NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2018

by | Mar 27, 2018 | News, NHL | 10 comments

Game recaps, three stars of the week plus updates on Nick Foligno, Rick Nash, Johnny Gaudreau and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

William Karlsson tallied his 40th goal of the season as his Vegas Golden Knights beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 (Photo via NHL Images)

 NHL.COM: William Karlsson tallied his 40th goal of the season as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1, becoming the fifth NHL club to clinch a playoff spot this season. The Golden Knights (103 points) sit atop the Pacific Division.

Alex Ovechkin tallied his 45th goal of the season as the Washington Capitals doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2. With 97 points, the Capitals widened their lead atop the Metropolitan Division by five points over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The San Jose Sharks picked up their eighth consecutive win by edging the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on shootout goals by Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc. The Sharks (97 points) hold a six-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for second place in the Pacific Division.

Jonathan Quick turned in a 23-save shutout effort backstopping the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames, officially eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Anze Kopitar and Dion Phaneuf each had a goal and an assist for the Kings (91 points), who hold the first-wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Avs (90 points) sit in the second wild-card spot, one point up on the St. Louis Blues. The Flames, meanwhile, were playing without winger Johnny Gaudreau. He’s in New Jersey with his father, who’s recovering from a heart attack. 

The Florida Panthers (85 points) moved to within a point of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference by blanking the New York Islanders 3-0. James Reimer made 32 saves while teammates Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov each had two points. With the loss, the Islanders are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Islanders forward Casey Cizikas missed the game with an upper-body injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes kept their slim playoff hopes alive by downing the Ottawa Senators 4-1. With 79 points, the Hurricanes sit seven points out of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Clayton Keller set the Arizona Coyotes’ rookie goal scoring record by helping his club upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Keller had a goal and an assist, giving him 23 goals and 61 points this season.

Unanswered third-period goals by Casey Nelson and Jack Eichel lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs, snapping the latter’s 13-game home winning streak. Eichel collected two goals in this games.

Brendan Gallagher scored twice to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Gallagher reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his NHL career.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen and Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor were the NHL stars for the week ending March 25, 2018.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is sidelined two-to-four weeks with an upper-body injury. 

BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins remain mum on the status of winger Rick Nash, who is expected to miss his fifth straight game when his club meets the Winnipeg Jets tonight. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins gave up a lot to acquire Nash from the New York Rangers before last month’s NHL trade deadline. His ongoing absence is generating speculation over the severity of the injury and how long he could be sidelined. 

NJ.COM:  New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson had some harsh words for Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand. Johansson has only recently returned to practice after suffering a concussion from a blindside hit by Marchand on Jan. 23, called the Bruins winger’s actions “sad” and “stupid”.  “There was no hockey play there whatsoever. I think it’s sad to see that there’s still guys out there that are trying to hurt other guys. I think there’s nothing else to say about it.” He added that he hopes Marchand doesn’t end someone’s career. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s received several fines and suspensions over his career for his dirty play but nothing seems to deter him. Seems to be the case for elite players like him. If he was a marginally talented fourth liner, his punishments would likely be much worse. 

YAHOO SPORTS: Former NHL enforcer and current sports radio personality Georges Laraque has apologized for recent comments claiming the Edmonton Oilers traded winger Taylor Hall because he’d gone through a stint in rehab. “After further verifications I can say that this information was 100% wrong, I was wrong and apologize to Taylor for the mistake,” tweet Laraque.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laraque should’ve gotten that additional verification first before blurting it out during a radio interview. This makes him look very unprofessional and damages his credibility. 

CHATHAM DAILY NEWS: Former NHL forward Ken Houston died of cancer on March 10. He was 64. Houston spent nine seasons in the NHL from 1975-76 to 1983-84 with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings. Seven of those seasons were spent with the Flames. He exceeded the 20-goal plateau six times and finished with 328 points in 570 games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Houston’s family, friends and former teammates.



  1. Brad Marchand is second in the league in points-per-game and is an elite penalty killer. He went on an absolute tear while Bergeron was out, carrying the Bruins at a time when they needed him to. He would be considered a contender for the Hart Trophy if not for his dirty play.

