NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 26, 2021

The Penguins move into first place in the East, Mika Zibanejad helps the Rangers keep their playoff hopes alive, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored the only goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Boston Bruins 1-0. Tristan Jarry kicked out 30 shots for the shutout as the Penguins took over first place in the MassMutual East Division with 67 points, one up on the Washington Capitals. The Bruins, meanwhile, are in fourth place with 60 points.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Mika Zibanejad carried the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Kaapo Kakko scored twice and Adam Fox collected three assists as the Rangers sit four points back of the Bruins in fifth place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are hanging in there in the East but the Bruins have two games in hand.

Victor Hedman’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brayden Point collected three assists and Ondrej Palat had a goal and two assists for the Lightning (66 points), who move within one point of the second-place Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division. Eric Robinson scored twice for the Jackets.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on a shootout goal by Kevin Hayes. Claude Giroux scored twice in the third period to tie the game. The Flyers played without defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere as he’s sidelined 7-10 days with a sprained knee. The Devils are winless (0-9-1) in their last 10 games.

NBC SPORTS: Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle moved into second place on the NHL’s Ironman list after playing his 915th career game on Saturday. Doug Jarvis is the leader with 964 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yandle has 7 more regular-season games remaining this season. After that, he’ll need 43 games next season to break Jarvis’ record.

NESN: David Backes spoke about retirement being a probability. The 36-year-old Anaheim Ducks winger’s contract expires at the end of this season. He’s in the midst of his 15th season, with four points in 14 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes was a strong two-way forward in his prime with seven 40-plus point seasons on his resume. The first 10 years of his career were his best, all with the St. Louis Blues. Age and injuries, however, caught up with Backes in recent years.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed defenseman Riley Stillman to a three-year contract with an annual average value of $1.35 million. He was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers earlier this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stillman, 23, is a physical defenseman who struggled to crack the Panthers’ blueline. The Blackhawks, however, are impressed enough with his play thus far to make an affordable investment in his future. His new contract won’t break the bank for the Hawks, who have $73.4 million invested in 19 players for 2021-22 (stick tap to Cap Friendly). They’ll get cap relief if needed with Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million) on permanent long-term injury reserve.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Artem Anisimov was nearly pressed into service as an emergency goaltender during their game on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks after Anton Forsberg and Matt Murray were sidelined by injuries. Marcus Hogberg finished the game for the Senators.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Former Canadien Gilles Lupien has been given only five months to live in his battle with intestinal cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Lupien and his family. He spent five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers from 1977-78 to 1981-82, winning two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens. He became a player agent, representing such notables as Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford and Sean Couturier.