NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2019

Game recaps, Hurricanes, Avalanche, and Penguins clinch playoff berths, Capitals win fourth straight division title, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning tied an NHL record with their 61st win of the season by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. League scoring leader Nikita Kucherov tallied his 40th goal of the season. Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner returned to the lineup after being sidelined since Feb. 25 by a back injury. 

For the first time since 2009, the Carolina Hurricanes (97 points) are heading to the Stanley Cup playoffs. They clinched a berth by defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-1. The Hurricanes currently hold a three-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Erik Johnson’s overtime goal propelled the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, clinching the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. The loss dropped the slumping Jets (97 points) into second place in the Central Division.

Derek Stepan scored twice and Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves as the Arizona Coyotes downed the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, they were eliminated from playoff contention by the Avalanche’s win over the Jets. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury returned to action after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, Vegas defenseman Colin Miller was fined $2,000.00 for diving/embellishment during a March 30 game against San Jose. 

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel scored two goals as his club clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

The Washington Capitals (104 points) won the Metropolitan Division title for the fourth straight year with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. The loss puts the Canadiens (94 points) playoff hopes in jeopardy, as they could be eliminated tonight if the Columbus Blue Jackets defeat the New York Rangers. 

Phil Kessel scored twice to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. With the win, the Penguins (99 points) clinched a playoff berth for the 13th consecutive season. 

Brock Nelson scored the only goal in a shootout as the New York Islanders edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. The Isles (101 points) reached the 100-point plateau for the first time since 2015-16 and secured second place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Overcoming a 2-0 deficit, the Nashville Predators went on to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. The Predators (99 points) took over first place in the Central Division. 

The St. Louis Blues (97 points) moved into a tie with the Jets for second place in the Central by thumping the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3. Alex Steen had two goals and an assist as the two clubs combined for eight goals in the first period. 

Gustav Nyquist’s goal late in the third period lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Leon Drasaitl tallied his 48th and 49th goals of the season while Sharks center Joe Thornton moved into eighth place on the all-time assist leaders list with his 1,064th helper.

Jaroslav Halak turned in a 26-save shutout as the Boston Bruins rolled to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

The Buffalo Sabres snapped an eight-game losing skid by downing the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists.

Harvard University defenseman Adam Fox, UMass blueliner Cale Makar, and St. Cloud State University rearguard Jimmy Schuldt are the 2019 Hobey Baker Award nominees. Fox’s NHL rights belong to the Carolina Hurricanes, Makar’s with the Colorado Avalanche, and Schuldt with the Vegas Golden Knights. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2019

Game recaps plus updates on Roberto Luongo, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Kesler, Glen Sather, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Jonathan Toews scored the only goal in a shootout as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Toews set a personal best with 45 goals on the season while teammate Patrick Kane hit a career-high 107 points for the Blackhawks, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday. The loss prevented the Blues (95 points) from moving into a tie for first place in the Central Division.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tallied his career-high 45th goal of the season in a 4-3 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images)

The Anaheim Ducks upset the Calgary Flames 3-1 thanks to a 25-save performance by goalie Ryan Miller. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau collected an assist for his 98th point of the season. Speaking of the Ducks, their medical staff have set up appointments with hip specialists for sidelined center Ryan Kesler to determine whether he can continue his playing career. 

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist came up short in his effort to secure his 450th career victory in a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Brady Tkachuk and Colin White each had two points for the Senators, who tallied four straight goals for the win. Speaking of the Rangers, Glen Sather is reportedly on the verge of stepping down as team president. He’s been part of their front office as general manager and president since 2000. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Bob McKenzie cites sources saying this is Sather’s call and he’ll still be an advisor to executive chairman and CEO of MSG. 

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo remains undecided if he’ll return for another season. He has three years remaining on his contract but injuries have hindered the 40-year-old netminder, raising speculation this season could be his last.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson is inching closer to returning from a lower-body injury that’s sidelined him since late-February. He participated in team practice on Wednesday. He’s vowed to be 100 percent when the playoffs open next week.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams isn’t ruling out returning for next season. He’s having one of his best offensive performances in years and played a key role in the club’s rise into playoff contention. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have recalled Adin Hill following an injury to starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper on Tuesday. 

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed to extend the current playoff format through next season. The matter will continue to be discussed between the two sides. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reading the tea leaves, perhaps this is another indication that a new collective bargaining agreement could be in place before September 2020. The league and the PA each have the opportunity for an early “opt-out” of the current CBA this September but there’s speculation the two sides could reach a new agreement before then. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils hired Tyler Dellow as their vice president of analytics. Dellow is a former analytics blogger who worked for two seasons as a consultant with the Edmonton Oilers (2014 to 2016) and recently wrote for The Athletic.