NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2019

by | Apr 20, 2019 | News, NHL | 29 comments

Avalanche eliminated the Flames, Leafs push Bruins to the brink of elimination, Masterton Trophy finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: For the first time in 11 years, the Colorado Avalanche are going to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avalanche defeated the Calgary Flames 5-1 to win their opening-round matchup in five games. Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves, Mikko Rantanen and Colin Wilson each scored twice while Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie each collected three assists.

T.J. Brodie scored the only goal for the Flames, who made veteran winger James Neal a healthy scratch for this contest. The Flames’ elimination marks the first time in league history the top seeds in each conference failed to advance to the second round. 

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists in his club’s 5-1 series-clinching Game 5 victory over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Tampa Bay Lightning against the underdog Columbus Blue Jackets, the Flames were outplayed by the upstart Avalanche, who didn’t clinch a playoff berth until the final week of the regular season. Put simply, the Avs best players rose to the occasion while most of the Flames’ best did not.

This defeat cannot be pinned on Flames goaltender Mike Smith, as he was outstanding through most of this series. His teammates, especially his defense, let him down, especially in Games 3 and 4 when he faced a total of 108 shots. Smith and versatile forward Sam Bennett were the only Flames who can still hold their heads high following this series. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs held off a late rally by the Boston Bruins for a 2-1 victory in Game 5 of their opening-round series and return to Toronto with a chance to close things out in Game 6 on Sunday. Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen scored in the third period while David Krejci tallied for the Bruins. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen kicked out 28 shots for the win. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless you’re a Leafs or Bruins fan you probably found this game duller than dishwater. Nevertheless, the Leafs must be commended for playing what I consider their best defensive game of the season. They did a superb job containing the Bruins offense.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton are this year’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers could be unavailable for tonight’s crucial Game 6 against the St. Louis Blues after blocking a shot late in Game 5. 

NBC SPORTS: With winger T.J. Oshie sidelined with an upper-body injury, the Washington Capitals recalled 2018 playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly from their AHL affiliate in Hershey for Game 5 of their series tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. The series is deadlocked at two games apiece. 

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars forward Mattias Janmark could return to the lineup for Game 5 this afternoon against the Nashville Predators. A lower-body injury sidelined Janmark since Game 2. 

TSN: New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be sidelined three-to-four weeks by a lower-body injury. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers “removed Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” from their music library and covered up the statue of the opera singer near the Wells Fargo Center in light of several songs by Smith containing racist lyrics being unearthed.” It’s expected the statue will be removed in the near future. 

On an non-NHL note, congratulations to the Yarmouth Mariners (my old hometown team) on winning the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s Canadian Tire Cup with a four-game sweep of the Campbellton Tigers. Way to go, boys, you’ve made Yarmouth County proud.  







29 Comments

  1. As I said yesterday – I had a gut feeling about that Leafs-Boston series from the way the previous games went – something that comes, I guess, from watching a LOT of hockey over the years. To beat Boston twice in their building in one series takes a total team effort for 60 minutes (or more if necessary) and it seems Babcock’s message finally got through to all. To hell with getting the fans “excited” – do what’s necessary.

    I also said they’d probably finish it off in 6 at home on Sunday – but at the time I didn’t realize that that was going to be an afternoon affair. I know there are teams who have notoriously bad records in afternoon games (Ottawa is an example) but I must confess I don’t know anything about afternoon results for either the Leafs or Bruins.

    But I’ll stick with my gut and say Toronto finishes it off then. if they don’t, however, they can forget about beating Boston 3 times in one series in their barn.

    • Can’t say as I remember such a complete game by these young Leafs, sure its only Boston but very impressive…plus Nylander was banging and rubbing guys out in the corner.

      I was like holy s**t what am I seeing here,lol.

