NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2024

The Golden Knights clinch the final Western Conference playoff berth, Filip Forsberg sets the Predators’ single-season goals record, the Coyotes players are told the team is moving to Utah, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights (43-28-8) clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference by defeating the Minnesota Wild 7-2. Tomas Hertl scored his first goal with the Golden Knights, Jack Eichel tallied his 30th goal of the season and Chandler Stephenson collected four assists. With 94 points, the Golden Knights hold the final Western wildcard berth. Wild forward Ryan Hartman netted his 20th of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jonathan Marchessault scored his 42nd of the season, putting him within one goal of William Karlsson’s franchise single-season record of 43. Meanwhile, Golden Knights captain Mark Stone joined his teammates in practice earlier in the day wearing a non-contact jersey. He’s been sidelined since Feb. 20 with a lacerated spleen. There remains no official word as to when he’ll return to action.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg tallied a hat trick in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Forsberg now holds the single-season goal record (46) for the Predators (46-29-5), who sit three points ahead of the Golden Knights in the first Western wildcard. Philipp Kurashev replied for the Blackhawks.

An overtime goal by Matias Maccelli lifted the Arizona Coyotes over the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Logan Cooley scored his 20th of the season while Josh Doan scored his fourth goal and has eight in his first nine games for the Coyotes. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid missed this game with a lower-body injury and is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers (48-24-6) sit ninth overall with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong reportedly told his players and staff that the franchise is moving to Utah for next season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated there will be attempts to help those affected visit Salt Lake City.

According to GOPHNX’s Craig Morgan, the move could be officially announced following the Coyotes’ final game of the season on Apr. 17. However, Friedman’s sources believe that might not be possible because there is still lots of work to be done.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported his sources claim major issues still have to be resolved and the situation remains fluid.

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their fourth straight win with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, eliminating the latter from postseason contention. Jake Guentzel scored twice for the 51-22-7 Hurricanes as they moved into second place in the overall standings with 109 points, one point behind the league-leading New York Rangers.

Calgary Flames winger Andrei Kuzmenko scored a hat trick to beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-3. It was the final home game for Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg, who announced his NHL retirement at the end of this season. The Ducks honored Silfverberg following the game.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Boston University forward Macklin Celebrini won the Hobey Baker Award on Friday as the NCAA’s top male hockey player. Celebrini, 17, is the youngest player to win the award. He is expected to be the first-overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in June.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Top Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson signed his three-year entry-level NHL contract on Friday. In his two seasons with the NCAA’s Boston University Terriers, the 20-year-old defenseman averaged 1.26 points per game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hutson could make his Canadiens debut in one of the club’s final two games on Monday or Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings.

ESPN.COM: New York Rangers center Filip Chytil has returned to practice with his teammates and could be an option for the playoffs. He’s been sidelined since January dealing with a head injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chytil is believed to be dealing with post-concussion symptoms.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Goaltender Ville Husso’s attempt to return to action from a lower-body injury with the Red Wings’ AHL farm team in Grand Rapids suffered a setback. He left warmups before Friday’s game and didn’t return after conversing with the training staff.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2024

Alex Ovechkin sets a scoring record, Auston Matthews reaches another goal milestone, hat trick performances by Nathan MacKinnon, Steven Stamkos and Juraj Slafkovsky, and the Predators clinch a playoff berth. The details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin set an NHL scoring record in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Ovechkin became the first player in NHL history to reach the 30-goal plateau 18 times. The Capitals improved to 37-30-11 and regained the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Patrick Kane scored his 20th of the season for the Red Wings, who slipped to 38-32-8 to sit one point back of the Capitals.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin had a slow start to this season with just nine goals in 44 games before the All-Star Break. He’s had 21 goals in his last 31 games. Red Wings forward Andrew Copp suffered a broken cheekbone after being struck by a high stick by Capitals winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel. No penalty was called on the play.

