The daily Faceoff morning report is published on weekdays and summarizes the most important news and events from the previous day.
We’ll be highlighting injuries that will impact today’s games, hot streaks, cold streaks and everything relevant to everyone from the casual hockey fanatic to the fantasy hockey grinder.
Coyotes comeback to anger Preds
The Nashville Predators needed just a point in the standings to secure the best wildcard spot in the Western Conference, and things looked promising for them as they went 4-0 down against the Arizona Coyotes in the first seven minutes of the game took the lead. However, the Coyotes made their last game at Gila River Arena a memorable one, scoring five unanswered goals and defeating the Predators 5-4 in regulation time. Shayne Gostisbehere (D) scored two goals for the Coyotes, including the game winner, and finished the season with seven points (3G/4A) in his last three games. Harri Sateri (G) replaced Karel Vejmelka (G) after allowing four goals on six shots and closed the door the rest of the way. After starting his Coyotes career without a win in his first four appearances (0-2-1) and with a miserable 0.822 SV%, Sateri now ends the season with a 2-0-0 record and 0.946 SV%.
Stars defeat Ducks in the goalie carousel
For the Anaheim Ducks, a different goalie started each half, a goalie carousel topped by EBUG Tom Hodges (G) starting the third half of a 2-2 hockey game. Hodges gave up a goal in a 4-2 loss to the Stars. The only goal he conceded was a power play goal from 41-goal scorer Jason Robertson (LW) and the Ducks upped their game in front of the emergency goalkeeper, but the result of the game ultimately played a significant role in the playoff picture.
Tables are set
It came down to the final seconds of the game between the Predators and the Coyotes, and in the most dramatic way, the standings and playoff matchups are finally set Western Conference.
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders 6-4 to end their season on a 5-1-0 run and secure a first-round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs east conference.
View all playoff schedules and matchups here.
Hot on the way to the playoffs
Kirill Kapritsov (LW, RW) had a two-point game (1G/1A) and is going into the playoffs on a seven-game point streak (4G/11A). In his second season with the Minnesota Wild, Kaprizov set the franchise records for goals (47), assists (61) and points (108).
Steven Stamko (C, RW) finished the season with a hat-trick and is the league’s hottest player heading into the playoffs. Stamkos improved his career-high (106) and has an absurd 26 points (10G / 16A) during a nine-game season-ending scoring streak.
Missing from the list are Nikita Kucherov (RW), Nathan MacKinnon (C) and Aleksander Barkov (C), all of whom have missed significant time through injuries and are ahead of Stamkos, Tkachuk and Miller in terms of points per game. Kucherov finished the season second (1.47), MacKinnon seventh (1.35) and Barkov tenth (1.31).
First vs Last
In a match-up between the first and last-place teams in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens defeated an under-talented Florida Panthers with a 10-2 win. Starting with third goaltender Jonas Johansson (G), the Panthers gave up Gustav Forsling (D), Anton Lundell (C), Sam Reinhart (C, RW), Sam Bennett (C, RW), Claude Giroux (C, RW), Aleksander Barkov (C) and Jonathan Huberdeau (LW). Regardless of the exhausted lineup for the Panthers, the Canadiens will end their memorable season on a nice note with a two-game winning streak. Cole Caufield (LW, RW) scored his first career hat-trick with the win and ended the season with a very respectable 43 points (23G/20A) in 67 games. Caufield finishes the season with 35 points (22G/13A) in his last 37 games after scoring just eight points (1G/7A) in his first 30. Despite his miserable start to the season, Caufield still managed to finish second in goals and sixth in points among all rookies.
Chara scores in potential endgame
Zdeno Chara (D) scored his second goal of the season in the last minute for the New York Islanders in a 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in what may be the last game of his career. Chara, 45 years old, is still undecided about what his future holds. After the game, the home crowd cheered his name while both teams and officials congratulated him on his great career.
Seider crowns a terrific rookie season
Moritz Seider (D) crowned an incredible rookie season with the Detroit Red Wings with his seventh goal of the season in a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Seider finishes the season with 50 points (7G/43A) and likely cements himself as the leader for the Calder Trophy.
Vegas wins low stakes game
With the pressure finally easing, the Vegas Golden Knights ended their first non-playoff season with a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Golden Knights’ victory was only their second in their last seven games (2-2-3) and only the third time they have scored more than three goals at this stage. Early in the game, Jack Eichel (C) had just one point (0G/1A) in his last six games but finished the season with a three-point performance (1G/2A) in his last bout.