NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2024

Oilers captain Connor McDavid reaches a historic assist milestone, the Rangers win the Presidents’ Trophy, the Islanders clinch a playoff spot, and the Capitals, Red Wings and Penguins remain in the race for the final Eastern wildcard berth. Details and more in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected his 100th assist of the season in a 9-2 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Adam Henrique, Darnell Nurse and Dylan Holloway each had three assists for the Oilers (49-25-6) as they sit ninth in the overall standings. Fabian Zetterlund scored his 23rd of the season for the Sharks.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid joins Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the fourth player in NHL history to reach 100 assists in a season. It’s the first time an NHL player has reached that milestone since Gretzky in 1990-91.

Oilers winger Evander Kane missed this game with a minor injury. San Jose forwards Kevin Labanc, Mike Hoffman and Alexander Barabanov remain sidelined for the remainder of the season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer and have likely played their final games for the Sharks.

The New York Rangers are this season’s winner of the Presidents’ Trophy for the best NHL record after blanking the Ottawa Senators 4-0. Igor Shesterkin turned in a 26-save shutout and Artemi Panarin netted his 49th goal of the season for the 55-23-4 Rangers, who finished the season with 114 points. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth time the Rangers have won the Presidents’ Trophy with their previous win coming in 2014-15. Their 55 wins and 114 points are franchise records.

Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist as the New York Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1. The Isles (38-27-16) clinched third place in the Metropolitan Division with 92 points and will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Timo Meier scored his 28th goal of the season for the Devils.

Washington Capitals goalie Charlie Lindgren had a 16-save shutout in a 2-0 upset of the Boston Bruins. John Carlson and Nic Dowd were the goal scorers as the Capitals improved to 39-31-11 to hold the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 89 points. Jeremy Swayman turned aside 23 shots for the Bruins, who sit fourth overall with 109 points.

The Detroit Red Wings overcame a 4-1 deficit to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on an overtime goal by Lucas Raymond, who also scored the tying goal. J.T. Compher also scored twice for the 40-32-9 Red Wings (89 points) as they sit behind the Capitals in the standings. Brendan Gallagher scored two goals while rookie defenseman Lane Hutson collected an assist in his first game with the Canadiens.

Pittsburgh Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson each had a goal and an assist to double up the Nashville Predators 4-2. With a record of 38-31-12, the Penguins also have 88 points in the race for the final Eastern wildcard. Predators winger Filip Forsberg netted his 48th goal of the season as his club finished the season with 99 points (47-30-5). They already qualified for the playoffs but missed an opportunity to clinch the first Western Conference wildcard spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators can still secure that first wildcard if the Vegas Golden Knights lose one of their final two games. The Golden Knights have also qualified for the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Capitals, Red Wings and Penguins have one game each remaining in their respective schedules. The Capitals face the Philadelphia Flyers while the Red Wings and Canadiens square off again tonight. The Penguins meet the Islanders on Wednesday.

The Buffalo Sabres finished their season with a 4-2 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dylan Cozens tallied twice for the Sabres. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored both of his club’s goals to reach 40 on the season while teammate Nikita Kucherov picked up his 99th assist. The Lightning have already clinched a playoff berth and hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 96 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov will get his chance to become the fifth player in NHL history to reach 100 assists in a season in his club’s season-ending game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. With 142 points, he has a four-point lead over Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist to lead his club over the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Blake Lizotte scored for the Kings (43-27-11), who sit third in the Pacific Division with 97 points.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi, and Calgary Flames forward Nazem Kadri are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Apr. 14.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed general manager Bill Zito to a multi-year contract on Monday. His current deal will expire at the end of next season. Zito also takes over as the Panthers’ president of hockey operations.

During Zito’s tenure, the Panthers have qualified for the playoffs for four straight years, including this one. They won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2021-22 and reached the Stanley Cup Final last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zito overhauled the Panthers’ roster with only four players (Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Sergei Bobrovsky and Eetu Luostarinen) remaining from the lineup that began the 2020-21 season. He’s added Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart, Brandon Montour, Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe and Gustav Forsling.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko returns to action on Apr. 16 to face the Calgary Flames. Demko missed the last 14 games with a knee injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have two games remaining in their schedule, allowing Demko time to return to form before the playoffs begin this weekend.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs winger Bobby McMann will miss his club’s final two regular-season games with a lower-body injury. Teammate Max Domi will miss Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers and could miss their finale on Apr. 17 against the Lightning.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed prospect forward Gavin Brindley to a three-year entry-level contract. He’ll make his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.