Auston Matthews is the only active NHL player to score 66 goals in a season as his Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice and collected an assist for the Leafs (46-23-9) as they sit ninth in the overall standings with 101 points. Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer each had a goal and an assist for the Devils (37-37-5) as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is also the first player in the salary-cap era to exceed 65 goals. With four games remaining in the regular season, he has time to become the first player in 31 years to reach 70 goals. Meanwhile, Devils star Jack Hughes missed this game and will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. It’s been that kind of season for the Devils as they struggled through a disappointing follow-up to last season’s promising performance.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick to reach the vaunted 50-goal plateau for the first time in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Cale Makar and Jonathan Drouin each had three points for the 49-24-6 Avalanche as they sit sixth overall with 104 points. Matt Boldy had a goal and an assist for the 37-32-9 Wild, who were officially eliminated from the playoff race.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 137 points, MacKinnon sits two back of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. With 51 goals, he’s the fourth player to reach 50 this season.

Speaking of hat tricks, Steven Stamkos scored three goals to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Kucherov picked up three assists to lead the scoring race with 139 points for the Lightning (44-27-7), who hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 95 points. Kirill Marchenko scored both goals for the Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 39 goals, Stamkos is poised to reach the 40-goal plateau for the seventh time. The Lightning extended their points streak to six games and are 11-2-1 in their last 14 contests.

Montreal Canadiens winger Juraj Slafkovsky potted his first career NHL hat trick in a 9-3 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers. Brendan Gallagher and Christian Dvorak each scored two goals for the Canadiens. Owen Tippett and Erik Johnson collected two points each for the Flyers, who slipped to 36-32-11 (83 points) and sit two points out of the final Eastern wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Canadiens announced defenseman Arber Xhekaj will undergo season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. He had similar surgery last season on his right shoulder. Meanwhile, the Flyers are winless in their last eight games (0-6-2), leaving head coach John Tortorella somberly observing his club has reached “rock bottom.” They overachieved for most of this season but are running out of gas as the schedule winds down.

The Nashville Predators dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime to the Winnipeg Jets but picked up a point to clinch a playoff berth. Kyle Connor scored the game-winner and Connor Hellebucyk kicked out 45 shots for the Jets (48-24-6), as they sit in eighth place in the overall standings with 102 points. Predators captain Roman Josi collected assists on goals by Spencer Stastney and Ryan O’Reilly as they rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. With a record of 45-29-5, the Predators hold the first Western Conference wildcard with 95 points.

A three-goal first period powered the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers. Bo Horvat and Noah Dobson picked up two points each and Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves for the 36-27-15 Islanders, who hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 87 points. Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (53-22-4) as they hold first place in the overall standings with 110 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette was furious following the game over a pair of what he deemed “vicious hits” on forwards Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck. The hit on Zibanejad appeared to be accidental but the one on Trocheck was deliberately hit from behind by Dobson. Both players escaped injury but Zibanejad was shaken up after the collision with Adam Pelech.

The Dallas Stars moved to within one point of the league-leading Rangers by nipping the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, eliminating the latter from postseason contention. Jake Oettinger made 19 saves for his eighth straight win while Jason Robertson, Wyatt Johnston and Joe Pavelski scored for the 50-20-9 Stars. Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch replied for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres set the NHL record for the longest playoff drought. Buffalo is a great hockey town but their fans continue to be disappointed by years of mismanagement and bad coaching.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov tallied a lacrosse-style goal and collected an assist in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Teuvo Teravainen, Jake Guentzel and Seth Jarvis also scored for the 50-22-7 Hurricanes (107 points), who moved ahead of the Bruins into third place in the overall standings. Charlie McAvoy replied for the 46-18-15 Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the third straight season the Hurricanes have reached the 50-win mark.

The Florida Panthers blanked the Ottawa Senators 2-0. Anthony Stolarz made 25 saves for the shutout. Anton Lundell and Nick Cousins were the goal scorers as the Panthers improved to 49-24-6 and sit seventh overall with 104 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators will finish the schedule on a high note in terms of attendance. Despite another disappointing season, they enjoyed the fourth-highest change in attendance (5.9 percent). They’ve played to 95 percent capacity, averaging 17,536.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal stopped 36 shots in a 3-1 upset of the Los Angeles Kings. Frank Vatrano, Alex Killorn and Trevor Zegras were the goal scorers. Akil Thomas netted the only goal for the 41-26-11 Kings (93 points) as they hold third place in the Pacific Division.

