NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2018

Playoff game recaps and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are one win away from advancing to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs after edging the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their opening-round series. Vegas got third-period goals from Cody Eakin, James Neal and William Karlsson to overcome a 1-0 deficit.

There was some controversy when Erik Haula got away with butt-ending Kings captain Anze Kopitar in the face. Kings blueliners Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin returned to the lineup in this game while Golden Knights forward David Perron also returned to action.  Game 4 goes Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for my theory that the postseason experience of the Kings’ core players would make the difference in this series. As we learned during the regular season, the Golden Knights are the real deal and must be taken seriously. 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a four-point game leading his club to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of their opening-round series (Photo via NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists to lead his club to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to take a 2-1 lead in their opening-round series. The Pens also tied an NHL record for the fastest two goals in playoff history as Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored five seconds apart in the second period to give their club a 4-0 lead. Game 4 goes Wednesday in Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every game in this series has been one-sided. The Penguins won the opening game 7-0 while the Flyers countered with a 5-1 victory in Game 2. 

For the second straight game, the Washington Capitals blew a two-goal and wound up losing in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets, as Matt Calvert scored in the extra frame to give his club a 5-4 win and a 2-0 lead in their opening-round series.

Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves, setting a franchise record for most saves in a playoff game. Cam Atkinson scored twice and Zach Werenski collected three points for the Jackets, while Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and John Carlson had three assists for the Capitals, who also lost forward Andre Burakovsky to an upper-body injury. The series shifts to Columbus for Game 3 on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals replaced goaltender Philipp Grubauer at the start of the third period with Braden Holtby, who’ll likely get the start in Game 3. Grubauer didn’t look sharp in this game but he’s not the sole reason his club find itself in this hole. Undisciplined play and sloppy defense have proven costly for the Capitals, creating opportunities for the Blue Jackets to exploit. 

A four-goal second period powered the Minnesota Wild to a 6-2 thrashing of the Winnipeg Jets, cutting the latter’s lead in their opening-round series to 2-1 and chasing Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck from the net after two periods. Erik Staal, Mikael Granlund and Matt Dumba each had a goal and an assist for the Wild and netminder Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves. The Jets also lost defenseman Tyler Myers to a lower-body injury

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild needed this win to avoid falling into a 3-0 series deficit and got it in convincing fashion. They dominated the Jets throughout this one and didn’t get rattled when they fell behind 1-0 early in the game. The stage is set for what should be an entertaining Game 4 on Tuesday.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning could face a different goaltender when they face off tonight against the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 of their opening-round series. While Devils coach John Hynes had yet to reveal his starter, it’s expected veteran Cory Schneider will be in goal. 

BOSTON GLOBE:  Bruins forward Riley Nash (injured ear) could return to action for Game 3 of his club’s series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Former NHL player Dick Gamble, who was the model for the tin players in a famous table-top hockey game, passed away at age 89. Gamble had 82 points in 195 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs in his 21-year professional career, much of which was spent with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. He was part of the Canadiens’ 1953 Stanley Cup championship roster. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Gamble’s family and friends. In the 1970s, my father got me one of those Eagle Toys table-top hockey games from one of his friends. I spent many happy childhood hours playing it with my friends and cousins. Wish I had taken care of it as it probably would’ve been a collector’s item today.