NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2020

by | Mar 1, 2020 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Leon Draisaitl reaches 100 points, David Pastrnak gets closer to 50 goals, Steven Stamkos sidelined six-to-eight weeks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl became the first player this season to reach 100 points as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. Draisaitl led the way with two goals and an assist, giving him a league-leading 102 points. The Oilers (76 points) move into sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division, while the Jets (72 points) remain just outside the Western Conference wild-card picture.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl reached 100 points for the second straight season (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injury or a slump, Draisaitl is well on his way to winning the Art Ross Trophy and should be considered a serious contender for the Hart Memorial Trophy. He stepped up his game during captain Connor McDavid’s recent absence due to injury.

David Pastrnak tallied his 47th goal and Tuukka Rask turned in a 25-save shutout as the Boston Bruins down the New York Islanders 4-0. Charlie McAvoy had a three-point performance for the Bruins (94 points), who hold a seven-point lead atop the Eastern Conference and overall standings. Before the game, the Islanders honored Butch Goring by retiring his No. 91. Isles winger Cal Clutterbuck returned to action for the first time since suffering an injured wrist on Dec. 19.

After taking a 3-0 lead, the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Earlier in the day, the Lightning learned captain Steven Stamkos will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks as he undergoes surgery on Monday to repair a core muscle injury. With 87 points, they sit second to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. The Flames, meanwhile, hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 73 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos could return in time for the opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ryan O’Reilly’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force the overtime and shootout frames. It was the Blues’ seventh straight win, giving them 88 points and a three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference. The Stars (81 points) slip four behind the second-place Avs in the Central Division.

The Avalanche picked up their eighth straight road win and sixth consecutive victory by beating the Nashville Predators 3-2. Pavel Francouz made 30 saves for the win. The Avs (85 points) sit three behind the first-place Blues in the Central Division, while the Predators (72 points) hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with three games in hand over the Winnipeg Jets.

Martin Jones made 30 saves as the San Jose Sharks blanked the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0. The Penguins (80 points) are third in the Metropolitan Division, but they’ve dropped six straight games.

Martin Marincin’s first goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Auston Matthews tallied his 45th goal of the season for the Leafs (78 points), who’ve won three straight and hold a five-point lead over the fading Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Canucks (74 points) remain in third place in the Pacific Division.

The Panthers, meanwhile, suffered their sixth straight defeat by dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Chicago Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist in regulation and scored one of the Hawks’ two shootout goals. Mike Hoffman also had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (73 points), who sit five back of the Maple Leafs. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced Andrew Shaw (concussion) and Zack Smith (hand injury) are done for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those moves the Panthers made at the trade deadline have done nothing thus far to improve their performance. If they don’t snap out of their funk soon, they can forget about reaching the playoffs, and general manager Dale Tallon could start worrying about his job security.

The Montreal Canadiens blew a 3-0 lead to the Carolina Hurricanes but won the game 4-3 on an overtime goal by Jeff Petry. With 75 points, the Hurricanes are one point behind the idle Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Clayton Keller tallied twice and collected an assist to lead the Arizona Coyotes to 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. The Coyotes (72 points) are sitting just outside the Western Conference wild-card spots. Sabres rookie Victor Olofsson left the game with an injured right leg.

Artem Anisimov scored two goals and the winner in a shootout as the Ottawa Senators nipped the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss.

Adrian Kempe scored in overtime as the Los Angeles Kings edged the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was diagnosed with a concussion, but isn’t expected to be out of the lineup for long. Defenseman Ryan Murray will return to action today against the Canucks. He’s been sidelined by a back injury since Dec. 14.


  1. Always liked Leon, I’m pulling for him. He’s his own man not just Connors wing man.
    The Penguins made trades at the deadline just to make trades and it screwed up their chemistry. They should have just kept Kahun and not even bothered with the half a cadaver that used to be Patrick Marleau. They don’t need leadership, they have 3 generational talents. They should have stuck with the young and hungry guys. Getting some guys back from injury would sure help too.

    • Yep yep yep

      Chemistry is a mess

      When Marino and Dumo back; the top two pairs will be very strong and puck will move out of zone very smoothly; and unscreened D shots on opposing goalie from 17’ out won’t rocket wide of net and back down into own zone causing unprotected coverage and a goal against just secinds later

      If Sully could finally have balls …. like he had only one game last year (Game 1 against Isles) and sit JJ …. and then just sit back to see what happens ….. this team will have a massive ice tilt from their end to the oppositions end

      Tanger/ Dumo

      Re Chemistry loss ….. bang on

      It’s not so much the new additions ; but the simultaneous shake-up of every line (and that includes the unfortunate injury to ZAR that alters the fantastic chemistry Tanev-Blueger-ZAR had).

      Sid was just getting back into form and two new wingers were thrown at him

      It may have been better to keep Simon with Sid until Zucker/Sid are thinking as one. First couple of games with Zucker was good but Sheary (who I do like) in now has them out of sync

      I believe it may have been better for





      Lines 1 and 4 only have 1 new player; line 2 has played together before; and the “new” line just might click

      Starting a game with 4 completely new lines with 4 new faces ; and jumbling lines throughout the game is not working

      Press box for Riikola after playing excellent against LA and replacing him with Trottman (who had been playing sub-par recently) was pure insanity…. Sully obviously has a personal issue with Riikola that the public hasn’t found out about.

      It (whatever Riikola did ir said persinally to Sully) must be very bad for Sully to repeatedly sit him in the press box ; already down Marino and Dumo ; playing not one m; not two m; but three far inferior D-Men (Ruhwedel, Trittman, JJ) instead!!!

