NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2019
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.
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.