The Seattle Kraken blanked the Arizona Coyotes 5-0. Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves while Matty Beniers and Oliver Bjorkstrand each picked up two assists. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced defenseman Travis Dermott will miss the remainder of the season with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Andrei Kuzmenko gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 decision over the San Jose Sharks. Kuzmenko and Nazem Kadri each had two points for the Flames. Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 37 shots for the Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The club recalled forward Dylan Holloway as McDavid will decide if he’ll play on Wednesday against the Vegas Golden Knights. His injury is not the same one that forced him to miss two games earlier this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is one assist away from becoming the fourth player in NHL history to reach that plateau. Nevertheless, the priority for the Oilers is to ensure their captain is healthy for the upcoming playoffs. They have six games left in the regular season.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Justin Faulk could miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2024

The battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth continues as does the jockeying for first place in the overall standings. Get the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings got first-period goals from Lucas Raymond, Patrick Kane and Dylan Larkin to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. Tage Thompson replied for the Sabres. With a record of 38-31-8, the Wings vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals into the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 84 points. The Sabres slipped to 37-36-5 (79 points) and sit five points back of the Wings.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators. Jake Sanderson scored in overtime and Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist for the 34-39-4 Senators. Max Pacioretty and Aliaksei Protas scored for the Capitals (36-30-11) as they sit one point behind the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals also lost defenseman Rasmus Sandin to an upper-body injury following a hard hit by Senators forward Parker Kelly in the first period. After the game, Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery said Sandin will miss some time from the roster.

The New Jersey Devils’ wildcard hopes suffered a blow as they fell 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on a shootout goal by Ryan O’Reilly, who also had two assists in regulation. Jack Hughes and Chris Tierney scored for the 37-36-5 Devils, who are five points behind the Red Wings. The Predators (45-29-4) hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot with 94 points.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils defenseman John Marino missed this game with an undisclosed injury. The Devils also learned that forward Curtis Lazar could miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Senators.

Shifting to the top of the table, the league-leading New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Artemi Panarin extended his points streak to nine games with a goal and three assists for the 53-21-4 Rangers (110 points). Cayden Primeau stopped 41 shots and Mike Matheson collected two assists for the 29-36-12 Canadiens, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers tied their franchise record for the most wins in a season.

The Dallas Stars are three points behind the Rangers in the overall standings with a 7-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Roope Hintz reached the 30-goal plateau for the third straight season, Tyler Seguin scored twice and Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and two assists for the Stars (49-20-9) as they sit second overall with 107 points. Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists for the 48-24-6 Avalanche (102 points), who sit sixth overall but have won just twice in their last seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche were without winger Mikko Rantanen as he entered concussion protocol after being injured during Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. The early reports are positive as Rantanen worked out on Saturday and skated on his own on Sunday. He’s listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, MacKinnon (133 points) moved within three points of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the scoring race with 136 points. 

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (49-22-7) as they sit fourth overall with 105 points. Malcolm Subban stopped 32 shots for the 26-40-12 Blue Jackets.

A four-point performance by Robert Thomas powered the St. Louis Blues to a 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Jordan Kyrou scored the winner in the shootout and picked up three assists in regulation play as the Blues improved to 41-32-5 (87 points). Frank Vatrano and Leo Carlsson each scored two goals for the 25-48-5 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re five points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard.

The Minnesota Wild defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 as rookie Jesper Wallstedt turned aside 24 shots for his first NHL shutout. Kirill Kaprizov scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season for the 37-31-9 Wild. The Blackhawks dropped to 23-49-5.

