NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2014

Game recaps, plus updates on Drew Doughty, Erik Johnson and more. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Smith scored with 3.9 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings move closer to clinching a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The game also marked Pavel Datsyuk’s return to the Red Wings lineup after missing over three weeks to a knee injury.

Ryan Carter (20) celebrates his game-winning goal against the Capitals.

Ryan Carter (20) celebrates his game-winning goal against the Capitals.

NJ.COM: Ryan Carter’s late third-period goal was the game winner as the New Jersey Devils kept their playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over the slumping Washington Capitals. Alexander Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 49th goal for Washington.

THE TENNESSEAN: Colin Wilson scored twice as the Nashville Predators romped to a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”. The Red Wings win and the Blue Jackets loss means the former opened a three-point lead over the latter, though both still hold the two wild card berths in the Eastern Conference. The Devils leapfrog the Capitals to move within three points of the Blue Jackets for the final wild card berth, one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Capitals fall four points out of contention.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The New York Rangers need only one point in their final five games to clinch a playoff berth.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings coach Darryl Sutter downplayed the severity of defenseman Drew Doughty’s apparent shoulder injury, suggesting he could return to action as early as Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

DENVER POST: After struggling through injury and inconsistency earlier in his career, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson is maturing into a solid top-pairing blueliner.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Hal B. Klein examines the dietary habits of the Pittsburgh Penguins.