NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2018
Game recaps, including the latest on Steven Stamkos, T.J. Oshie, David Perron and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Brayden Point and Cedric Paquette each scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the New York Rangers 7-3. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos received 17 minutes in penalties for instigating a fight with Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich after he clipped Stamkos’ teammate Nikita Kucherov in the first period. Former Rangers J.T. Miller and Dan Girardi scored in their first game back at Madison Square Garden. The Lightning (108 points) regained first place in the Eastern Conference. Before the game started, the Rangers honored Miller, Girardi and Ryan McDonagh with a video tribute.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos’ teammates credited their captain for sticking up for Kucherov, saying the scrap fired them up and changed the course of the game.
Auston Matthews late third-period goal gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders. Mitch Marner also had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games. The Leafs (101 points) have won eight of their last 10 games and exceeded 100 points for the second time in franchise history,
The Colorado Avalanche kept pace in the race for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Sven Andrighetto scored twice for the Avs, who also saw starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov leave the game in the third period following a collision with Blackhawks forward Tomas Jurco. With 92 points, the Avs are tied with the St. Louis Blues but the latter holds the final wild-card berth as they hold one more victory plus a game in hand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet regarding Varlamov’s condition. Losing him at this juncture with a playoff spot on the line could be devastating for the Avalanche.
Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3. William Karlsson also had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights, who played their second straight game without forward David Perron.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Vegas coach Gerard Gallant, Perron was given the night off for “maintenance purposes”. Sounds like they want to make certain he’s fully healthy for the upcoming playoffs.
Rickard Rakell’s overtime goal gave the Anaheim Ducks a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks (93 points) hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth and sit one point behind the Kings for third in the Pacific Division.
The Carolina Hurricanes (81 points) staved off elimination from the playoff race by downing the Washington Capitals 4-1. Derek Ryan had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Capitals winger T.J. Oshie left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. “He’ll be reevaluated,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “As we say, we’re a little ultra-cautious right now. We’re getting close [to the playoffs] here.”
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders coach Doug Weight expressed his disappointment yesterday with forward Joshua Ho-Sang for venting his frustration to the media over his ongoing demotion to the Isles farm team this season. While Weight said he wished Ho-Sang had spoken to the team directly, he added that he wouldn’t hold it against the youngster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang said he wasn’t seeking a trade, but his recent remarks could stoke offseason speculation that he’s a trade candidate.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators promising forward Eeli Tolvanen is expected to make his NHL debut this weekend.
USA TODAY: Less than 24 hours after his brief appearance in goal for the Chicago Blackhawks as an emergency backup, accountant Scott Fisher has been asked by the USHL’s Chicago Steel if he can give the club some help preparing their taxes.