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Keller extended his points streak to 11 games for the Coyotes (33-39-5). Henry Thrun had a goal and an assist for the 18-51-8 Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Tomas Hertl is expected to make his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights in Monday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Golden Knights acquired the 30-year-old forward from the San Jose Sharks at the March 8 trade deadline. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 27 after undergoing knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl is no playoff rental for the Golden Knights. He’s under contract until 2029-30.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The NHL department of player safety fined Oilers winger Evander Kane $5,000.00 for slashing Calgary Flames defenseman Dryden Hunt on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane didn’t have a good game against the Flames. Teammate Corey Perry lit into him on the bench at one point over a botched play. That stoked speculation Kane may have worn out his welcome in Edmonton.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2024

The Oilers, Leafs and Lightning clinch playoff berths and the Masterton Trophy nominees are announced. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers got two goals from Connor McDavid and Evander Kane to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 and clinch a playoff berth. With a record of 46-24-5, the Oilers sit second in the Pacific Division with 97 points. Jonathan Drouin and Ross Colton replied for the Avalanche (48-23-6) as they sit sixth in the overall standings with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also lost winger Mikko Rantanen, who left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a heavy, clean hit by Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Following the game, Avs head coach Jared Bednar said Rantanen would be under evaluation for a while.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon gained some ground on Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the league this season with 133 points. MacKinnon collected an assist and sits second with 131 points while McDavid sits third with 128. Speaking of scoring, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl became the fifth player in franchise history with five 100-point seasons.

The Oilers overcame a poor start to this season to secure a postseason spot. They were 10 points out of contention and third-last in the overall standings by the US Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 23.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho snapped a 2-2 tie in a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, leaving the latter winless in their last five games (0-4-1). Jake Guentzel tallied twice and collected an assist as the Hurricanes improved to 48-22-7 to rise into fourth in the overall standings with 103 points. Alex Ovechkin scored both goals for the Capitals (36-30-10), who sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has 851 career goals, leaving him 43 behind all-time leader Wayne Gretzky (894). After scoring eight goals in his first 43 games this season, the Capitals captain has 21 goals in his last 30 games. He’s poised to reach the 30-goal mark for the 18th time, which will set an NHL record.

The Buffalo Sabres kept their playoff hopes alive by doubling up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. Jack Quinn potted two goals and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves for the 37-35-5 Sabres (79 points) as they sit four points behind the Flyers, who dropped to 36-30-11 and slipped into the final Eastern wildcard spot with 83 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The idle Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth with the Flyers and Capitals’ losses on Friday.

The Flyers overachieved for most of this season and have held a playoff berth since last fall. However, the wheels are coming off as they’ve won just twice in their last 10 games. The New York Islanders have knocked them out of third place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re now in danger of being overtaken by the Sabres, Capitals, Detroit Red Wings or Pittsburgh Penguins if any of those clubs can string a few wins together.

New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow tallied two goals in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Chris Kreider netted his 37th goal of the season and Jonathan Quick turned aside 31 shots for the league-leading Rangers (52-21-4) as they opened a three-point lead (108) over the second-overall Dallas Stars. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored his 30th goal as his club fell to 37-31-8 and are one point behind the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Wings, Flyers and Capitals losing their games, the idle Tampa Bay Lightning secured a playoff spot. Only two berths in the East remain available with six teams having a legitimate shot at clinching them.

Larkin is the first Red Wing to have three straight 30-goal seasons since Henrik Zetterberg from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

The Arizona Coyotes scored six unanswered third-period goals to upset the Vegas Golden Knights 7-4. Michael Carcone tallied the tying and winning goals for the 32-39-5 Coyotes. William Karlsson had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (42-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 92 points.

Seattle Kraken center Shane Wright scored twice and picked up an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists for the 32-31-13 Kraken. Leo Carlsson replied for the 25-48-4 Ducks.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced the 32 finalists for the 2023-24 Bill Masteron Memorial Trophy, awarded each year “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the complete list. Among the notables are Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, Dallas Stars center Matt Duchene, New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick, Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

My congratulations to all 32 players as they are worthy nominees.

