NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2018

Capitals eliminated the Blue Jackets, Leafs push Bruins to a seventh game, Wild fire GM Chuck Fletcher, Flames hire Bill Peters. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Braden Holtby turned aside 35 shots as the Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 to win their opening-round series in six games. Nick Foligno scored two goals for the Jackets in a losing cause. For the third straight year and the fourth time since 2009, the Capitals will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby played a crucial role in his club’s series victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rallying from a 2-0 series deficit, the Capitals displayed plenty of character  against the Jackets. Holtby’s performance was a big reason for the turnaround, overcoming a disappointing regular-season effort to regain the starter’s job. He finished the series by winning four of five games, sporting a 1.92 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. 

Speaking of overcoming a two-game series deficit, the Toronto Maple Leafs pushed the Boston Bruins to a seventh and deciding game with a 3-1 victory in Game 6. Frederik Andersen made 32 saves while William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec tallied for the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After lopsided victories in the first two games, the Bruins appeared poised to sweep the Leafs out of the opening round. Thanks to Andersen’s outstanding play and an improved defensive effort, the Leafs rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to seize the momentum heading back to Boston for Game 7 on Wednesday. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild will not renew the contract of general manager Chuck Fletcher. Team owner Craig Leipold said he doesn’t anticipate head coach Bruce Boudreau or his staff leaving.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on Fletcher’s replacement. Whoever gets the job will be expected to shake up a Wild roster that reached the playoffs in six straight seasons but never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs.

Fletcher’s record was a mixed bag. He got Devan Dubnyk and Eric Staal on the cheap, fleeced the New York Islanders for Nino Niederreiter and drafted Mikael Granlund. However, last year’s deal for Martin Hanzal was a bust, and signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to expensive long-term deals in 2012 are potential salary-cap millstones as age and injuries affect their performances. 

CALGARY SUN: To the surprise of no one, the Flames hired former Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters as their new bench boss. On Friday, Peters exercised the out clause in his contract with the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peters might bring a different approach to the Flames, but they won’t significantly improve until they address their depth in goal and at right wing. 

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche signed head coach Jared Bednar to a one-year contract extension, taking him to the end of the 2019-20 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved reward for Bednar, who coached the Avs from a dead-last performance last season to a playoff berth this year. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks won’t be renewing the contract of assistant coach Trent Yawney.

NHL.COM: The league announced the 31-team nominees for the 2018 King Clancy Trophy.

Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf

Arizona Coyotes: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara

Buffalo Sabres: Zach Bogosian

Calgary Flames: Travis Hamonic

Carolina Hurricanes: Justin Faulk

Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith

Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog

Columbus Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky

Dallas Stars: Tyler Seguin

Detroit Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader

Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Florida Panthers: Mike Matheson

Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty

Minnesota Wild: Jason Zucker

Montreal Canadiens: Brendan Gallagher

Nashville Predators: P.K. Subban

New Jersey Devils: Cory Schneider

New York Islanders: Anders Lee

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist

Ottawa Senators: Mark Borowiecki

Philadelphia Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere

Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Murray

San Jose Sharks: Chris Tierney

St. Louis Blues: Alex Pietrangelo

Tampa Bay Lightning: Ryan Callahan

Toronto Maple Leafs: Matt Martin

Vancouver Canucks: Daniel Sedin & Henrik Sedin

Vegas Golden Knights: Deryk Engelland

Washington Capitals: Brooks Orpik

Winnipeg Jets: Matt Hendricks