NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2018
Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their eighth consecutive win by edging the Boston Bruins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Cam Atkinson. Rookie Ryan Donato made a memorable debut with a goal and two assists for the injury-ravaged Bruins, who were playing without winger Rick Nash and defenseman Adam McQuaid. The Jackets (85 points) move into a tie with the Philadelphia Flyers for third in the Metropolitan Division.
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne picked up his 40th win of the season with a 35-save shutout of the Buffalo Sabres. Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson each had two points for the Predators, who extended their points streak to 15 games.
Florida Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo collected his 76th career shutout backstopping his club to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Aaron Ekblad and Aleksander Barkov were the goal scorers. The Panthers (79 points) sit three points behind the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
Dustin Brown’s game-tying goal set the stage for Jeff Carter’s overtime winner as the Los Angeles Kings rallied to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Carter scored twice and Drew Doughty had three assists for the Kings (86 points), who maintained their hold on third place in the Pacific Division. Wild center Eric Staal scored his 39th of the season and sits just three shy of Marian Gaborik’s franchise record of 42 goals.
The Calgary Flames’ fading playoff hopes suffered another blow as the Arizona Coyotes scored four unanswered goals on route to a 5-2 win. The Flames (80 points) sit six points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson became the sixth Swedish defenseman in NHL history to tally 100 career goals.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis McElhinney are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 18, 2018.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is sidelined “for the foreseeable future with what is most likely a concussion,” though the club maintained that diagnosis has yet to be made. Trouba currently remains in concussion protocol.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin (concussion) is sidelined indefinitely.
TORONTO STAR: With a playoff spot assured and five of their last nine games, the Maple Leafs are in no hurry to bring back sidelined first-line center Auston Matthews, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
NBC SPORTS: Some Ottawa Senators fans have expressed their frustrations with team owner Eugene Melnyk by putting up four billboards in downtown Ottawa calling for Melnyk to sell the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s unlikely Melnyk will be moved by the billboards, but he should at least consider the reasons why some fans are taking this unusual step. He’s been the target of growing annoyance among Sens followers for the club’s disappointing performance this season, fueled in part by his tone-deaf criticisms of their support and his recent veiled threat to move the franchise. Melnyk has his work cut out for him to repair his relationship with the fans, though he’s shown little interest thus far in doing so.
TSN: NHL general managers are weighing potential change to goaltender interference. Those changes, however, are unlikely to be implemented before the end of this season.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Larry Kwong, the NHL’s first player of Asian descent, passed away last week at age 94. Kwong played one game with the Rangers in 1947-48.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kwong’s family and friends.
Happy birthday to Bobby Orr, the greatest defenseman in NHL history. Orr turns 70 today.