NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2019

Game recaps plus the latest on Ben Bishop, Mats Zuccarello, Paul Byron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: David Pastrnak scored a hat trick and set up two other goals to lead the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers. The Bruins (103 points) sit five up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins roster depth was also bolstered by the return of defenseman Torey Krug and Marcus Johansson from injuries. 

David Pastrnak’s three-goal, five-point performance powered the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers kept their wild-card hopes alive by edging the Leafs 5-4 on a shootout goal by Sean Couturier. Carter Hart made 38 saves for the Flyers while Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. The Flyers (82 points) sit eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the second wild-card spot. Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin made his season debut after being sidelined by a knee injury

Speaking of the Flyers, forward Jori Lehtera was reportedly sentenced to four months of conditional imprisonment in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine. The Flyers placed Lehtera on waivers in early-February and he last played for their AHL affiliate on March 1. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Lehtera’s play already narrowed his chances of landing with another NHL team after this season. This news likely slams that door. Here’s hoping he can get his life back on track.

The Dallas Stars (86 points) maintained their three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference by nipping the Calgary Flames 2-1. It was a costly win for the Stars, as starting goalie Ben Bishop was once again sidelined with a lower-body injury. Bishop is listed as day-to-day and the club intends to call up a goaltender for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. 

Stars winger Mats Zuccarello required a couple of stitches over his right eye following a collision with teammate Joel L’Esperance during morning practice yesterday. Zuccarello was otherwise unharmed as he continues his recovery from a broken arm. 

The Avalanche, meanwhile, defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected two points and Tyson Barrie set a franchise record for most goals (73) by a defenseman. The Avs (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild-card spot. 

THE SCORE: Agent JP Barry, who represents Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron, is questioning the unwritten rules about players settling scores by fighting. Byron suffered a concussion during a fight with Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Tuesday. Weegar missed two weeks with a concussion in January following a hit by Byron, who received a three-game suspension. Barry pointed out Byron gave up five inches and 50 pounds to Weegar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  If Byron had a history of dirty play, was unrepentant over that hit on Weegar and received no supplemental discipline by the league, one could argue he got what he deserved. But that’s not the case. Hockey’s a rough game but that fight served no purpose at all.

CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers winger Brad Malone was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of demoting him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed defenseman Carl Dahlstrom to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $850K.