NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2022

The Lightning reveal their list of injured players, the 2022 draft order is complete, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point suffered a significant tear to a quadriceps muscle during the Stanley Cup playoffs and will require several weeks of recovery.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

General manager Julien BriseBois revealed Point wasn’t the only player hampered by injuries during the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare entered the playoffs with an MCL injury in one of his knees. Forwards Anthony Cirelli, Nick Paul and Corey Perry suffered shoulder/AC joint sprains during the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers. Cirelli also dislocated his other shoulder while Paul suffered an MCL sprain in the Stanley Cup Final.

Forward Brandon Hagel fractured a foot during the second-round series with the Florida Panthers. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh suffered a mangled finger blocking a shot in the Rangers series.

Nikita Kucherov suffered a sprained MCL in the Stanley Cup Final. BriseBois also said nearly every player on the roster sustained multiple contusions over the course of the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper wasn’t kidding earlier this week when he said they would’ve had to ice half of their minor-league roster if this had been the regular season. Such is the price paid in pursuit of hockey’s greatest price.

NHL.COM: The end of the Stanley Cup Final means the final positions in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft have been set. The Montreal Canadiens hold the first-overall selection having won the draft lottery in May. The Edmonton Oilers hold the No. 29 position and the Winnipeg Jets No. 30 having acquired that pick from the New York Rangers. The Lightning will select 31st overall and the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche will pick 32nd overall.

The draft will be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal with the first round on Thursday, July 7 and rounds two through seven on Friday, July 8.

TSN: Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky edged out Canadian center Shane Wright in Bob McKenzie’s final ranking of the top 100 prospects in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright was considered the top prospect throughout this season and remained so on most final rankings, including NHL Central Scouting’s list.

Bear in mind that whoever is ranked No. 1 doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be chosen by the Canadiens. Quality depth at center has been a longstanding issue for the Habs. While they could select Slafkovsky, I expect they’ll choose Wright or Logan Cooley of the US National Team Development Program.

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin looks back at the 2012 NHL Draft and what went wrong with top-four picks Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Alex Galchenyuk and Griffin Reinhart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting review of how the scouts and the teams got it wrong with those players. Because of those flops, there’s a belief the 2012 draft was one of the worst in NHL history. However, Larkin reminds us that Vezina Trophy winners Andrei Vasilevskiy and Connor Hellebuyck, Lady Byng Trophy winner Jaccob Slavin, puck-moving blueliner Morgan Reilly and scoring winger Filip Forsberg were among the notable stars to emerge from that draft.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights have added John Stevens, Sean Burke and Mike Rosati to their coaching staff.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins center Marc Savard has become in demand to return to the NHL assistant coaching ranks. However, he’s not interested in leaving his job as the bench boss of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires unless he gets an offer to become an NHL head coach.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula is progressing well and recovering from an undisclosed health issue. The family requests their need for privacy continue to be respected during this time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Pegula for a full recovery.

DAILY FACEOFF: Scotiabank and Canadian Tire are pausing their sponsorship of Hockey Canada over a settled lawsuit that stated several OHL players sexually assaulted a woman at a Hockey Canada event in the summer of 2018. Hockey Canada has come under fire for its handling of the investigation and the lawsuit, including the federal government passing a motion calling for an independent investigation of the organization.

THE ATHLETIC: Sportsnet has confirmed it is canceling its Hometown Hockey series after eight seasons. Host Ron MacLean will be returning full-time to “Hockey Night in Canada”. It is not immediately clear what the cancellation means for co-host Tara Stone.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

Leafs center Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award as the NHL hands out the remainder of its annual awards. Check out the list of winners and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

MATTHEWS, SHESTERKIN, MAKAR HONORED AT NHL AWARDS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the 2021-22 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goalscorer for the second straight year, becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in a decade. He’s the third player in Leafs’ history to win the Hart and the first to do so since Teeder Kennedy in 1955. He is also the first Leaf to win the Lindsay Award.

