NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2017
Game updates, stars of the week and the NHL opts not to participate in 2018 Olympics in your morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens clinched their second Atlantic Division title in three years by downing the Florida Panthers 4-1. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice for the Habs and call-up goalie Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves. Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 30th goal of the season. The Habs played without defenseman Shea Weber, who will miss another game with a lower-body injury.
The Toronto Maple Leafs moved backed into second place in the Atlantic Division with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Auston Matthews scored his 39th goal, breaking the record for American-born NHL rookies and setting a new points record (67) for Leafs freshmen. The Leafs (93 points) sit one ahead of the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators, meanwhile fell 5-4 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings. However, they picked up a point to push the Boston Bruins (92 points) into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Senators captain Erik Karlsson return to action, but Cody Ceci, Marc Methot and Zack Smith could miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries.
The NHL yesterday announced it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, citing an overwhelming reluctance on the part of the team owners to shutter the league for two weeks and the risk of injury to star players participating in the tournament.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction to this announcement among NHL players and the punditry is largely negative. I’ll have my take on this subject later today in my Soapbox section.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin, Washington Capitals winger Marcus Johansson and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 2, 2017.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will miss the remainder of the regular season on a leave of absence following the recent death of his mother.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zack Werenski (shoulder injury) is listed as day-to-day.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues center Jori Lehtera is ready to return to action after missing 12 games with a concussion.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled winger Bryan Bickell from the Charlotte Checkers. Bickell was diagnosed last fall with multiple sclerosis.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Dalton Prout received a two-game suspension for his hit on Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Radko Gudas.