NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2019
Blues eliminate the Jets, the Capitals and Stars take 3-2 leads in their respective series, Vezina Trophy finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues advanced to the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoff by edging the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 to win their opening-round series four games to two. Jaden Schwartz tallied a hat trick for the Blues, who held off a third-period rally by the desperate Jets. They also held Winnipeg to just six shots through the first and second periods, including just one in the second.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For most of this game, the Blues dominated the Jets, who struggled to get any serious scoring chances on Jordan Binnington. They deserve full marks for exploiting Winnipeg’s defensive breakdowns in this series. For a club that was last in the Western Conference on New Year’s Day, it’s been a helluva run so far for the Blues, who await the winner of the Dallas Stars-Nashville Predators series.
The Jets, meanwhile, brought most of this upon themselves. Not taking anything away from the Blues performance, but Winnipeg blew third-period leads in Games 1 and 5. The last one was a killer as they seemed firmly in control of that game entering the third. Defensive mistakes killed them in this series and they simply weren’t prepared for a fired-up Blues team in Game 6.
Braden Holtby made 30 saves for a franchise-record seventh playoff shutout while Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and set up two others as the Washington Capitals blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 6-0. Alex Ovechkin also scored and added two helpers. The Capitals hold a 3-2 lead as the series shifts back to Carolina for Game 6 on Monday. They could be without winger T.J. Oshie for the remainder of the postseason as he reportedly suffered a broken collarbone in Game 4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a statement game by the defending Stanley Cup champions, dominating the upstart Hurricanes who had battled back to even the series in Games 3 and 4. Another performance like that and the Capitals will move on to face the New York Islanders in the next round. The Hurricanes did get some good news as rookie winger Andrei Svechnikov hopes to return for Game 6 after being sidelined since Game 3.
The Dallas Stars biggest stars were the main factors behind their 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Alex Radulov scored twice, Jamie Benn had three assists, Tyler Seguin scored a goal and added an assist, and goaltender Ben Bishop kicked out 30 shots. Jason Dickinson also scored twice for the Stars, who take a 3-2 series lead back to Dallas for Game 6 on Monday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a club carrying one of the deepest bluelines in the league, the Predators were sloppy defensively in this game. Three of Dallas’ goals were the result of turnovers. They’ve also been outplayed by the plucky Stars for most of this series. If the Predators can’t find a winning solution soon, they’ll be hitting the golf course after Monday.
Speaking of Ben Bishop, he’s one of this year’s finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender, joining the New York Islanders’ Robin Lehner and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.