Matthews garnered praise from Leafs’ greats such as Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. He’s now the most decorated player in franchise history, having also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016-17.

The New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender for 2021-22. He led the league with a 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage and was third in shutouts with five and sixth in wins with 36.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Shesterkin was clearly this season’s dominant netminder. He’s the sixth Ranger to win the Vezina and the first to do so since Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche took home the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to win the Norris. It was a close vote as he narrowly beat out Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy. He’s the sixth player in franchise history to take home this honor and the first since Roger Crozier in 1965.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Seider. He led all rookies with 43 assists, 21 power-play points and 23:02 in time on ice per game. He’s already established himself as a core player with the rebuilding Red Wings and should continue playing a significant role in their future.

Matthews, Makar and Shesterkin were also named to the 2021-22 First All-Star Team along with Josi, Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom were named to the Second All-Star Team.

Seider was also named to the 2021-22 NHL All-Rookie team along with Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, Detroit Red Wings winger Lucas Raymond and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon’s inability to score in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final is raising some concern among Colorado Avalanche followers. However, MacKinnon isn’t troubled by that lack of production, having trust in himself that the goals will come. “No time for doubt,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one was worried about MacKinnon’s goal-scoring drought when Colorado was riding a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are putting more focus on shutting him down because he’s the Avs’ biggest scoring threat. However, that also creates time and space for his teammates to garner more scoring chances.

MacKinnon’s limited offense isn’t an issue as long as the Avalanche are winning. It will become a greater concern if the Lightning rally back to tie the series or take over the lead.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri continues to make progress in his recovery from a thumb injury as he joined his teammates in an optional skate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, winger Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver receiving treatment for a suspected hand injury.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both forwards were banged up during the Lightning’s 6-2 victory in Game 3. Cooper also indicated center Brayden Point (lower body) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars officially announced Peter DeBoer has taken over as their new head coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially announced head coach Jay Woodcroft has signed a three-year deal.

TSN: Former NHL coach Dan Bylsma has been named the first-ever bench boss of the Coachella Valley Firebirds. They are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken and will make their debut in 2022-23.

TORONTO STAR: Denis P. Gorman has a detailed account of former NHL agitator Sean Avery’s recent trial in New York in which he was found guilty last Thursday of one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Greenwich Village in 2019 regarding a collision involving the scooter he was driving and a minivan.

Avery called proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “complete waste of resources”. However, he praised the judge for making the “right decision” by sentencing him to time served and ordering him to stay away from the minivan’s driver and his family for five years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

The Lightning defeated the Avalanche in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the latest details on the Stars’ reported hiring of Pete DeBoer, the Canucks sign KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning avenged their lopsided Game 2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche with a convincing 6-2 win in Game 3 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

A four-goal second period blew the game open for the Lightning, chasing Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper after he gave up five goals on 22 shots. The Bolts also got a 37-save performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Nick Paul scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period after returning from a first-period injury. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Pat Maroon each had a goal and an assist while Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both collected two assists. Gabriel Landeskog scored both Avalanche goals.

Game 4 is on Wednesday in Tampa Bay with the Avalanche holding a 2-1 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve come to expect, the Lightning once again rose to the occasion in a must-win contest. They didn’t panic when the Avalanche opened the scoring for the third straight game, pouncing on defensive miscues and playing a much more physical style to neutralize their opponent’s speed. Vasilevskiy was outstanding, shrugging off his poor performance in Game 2 and making several big saves to pick up the win.

This game got chippy as it went on. Several roughing penalties were handed out and there was a fight late in the third period between the Lightning’s Ross Colton and the Avalanche’s Logan O’Connor.

It was a potentially costly win for the Lightning as Kucherov left the game in the third period following a cross-check by Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews. No update was given on his condition following the game. They were already playing without Brayden Point, who sat out this contest after returning from a lower-body injury to play in the first two games.

