The Washington Capitals clinch the Southeast Division title, the NY Islanders, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues clinch playoff berths, Dustin Brown could face supplemental discipline, updates on Todd Bertuzzi and James Neal and much more.

WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals clinched the Southeast Division and the third overall seed with a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, leaving the latter’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have completed an impressive comeback. Six weeks ago they were mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, and even I had written off their playoff chances. They’ve been the hottest team in the league since then, powered by Alexander Ovechkin’s offensive resurgence and their improved overall team play. 

The Islanders lost to the Hurricanes, but still clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.

The Islanders lost to the Hurricanes, but still clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.

NEWSDAY: Though the New York Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout, they still clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some could be snarky about the Isles clinching despite losing in a shootout, but it’s their play prior to this game which put them into position to clinch a berth. They deserve it, and could be a tough first round opponent.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars, putting the latter on the brink of elimination from post-season contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars remain three points out of eighth overall. They’ll need the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings to stumble in their final games to have a shot.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, marking the first time the Blues have made the post-season in consecutive season since 2004.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild moved a step closer to clinching a playoff berth, downing the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Kings captain Dustin Brown could face supplemental discipline for elbowing Wild forward Jason Pominville in the head. Pominville didn’t return to the game.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers played spoiler by downing the NY Rangers 3-2, preventing the latter from clinching a playoff spot. The Rangers can still clinch a berth with a win on Thursday over the Carolina Hurricanes.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers honored Bostonians during last night’s game against the Bruins, then went on to beat the B’s 5-2.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Ryan Miller had a bounce-back game, Thomas Vanek had a three-point night and Steve Ott scored the winning goal as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. The Penguins did get some good news, as forward James Neal and defenseman Paul Martin may be on the verge of returning to the lineup.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Todd Bertuzzi could return to the Red Wings lineup for tonight’s game against the LA Kings.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed Matt Calvert to a two-year, $1.975 million contract extension, while the Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Mathieu Roy for the remainder of this season.

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4 Responses to NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

  1. Steve says:

    Congrats to the Sharks, although I don’t see them going very far in the playoffs. While the Pens have stacked the deck and look strong – they also can be had as evidenced by Buffalo’s win last night. Buffalo needs to make a few tweaks, but I like the effort I am seeing from the kids and the combination of leadership that Vanek and Ott are bringing to the team. Part of the problem with the Sabres this year has been Pommer’s leadership or lack thereof. The trade to MN has been good for him as it took the pressure off him. It seems Vanek is willing to assume that mantle of leadership for at least the rest of the season, but he also has a very good supporting cast with Ott and I think Stafford (as he has played better since his benching). Anyway – don’t use the work Rebuild – think of it more as a “Retool”. If Vanek stays I think he can be part of something special as I really don’t see it being a 3 year project.

    • Anthony says:

      Dont write off the sharks just yet this year. We have a solid defense(hasent been for the past 5-6years) and are rolling 3-4 solid lines ever since they moved pavs down to center the 3rd line and put burns on the wing. I believe the sharks are going deep this year

      • Steve says:

        I hope they do go further than the first round, but after a fast start, the Sharks ran out of steam. I think losses to the Blue Jackets, Calgary and Dallas are very telling. Thornton is a playmaker, but it seems to me that he just can’t get his team(s) over the hump. Happened it Boston and happens in San Jose. In my mind, exchanging Ryan Clowe for Raffi Torres just didn’t make sense. Clowe brings leadership, heart and physicality with his play. Anyway, I think they are just missing something and having Burns play wing has give them some push. But to me, Havlet, Gomez, Burish, Wingels and DesJardins has been a disappointment. As it stands now – they would have to play LA and we’ll see how that goes.

  2. Mark says:

    Congrates on the NYI for making the playoffs. The beauty of it though, the Isles have only begun tapping into their reservoir of 6 years of drafted talent. To make the playoffs with this years squad is just the beginning of the turnaround in NY.

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