NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2018

Game recaps, Masterton Trophy nominees revealed, injury updates, the latest on Red Wings GM Ken Holland and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: A late third-period goal by Stefan Noesen lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Devils winger Kyle Palmieri scored twice and winger Taylor Hall collected three assists. With the win, the Devils (88 points) moved three points up on the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.  The Devils win officially eliminates the New York Rangers from playoff contention.

The St. Louis Blues extended their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks, snapping the latter’s eight-game win streak. Vladimir Tarasenko tallied the winner in overtime as the Blues vaulted into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 91 points.

Brandon Tanev tallied a hat trick and Connor Hellebuyck collected his 40th win of the season to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-4 shootout win over the Boston Bruins. The loss leaves the Bruins (105 points) one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Thomas Vanek’s hat trick carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 7-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images)

Thomas Vanek’s hat trick helped the Columbus Blue Jackets overcome a 3-0 first-period deficit to crush the Edmonton Oilers 7-3. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to reach 100 points (102) for the second straight season. He also holds a six-point lead over Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov for the scoring lead. NHL linesman Steve Barton was stretchered from the ice after striking his head on the ice following a collision with McDavid. He was taken to hospital and reportedly can move his extremities and was speaking to doctors.

Kyle Turris scored in a shootout as the Nashville Predators nipped the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Wild center Eric Staal tallied his 40th goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last time Staal reached 40 goals was in 2008-09. With 73 points in 78 games, he could exceed 75 points for the first time since 2010-11. It’s been an incredible performance by the 33-year-old center, who was considered washed-up when he signed with the Wild as a free agent two years ago. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins (92 points) failed to gain ground on the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals, falling 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. The Penguins remain five points behind the Capitals and only one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for second place in the division. Penguins center Derick Brassard left the game with a lower-body injury. No update was provided on his condition.

The Anaheim Ducks slipped out of third in the Pacific Division by dropping a 4-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks. Brandon Sutter scored twice for the Canucks. The Ducks (91 points) hold a one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced defenseman Chris Tanev would miss the remainder of the season with a sprained knee.

The Dallas Stars ended their eight-game losing skid with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Alexander Radulov potted the winner 40 seconds into the extra frame. The Stars (86 points) sit five points out of a playoff spot with five games to go, while the Flyers (90 points) hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Andrew Ladd scored the game winner as the New York Islanders edged the Ottawa Senators 4-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Bobby Ryan and Matt Duchene each had a goal and two assists for the Senators.

The league yesterday announced a rule change regarding goaltender interference was approved by the board of governors. The new rule, which will be implemented today, will leave the final call on coach’s challenge for goalie interference up to the situation room in Toronto after consultation with on-ice officials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully this will address the increase in questionable goalie interference calls this season. 

TSN: The names of 28 nominees for the Bill Masterton Trophy were revealed yesterday. The nominees for the Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings are expected soon. The trophy is annually awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Among the notables are New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Antti Niemi, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers, Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal and Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber is upbeat about next season following recent surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot. His recovery period could be up to six months. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers have shut down defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for the remainder of the season. Shattenkirk was still recovering from surgery back in January to repair a torn meniscus. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin is sidelined indefinitely by an upper-body injury. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: A source claims Ken Holland will return next season as the Red Wings general manager. Head coach Jeff Blashill is also likely to return. So far, there’s no comment from Holland or the team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Red Wings in the midst of a rebuild it appears team ownership wants to give Holland the opportunity to continue overhauling the roster. An official announcement is reportedly expected at the end of the season. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2018

Game recaps, scoring race updates plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Ben Bishop and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning (102 points) defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 to become the first Eastern Conference club to clinch a berth in the 2018 playoffs and the second team overall to do so. Nikita Kucherov (93 points) scored twice to open a five-point lead over Pittsburgh’s Evgeny Malkin, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the scoring race.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is playing himself into this season’s Hart Trophy conversation (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of MacKinnon, his two-goal, three-point effort powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their 10th straight defeat. With 86 points, the Avs opened a two-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. They’re also just three back of the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite missing eight games to an upper-body injury this season, MacKinnon ranks among the top-five scorers. He’s also leading the Avalanche into postseason contention, putting him into the Hart Trophy conversation. 

A 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets knocked the slumping Dallas Stars (84 points) out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Jets winger Patrik Laine scored two goals to tie Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race with 43. Both clubs lost key players during this game. Stars goaltender Ben Bishop came out of the game in the first period with a lower-body injury, while Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba left the game in the third period with a possible concussion following a thunderous collision with Stars captain Jamie Benn

Ovechkin, meanwhile, scored his 43 goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Washington Capitals from falling 6-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Wayne Simmonds scored twice for the Flyers, who sit four points behind the Capitals for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

The Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes suffered another blow as they were blanked by the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0. Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves for his fourth shutout of the season while William Karlsson tallied a natural hat trick and sits one shy of the 40-goal mark. The Flames (80 points) remain four points out of a wild-card spot with nine games left in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are winners of only three of their last 10 games. Barring a strong surge over the remainder of the schedule, they risk missing the playoffs for the seventh time in the last nine seasons. 

Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell each had a goal and an assist to give the Anaheim Ducks a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. The Ducks (86 points) moved two ahead of the Los Angeles Kings into third in the Pacific Division.

The St. Louis Blues (83 points) moved within a point of the final wild-card spot in the West with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrik Berglund potted the winner in the extra frame. Blackhawks rookie Alex DeBrincat tallied a hat trick. The Blues were playing without superstar winger Vladimir Tarasenko for the first time since 2015, as he was a late scratch with an upper-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers. Tarasenko was listed as day-to-day.

The Carolina Hurricanes kept their fading playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the floundering New York Islanders. With 73 points, the Hurricanes are nine points out of playoff contention with 10 games left. Anders Lee scored twice for the Isles, who sit 12 points out of a wild-card spot.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet will miss tonight’s game against Calgary as he’s attending his mother’s funeral. Norma Tocchet passed away last Wednesday at age 93 after battling brain cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Tocchet and his family. 

SPORTSNET: NHL general managers hope to reach some consensus on goaltender interference during this week’s meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.