The Avalanche were without forwards Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) and Andre Burakovsky (injured hand) for this game. Both are listed as day-to-day.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer are working on a four-year contract expected to be worth over $4 million per season. The deal hasn’t been finalized and signed yet but it’s expected to be done soon.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have signed KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko to a one-year contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $855K along with bonuses that could take him up to $1.95 million. The contract will be officially filed with the NHL on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko is a 26-year-old left wing who tallied 53 points in 45 games this season with SKA St. Petersburg. He’s considered a smart, gifted playmaker. If he plays up to expectations he’ll provide offensive depth among the Canucks’ top-six scorers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed forwards Brett Leason and Beck Malenstyn to two-year contracts. Leason’s is a one-way deal worth $750K in 2022-23 and $800K in 2023-24. Malenstyn’s is a two-way deal next season and a one-way deal worth $775K.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will play the Montreal Canadiens in two Kraft Hockeyville training-camp games in Gander, NL on Oct. 6 and Bouctouche, NB on Oct. 8.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are reportedly interested in adding Finland’s national coach Jukka Jalonen to their coaching search.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2022

The Lightning win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, Patrice Bergeron wins a record-setting fifth Selke Trophy, Evander Kane receives a one-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat scored with 42 seconds remaining in regulation to left the Tampa Bay Lightning over the New York Rangers 3-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers took a 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider but the Lightning rallied as Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos tallied with the man advantage. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the win while Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin stopped 48 shots. Game 4 goes Tuesday night with the Rangers holding a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most entertaining game of this series. The Lightning seemed poised to drop their third straight after falling behind by two goals but showed the heart of a champion to take control of the game midway through the second period and pulled out the win. They needed their best players to step up and they did.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

Nikita Kucherov was a factor in all three of the Lighting goals and was a notable presence throughout this game. Defenseman Victor Hedman also had a solid performance at both ends of the ice, picking up two assists and logging over 24 minutes of ice time. Palat, meanwhile, set a franchise record with his 10 postseason game-winning goal.

The Rangers not only lost the game but also Ryan Strome as the veteran center suffered a lower-body injury following a cross-check in the lower back by Palat. His status for Game 4 is uncertain.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant intends to speak with NHL goaltending supervisor Kay Whitmore over the Lightning’s treatment of Shesterkin. Corey Perry was penalized for slashing and Riley Nash was whistled off for goaltending interference as the Bolts attempted to generate more traffic in front of Shesterkin to knock him off his game.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for a record-setting fifth time. He has also been a finalist six other times.

Bergeron also revealed he had undergone surgery to repair a tendon in his right elbow. His anticipate recovery period is 10-12 weeks.

Whether Bergeron returns with the Bruins next season remains to be seen. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and hasn’t decided yet if he’ll return for another season or retire. He indicated he intends to take all the time he needs to reach the right decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Bergeron for his well-deserved record-setting Selke win. If this season was indeed his last he’s going out as the greatest defensive forward in NHL history.

Bergeron will be fully recovered in time for training camp if he decides to return. The amount of time he’s taking to reach that decision will determine what moves management makes during the offseason.

Some Bruins fans are calling for Bergeron to make up his mind about his plans. The concern over his status and its effect on the Bruins’ plans for next season is understandable. However, the 36-year-old center has given everything to this franchise. He should be allowed all the time he needs to determine if he’ll return or hang up his skates. Any concerns about the Bruins’ lack of depth at center should be directed at management, not their captain.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Evander Kane received a one-game suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety for boarding Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri is out for the remainder of this series with a suspected broken thumb. The Oilers will also be without winger Kailer Yamamoto for Game 4 tonight after suffering a concussion from a hit by Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche holds a 3-0 lead in the series and can wrap things up with a win tonight.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Gretzky’s last game-worn Edmonton Oilers jersey sold for $1.452 million US at Grey Flannel Auctions yesterday. It’s the most ever paid for a game-worn hockey jersey.

