NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2019

Game recaps, Flames clinch first place in the Western Conference, Joe Thornton fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames (105 points) clinched first place in the Western Conference by defeating the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists for the Flames, who have home-ice advantage through the first three rounds of the 2019 playoffs.

The loss means the Sharks’ opening-round opponent will be the Vegas Golden Knights. Speaking of which, Sharks center Joe Thornton and Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves were each fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking each other during their game on Saturday. 

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky collected his ninth shutout in a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves to pick up his league-leading ninth shutout as he backstopped the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Jackets (94 points) picked up their fifth straight victory and moved into the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling through most of this season, Bobrovsky’s been red-hot down the stretch, regaining the form that made him the only active multi-Vezina Trophy winner. Since March 5, his save percentage has been at .920 or higher in all but two of his last 11 starts. 

Anthony Mantha had a career-high five points, including his first NHL hat trick, as the Detroit Red Wings upset the Boston Bruins 6-3. With 103 points, the Bruins maintain a six-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins (97 points) are two points behind the New York Islanders for second in the Metropolitan Division after beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Matt Cullen scored a goal and collected an assist for the Penguins. The Hurricanes (93 points) fell into the second wild-card berth in the East. 

The Arizona Coyotes kept their playoff hopes alive by blanking the Minnesota Wild 4-0. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 39 shots and Josh Archibald scored two goals. The Coyotes (84 points) are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western Conference wild-card berth while the Wild sit four points out. 

Alexandar Georgiev turned in a 29-save shutout and Ryan Strome had two points as the New York Rangers blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings captain Anze Kopitar will play his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Calgary Flames. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders center Tanner Fritz will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery on Saturday to remove a blood clot from his hand. 

TSN: On a sad non-NHL note, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League yesterday announced it will discontinue operation on May 1. The league was founded in 2007 and was made up of six franchises. They recently saw a record 175,000 viewers tune to watch the Clarkson Cup contest between the Calgary Inferno and Les Canadiennes de Montreal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian cites a source saying the National Women’s Hockey League will investigate adding one or two Canadian franchises, with Montreal and one of the Toronto-area clubs the likely candidates. The NHL has expressed interest in growing women’s hockey but it remains to be seen if they’ll get involved in backing one North American league.