NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018
Penguins and Predators tie their second-round series at 2-2, Hall of Fame GM Bill Torrey passed away, Coyotes acquire Kruger from Hurricanes. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored twice and Matt Murray made 20 saves to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 4 to tie their second-round series at two games apiece. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the winning goal in Game 3, was held without a shot in this contest. The series returns to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a better defensive effort by the Penguins, who didn’t give up nearly as many odd-man rushes as they had in the previous three games. Guentzel, meanwhile, leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals and 21 points.
P.K. Subban scored the game winner as the Nashville Predators held off the Winnipeg Jets 2-1, tying their second-round series 2-2. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has a strong outing with 32 saves. Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine got his first goal of this series, which returns to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators also did a better job tightening up their defensive play, which had been uncharacteristically sloppy through the first three games of this series.
TAMPA BAY TIMES/NBC SPORTS BOSTON : Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ lack of production could be cause for concern. Meanwhile, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk skipped practice yesterday for “maintenance days” but are expected to be in the lineup tonight.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s depth has thus far compensated for Stamkos’ puzzling offensive difficulties. At some point, however, his sputtering production could become a factor.
THE MERCURY NEWS / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: San Jose Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi managed to play in Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights despite being hampered by a lower-body injury. He’s still not fully 100 percent approaching Game 5. As for the Golden Knights, head coach Gerard Gallant could tinker with his lineup for Game 5 after his club was shut out by the Sharks in the previous contest.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes yesterday acquired center Marcus Kruger and a third-round pick in this year’s draft from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Jordan Martinook and a 2018 fourth-round pick. The Hurricanes are also retaining 10 percent of Kruger’s $3.083-million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, non-playoff clubs are allowed to make trades during the postseason. The Hurricanes acquired Kruger last summer from the Vegas Golden Knights but he spent most of the season buried in the minors. He’ll get a better opportunity to return to the NHL full time next season with the Coyotes, who are in need of experienced depth at center.
Martinook, meanwhile, is a versatile checking-line forward who can skate at center or left wing who carries an affordable $1.8-million cap hit. He should bring some much-needed grit to the Hurricanes’ lineup.
TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski underwent shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined up to six months.
Former NHL player Jeff Parker, who died last year at age 53, “had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers at Boston University told The New York Times.” Parker was among over 100 players involved in a class-action lawsuit with the NHL claiming the league withheld information regarding the long-term effect of concussion injuries.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks enforcer Dan Carcillo pledges to donate his brain for CTE research following his death.
SPORTSNET: Former general manager Bill Torrey passed away on Wednesday evening at age 83. During his career, Torrey was GM of the Oakland Seals and New York Islanders and the first president of the Florida Panthers. Torrey built the Islanders into a dynasty, winning four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Torrey’s family and friends. He did a masterful job building the Islanders into a championship powerhouse, drafting Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy and acquiring Billy Smith and Butch Goring. They formed the core of their Cup dynasty.