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said his club is planning on using all seven of the picks in the first two rounds of the 2022 NHL Draft. They hold three selections in the first round, including the No. 3 pick, and four in the second. Armstrong isn’t ruling out packaging some of those picks to move up in the draft order.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 18, 2022

The Avalanche and Lightning draw first blood in their respective second-round series, the Selke Trophy finalists are announced, the Jets interview Barry Trotz, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Josh Manson lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their second-round series. Valeri Nichushkin and Samuel Girard also scored for Colorado while Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou tallied for St. Louis. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 51 saves in this game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Binnington was outstanding in this contest and couldn’t be faulted on Manson’s screened shot eluding him in overtime. However, the Blues must do a better job containing the Avalanche’s fast-paced offense or this series won’t last long despite Binnington’s heroics in net.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

Third-period goals by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nikita Kucherov and Ross Colton gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of their second-round series. Kucherov and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves for the win. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak left this contest in the second period after blocking a shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was looking forward to this series as last year’s first-round matchup between these two clubs was among the best of the 2021 postseason. Sadly, this game failed to match last year’s pace and intensity. Here’s hoping that improves as this series progresses. Penalties proved costly for the Panthers as three of the Lightning’s four goals came on the power play.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm are this season’s finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the 11th straight season Bergeron has been a finalist for the Selke. He’s tied with Hall-of-Famer Bob Gainey for the most Selke wins (four) and could break that record this season. Barkov won the award last season while this is Lindholm’s first time as a finalist.

SPORTSNET: The Winnipeg Jets will be interviewing Barry Trotz for their vacant head-coaching position. Trotz, 59, is a two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. He’s third all-time in NHL coaching wins, won the Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Washington Capitals, and guided the New York Islanders to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final and the 2021 semifinal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s how that interview with Jets general manager Ken Cheveldayoff should go: “Hi, Barry, how much money do you want, who do you want as your assistant coaches, and is there anything we can do to ease your family’s move to Winnipeg?”

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe will be returning in their roles next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So will team president Brendan Shanahan. As I said after the Lightning eliminated the Leafs from the first round, the club’s franchise-best 115-point season and pushing the defending Stanley Cup champions to seven games in that series would buy that trio another season to get it right.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl could be dealing with a high-ankle sprain as his club prepares to face off with the Calgary Flames in their second-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl is believed to have suffered the injury in Game 6 of their opening-round series against the Los Angeles Kings. He played in Game 7 but has taken time away from recent Oilers’ practices.

TSN: It looks like Chris Tanev will be ready for tonight’s game against the Oilers. The Calgary Flames defenseman missed Game 7 of their first-round series with the Dallas Stars dealing with an undisclosed injury. He participated in practice with his teammates on Tuesday.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and head coach Mike Sullivan denied a report claiming he was cleared to play in Game 6 against the New York Rangers after suffering a head injury in the previous game. The report also claimed Crosby was held out of Game 6 by management.

A head injury also sidelined winger Rickard Rakell for most of that series. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin suffered a knee injury in Game 1 and was also nursing a foot injury that nagged him throughout the season. Backup goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent season-ending core muscle surgery due to an injury suffered in Game 1.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Tyler Seguin played through a fractured foot in that series against the Flames. Forward Luke Glendening suffered a groin injury, a twisted knee and concussion symptoms. Center Roope Hintz missed Game 7 following a reaction to treatment for an oblique injury while forward Radek Faksa left Game 7 with a concussion. Backup goaltender Braden Holtby missed the final two months of the season and the series against the Flames with a hip injury.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL player and current league executive Ray Whitney will reportedly interview for the post of Sharks general manager on Thursday. Whitney currently works in the league’s department of player safety.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2022

Lightning snap Panthers win streak, the Canadiens and their fans salute Guy Lafleur, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin suffers an injury, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf plays his final game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov had a five-point performance while teammates Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each collected four points as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Florida Panthers 8-4, snapping the latter’s 13-game winning streak. Kucherov, Stamkos and Nicholas Paul each tallied two goals for the Lightning, who sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 106 points. Sam Reinhart scored twice for the Panthers, who still maintain a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the overall standings with 120 points.