I’m not a member of the PHWA but if I were, my choice would be Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington, who returned to action this season after a year and a half away from the game dealing with mental health issues.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will return to action on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. He’s been sidelined by a high-ankle sprain for 12 games. He will start on the second line with center John Tavares and winger Bobby McMann.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner usually skates alongside Auston Matthews on the first line. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe wants to keep the line of Matthews, Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi intact for at least this game.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm resumed practicing with his teammates on Friday after being sidelined with a wrist injury since March 23. It’s not known when he’ll return to the lineup but it’s a promising sign that he might be back before the end of the regular season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2024

The Avalanche and Canucks clinch playoffs berths, it’s now a three-player race for the Art Ross Trophy, the Leafs’ Auston Matthews hits 60 goals and Jonathan Quick set a record for US-born goaltenders. Get the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and set up two others as the Colorado Avalanche overcame 3-1 and 4-2 deficits to defeat the Nashville Predators 7-4 and clinch a playoff berth. Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar each had three points for the 47-21-6 Avalanche, who sit fifth in the overall standings with 100 points. Gustav Nyquist had two points for the Predators (43-27-4), who hold the first Western Conference wildcard berth with 90 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon holds first place in the race for the Art Ross Trophy with 127 points…A match penalty to Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the second period for an illegal hit to the head of Avalanche forward Ross Colton was the turning point in the game. McDonagh’s ejection left the Preds with just five blueliners for the rest of the game…Avs defenseman Sean Walker missed the third period with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Jonathan Marchessault into an empty net gave the Vegas Golden Knights a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. It was Marchessault’s 40th goal of the season as the Golden Knights (41-25-8) hold third place in the Pacific Division with 90 points. Kirill Kaprizov scored his 37th goal for the 35-28-10 Wild (80 points) as they sit seven points out of the final Western wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild head coach John Hynes opted to pull his goaltender to go for the win in the hope of keeping their fading playoff hopes alive. He gambled and lost. Because of that tactic, the Wild don’t get a point for reaching the overtime period…Before the game, it was reported that Wild forward Marcus Foligno will undergo season-ending surgery to address his lower-body injury…Golden Knights center Jack Eichel could face supplemental discipline after he was ejected during the second period for spearing Kaprizov.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 35 saves to shut out the St. Louis Blues 4-0. Filip Zadina, Mikael Granlund, Luke Kunin and Jan Rutta scored for the 17-48-8 Sharks, who snapped a nine-game winless skid. The loss leaves the Blues (39-31-4) sitting five points out of the final Western wildcard with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The losses by the Blues and Wild clinched a postseason berth for the idle Vancouver Canucks (45-20-8), who sit seventh in the overall standings with 98 points…The Canucks and Avalanche join the New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers among the teams that have secured their spots in the 2024 playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals and collected an assist in a 6-1 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and two assists for the 45-23-4 Oilers, who hold second place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. Alex Killorn scored for the 24-46-4 Ducks.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid briefly held the lead in the Art Ross Trophy race with 125 points before MacKinnon and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov overtook him. On Nov. 12, a struggling McDavid sat 112th among NHL scorers. He’s turned this into a three-man race for the scoring title with less than three weeks remaining in the season.

Speaking of Kucherov, he picked up two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders 4-1. Steven Stamkos tallied his 30th goal of the season and Anthony Cirelli scored twice and collected an assist for the Lightning, who improved to 41-25-7 and hold the first Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 89 points. Kyle Palmieri scored for the Islanders, who dropped to 31-27-15 (77 points) and sit five points out of the final Eastern wildcard spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov sits second in the Art Ross Trophy race with 126 points. Erik Cernak was a healthy scratch for the Lightning after missing a team meeting.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews reached the 60-goal plateau for the second time in a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Ilya Samsonov turned in a 34-save shutout for the 42-22-9 Leafs, who sit third in the Atlantic Division with 93 points. The Sabres slipped to 35-35-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews leads the goalscoring race, eight goals ahead of Oilers winger Zach Hyman. Before this game, the Leafs placed winger Mitch Marner (ankle) on long-term injury reserve retroactive to March 7, though he could return to the roster later this week.