    • If The Maple Leafs play a road game similar to what they did last night while not trying to impress the home crowd with dazzle they have a very good chance of winning the series

  2. Lehner should be a shoo in for Masterton …. I fully support public awareness of Mental Health issues.

    That took a lot of courage to make his own issues public

    Congrats to Avs… outplayed and and outworked the Flames in the series…. another series projection that I was wrong on ,… Crow pancakes for me this morning

    • when avs had that bad stretch from late dec through March both grubs and Varley could not keep a beachball out of the net. flames were a good matchup for avs…speed vs speed except the avs were faster!…I expect vegas to beat the avs next rd but the future is very bright!…many picks and prospects on the way!…patient joe sakic doesn’t look so dumb anymore!
      ps. makar is the real deal!

  3. Leafs/Bruins game

    …. yes I agree that it was a yawner for the most part

    Now to my continuing bugaboo about reffing decisions potentially making the difference in a game …..

    This went in our favour but I fully back the discontent by Bruins. Had that goal been a Bruins one … Leaf nation would have freaked out.

    Yes , it was goaltender interference. The review committee is just not consistent

    Remember , I’m arguing against this and I’m a Leafs fan that benefitted from the challenge denial.

    This year we’ve seen a simple brush to the goalie with no movement by the goalie and a goal 2 seconds later called interference and we’ve seen obvious interference definitely preventing a save for a goal directly a result of it, denied in challenge.

    This one of course was neither ends of the spectrum

    This , although not a substantial interference ; was interference. Bruins fans, I do sympathize with you.

    This decision overall went to my benefit (as a Leaf fan) but I’m arguing for consistency

    What if that happened in a 7th game OT for the cup…. consistency!!!!

    Am I happy with Leafs win last night …. ecstatic

    Am I happy at how they won….nope

    If the challenge stood ; would the Leafs 2-0 goal have happened?????, who knows

    Since the game had been so dull to that point … I was hoping for an OT game to “spruce “ it up

    Looking forward to a hopeful win tommorrow for a 4-2 series win at home
    🤞

    GO LEAFS GO

    • With all due respect I disagree Pengy, the contact happened when Rask was partially out of the blue ice.

      Its as simple as that, or one can look at how much officiating has gone against us then this was just karma.

      That was the most complete game I have seen from us this year, including Willy banging and digging in the corners.

      • Hi Gary

        Sorry to disagree

        I Watched the game with about 10 friends…. we all looked at each other and rambled on as they reviewed the goal… we all said that for sure it was interference and for sure no goal … not a single dissenter amongst us. ALL of us were wearing our Blue and White (I proudly where the 10 point man’s sweater) ….We are all Leafs fans

        This should have been no goal . We all high did fives after the call ; but continued to talk on and on about how we got away with it

        We’re all in our 50’s so maybe one could argue myopic challenges as a group; but my best friend has 15-20 vision (far better than average) …. he agreed

        A couple of the guys might have been North of the inebriation line; but I had but one Blue and one of the gang doesn’t imbibe ever

        So …. 10 aging , some partially drunk, but at least 2 completely sober; some with fading vision but at least one with superior vision … all agreed that the call went incorrectly in our favour

        I just don’t like the inconsistency in reffing

        All games ; Game 1 in regular season right through the OT in a 7th game of the SCF ; should be called the same .

        I get that speed; and line of sight can skew things and force as mistake on an on-ice call; but making inconsistent rulings when it goes to the review team; has no excuses

        I’m prepared if Leafs lose the final two against Bruins; I’m prepared for a victory tommorrow

        I want nothing more than a victory; but as a true hockey fan; I want fairness

        Would Leafs have won the game regardless if the review was called properly ; who knows.

        That goal certainly took the wind out of Bruins and electrified the Leafs and the crowd.

        Just think what you would have said if the exact same thing happened at the other end and it was a brush by say Marchand that interferes with Freddy and Pasta pops the puck into the gaping net …. Leafs fans would freak

        Now add to the angst of opposing teams when a goalie interference call is not properly upheld; and the review team making that decision; ALL are in Toronto

        Let’s have a clean and definitive win tommorrow

        Go Leafs Go

    • All due respect Pengy but I disagree as Rask was partially out of the blue ice when the contact occurred…if anything this is just karma evening up the bad officiating.