    He is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the NHL, but may be the stupidest. As a Bruins fan, I hope he figures out some way to get control of himself. The Bruins cannot afford to keep having him miss time for dumb plays and I don’t want to see another player’s career ended.

    • Marchand is a total jerk. Hockey is a physical game and both accidents and fights happen. But there is no room for his cheap shots and dirty play. While I would never advocate “head hunting” or intentionally attempting to injure any player, it would be poetic justice if Marchand’s career was to be ended by someone retaliating for one of his cheap shots.

      • As a Bruins fan, and fan of Marc Savard I can certainly understand this sentiment. The difference is Matt Cooke was a marginally talented player who had to play on that edge to stay in the league. Marchand does not need to play that game, and he is unfortunately building a legacy for being dirty rather than being talented.

        There is value in Marchand being a pest, getting under opposing team’s skin, causing them to make mistakes and drawing penalties. There is a huge difference, however, between being a pest and being a predator.

    • The improvement in Marchands game can be attributed to the same thing as Nathan McKinnon and that is training in the offseason with Sidney Crosby and learning what it takes to be on his level which is on the highest level. Being naturally gifted was never enough for Sid and he trains harder than anyone and never takes a day off. That’s part of the reason the Penguins have had so much success with their later round draft picks. They see how hard he works at improving his game when he’s already the best player in the world and it just inspires them. Marchand spent the last 2 summers training with Crosby day in and day out and the results speak for themselves. I think Colorado and Boston owe Sid money.

  2. I believe you have the Tampa Bay and Arizona score wrong 4-1 not 4-3

    • Fixed, thanks.

    • Do you feel that was intentional? I certainly don’t his track record speaks for its self. Johansson that is.

      I’m a Bruins fan & wish Marchand would stop this part of his game. He’s not alone almost every team has 1 & many have been superstars. Dirty players that easily come to mind. Neal, Stevens, Perry, Kesler, Suter, Forsberg, the list goes on & on.

      Hitting to hurt needs to be eliminated from hockey. Hockey Canada teaches young players & coaches that we check, not hit for 3 reasons. To remove the player from the puck, puck from the player or player from the play, tieing them up. Hitting a player so hard they can’t get up even if legal isn’t a hockey play & serves no long-term purpose.

      I love har hitting hockey to a point but I would far prefer the NHL called hitting to the WJC standard.

      • Hitting a player so hard that it leads to him having to leave the game benefits very few people. It leads to further problems as the other team is going to seek retribution. An eye for an eye if you will.

        The NHL just posted a press release stating they want scrums after legal hits eliminated from the game. It’s slowing it down & often leads to fights which are a serious concussion issue.

        I’m 55 & I have come along way on this issue since I was a kid watching hockey through the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. The lack of respect is disturbing & it ties into the equipment of today as well. My 1st shoulder pads you could scrunch into a ball not much bigger than a softball. My elbow pads had no hard plastics, webbing that works like shock absorbers.

        If you hit a person that hard wearing the equipment I started playing hockey with you would get seriously injured. Today’s elbow pads & shoulder pads are weapons.

  3. To follow up on Striker’s note about equipment, I play sled (sledge) hockey. A goalie for the Ohio Warriors. Even at our pace, a hit with today’s pads/equipment, leaves bruises and worse. I rarely get out of a game free of some kind of minor injury, always due to being hit either with some part of a body or, more rarely, the sled. I won’t advocate against hits, hockey is a contact sport and hits will happen, intentionally or otherwise. But hitting someone knowing that you will probably injure that player is the kind a$$hole crap that gave hockey such a bad name for much of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Someone like Marchand, who has the high level skill and talent to be an elite player, pulling the cheap shot crap he pulls is not only dangerous, but it’s moronic. How many times will the league look the other way when this twat intentionally injures someone for no good reason before they take real action against him? Will it take one of his stupid cheap shots literally ending someone’s career? Maybe with a permanent disability?