      The JJ thing if what the scuttlebutt thing is true (…. Jimbo interference with Sully insisting JJ play [so Jimbo diesn’t look bad]) …..is awful but it would bring clarity to the horrific craziness of playing him top minutes and repeatedly and severely costing the team

      Don’t forget Bjug returning soon ; another “shake-up” of lines ; and adding a player that was only on pace for 8 points for the full year !!!

      This last week has not been pretty at all.

      Fingers crossed on greatly improved chemistry; return of Marino and Dumo; and press box for JJ…… very very very soon

  2. While Draisaitl probably will win the scoring title , I can’t see him winning the Hart . He is minus 10 . To me it should be someone who can play both ends of the ice. Marchand should be considered. Although Marchand plays on a better defensive team, its because of the team buying in that makes them better defensively.
    Matthews plays on a poor defensive team and yet he has 77 points and is a plus twenty.
    His defensive play this year has jumped in leaps and bounds , while playing against the top players on the opposition

    • Vinnie, I bet he gets to a plus by end of the season. He has made great strides since he took over his own line 6 weeks or so ago and his +/- has moved with it.
      To your point he struggled in the first half but seems to have found back at C.
      He hasn’t done it consistently all year but his line has been carrying the Oil for a while now.
      Should his early season struggles prevent him from getting the Hart? I would vote for MacKinnon due to all the injuries the Avs have had and they are right there.

      • Ray according to Scott Oates last night Leon going to get 50 goals and win the Rocket Richard award as well.

        Ray no love for Pastrnak?

      • MacKinnon is definitely a great choice as well

      • I wasn’t knocking Draisaitl , he is obviously a superstar. I just like a more rounded 2 way player. You see him more than I do Ray. That’s great if he is becoming that type of player .
        I know it excites me to see Matthews backcheck and use his body to retrieve pucks. He must be watching Hyman.

      • Caper, I like Pasta, one of the best offensive players in the league, but kind of with Vinnie on the complete game thing. Not that he sucks defensively, he doesn’t, but C’s play such a big role all over the ice.
        But ya, that whole line is good all over the ice.

    • Vinnie to your point, since the +/- stat has been tracked there is not one player to win the Hart had a negative +/-

  3. NHL would never give a villain like bad Brad the heart but maybe Pasta has a shot depending where his goal total ends up. I agree on Matthews he is finding his end of the ice way more often. Things sure getting interesting out west very close race and would also love to see a Tampa -Leaf first round series.

  4. All the talking heads debate between McDavid, Draisaitl, McKinnon even Eichel while Buffalo was chasing a playoff spot and they mentioned Matthew’s, last night Freidman added Panarin to the list if NYR get in.

    Not once did any of them over the last month even utter Pasternak name. He only lead the NHL in goals and is second in its while playing a complete game with a +20.
    Logic is I’m guessing because they haven’t mentioned his name because he plays with Bergeron and Marchand, he plays on arguably the best line in hockey and presently the best team in the NHL and is the best player on that line and team.

    • Pasternak definitely deserves to be in the conversation.
      There are alot of options, and great hockey players to choose from

  5. Re the Hart trophy

    I wish the Hockey Writers were consistent in their voting rationale

    The award is supposed to be given to a player who is most valuable to his team; not most valuable to the league and not “best” player in the League

    I agree with all the kudos and support and rationale for the players posted about here today

    That said …. if I use only the truly defined parameters of most valuable to their team … maybe interpreted as which players most “carry” their team …. or which players have most positive influence on their team and team success …. or which player can a team most “not do without”…. and then compare those 31 players (one from each team)…

    I’d have to go with

    Eichel beating out the Breadman

    I’m weirdly saying this as true non-supporter of Eichel the man…. to me ego-mania and self-centeredness is not something I admire

    …. but to me the true “most valuable to his team” …. I have to give the nod to Eichel with the Breadman not far behind

    All other teams have great representatives but no others have players that are that much more valuable to their own team than Eichel (and the Breadman)

    • I would think the most important part of being a hart candidate is that the player makes his team successful.

      • I would say “makes his team MORE successful OR “better” than w/o him”

        The success of a team can’t lie with one individual

        One individual can make a team better

    • I disagree. Period end of sentence

      • Depends how it is defined. Now it is valuable, not best, which I agree is too subjective. Change the name and give it to the best would be my preference.

  6. Ray, i dislike the analogy that a C should win the Hart, just because he plays C.

    If you using Draisaitl as a comparison i would suggest Pastrnak +23 show he is a much more complete player then Draisaitl and his -10

    Too much emphasis is put on the fact a player is a C or not.

    The same argument is made for the Selke award that it should go to a C because his position is more important. What award is left for the wingers? Calder as long as there is no C, just the Rocket award i guess.

    At the end of the day the team with the most goals win and the player doing that the best right now and at the same time playing outstanding defense with a +20, meaning contributing a 200ft game is David Pastrnak. Not saying he should win but most definitely be in the conversation.

    Define the definition and i agree with Vinnie the player most lead his team to success and not making the playoffs is no success.

    Bergeron missed 7 games Pastrnak scored 5 goals in them 7 missed games by Bergy, he doesn’t rely on Bergy for his success.

    He is the Best player, on the best line, on the best team and if that doesn’t say he leads his team to success then i got nothing for you. (in general)

    • Well that is a pretty good flippin’ argument Caper.
      He should be in the conversation, and maybe even win it.
      You sold me.

    • Fine argument, Caper!

      I like Marchand as well.
      Wonder why he never gets Selke love?
      Bergeron is better, but not by much.

      I personally don’t put much stock into awards voted upon by media.
      Case in point, would be Jeter not being unanimous in mlb.
      Whoever didn’t vote for him is a petty person, I’d bet.
      O’riley winning the Selke is another.
      Absolute heights of foolishness.