      Most complete game I have seen from us this year and that includes Willy digging in the corners as well as rubbing guys out.

      • Garry McCollom what series are you watching? I get it you see the officiating thru one side only. Simply put you don’t get to complain about the officiating anymore because last night they potentially stole a game for Toronto. So stop your constant whining. The calls are bad on both side but Boston wasn’t awarded a goal for there.

  4. I think the game being duller than dishwater and the upset of 2 top season long champions are connected. The league leadership better it’s future looking glasses and ask itself what is good about refereeing a game differently in the play offs than the regular season is akin to saying women shouldn’t vote in the 1920’s.

    Referees are not overly paid when their working conditions are considered. Anyone else get camera reviewed live before millions of people, the horrible travel and having 400 young spoiled overly rich brats commenting at will.

    However they do need jobs and they will do what they are told. They should be told by the Board…you ref all games the same. That the owners accept the difference between regular season and play offs is ridiculous. I read some Tampa blogs after the sweep. They were wondering why pay for regular season tickets. The owners should get out their calculators and multiply 82 games by the number of seats in the arenas by 31 teams. And think about their priorities.

    • OBD

      With you on all you’ve said with the exception of reffing pay

      When I looked it up I was very surprised

      Some refs are getting more than I pay my VP; and all but a few Refs get more than I pay directors

      I’m not a huge firm; but I was shocked at top reffing Sal …. and that’s for 6 months really !!!

    • I totally agree with you on how different the playoffs are reffed compared to the regular season. What’s a penalty in the first minute of the first game of the regular season should also be a penalty in OT of game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
      Also the NHL needs to get away from all of the clutching and grabbing that is going on again. Fans pay to see the top skilled players play, not the scrubs. So let the skilled players do what they do without them being hooked and slashed all game long.

  5. Guessing the situation room didn’t think Rask could get over in time even if there was no contact. I agree with Marty Biron who said it doesn’t matter contact was made. Also impossible for anyone to prove if he could or couldn’t, maybe goes off his stick or arm or directly in don’t know.
    I’m not liking the play of the Bruins and importantly the play of Marchand who has become the poster boy of Mr Nice! No penalties in 5 games, no scrums after whistle, no little cheap shots skating by. Boys need to play with an edge and yes the game was boring.

    • They should have a couple of former goalies in the situation room to make these calls. Unless you have played that position you have no clue how it affects the goalies IMO.

  6. Did the Maple Leafs Get a Break on the Matthews goal? Perhaps…But Just Not Enough Conclusive Evidence To OverTurn…Which is the Criteria Upon Review.
    Defensively, a solid road game and worthy of the win

  7. I should also say who knew Toronto could play this well defensively? They are leading this series due to there strong team defense play and they deserve every win they got with a little assist in game 5 still doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have won the game.

    • @ Caper Agreed: Solid example of doing whats needed to be done in order to win

    • The crazy part is this series could have been over in 5…color me shocked as well at how good they have been defensively.

      Then again it shouldn’t be that surprising as well all know what happens when everybody buys into the program/gameplan.

    • @caper who knew Babcock and Dubas did all year long they kept saying it. People on this site kept saying they couldn`t win with that defence. some people made it clear that they knew more than Babcock. Amazing what can happen when the forwards play their part in team defence.

  8. Unless he specifically asked to not be included, how does the Masterton go to anyone but Evander Kane?

    He loses an infant daughter and comes back to play. Thornton is just old. I don’t get it.

    ——–

    The NHL war room was drunk last night. The Matthews goal should not have counted. The Gaudreau goal should have counted. These were actually pretty clear cut calls that they somehow got wrong.

    ———

    I try to admit when I was wrong. And clearly I was wrong about the job Sakic was doing with the Avs.