Speaking of the Avalanche, they dropped their fourth straight game by falling 4-1 to the Winnipeg Jets. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his 200th career victory while Kyle Connor scored his 45th goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of core players Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Devon Toews to injury and illness has contributed to the Avs’ recent slide. The Avs could also be experiencing difficulty remaining motivated playing in meaningless games this late in the regular season.

The Montreal Montreal Canadiens honored the memory of their late star Guy Lafleur (NHL.com).

The Boston Bruins got two goals from Patrice Bergeron and Erik Haula to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. However, this match was overshadowed by an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring the life and legacy of Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur, who passed away on Friday at age 70. Montreal fans followed the video tribute with a 10-minute standing ovation and chants of “Guy! Guy! Guy!” The Bruins (103 points) hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lafleur meant so much to Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadiens fans around the world. The outpouring of emotion following his death is a testament to how his exciting style of play resonated with fans to this day. The province of Quebec announced it will stage a national funeral for Lafleur. His body will lie in state at the Bell Centre for two days before the funeral on May 3.

Meanwhile, the Capitals dropped a 4-3 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs on a shootout goal by Alex Kerfoot. Leafs star Auston Matthews collected two assists but remains at 58 goals on the season. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin left the game with an upper-body injury in the third period after crashing into the boards following a breakaway scoring attempt. The club had no immediate word on his condition. The Leafs are in second place in the Atlantic with 111 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs captain John Tavares and defenseman Timothy Liljegren missed the game. Tavares was given the night off while Liljegren is dealing with a minor issue.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf picked up an assist in his final NHL game but his club dropped a 6-3 decision to the St. Louis Blues. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and two assists while Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Kyrou and Justin Faulk each collected two points for the Blues, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 109 points. Blues center Tyler Bozak returned to action for the first time since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on March 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf is hanging up his skates after 17 seasons with the Ducks. He’s their franchise leader in points, assists, playoff scoring and games played and has been their captain for the past 12 seasons. He also helped them win their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2007 and finishes with 1,019 points. Don’t be surprised if he ends up in a front-office job with the Ducks.

An overtime goal by Dmitry Kulikov lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Nashville Predators 5-4. Joel Erikson Ek scored twice and picked up an assist while Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala each had two points. The Wild are tied with the Blues but hold second place in the Central with a game in hand. Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund each had three points as the Predators hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 94 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ playoff hopes suffered a blow after blowing a 4-2 lead in the third period to fall 5-4 to the San Jose Sharks on a shootout goal by Thomas Bordeleau. Nick Bonino and Timo Meier scored in the final minutes of regulation to tie the game. The Golden Knights (90 points) gained a point to sit three back of the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs each have three games remaining but the Golden Knights need the extra point a win would’ve given them to draw closer to the Stars. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner dressed for the game amid reports he requires knee surgery but was the backup to Logan Thompson. William Carrier returned to the Golden Knights lineup for the first time since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on March 26.

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the New York Islanders 5-2. With 112 points, they’ve opened a four-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. It was a costly victory, however, as goaltender Antti Raanta left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes starter Frederik Andersen is also sidelined with a lower-body injury. They’re hoping to have him back in the lineup when the playoffs begin next week.

Philadelphia Flyers rookie Noah Cates scored twice and collected an assist while Martin Jones made 37 saves to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. The loss leaves the Penguins (101 points) holding a one-point lead over the Capitals for third place in the Metro Division.

The Edmonton Oilers missed an opportunity to clinch second place in the Pacific Division by falling 5-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jakub Voracek and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had three-point performances for the Blue Jackets. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists and holds a three-point lead over the Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau for first place in the NHL scoring race with 118 points. The Oilers hold a two-point lead over the third-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse missed this contest as he’s listed as day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury. Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov returned to action after being sidelined by an upper-body injury since April 2.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic had a 17-save shutout to blank the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist.