NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

The Islanders, Penguins and Sabres keep their playoff hopes alive, David Pastrnak reaches a Bruins’ scoring milestone, the three stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Bo Horvat and Simon Holmstrom gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The goal was Horvat’s 31st of the season for the 33-27-15 Islanders (81 points) as they moved to within one point of Washington Capitals for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for the 22-48-5 Blackhawks.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each tallied twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for five goals in the third period to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3. The Penguins improved to 34-30-11 (79 points) and sit three points behind the Capitals. Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt each scored their 25th goal of the season for the Devils as they fell to 36-35-4 and dropped six points back of the Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. JJ Peterka scored twice and collected an assist while Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who moved to 36-35-4 (77 points) and are five points behind Washington. Dylan Strome netted his 26th goal of the season for the 36-28-10 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres winger Jeff Skinner played his 1,000th NHL game. Teammate Jordan Greenway missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark turned in a 31-save shutout to blank the Nashville Predators 3-0. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (44-17-15), who sit third in the overall standings with 103 points. Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots for the 43-28-4 Predators, who hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot (90 points) but have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak became the first Bruin since Adam Oates in 1992-93 to have at least 35 multi-point games in a season. With 46 goals, he’s also on pace to become the third player in franchise history with multiple 50-goal seasons, joining Phil Esposito (five) and Cam Neely (three).

The Vegas Golden Knights rode a four-goal first period to a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, extending their points streak to seven games. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 41st goal of the season and picked up two assists as the Golden Knights improved to 42-25-8. With 92 points, they’re third in the Pacific Division. Quinn Hughes scored two goals for the Canucks (46-21-8), who sit fifth overall with 100 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov was ejected from this game for boarding Vegas forward Brett Howden during the first period.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, trade deadline acquisition Tomas Hertl joined practice on Tuesday as a full participant. The 30-year-old center is recovering from knee surgery. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy hinted he might return to action for Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored twice to reach the 70-point plateau for the first time in a 5-3 upset of the Florida Panthers. Sam Montembeault kicked out 37 shots for the 29-33-12 Canadiens, who’ve won four of their last five games. Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist for the slumping Panthers (47-24-5), who’ve won two of their last 10 games and sit seventh overall with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad left this game with an undisclosed injury. The Panthers played without forwards Matthew Tkachuk (illness) and Carter Verhaeghe (upper-body injury). Verhaeghe is week-to-week and is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

The Minnesota Wild nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Vinni Lettieri snapped a 2-2 tie for the 36-29-9 Wild (81 points) as they’re six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western wildcard. Drake Batherson netted his 27th goal of the season for the 33-37-4 Senators.

Anaheim Ducks winger Alex Killorn scored twice in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Troy Terry and Olen Zellweger each had three points for the 25-47-4 Ducks. Andrei Kuzmenko potted two goals for the 34-35-5 Flames.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg are the league’s three stars for March 2024. Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard was named Rookie of the Month for March 2024.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues top prospect Jimmy Snuggerud will return to the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers for his junior year. The 19-year-old winger has scored 42 goals in 79 NCAA games. He had 21 goals and 13 assists this season for the Golden Gophers and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

SPORTSNET: The ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers franchise had its membership terminated by the league’s board of governors.

The Growlers were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate. Deacon Sports and Entertainment, the majority owners of the Growlers and ECHL club Trois Rivieres Lions, had proposed a sale of both teams but only the Lions were saved.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Saturday that there had been a lengthy battle behind the scenes over payments to cities and some NHL teams.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sports media insider Jonah Sigel reports Rogers Communications could sell TV rights to its Monday night games (including playoff games) to Amazon over the final two years of its contract.

Sigel believes Amazon’s interest in getting a foothold in NHL broadcasting suggests it could be part of a broader strategy.

Rogers Communications’ current broadcasting agreement with the NHL has two years to go. The league could prioritize streaming services in its next TV deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers wondered what effect the end of Rogers’ TV contract two years from now might have on the NHL’s hockey-related revenue (HRR). It could be a lucrative deal with Amazon or another streaming service. If so, there would be no negative impact on HRR.