NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2021
Recaps of Thursday’s action include milestones for Tuukka Rask and Nicklas Backstrom, the Canucks’ Friday game is postponed plus the latest on Steven Stamkos and Jack Eichel in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Taylor Hall scored his first goal with the Boston Bruins and Tuukka Rask picked up his 300th career NHL victory after returning from injury in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Brad Marchand scored twice for the Bruins, who sit fourth in the MassMutual East Division with 52 points. The Islanders are in second place with 58 points.
The Washington Capitals failed to widen their lead over the Isles as they were upset 5-2 by the Buffalo Sabres. Washington center Nicklas Backstrom picked up an assist in his 1,000th career NHL game. Anders Bjork had a goal and an assist for the Sabres. The Capitals remain atop the East with 60 points.
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin picked up his second straight shutout over the New Jersey Devils with a 4-0 victory. Artemi Panarin scored two goals as the Rangers (48 points) remain four points behind the Bruins and two ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Speaking of the Flyers, they got shootout goals from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier to nip the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Carter Hart kicked out 31 shots for the Flyers. The Penguins are in third place with 57 points, one back of the second-place Islanders.
The Carolina Hurricanes moved into first place in the Discover Central Division by downing the Nashville Predators 4-1. Andrei Svechnikov and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist to give the Hurricanes 60 points in the standings. The Predators, meanwhile, are in fourth place with 49 points.
An overtime goal by Victor Hedman gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. The Lightning also announced they placed captain Steven Stamkos on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury retroactive to April 9. Tampa Bay also has 60 points but sits second in the Central on the basis of games played while the Panthers are one point behind them.
Jakub Vrana scored his first goal with the Detroit Red Wings as they upset the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Troy Stecher also scored two goals for the Wings to extend their win streak to three games. The loss leaves the Blackhawks (45 points) four points behind the Predators.
The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive by dropping the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. Denis Gurianov scored twice and collected an assist as the Stars are one point back of the Blackhawks.
Two-goal performances by Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connors carried the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto center Auston Matthews missed the game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day. The Jets (57 points) moved to within three points of the first-place Leafs in the Scotia North Division.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks’ scheduled game tonight against the Edmonton Oilers was postponed because of player preparation concerns. The Canucks last played on March 24 and their schedule was postponed on March 31 by COVID-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Saturday’s game could also be postponed. It wouldn’t surprise me if it takes another week before the Canucks can safely ice a healthy roster. This latest postponement came about after the players raised concerns with the NHLPA that they hadn’t fully recovered in time for Friday’s contest with the Oilers.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams denied reports claiming team captain Jack Eichel would soon undergo surgery to repair a season-ending herniated disk in his neck. He said Eichel will continue to rehab the injury and he’ll be reevaluated in May.