NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2020

by | Aug 20, 2020 | News, NHL | 55 comments

The Lightning, Bruins, and Avalanche march on to the second round, the Canucks have the Blues on the brink of elimination, and the Canadiens stave off elimination. Check out the recaps in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Brayden Point’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 series-clinching victory in Game 5 of their first-round series, avenging last year’s first-round elimination by the Blue Jackets. Point also picked up two assists while Nikita Kucherov collected three helpers. Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno each had a goal and an assist for the Jackets.



Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was easily the most entertaining game of this series. The Lightning saw an early 2-0 lead erased as the Jackets took a 4-2 lead, but rallied back to tie the game, setting the stage for Point’s overtime heroics. It was a tough loss for the plucky Jackets, but their lack of scoring depth cost them against a Lightning club more motivated and better-prepared compared to last year’s series.

Patrice Bergeron’s goal in the dying seconds of the second period held up as the winner to give the Boston Bruins a series-clinching 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of their opening-round series. David Krejci tallied the game-tying goal in the second period and the Bruins shut the door on the Hurricanes in the third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins recovered their dominant form following a lackluster round-robin. They also overcame the departure of starting goalie Tuukka Rask for family reasons midway through this series. The Hurricanes have a bright future but they still have depth issues to sort out. Losing sniper Andrei Svechnikov to a leg injury in Game 3 didn’t help.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (two goals, two assists) carried his club to a series-clinching 7-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes in Game 5 of their first-round series. Nazem Kadri also scored twice for the Avs in their second-straight lopsided win. Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper gave up six goals on 30 shots. Following the game, it was revealed Arizona forward Christian Dvorak played this series with a separated shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t blame Kuemper for his club’s implosion. The Coyotes were overmatched from the start, and it was only because of their starting goaltender that they kept this series reasonably close through the first three games. The dam burst in Game 4 and there was no stopping the Avs’ offensive flood in Game 5.

The Vancouver Canucks have the defending champion St. Louis Blues on the brink of elimination following a 4-3 comeback win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in their series. The Canucks overcame a 3-1 deficit with unanswered second-period goals by J.T. Miller, Jake Virtanen, and Tyler Motte, who scored twice in this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues appeared to have this one in the bag when they went up 3-1, but they sagged as the Canucks pushed back throughout the second period. It was a costly win for the Canucks as defenseman Alexander Edler left the game after being struck in the head by a skate. An update on his status could come later today.

The Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination with a wild 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of their first-round series. Joel Armia scored twice, Nick Suzuki tallied the game-winner, and Brendan Gallagher snapped his goalless drought. Jakub Voracek scored twice for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most physical contest of the series. Jesperi Kotkaniemi earned a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Travis Sanheim in the second period, which the Flyers cashed in on with two power-play goals. The Habs rallied back with two goals to regain the lead. Joel Farabee tied it early in the third before Nick Suzuki and Phillip Danault put it away for the Habs. Gallagher set the tone for the Habs with his feisty play but may have suffered a fractured jaw after being cross-checked in the mouth by Matt Niskanen, who could face supplemental discipline.


MASSLIVE.com: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask reportedly left the club to deal with a specific family emergency. Rask spoke with WEEI’s Greg Hill, who said the netminder received a call from his wife that there was a medical emergency with their daughter. Hill didn’t reveal the details of what Rask told him, adding that the goalie’s daughter is okay now.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck will be in the lineup against the Washington Capitals in Game 5 tonight. Clutterbuck left Game 4 following a low hit from Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas. The Islanders lead the series 3-1.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): James Mirtle reports the Toronto Maple Leafs received permission from the Minnesota Wild to speak with former head coach Bruce Boudreau. No formal interview has been conducted and the Leafs declined to comment, but sources close to Boudreau say he’s intrigued. The Leafs seek a replacement for departed assistant coach Paul McFarland.

TSN: The Washington Capitals signed goaltender Zach Fucale to a one-year, two-way contract.


  1. You have to wonder how comfortable first-time head coach Keefe would feel behind the bench with Boudreau peeking over his shoulder

    • That is nonsense. Keefe is an excellent coach and Dubas choice. He would be pleased to add a high quality assistant. People who dont follow the team haven’t a clue about them. Just nonsense.

      • The reality is that several regular posters here know more about the Leafs than some of these leaf fans themselves.

        These same posters have been right the entire time.

        We’ve been saying the same things for 3 years.

        It’s simple observation.

        The Leafs have 2 maybe 3 years to pull it off. Matthews would only sign on for the shortest term available, then he’s leaving.
        It would be awfully short sighted to keep him for the entirety of said contract.
        Trade him with 1 year remaining on his contract and reap the rewards.

        Trading Kadri was the dumbest thing GMKD could have done.I said it at the time of the trade and I’m doubling down, now.
        And no. He wouldn’t have been suspended by now.
        Hiring Gabby would be a no brainer. He takes the reigns once Dubas corrects the situation at hand. Sheldon has a short leash just like everyone else.

