The Best And Worst Luck In NHL Draft Lottery History
Game recaps, draft lottery odds to improve and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets reached 100 points for the first time by edging the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Kyle Connor tallied the winner in overtime while Mark Scheifele collected three points. The Ducks (89 points) picked up a point to sit one ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall scored in overtime to give his club a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. That goal also gave Hall a career-high 81 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist. With the win, the Devils (84 points) opened a three-point hold on the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
The Boston Bruins scored three unanswered third-period goals as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-2. Brad Marchand led the way with a goal and two assists. The loss dropped the Stars four points behind the Colorado Avalanche (88 points) for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are in a death spiral. A month ago, they sat fifth overall in the Western Conference (35 wins and 74 points in 62 games) and a playoff berth seem assured. Since then, they won just three of their last 11 games.
Patrik Berglund scored twice as the St. Louis Blues downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. The Blues (87 points) are now one point behind the Avs for the final playoff berth in the West. It was a costly win, however, as defenseman Carl Gunnarsson suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over two weeks ago, the Blues were mired in a slump and in danger of falling completely out of the playoff chase. They’ve since rallied by winning four straight and seven of their last 10 games.
Antti Niemi made 35 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames are shutting down first-line center Sean Monahan due to hip and wrist injuries that will require surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that news, the Flames’ fading playoff hopes were dealt a death blow.
THE SCORE: The NHLPA has approved the NHL’s recommendations to change the odds for the draft lottery. As per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, ” 18.5 per cent chance for 31st, 13.5 for 30th, 11.5 for 29th — down to 1 per cent for 17th.”
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Former Florida Panthers owner H. Wayne Huizenga died Thursday at the age of 80 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Huizenga’s family and friends.
OTTAWA SUN/SPORTSNET: Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told the club’s season-ticket holders he will attempt to re-sign superstar and team captain Erik Karlsson this summer. Karlsson will become eligible in July 2019 for unrestricted free agent status. Meanwhile, embattled team owner Eugene Melnyk will hold two town hall meetings “in the coming weeks as the club attempts to quell public criticism in the midst of a disappointing season.”
Game recaps plus some surprises in the Draft Lottery in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored four goals, including the winner in double overtime, as the Ottawa Senators overcame a 5-3 deficit to edge the New York Rangers 6-5. The Sens hold a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven second-round series.
Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur left the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a very entertaining game. Kind of reminded me of a playoff game in the 1980s. Hats off to Pageau, who tallied only 12 goals in the regular season. Here’s hoping MacArthur didn’t suffer a recurrence of the concussion symptoms that sidelined him for most of the last two seasons.
Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel each had three-point performances (two goals and one assist) while Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. The Penguins hold a 2-0 series lead. Following the game, the Capitals held a players-only meeting in their dressing room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was decided in the first period, as the Penguins weathered the Capitals’ storm thanks to Fleury’s 16 saves. Once the Penguins opened the scoring the Caps were on the back foot for the rest of the game.
Given their playoff record, It’s unsurprising the Washington players opted for a closed-door meeting following the game. There’s already a feeling of doom among some Washington pundits, a feeling undoubtedly shared by Caps fans who’ve seen their team in his situation too many times in recent years.
The New Jersey Devils were the winners of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, moving up from No. 5 in the draft order to No. 1. The Philadelphia Flyers made the biggest move, vaulting from 13th in the order to second overall. The Dallas Stars moved up from eighth overall to secure the third-overall selection.
It was a bad night for the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks. The Avs had this season’s worst record but dropped to fourth overall in the draft, while the Canucks fell from second to fifth. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights fell from third to sixth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the lack of potential franchise-player talent in this year’s draft compared to 2015 (Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel) and last year (Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine),the surprising movement in the lottery provided some unexpected excitement.
If you’re a fans of the Devils, Flyers and Stars, you can’t believe your club’s good fortune. If you’re a fan of the Avs and Canucks, it’s simply the cherry on the shit sundae that was 2016-17.
2017 Draft Lottery date set plus updates on Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Artem Anisimov & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on Saturday, April 29. The Colorado Avalanche have the best odds (18.0 %) of winning the first-overall pick. The Vancouver Canucks have a 12.1% of winning and the Vegas Golden Knights a 10.3 percent chance.
THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (knee injury) said he’s day-to-day for his club’s first-round series against the Edmonton Oilers, which begins tonight. Sharks forward Logan Couture, who’s dealing with a painful mouth injury that makes breathing painful, also hopes to play in the series. He faces dental surgery later this spring and could have seven or eight teeth removed and/or replaced.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov is ready to play in his club’s opening-round series against the Nashville Predators. He missed the final 13 regular-season games with a lower-leg injury. Meanwhile, the Hawks announced defenseman Michal Rozsival underwent surgery yesterday to repair facial fractures.
OTTAWA SUN: Sidelined Senators defenseman Marc Methot (fractured finger) could play in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Boston Bruins tonight.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers intend to make defenseman Kevin Klein a healthy scratch for their opening game of their first-round series tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.
LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Rob Blake, the new general manager of the Los Angeles Kings, intends to make hiring a new head coach a priority. The club fired former bench boss Darryl Sutter on Monday. Blake didn’t say who he has in mind but prefers someone with NHL experience. He hasn’t yet spoken with current assistant coaches Davis Payne and John Stevens.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings ownership remains confident in general manager Ken Holland and head coach Jeff Blashill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks look at a vote of confidence as merely the first step toward an inevitable firing, but don’t expect Holland or Blashill to be replaced this summer. Wings ownership will remains patient with them for next season.
PHILLY.COM: Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth said he suffered a concussion when he collapsed to the ice in an April 1 game against the New Jersey Devils. Apart from “little headaches”, he insists he’s feeling fine. Neuvirth blamed his collapse on battling the flu and a sinus infection.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes job appears safe but he could have some new assistant coaches next season.
Game recaps, more opening-round match-ups determined, Bryan Bickell to retire & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor Brown scored the game winner late in the third period to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Leafs clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013, eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders from the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference.
Leafs starting goalie Frederik Andersen left the game in the second period with an apparent head injury following a collision with Penguins forward Tom Sestito. No word yet on his status for the playoffs.
The Boston Bruins (95 points) fell to the Washington Capitals 3-1, leaving them tied for third with the Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo left the game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for the start of the playoffs later this week. The Bruins are also missing blueliner Torey Krug (lower body).
The Ottawa Senators clinched (98 points) clinched second spot in the Atlantic Division with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers.
Connor McDavid tallied his 100th career NHL assist as the Edmonton Oilers (101 points) secured home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. It’s the first time since the Oilers reached 100 points since 1986-87.
Vladimir Tarasenko’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues (97 points) a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blues clinched third place in the Central Division and will face the Minnesota Wild in the opening round of the playoffs. Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell has announced his retirement following this season. He was diagnosed last November with multiple sclerosis.
The Wild set a franchise record for wins (49) and points (106) with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
Chris Tierney had a two-point game as the San Jose Sharks downed the Calgary Flames 3-1. The Sharks (99 points) secured third place in the Pacific Division while the Flames hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Sharks scratched captain Joe Pavelski, ending his ironman streak at 495 games.
The Islanders defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Before the game, long-time Devils star Patrik Elias went through a final warm-up with his teammates and was overcome with emotion during the ceremonial puck drop with his family. Elias recently announced his retirement.
Drew Doughty’s overtime goal gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks, who’ve now dropped four straight games. It was also the final game for long-time Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller, who’s retiring after 44 seasons behind the mike.
The Winnipeg Jets finished their season with a seven-game win streak by edging the Nashville Predators 2-1. The Preds face the Blackhawks in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, handing the playoff-bound Jackets their sixth straight loss entering their final game of the regular season today against the Leafs. Flyers goalie Steve Mason picked up his 200th career win.
Alex Galchenyuk’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the second-to-last NHL game at the Joe Louis Arena. The Habs end the season atop the Atlantic Division with 103 points.
James Reimer turned in a 30-save shutout as the Florida Panthers snapped a six-game losing skid by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. It was the final NHL game for retiring Panthers enforcer Shawn Thornton.
Tyler Seguin’s shootout goal lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Four of the eight opening-round series are now set. In the East, it’s the Penguins vs the Blue Jackets and the Canadiens vs the Rangers. In the West, the Blackhawks face the Predators and the Wild tangle with the Blues.
NBC SPORTS: The NHL Draft Lottery will reportedly take place on April 29.
In the wake of the recent NHL draft lottery, there’s been some headlines suggesting the teams that failed to get a pick in the top-three “lost” the lottery. That’s a load of rubbish. (more…)