☹️ abounds

      • Friggin typing




      • Sorry Pengy – rationalizing can only be described as self-deception by reasoning – that’s natural for the passionate … but in the end it’s just a variation of “what if” and I think you know what I think of “if.”

  2. I’m not too surprised about the Isles kick to the curb of the Pehguins but the Tampa oust in 4 games nonetheless, was very surprising and full marks to the Blue Jackets as they were the better team by far

    • Joey

      Yep yep yep and more yep

      As a Pens fan, I was afraid of only one first round match-up possibility …. Isles …. I expected either of the two Isles goalies to be brick walls …. Lehner …. yep.

      I also feared Sully would cast aside all public outcry and ALL statistics and play JJ…. he benched him first game … that went to OT…. but brain fart happened and he brought him back after that .,.. end of series with that move

      First time in 25 years in the annual draft I’m in ; when Pens IN the playoffs ; that I didn’t pick a single Pen

      Part of it was that my first pick was so late and 4 key Pens taken by the time my pick came; but also knowing who they were playing and the fact that all media had proposed that Sully would play JJ in every game

      I loaded up with Bolts …. so I’m out of the dough this year

      • @ Pengy” Ya, the kind of series where one goes” Hey just WTF” from a Penguins point of view.
        Full credit to Trotz for the prep and the Isles for the execution. If anybody knows how to beat the Penguins, Trotz does

      • I imagine a LOT of – if not all – people “loaded up with Bolts” in pools everywhere, not to mention certain Pens. So that doesn’t mean you’re out of the dough – depends on what others you picked. I can’t imagine many loaded up the BlueJackets and Islanders in light of who each was playing.

      • George re pools

        The pool I’m in has a fair hit for buy-in so selections are made with logic/pragmatics vs heart…. all but two in our pool are Leafs fans …. Few Leafs picked …. all very late rounds

        In our entire draft …. only two Jackets were picked …. Panarin and Duchene …. both in the last round

        Our draft was heavily skewed Bolts …. all roster players on Bolts were eventually selected; Winnipeg, Cgy and Oens were next each with 17 players totally selected.

        Shock and Awe has happened

  3. Tampa will also go down in history as a glaring example that teams built for success in long seasonal play, riddled with players who will rack up goals and assists in games where the opposition enter far too many games willing to mail in the 2 points due to seasonal funks, back-to-back, 3 games in 4 nights scenarios, simply cannot handle the sudden transition to intense checking. San Jose is another. Pittsburgh just showed their age in far too many key spots.

    • @George O” Cant say you’re wrong but what worries me in a way is that Kyle Dubas is trying to model the Leafs after Tampa Bay. I think, copycat tactics will always result in failure. I say you want to win? Take the Best from all the competition and blend it into one good formula and find the right players to execute that formula

      • Like Vegas did. Yzerman saw the light – expect him to be the new GM of Seattle and follow McPhee’s example to the letter

      • Don’t forget how Tampa Bay won 62 games this year – in the games against the Leafs, for example, they checked the hell out of them. Someone in the Rumours section said TB was soft – that is BS pure and simple. They had the best team in the league and they were relentless.
        Columbus beat them fair and square but don’t start with the Tampa Bay is soft stuff.

      • @gorge o I see yzerman taking the job in Detroit if Holland leaves.he is not going to leave his family agin to go west.

      • Georģe, Joey, Tampa Bay won 62 games. You don’t fluke 62 wins. They were the best team in the NHL. In the games I saw against the Leafs, they checked the he’ll out of them. They were relentless.
        Everything is magnified in the playoffs. TB’s goaltending was second best, their best defence man was injured, their top scorer was suspended for a game, and they played a very good team that cèrtainly peaked at the right time.
        Full marks to Columbus but Tampa Bay still have a great team. They’ll be back.

  4. I didn’t post any predictions here, but I did have the Tampa-Columbus and Pittsburgh-NYI series as the most likely first round sweeps…though I had the wrong teams advancing!

    Great work by the Jackets and Isles. Exactly what these teams needed to get their fan bases excited for their teams.

  5. Does Columbus get any credit? Their decision to not be sellers at deadline with Bob and bread man seems to have paid off. Adding Duchene, who had a great series, and Dzingle. Can we now consider them as a favorite to win it all? Will be very interesting to see what happens with this team in off season if the do!

    • @slick
      agreed and we forget how even two home playoff games for a small market team is huge for their finances. they get at least two more home games now and the moves were worth it

    • I’ve been a CBJ fan since it was announced. I can tell you the city has a massive hangover, this morning. I live 2 miles from NWA and it seemed I could hear the crowd, there, throughout the 3rd. That said, I’m cautiously optimistic about their chances. They’ve had difficulty with every potential opponent, this year.

    • Slick62

      Crow eater here

      I was one that truly beloved the “ All in” move was brutal; and this is before I knew their match-ups…. I thought , at that time; that there was s chance they would still miss the playoffs

      They are starting to gel; played very well; Bobo played his shorts off; Bolts caught off guard and with missing some players; mix in a sub-par performance by Vazy…. perfect storm

      Kudos to Clb

      The switch is on …. let’s see if the pedal to the metal tactics can sustain

      Certainly entertaining hockey


    • Lol. Great call Caper.

    • Caper

      Cookie granted; well earned; kudos

  7. Of those 62 wins Tampa had 35 were against non-playoff teams. While that is understandable the fact that they went to OT 11 times against non-playoff teams and only lost 1 of those. So 62 wins sounds good but way too many OT’s for that team.