Penguins thump Predators in Radulov’s return…Kings finally find winning groove…Sharks down Bruins…Bryzgalov backstops Flyers to shootout win…Coyotes defeat Avalanche…A tough month for the Red Wings… Hurricanes still thinking playoffs…Keith to meet with league disciplinarian Shanahan today…Ed Jovanovski enjoying the ride with Panthers…NHL Commissioner ready to negotiate with NHLPA.
PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM/POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Penguins spoiled Alexander Radulov’s return to the Nashville Predators, as Marc-Andre Fleury got his 40th win of the season, Evgeni Malkin scored twice, James Neal had four assists and the Penguins clinched a playoff berth with a 5-1 victory. Radulov did get Nashville’s only goal, and I daresay this game was an eye-opener for the Predators, for if they harbor Stanley Cup hopes, the Penguins could be the team they would face in the Final.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Jonathan Quick backstopped the Kings to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues, the Kings sixth straight victory as they finally seem to have found a winning groove they’ve been lacking most of this season. The win also vaulted them into a tie for first in the Pacific Division.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: The Sharks kept their playoff chances alive with a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins.
PHILLY.COM: Ilya Bryzgalov carried the Flyers to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals, giving the Flyers a 9-2-1 record in their last 13 games.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Mike Smith made 39 saves for his 100th career victory as the Coyotes downed the Colorado Avalanche 3-2, moving them into a tie with the Kings for first in the Pacific Division.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: It’s been a tough month so far for the Red Wings, with only two victories as injuries ravage the lineup.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Riding a four-game winning streak and only five points out of eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, the Hurricanes are keeping their playoff hopes alive.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will have an in-person meeting today with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan regarding his retaliatory head shot on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin, sidelining the latter indefinitely. Blackhawks fans believe Sedin also deserves a suspension for his initial hit on Keith, and I daresay he might’ve at least received a fine for it, but that didn’t give Keith the right to level Sedin with a targeted retaliatory elbow to the head. Those are the kind of hits the league wants out of the game, and Keith could face a steep punishment.
MIAMI HERALD: Ed Jovanovski is enjoying the Panthers bid to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says he’s ready to begin CBA talks with the NHLPA as soon as they’re ready. The gamesmanship continues, as Bettman is trying to play on fan and media fears of a lockout, essentially calling out (in the nicest possible way) the PA for their perceived stall tactics, while painting himself as the rational one, ready to start talks right away to avoid any delay in the start of next season. The PA, meanwhile, will push this to the end of the playoffs, and will probably justify it by saying they don’t want CBA talks to be a distraction during the playoffs. Regardless, the bargaining won’t start until late-June at the earliest.