Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scores one of his two goals against the St. Louis Blues.
Game recaps, Devils trade Fiddler to Predators and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby scored twice and set up another to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Crosby is the first player to reach 30 goals this season and is only three points shy of 1000 for his NHL career. The Blues also lost winger Robby Fabbri in the first period to an apparent left-leg injury.
Mikael Granlund netted a hat trick and added an assist as the Minnesota Wild doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 6-3. Granlund has a 12-game point streak going, collecting 17 points during that stretch.
Peter Budaj picked up his league-leading seventh shutout and Jeff Carter scored the only goal as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0.
The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 4-1 lead but would go on to beat the Boston Bruins 6-5. James van Riemsdyk tallied the winner late in the third period and teammate William Nylander netted his first career NHL hat trick. David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins. Earlier in the day, the Leafs claimed defenseman Alexey Marchenko off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings and placed blueliner Frank Corrado on waivers.
Nicklas Backstrom’s early third-period goal stood as the winner as the Washington Capitals edged the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 20 saves for his 10th straight win.
Taylor Hall scored twice and Cory Schneider made 31 saves to give the New Jersey Devils a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Earlier in the day, the Devils shipped center Vernon Fiddler to the Nashville Predators for a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiddler, 36, is an unrestricted free agent this summer who no longer fit into the Devils long-term plans. The move now gives the Devils 10 picks in this year’s draft. Some of them could be used as trade bait to land a quality player either by the trade deadline or leading up to this year’s draft weekend in June. Fiddler is returning to the team where his NHL career began and should provide the Preds with checking-line depth at center as they push to secure a playoff berth.
Speaking of the Predators, they fell 1-0 to the Detroit Red Wings, with Petr Mrazek making 42 saves for his first shutout of the season and Mike Green scoring the only goal.
Robin Lehner turned in a 37-save shutout performance and Jack Eichel collected two assists as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Ottawa Senators 4-0.
Corey Crawford made 31 saves while teammates Artem Anisimov and Marian Hossa each collected two assists to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars.
Ron Hainsey scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes squeaked past the New York Islanders 5-4. Anders Lee and Josh Bailey each had a goal and an assist for the Isles.
Brian Boyle’s shootout goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, snapping the Bolts three-game losing skid. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had two assists. The Lightning were playing without winger Ondrej Palat, who’s listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Matt Duchene collected three assists and Jarome Iginla scored a goal and set up another to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, snapping the Avs nine-game losing streak.
Mike Smith made 38 saves and Radim Vrbata tallied the game winner in a shoot out as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2.
NBC SPORTS: Yesterday was the deadline for all NHL goaltenders to switch to the new streamlined goalie pants. Some, such as Arizona’s Mike Smith and Chicago’s Scott Darling, aren’t pleased with the change, with Darling claiming netminders are being punished for getting better at their position.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltenders will adapt to this equipment change, just as they did with previous modifications. It could be worse, the league could’ve gone to a bigger net. The only problem I have with this change is the timing. It should’ve been implemented at the start of 2017-18, rather than midseason.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks depth in defensemen could make blueliner Josh Manson the odd man out when they submit their list of protected players for this June’s expansion draft.