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.
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.