NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2019

Sharks eliminate the Avalanche and advance to the Western Conference Final, the Conference Finals schedules are released, plus updates on Brad Marchand, Antti Niemi, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski made a surprise return from injury to lead his club to a series-clinching 3-2 Game 7 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Pavelski scored the game-opening goal and set up his club’s second goal.  The Sharks will face the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final. This was Pavelski’s first game since suffering a concussion during Game 7 of his club’s previous series against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski returned from injury to lead his club to a series-clinching Game 7 victory over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images)

The game wasn’t without controversy as a game-tying goal by the Avalanche in the second period was overturned as team captain Gabriel Landeskog was deemed offside during a line change. Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon sprained his right shoulder after colliding with the boards in the first period but returned to action later in the frame. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks got a big lift from Pavelski’s return in this game, but it was their depth that proved the deciding factor in this series. It could give them an advantage over the Blues in the conference final.

The Avs have nothing to hang their heads over. They upset the heavily-favored Calgary Flames and pushed the Sharks to the limit. Led by MacKinnon, Landeskog and Miko Rantanen, they’re a talented young team with a bright future. 

The NHL released its schedule for the Conference Finals. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes starts tonight in Boston. The puck drops on the opening game of the Western Conference Final on Saturday night in San Jose. Both stats are 8 pm ET.

The top-27 spots for the 2019 NHL Draft are now set, with the final four still to be determined. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the club will address Brad Marchand’s curt answers to the media in recent days. Marchand raised eyebrows with his taciturn attitude following his club’s elimination of the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some in the media are rather upset with Marchand, with a few calling for him to be fined. Perhaps a better response would be to just ignore Marchand and instead speak with his teammates. Besides, most player interviews are boring. They merely spout cliches about giving 110 percent, getting pucks deep, everybody playing their role, blah blah blah. They rarely offer anything insightful or interesting. 

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivarra suffered a muscle tear in his rib area. The injury occurred following an illegal hit by Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens backup goaltender Antti Niemi is expected to join Helsinki Jokerit in the KHL next season. Niemi is an unrestricted free agent this summer and won’t be re-signed by the Canadiens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This likely signals the end of Niemi’s 11-season NHL career. He backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010 and spent five seasons as the Sharks’ starting goaltender. His performance declined in recent years, relegating him to backup status as he bounced from the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Canadiens since 2016-17. If his NHL playing days are over, the 35-year-old finishes with 242 wins in 464 games, with a career 2.57 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and 36 shutouts. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2018

Game recaps, playoff standings updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak had a Gordie Howe hat trick in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference standings. Patrice Bergeron had three points and David Pastrnak a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) for the Bruins (107 points), who sit one point up on the slumping Lightning, who’ve lost three in a row.

Sidney Crosby’s highlight-reel overtime goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Crosby rang a shot off the post and swatted in the midair rebound. The victory leaves the Penguins with 94 points, one up on the Columbus Blue Jackets for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Devils (89 points) remain three up on the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Speaking of the Panthers, they failed to gain ground on the Devils after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice for the Senators, including the winner in overtime. Earlier in the day, the Senators recalled forward Colin White and  announced Chris Wideman suffered a season-ending hamstring injury.

Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied a hat trick and Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 37 shots to give the Blue Jackets a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Jackets (93 points) move to third place in the Metro Division, one up on the Philadelphia Flyers. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets announced the re-signing of defenseman Markus Nutivaara to a four-year, $10.8-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A reasonable signing by the Blue Jackets. Nutivaara’s blossomed in his sophomore season, with 23 points in 60 games. He’s a very good puck-moving defenseman who’s provided an extra measure of mobility to the Jackets’ blueline, forming a solid third defense pairing with Ryan Murray. 

Jeff Carter’s hat trick powered the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. With 93 points, the Kings moved two points up on the Anaheim Ducks for third in the Pacific Division.

Zach Parise scored twice and Matt Dumba had four points to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Wild (96 points) hold a five-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for third in the Central Division.

The San Jose Sharks failed to clinch a playoff berth after falling 5-3 to the Nashville Predators. Filip Forsberg collected three assists and goaltender Juuse Saros made 39 saves for the Predators.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid netted his 41st goal of the season in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. With 103 points, McDavid sits six points up on Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the NHL scoring race. Kucherov has a game in hand.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped an 11-game road-losing skid by beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin each had a goal and an assist for the Wings.

Emergency backup goaltender Scott Foster made seven saves to preserve a 6-2 win for the Chicago Blackhawks over the Winnipeg Jets. Fisher, an 36-year-old accountant who played four seasons with Western Michigan University, came into the game when Collin Delia (making his own NHL debut) left the game with cramps in the third period. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook also played his 1,000th career NHL game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is now one of my favorite stories of this season. Foster won’t play another game in the NHL, but for one night and for several minutes, he got to live the dream. His post-game interview was fantastic.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and winger Brendan Gallagher have declined invitations to join Team Canada at the upcoming World Championships. Price wants to spend time with his family while Gallagher wants to rest his banged-up body.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Canadiens management are upset over Price and Gallagher skipping the Worlds this season. Price also had his own health issues to deal with this season, including a recent concussion that sidelined him for 13 games. Price played for Canada in the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, while Gallagher skated for Canada at the Worlds in 2016.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Odelein.