NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2023
The Devils clinch their first playoff berth in five years, the Bruins clinch the Atlantic Division, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils clinched their first playoff berth since 2018 by beating the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Jack Hughes scored his 40th goal of the season while Nico Hischier collected two assists for the Devils (46-19-8) as they sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 100 points, becoming the third team this season to reach that plateau. Tim Stutzle had two assists for the 35-33-5 Senators (75 points) as they sit seven points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Senators head coach D.J. Smith told reporters that defenseman Jakob Chychrun will be sidelined for “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury. He also said center Ridly Greig is out of the season with an injured sternum.
Boston Bruins winger Garnet Hathaway tallied the winning goal as his club clinched first place in the Atlantic Division with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Patrice Bergeron scored his 27th goal of the season for the 56-11-5 Bruins as they sit atop the overall standings with 117 points. Victor Hedman replied for the 42-26-6 Lightning, who’ve dropped four straight games and sit third in the Atlantic Division with 90 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game also marked the 10th anniversary of Jon Cooper’s hiring as the Lightning’s head coach.
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on two late goals by Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Pyotr Kochetkov made 41 saves for the Hurricanes (47-16-8) as they sit two points ahead of the Devils in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 102 points. Auston Matthews scored twice for the 43-20-9 Maple Leafs as they remain five points up on the Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division.
An overtime goal by Nicolas Roy lifted the Vegas Golden Knights over the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights (46-21-6) as they sit in first place in the Western Conference with 98 points. Leon Draisaitl scored his 45th goal of the season for the 41-23-9 Oilers (91 points) as they sit three points behind the Los Angeles Kings in third place in the Pacific Division.
Speaking of the Kings, they tied a franchise record with an 11-game points streak with a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 25 shots for the 42-20-10 Kings. Pierre-Luc Dubois netted his 25th goal of the season as the Jets (41-30-3) hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
The Seattle Kraken thumped the Nashville Predators 7-2. Eeli Tolvanen scored twice against his former club and Jared McCann had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (40-24-8) as they hold the first Western wild-card berth with 88 points. Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist for the 36-27-8 Predators (80 points) as they sit five points behind the Jets.
Third-period goals by Ryan Hartman and Frederick Gaudreau gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Filip Gustavsson stopped 22 shots as the Wild (42-22-9) vaulted over the Dallas Stars into first place in the Central Division with 93 points. Lukas Reichel replied for the 24-42-6 Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks forward Philipp Kurashev missed this game with an upper-body injury. He is expected to undergo evaluation for a concussion.
The Stars, meanwhile, dropped a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks. Elias Pettersson collected an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games while Thatcher Demko kicked out 25 shots for the 33-34-5 Canucks as they’ve won eight of their last 10 games. Ryan Suter replied for the Stars (39-20-14) as they sit one point back of the Wild in second place in the Central.
An overtime goal by Evgeni Malkin gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals after the latter overcame a 3-0 deficit. Casey DeSmith made 31 saves for the 36-27-10 Penguins as they hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 82 points. Alex Ovechkin netted his 45th goal for the Capitals (34-32-8) as they sit six points back of the Penguins.
The New York Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Florida Panthers 4-3. Patrick Kane scored his 20th of the season while Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil each had a goal and an assist for the 43-20-10 Rangers (96 points) as they sit four points behind the second-place Devils in the Metropolitan Division. Aleksander Barkov tallied his 20th of the season as the 36-30-7 Panthers sit three points behind the Penguins with 79 points.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Eric Comrie stopped 26 shots to shut out the New York Islanders 2-0. Kyle Okposo and Jeff Skinner netted third-period goals as the Sabres (35-31-6) sit six points behind the Penguins. Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves as the 37-28-6 Islanders hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 83 points.
The Calgary Flames gained ground on the Jets with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Tyler Toffoli scored twice to tie a career-high with his 31st goal of the season while Mikael Backlund skated in his 900th career NHL game as the Flames improved to 33-26-15 (81 points) to sit four points behind the Jets. Erik Karlsson collected two assists to reach 90 points on the season for the 19-39-15 Sharks.
Montreal Canadiens forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard tallied his first career NHL hat trick in a 8-2 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nick Suzuki had a goal and three assists while Mike Matheson and Mike Hoffman each collected three points for the 29-38-6 Canadiens. Kirill Marchenko and Lane Pederson replied for the 23-42-7 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins left this game with an apparent leg injury in the second period. Canadiens defenseman Jordan Harris returned to action after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart stopped 29 shots to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Kieffer Bellows, Scott Laughton and Tyson Foerster scored for the 28-32-12 Flyers while the Red Wings dropped to 31-32-9 on the season.
St. Louis Blues forwards Brayden Schenn and Kasperi Kapanen each scored twice and collected an assist in a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Colton Parayko had three assists for the 33-33-6 Blues. Rookie Nikita Nesterenko scored his first NHL goal while Troy Terry had a goal and an assist for the 23-40-10 Ducks.