The New York Rangers defeated the Arizona Coyotes 8-5. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves to set the record for most wins by an American-born NHL goaltender with 392. Alexis Lafreniere had a hat trick and collected two assists while Chris Kreider scored his 300th career regular-season goal for the Rangers. They’re the first team to reach 50 wins this season (50-20-4) and sit first overall with 104 points. Clayton Keller tallied his 32nd goal of the season for the 31-38-5 Coyotes.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov scored twice and Sam Reinhart scored in a shootout in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Panthers (47-22-5) sit sixth in the overall standings with 99 points. Dylan Larkin scored to tie the game late in the third period for the 36-30-8 Red Wings, who sit two points out of the final Eastern wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin had a brief injury scare when he was struck by a shot on his left leg early in the game. He returned to action in the second period and finished the game.

A shootout goal by Kevin Shattenkirk lifted the Boston Bruins over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Jeremy Swayman made 18 saves in regulation and overtime for the Bruins, who improved to 43-17-15 and sit fourth in the overall standings with 101 points. Playing in his 1,000th career regular-season game, John Carlson scored the tying goal for the Capitals (36-27-10), who vaulted over the Philadelphia Flyers into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Rasmus Sandin missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the Flyers (36-29-10), they lost their fourth straight game as they dropped into the final Eastern wildcard with 82 points following a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Philipp Kurashev, Lukas Reichel and Joey Anderson each had a goal and an assist for the 22-47-5 Blackhawks. Tyson Foerster replied for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers head coach John Tortorella hopes this loss to the lowly Blackhawks serves as a wakeup call for his slumping club. “I think we hit the bottom tonight here,” he said. “Maybe that needs to happen for us to get back into it.”

The Dallas Stars set a franchise record with their seventh straight win by blanking the Seattle Kraken 3-0. Jake Oettinger made 17 saves for the shutout while Wyatt Johnston, Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz scored for the Stars (47-19-9), who sit second overall with 103 points. Joey Daccord turned aside 27 shots for the 30-30-13 Stars.

Speaking of 3-0 shutouts, Pyotr Kochetkov kicked out 26 shots to backstop the Carolina Hurricanes over the Montreal Canadiens. Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis were the goalscorers as the Hurricanes improved to 47-21-7 and sit third in the overall standings with 101 points. Sam Montembeault made 27 saves for the 28-33-12 Canadiens.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk scored late in the third period as his club upset the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 28 shots for the 33-36-4 Senators. Jets goalie Connor Hellebucyk made 24 saves in his 500th career NHL regular-season game in a losing cause as his club sits third in the Central Division with 94 points but slipped to 44-24-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ slump continues as they’ve won three of their last 10 games.

The Calgary Flames surprised the Los Angeles Kings with a 4-2 win. Nazem Kadri led the way with a goal and an assist for the 34-34-5 Flames. Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe scored for the Kings (38-24-11) as they hold the final Western wildcard with 87 points.

A shootout goal by Damon Severson gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist and Elvis Merzlikins turned aside 30 shots for the 24-38-12 Blue Jackets. Bryan Rust had a goal and an assist for the 32-30-11 Penguins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2024

Four more teams clinch playoff berths, Oilers captain Connor McDavid narrows the gap in the scoring race, and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s home points streak is over. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Vancouver Canucks 3-1. Jamie Benn snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period and Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists for the Stars (46-19-9), who won their sixth straight game and sit second in the overall standings with 101 points. J.T. Miller replied for the 45-20-8 Canucks as they slipped to fifth overall with 98 points.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen turned in a 24-save shutout to blank the Detroit Red Wings 4-0 as his club also secured a playoff spot. Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis each had a goal and two assists for the 46-21-7 Hurricanes as they hold third place in the overall standings with 99 points. James Reimer stopped 29 shots for the Red Wings (36-30-7) as they remain two points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings forwards Patrick Kane and Austin Czarnik missed this game due to illness.

