NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2024

The race for the Presidents’ Trophy intensifies as the battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth continues. Check out the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The New York Rangers picked up their fifth win in their last six games by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves and Jonny Brodzinski scored the game-winning goal for the 45-19-4 Rangers (94 points), who moved into second place in the overall standings and are one point behind the Boston Bruins. Bo Horvat scored twice for the 29-23-15 Islanders (73 points) as they sit one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren left this game in the second period with an injured left leg. An update on his status could come on Monday. Meanwhile, the Islanders are winless in their last four games (0-3-1).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Red Wings, they missed an opportunity to put distance between themselves and the Islanders and Washington Capitals (73 points) by dropping a 6-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby snapped a 12-game goalless drought as he was among four Penguins forwards with a goal and an assist. Lucas Raymond scored twice for the Red Wings (34-28-6) as they lost for the eighth time in nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Detroit still clings to that final Eastern wild-card berth only because the Islanders have just one point in their last four games. If the Red Wings don’t get their act together soon, they’ll be overtaken by the Isles or Capitals. Meanwhile, the Penguins (30-28-6) kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re five points back of the Wings.

A four-goal second period lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1. Tyler Toffoli scored twice and collected an assist and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 shots as the Jets (43-19-5) moved into first place in the Central Division with 91 points. Brendan Gaunce scored for the 23-34-11 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are tied in points with the Colorado Avalanche but hold first place in the Central with a game in hand. They’ve also moved into fifth place in the overall standings, just four points behind the league-leading Bruins.

Jake Guentzel scored his first goal with the Carolina Hurricanes in a 7-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Dmitry Orlov scored twice and had two assists and Sebastian Aho picked up three assists for the 42-20-6 Hurricanes (90 points), who remain four points behind the first-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Thomas Chabot had a goal and an assist for the 28-34-4 Senators.

Third-period goals by William Carrier, Jack Eichel and William Karlsson powered the Vegas Golden Knights over the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Noah Hanifin picked up two assists for the 36-24-7 Golden Knights, who hold the final Western Conference wildcard spot with 79 points. Nico Hischier replied for the 32-32-4 Devils.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth straight win by doubling up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Robert Thomas netted two power-play goals for the Blues (36-29-3) as they remain four points behind the Golden Knights. Troy Terry scored both goals for the 23-42-3 Ducks.

Three goals by Ryan Donato, Kevin Korchinski and Joey Anderson within 1:23 in the third period gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Connor Bedard and Philipp Kurashev had a goal and an assist for the 19-44-5 Blackhawks. Devin Cooley made 26 saves for the 16-44-7 Sharks.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers general manager Daniel Briere admitted he and his club were surprised to learn Ryan Johansen was injured when they acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche before the recent trade deadline.

The Flyers intended to send Johansen to their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley. However, that was overturned because an injured player cannot be demoted to the minors. He remains with the Flyers as he continues rehab on his injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansen played in all 63 Avalanche games before the trade. Maybe he suffered the injury in his final game before the trade. Perhaps he was nursing an injury for several weeks that worsened after the trade.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov faces a disciplinary hearing on Monday with the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Conor Sheary on Saturday.

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais suffered a broken finger during his fight with Colorado Avalanche blueliner Josh Manson on Saturday.