      • Wendel save your breath. Everyone knows more than the people who follow the Leafs. Yes Leafs fans are delusional about many things, but who’s fans arent? They are equally delusional…like the poster above.

      • Lol. There you are!
        C’mon, Moore. Enlighten us with more of your sound hockey knowledge.

        Since you pull your info from here, go back through the weeks, months and years and show us where YOU were ever right and where we were wrong regarding your Leafs.

        Delusional? Hardly. More like realistic.
        Sensitive much?

    • Wendel are you Sure you know them well? I remember several comments and projections from you regarding the leafs and none of them have been close. They were suppose to be a great team , do big things . Or are you now like dubas and keefe and of the mind that everything they did was perfect and if it wasn’t for bad luck they would still be playing and no need to change anything moving forward. Strange how the luck always changes at playoff/ play in time. Year after year.

      • Wendel, like a lot in LeafsNation, has thin skin. Comes with 53 years of cup futility and 16 without one series win. Nonsense my ass. Any time you see someone with the head coaching experience of a Bruce Boudreau slotted in as an “assistant” back of a relative neophyte, the latter becomes a lame-duck. And don’t think for a moment that the players don’t realize that

      • The Leafs are in “win now” mode and have made absolutely no progress over the last few seasons. If anything, they may be regressing. If they get off to a poor start next season, Keefe will certainly feel the heat.

      • Torts outcoached Keefe , dubas hiring Keefe with other trades like Kadri,Ceci and some signings have clearly not worked. Dubas has next year to make something happen or he will be looking for work

      • Howard & BigBear – should Boudreau ever accept the assistant offer you just know it’s on the understanding that he’s the heir apparent. That would set up a ready-made crutch for Dubas if the Leafs do get off to a rocky start next season – fire Keefe and insert Boudreau – “see? I’m taking action … ” and then hope like hell the team responds immediately to the change as players often do.

        The thing is, unless you’re a confirmed die-hard Leafs fan you’re not allowed to comment on them – if you do it becomes “trolling” or, the new favourite interNet buzzword “hate.”

        Of course, we could get around that by following Pengy’s lead and name them as one of 2 “co-favorites” at which point we’d be free to comment – positively or negatively, depending upon the circumstances.

      • Or……Perhaps Boudreau will just do his job to the best of his ability to help the Leafs win. If head coach opportunity comes up, he will be free to move in the off season.
        I think you guys are reading a bit too much into this.

      • There is plenty of x head coaches that became or still are assistant head coaches.

        One just has to be confident in his own abilities and embrace other opinions that vary from their own.


      • That’s an equally valid theory, Ray. Except a lot of things I’ve read about Boudreau is that he loves being in charge, can be quite profane in his approach, is a Jack Adams winner (with Washington) and has a fantastic head-coach career record (NHL) of 540 – 279 – 108 with his teams being in the playoffs 10 of those 12 years, winning 5 playoff rounds.

        Somehow, I just can’t see someone with those credentials accepting an assistant job unless he believes he’s next in line, when there’s still the very real possibility of the Seattle job, and not to mention the probability that there could be more vacancies around the league.

      • I think it’s entirely possible he wants to be a head coach in the NHL again too George.
        I think the Leaf job is intended to be both an mentor type role and systems role.
        With the clear understanding that there is good chance this doesn’t last more than a year if an opportunity arises elsewhere.
        There needs to be trust in the relationship with Keefe or it will be dysfunctional.

      • And, at the outset, that’s all I was suggesting when I said “You have to wonder how comfortable first-time head coach Keefe would feel behind the bench with Boudreau peeking over his shoulder …”

        Keefe is only human and despite all the assurances and smiles and pats on the back, he nevertheless has to be wondering what Dubas is regarding as “the time to make a change” moment. Go through sports history – ALL team sports – and count the number of times a coach (or GM) has been canned not long after receiving a public “vote of confidence.”

      • The problem with the world is, intelligent people are full of doubts while stupid people are full of confidence. We’re seeing that every day now in the global pandemic. A classic example of the meaningless “vote of confidence” is how our finance minister received one from the PM just two weeks before his “resignation.” And make no mistake – that was a resignation or else.

      • I think this is more of a move to help Keefe then a plan to replace him.
        Having a sounding board who has been there, done that, can’t hurt when you’re new to what is a difficult job.
        If Keefe is worried about that he shouldn’t be a head coach.
        Boudreau is 65 and from the area. Maybe this is right up his alley.

      • Do most gm choose the assistants or is that the head coach ? Obviously the gm is involved with the finances involved etc but who ggenerally chooses the candidates?

        Is this a case of keefe wanting an experienced sounding board OR dubas filling in his staff as he sees fit?