The Florida Panthers dropped a 3-2 decision to the New York Islanders but still clinched a postseason spot. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 26 shots while Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s tie-breaker in the second period was the game-winner. Vladimir Tarasenko and Aleksander Barkov scored for the 46-22-5 Panthers, who dropped to seventh overall with 97 points. The Islanders (31-26-15) kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re four points out of the final Eastern wildcard with 77 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers head coach Paul Maurice expressed displeasure with his team’s performance following this game. They’ve dropped six of their last seven contests. They did have some good news as defenseman Aaron Ekblad returned to action after being sidelined for the last six games.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Juraj Slafkovsky extended his points streak to nine games for the Canadiens (28-32-12) as they won three straight games for the first time this season. Owen Tippett matched his career high of 27 goals for the 36-28-10 Flyers, who cling to third place in the Metropolitan Division with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ win enabled the idle Boston Bruins (42-17-15) to clinch a playoff berth. The Bruins sit fourth in the overall standings with 99 points. Speaking of the Flyers, Ivan Fedotov had his KHL contract terminated, potentially opening the door for the 27-year-old goaltender to come to Philadelphia to begin his NHL career.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers downed the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the Rangers (49-20-4) as they lead the league with 102 points. Nathan MacKinnon’s home points streak ended at 35 games as the 46-21-6 Avalanche hold sixth place in the overall standings with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren returned to action after missing four games with a lower-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 4-1. Leon Draisaitl collected three assists as the Oilers improved to 44-23-4 and sit second in the Pacific Division with 92 points. Arthur Kaliyev scored for the Kings (38-23-11) as they tumbled into the final Western wildcard berth with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid reached the 120-point mark for the third straight season, becoming the seventh player in NHL history to achieve this milestone. With 122 points, he’s just two points behind league leader Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning and one behind MacKinnon.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals from Ivan Barbashev and a 39-save effort from Logan Thompson for a 4-1 victory over the slumping Winnipeg Jets. The Golden Knights (40-25-8) vaulted over the Kings into third place in the Pacific with 88 points. Sean Monahan scored for the 44-23-6 Jets, who are winless in their last five games (0-4-1) but still hold third place in the Central Division with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is starting to look like a rerun of last season where the Jets played well through most of the season only to stumble down the stretch. They’re not in danger of missing the playoffs (yet) but their recent struggles are becoming a concern for Jets followers, or at least for those in the Winnipeg media.

A hat trick by Logan Cooley carried the Arizona Coyotes to an 8-4 upset of the Nashville Predators, snapping the latter’s 18-game points streak. Clayton Keller had a goal and three assists and rookie Josh Doan collected two assists for the 31-37-5 Coyotes. Jason Zucker tallied twice for the Predators (43-26-4) as they hold the first Western wildcard with 90 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doan joined Brian Mullen and Dale Hawerchuk as the third player in franchise history with at least four points in their first two games. His father, Shane, had three points.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice to beat the Washington Capitals 5-1. Mark Giordano scored in his return to the Leafs lineup since being sidelined by a concussion on Feb. 29. The Leafs (41-22-9) hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 91 points. Nic Dowd scored for the 36-27-9 Capitals (81 points) as they still hold the final Eastern wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the 40-year-old Giordano dedicated his goal to his father, who passed away on Feb. 15th. He’s also the second-oldest defenseman in Leafs history to score a goal. Speaking of Leafs defenseman, Timothy Liljegren missed this game with an upper-body injury and is expected to be sidelined for several more games.

The St. Louis Blues remain in the Western playoff chase with a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Pavel Buchnevich scored two goals while Jordan Binnington made 25 saves and picked up two assists for the 39-30-4 Blues (82 points) as they sit five points behind the Kings. Andrei Kuzmenko tallied twice for the Flames (33-34-5).

Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek scored his 30th goal of the season and Matt Boldy had two points to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. The win kept the Wild’s fading playoff hopes alive as they improved to 35-28-9 but sit eight points behind the Kings with 79 points. The 16-48-8 Sharks have won just once in their last 10 games. They played without winger Alexander Barabanov, who is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin scored twice and Sidney Crosby had two assists to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The Penguins (32-30-10) have won two straight. Cole Sillinger had a goal and an assist for the 23-38-12 Blue Jackets.

The Ottawa Senators got a 19-save shutout from Anton Forsberg in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Claude Giroux and Parker Kelly were the goalscorers for the 32-36-4 Senators. Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots for the 21-47-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot missed this game with a lower-body injury but he’s not expected to be sidelined for long.

Three straight third-period goals lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Jared McCann picked up three assists for the 30-29-13 Kraken. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist for the 24-45-4 Ducks.