NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2018

Game recaps from the opening night of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick and Matt Murray had a 24-save shutout as the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening round series. With the Pens up 1-0 early in the first period, Murray made a timely save on the Flyers’ Scott Laughton that proved to be a game changer. 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick in a 7-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of their opening-round series (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had Laughton capitalized on that opportunity perhaps the outcome of this contest would’ve been different. The Flyers never really came close to beating Murray after that. Philadelphia goaltender Brian Elliott gave up five goals on 19 shots before he was given the hook. Given the Flyers lack of reliable goalie depth, don’t be surprised if Elliott gets the start in Game 2

The city of Winnipeg is celebrating its first playoff victory since 1996 as the Jets edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2 to take a 1-0 lead in their opening-round series. Joe Morrow snapped a 2-2 tie with a third-period point shot as the Jets overcame a 2-1 deficit for the win. All but one goal came in the third period. Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg, while Matt Cullen and Zach Parise tallied for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the third period of this game is anything to go by, this will be a very entertaining series. Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was outstanding, giving his club a chance to win despite being outshot 40-20. 

Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Shea Theodore scored the only goal as the Vegas Golden Knights got their first-ever playoff victory by edging the Los Angeles Kings 1-0. It was Fleury’s 63rd playoff win, tying him for 12th all-time with Curtis Joseph, and his 11th postseason shutout, moving him to 10th all-time. Kings netminder Jonathan Quick kicked out 27 shots. The Golden Knights lead the series 1-0. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could become a hard-fought series between two evenly-matched opponents. The goaltending was strong for both clubs. If this keeps up, goals will be difficult to come by in this match-up. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: After 10 NHL seasons, the pressure is on Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to deliver a Stanley Cup. 

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Thomas Vanek needs to carry over his solid regular-season play into the postseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Special teams could make the difference in the opening-round series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche have faith in backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who replaces sidelined starter Semyon Varlamov in their upcoming series against the Nashville Predators. 

STLTODAY.COM: Jake Allen will return as the Blues’ starting goalie next season, but he acknowledges he must improve. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s inconsistent performance was a factor in the Blues failing to reach the postseason. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Changes could be coming to the Oilers’ coaching staff. 

THE ATHLETIC: Chicago Blackhawks forward Vinnie Hinostroza underwent sports-hernia surgery on Wednesday. He’s expected to make a full recovery and resume training next month. 

OTTAWA SUN: Chris Neil is returning to the Senators in the role of alumni ambassador.