NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2017

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scores his 30th of the season against the Arizona Coyotes.

Game recaps, the 20th anniversary of the Avalanche-Red Wings brawl, Gary Doak passes away and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin joined Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as the only players to score 30 goals in each of their first 12 seasons as the Washington Capitals downed the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. The win gave the Capitals 106 points, widening their lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for top spot in the Metropolitan Division by three points. The Caps also set a franchise record by winning their 31st home game in a season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A remarkable achievement for Ovechkin, one of the greatest scorers in NHL history. 

Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 36-save shutout performance as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0. The win moves the Jackets (103 points) into a tie for second place with the Pittsburgh Penguins for second in the Metropolitan Division. 

Andrei Markov’s two goals gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. The win gives the Habs (93 points) a three-point lead for top spot in the Atlantic Division over the Sens. 

Colton Sissons and James Neal each scored twice as the Nashville Predators thumped the San Jose Sharks 7-2, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. The Sharks now sit in a three-way tie for first (91 points) in the Pacific Division with the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers, while the Predators (87 points) hold a one-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for third in the Central. Sharks forward Micheal Haley received a match penalty for punching Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok and could face supplemental discipline. 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1, moving into a three-way first place tie in the Pacific Division with Anaheim and San Jose. 

Sean Monahan’s overtime goal lifted the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Flames (88 points) are now only three points out of first place in the Pacific Division. 

Jack Eichel had a two-goal performance to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The loss leaves the Leafs (85 points) with only a one-point lead over the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. 

Riley Nash had the first two-goal game of his NHL career as the Boston Bruins edged the New York Islanders 2-1. Anton Khudobin made 18 saves filling in for sidelined Bruins starter Tuukka Rask. The win gives the Bruins 84 points, one behind the Leafs for third in the Atlantic. They also maintain their hold on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, widening their lead over the Isles by two points. 

Antti Raanta turned aside 30 shots as the New York Rangers blanked the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. The loss could be the final dagger in the heart of the Kings’ playoff hopes. With 77 points, they’re nine back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Sebastian Aho scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes extended their points streak to 10 games by defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-1. The Hurricanes (79 points) are five points out of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Jonathan Marchessault netted a hat trick and James Reimer had a 25-save shutout as the Florida Panthers crushed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-0. Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr was forced from the game in the second period with a leg injury, but it’s not expected to leave him sidelined for long. 

Reid Boucher scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2, handing the latter their ninth loss in 11 games. 

TSN: Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly said Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby apologized to him for what he claimed was an accidental spear to O’Reilly’s crotch in a recent game. The Sabres star said he accepted Crosby’s apology. 

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot required 10 stitches to repair the severed tip of his right pinky finger following a slash from Crosby in a game last week. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Patrick Sharp will undergo season-ending hip surgery on Tuesday. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins recalled defenseman David Warsofsky and demoted Frank Carrado. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Today marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary brawl between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the high point (or low point, depending on your perspective) of one of the most intense rivalries in NHL history. With both clubs now in decline and the Wings now playing in the Eastern Conference, it no longer has the spirit it once did. 

BOSTON HERALD: Former NHL defenseman Gary Doak passed away yesterday at age 71 from cancer. He played 789 NHL games, most of those with the Bruins, helping them win a Stanley Cup in 1970. He was active in various charity and alumni events following his retirement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Doak’s family and friends.