    Particularly, I didn’t like the Makar (using a high pick on a Tier 2 guy is risky) pick but Sakic was right about that, too.

    • MG, I can remember a time not too long ago when there was certainty that Sakic would lose his job. It’s amazing how things can change – I think not having Patrick Roy in his ear all the time really helped GM Joe.
      Nathan MacKinnon doesn’t hurt either.

  9. Go to TSN watch the boys discuss the Leaf goal and remember these are NHL players and McKenzie who know a thing or two. Everyone said no way in hell that was not goaltender interference and if Boston was the Team that scored Leaf nation would be going nuts probably burn down the city. Bruins got screwed and Toronto got a gift hopefully this series goes 7 games and is decided on the ice not at NHL control center because if it does Boston has no chance of winning.

    • You can’t take these media guys seriously anymore, they are all about creating drama and reasons for people to tune in….if Rask was in the blue paint the whole time I could agree with no goal.

      But when the bump happens Rask’s right side was out of the blue paint.

      Besides after that atrocity of game 2…well karma is what this is then.

  10. Karma you mean Kadri cross checking Jake in the head wake up everyone knows it was goaltender interference and should not be called a goal believe what you want. In know way am I’m saying that Boston would have won but now we will never know will we. Leafs were given a gift it’s embarrassing for the NHL and the Leaf organization and Babcock responded exactly how I thought he would.

    • @obe read the rule book the right call was made. If you`re you`re a Bruin fan you hate it and if you`re a Leafs fan you love it. Hyman was on the white ice when contact was made and the rule book states that if in the eyes of the officials if the goalie couldn`t make the stop even if there was no contact, then the contact becomes irrelevant. If Rask had been on the goal line he had a chance to stop the shot but Rask was at the top right-hand corner of the crease making it impossible to move the near 12 feet across to make the save. Contact or no contact Matthews would`ve scored

      • Agree with you completely, Bob, correct call, good goal.

  11. Hi Gary
    Sorry to disagree

    I Watched the game with about 10 friends…. we all looked at each other and rambled on as they reviewed the goal… we all said that for sure it was interference and for sure no goal … not a single dissenter amongst us. ALL of us were wearing our Blue and White (I proudly where the 10 point man’s sweater) ….We are all Leafs fans

    This should have been no goal . We all high did fives after the call ; but continued to talk on and on about how we got away with it

    We’re all in our 50’s so maybe one could argue myopic challenges as a group; but my best friend has 15-20 vision (far better than average) …. he agreed
    A couple of the guys might have been North of the inebriation line; but I had but one Blue and one of the gang doesn’t imbibe ever

    So …. 10 aging , some partially drunk, but at least 2 completely sober; some with fading vision but at least one with superior vision … all agreed that the call went incorrectly in our favour

    I just don’t like the inconsistency in reffing
    All games ; Game 1 in regular season right through the OT in a 7th game of the SCF ; should be called the same .
    I get that speed; and line of sight can skew things and force as mistake on an on-ice call; but making inconsistent rulings when it goes to the review team; has no excuses
    I’m prepared if Leafs lose the final two against Bruins; I’m prepared for a victory tommorrow
    I want nothing more than a victory; but as a true hockey fan; I want fairness
    Would Leafs have won the game regardless if the review was called properly ; who knows.

    That goal certainly took the wind out of Bruins and electrified the Leafs and the crowd.

    Just think what you would have said if the exact same thing happened at the other end and it was a brush by say Marchand that interferes with Freddy and Pasta pops the puck into the gaping net …. Leafs fans would freak

    Now add to the angst of opposing teams when a goalie interference call is not properly upheld; and the review team making that decision; ALL are in Toronto

    Let’s have a clean and definitive win tommorrow
    Go Leafs Go

  12. Bob than 90% of the population and every TSN analyst who all know the game and rule book are wrong and you and Gary are right. Like I said believe what you want but turn the teams around and city of Toronto is burned down and there are riots in the streets. Horrible call wrong call and unfair call to decide a game let it be decided on the ice.