NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6. 2022
The Avalanche reaches the 50-win milestone and clinches a playoff berth, Jonathan Huberdeau hits another Panthers milestone, Ryan Getzlaf to retire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche became the first team to cross the 50-win milestone as they downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4, becoming the second club to clinch a playoff berth. Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, Devon Toews collected three assists and Darcy Kuemper made 41 saves for the Avalanche, who hold a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers atop the overall standings with 106 points. Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 92 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowen Byram returned to the Avalanche lineup for the first time since Jan. 10 after suffering from concussion symptoms. Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin missed the game due to a non-COVID-related illness.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected three assists as the Florida Panthers overcame a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 in overtime. Huberdeau netted the winning goal and became the first player in Panthers’ history to reach 100 points in a season. Aleksander Barkov had four points, Sam Reinhart tallied twice and Spencer Knight got the win replacing Sergei Bobrovsky, who got the hook after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Mitch Marner scored two goals and added two assists for the Leafs, who remain in second place in the Atlantic Division with 96 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 102 points, Huberdeau moved into second place in the NHL scoring race, one point ahead of Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored in overtime to nip the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith stopped 31 shots and collected the assist on McDavid’s goal. With 87 points, the Oilers are four points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division and sit one point up on the third-place Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers center Leon Draisaitl missed this game with an undisclosed injury. He did participate in Tuesday’s optional skate.
The Dallas Stars regained the final Western Conference playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Radek Faksa potted the game-winner by snapping a 2-2 tie in the second period with a short-handed goal. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Islanders. The Stars have 83 points, one ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars winger Denis Gurianov was sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen picked up his first career NHL hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Philip Tomasino each collected three points for the Predators, who hold a one-point lead over the Stars for the first Western wild-card spot. Minnesota winger Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 40th goal of the season, putting him two behind Marian Gaborik and Eric Staal for the franchise record of 42. The Wild (91 points) hold a three-point lead over the third-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.
The New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Chris Kreider tallied his 47th goal of the season as the Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Devils announced center Jack Hughes will miss the remainder of the season with a low-grade MCL sprain in his left knee. The 20-year-old center enjoyed a breakout performance in his third NHL season, sitting second among Devils scorers with 26 goals and 56 points in 49 games. Those numbers would’ve been much higher had he not missed 20 games earlier this season to a dislocated shoulder and COVID-19. Perhaps the Devils would’ve stayed in the playoff chase had Hughes enjoyed a healthier season.
Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 upset over the Carolina Hurricanes. Craig Anderson kicked out 32 shots as the Sabres picked up their sixth victory in their last 10 contests. The Hurricanes (98 points) hold a two-point lead over the Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Detroit Red Wings shocked the Boston Bruins 5-3. Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 47 shots and collected an assist on Sam Gagner’s insurance goal. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings while Boston forwards Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall each collected two points. The Bruins are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 93 points but the latter moved ahead into third place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand.
Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Carson Meyer picked up his first two career NHL points with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Elvis Merzlikins got the win with a 47-save performance.
Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk had a goal and two assists while Austin Watson tallied twice to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens.
TSN: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf yesterday announced he will retire at the end of this season. He has spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Ducks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and to become one of the dominant teams in the Western Conference by finishing first in the Pacific Division for five straight seasons from 2012-13 to 2016-17. The Ducks captain also holds the club’s single-season assist record (66) and is the franchise leader with 1,150 career games, 731 assists and 1,013 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf will also be remembered as one of this generation’s greatest playmakers, becoming a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2013-14. He and Corey Perry were for many years the driving forces behind the Ducks’ offense. The 36-year-old center put up respectable numbers this season with 28 assists and 31 points in 49 games.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marian Hossa will sign a one-day contract with the Blackhawks on Thursday to officially retire as a member of their club. He hasn’t played since 2017 after being sidelined by a progressive skin condition. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser has been sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered during Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. . His condition is still being evaluated.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Kurtis MacDermid to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $987,500.