        I would have assumed the coach fills in his staff? If that is the case , adding Boudreau seems curious… would Keefe be asking for that sounding board ? Seems a lot more likely this is dubas decision to consider Boudreau.

        If that is the case , I cant see how this move is anything more than a safety valve for dubas in case the year starts out poorly …if dubas was still sure keefe was his man , wouldn’t he allow him to choose his own staff ?

      • George,
        “The problem with the world is, intelligent people are full of doubts while stupid people are full of confidence”
        I know plenty of smart and confident people because they have earned the confidence through success.
        We see stupid people flocking to conspiracy theories because they don’t trust simple and obvious facts because they assume to know the other persons intentions.
        We don’t know Dubas’ intentions. Same as those who jumped on Rask for leaving. Do they look intelligent to you?
        Morneau and Keefe is not an apt comparison either.
        Craig – The Leafs asked for permission and from Leafs nation – “Sheldon Keefe has been highly involved in the interview process thus far as he looks to bring on a mentor to join him behind the bench.”

      • Ray
        Interesting , thanks for the quote, he’s involved in the interview process but is he choosing who gets the interviews ? Yes , I think by sounds of quote?
        Fairly confident the nation would push that narrative either way but assuming that is true, I have to give keefe credit and the chances of it being a good working relationship skyrocket .

      • Cite them Craig.i called loss to CBJ exactly saying Andersen would be out goaltended again 0-9 in potential elimination games, and would let in 2 soft goals in decide. He let in one soft one and a brutal one. Keefe and Dubas clock doesn’t start to even tick until next season after keefe has his FIRST training camp with team. Talk about teams u know something about which clearly isn’t the leafs for you or George.

      • Wendell you know exactly what you were posting before pandemic , you weren’t alone but I remember a few of the handles who were really far reaching leaf lovers and you were one, especially the weeks after keefe was hired. As you can see by posters and the mysterious leaf fan disappearing act today me and George are not in the minority here . You are though. Thinking Freddy is the problem and not the d , roster construction , lack of help defending from forwards first is a good indication of your opinion . Like Dubas and keefe , not willing or able to see the real issues with the team . It’s freddys fault , bad luck , kadris fault , Boston’s fault . Anyone or thing but there own , no accountability from the top . Dubas has a repeat of this year and he still has his job ? Like one of my favourite sports segments “come on MAN

      • The right mentor has the ability to bring out the best in us.
        I’m a big fan of Gabby.
        He definitely won’t hurt matters.

    • Here’s the link to former head coaches like Paul Maclean, Dan Blysma and so many other huge coaches that have one Stanley cups fairly recently at that who are now assistant coaches. Check out who’s currently the assistant to the famous John Tortorella. It happens a lot so typical overreaction by leaf and non leaf fans. Always a conspiracy in leafs land I guess even though it is obviously a normal thing.


      • How many have won over 500 games?

      • Silly question and comparison as there are only a hand full of coaches who have won that many games. There are great coaches including many Stanley cup winners, Jack Adam’s finalist and winners ect… it”s a perfectly normal thing for a great coach to be an assistant. Nothing to see here

  2. Remember when Point was an RFA and Tampa was in a cap crunch and nobody tendered him an offer sheet?

    If Tampa doesn’t run into injury problems, I don’t think anyone in the east is knocking them out. Boston is very good but I think Tampa knows they can’t blow it this year.

    • Its reseeding next round yes?
      So assuming Flyers and Islanders win their series

      Flyers vs Isles
      Lightning vs Bruins

      If somehow Habs keep going…

      Tampa vs Habs
      Bruins Vs Isles

    • How do we know he just wasn’t willing to sign one ? We don’t .
      Aho signed his, so we knew about it, could be many others have been offered , could be none. In my opinion , there are more offer sheets considered than we know

    • I need to root for the Habs, doesn’t feel right.

      • It doesn’t, but I’m on board, Ray.
        The really conflicting part is that I covet players like 6, 11, 15, 24, 31 and 41.

      • Ray it sound like your wishing for MTL to put out TB.

        Most likely going to have to go thru TB to get to the cup regardless. Might as well play them now.

        Maybe Wash wins next 3 and MTL wins

        Imagine all the Barzal talk in a Bos vs NYI

        No offense MTL fans I just want your team gone now!

      • Ya, get that Caper. But the later the better to play TB. You never know what can happen and I think we match up better vs Isles.
        I suppose we’re pretty healthy right now so maybe as good a time as any is another way to look at it.

      • I’m torn on the Islanders. I have to admire the job Barry Trotz has done in preparing them for an offensive juggernaught like the Caps and I’d love to see them go all the way.

        On the other hand, the more they win the lower that 1st round pick Ottawa has of theirs. Ah well, al things considered – go Isles

    • George I dont pretend to be any kind of expert on any team but the leafs but u seem to know everything. Rest assured you are stupid regarding your leafs assessments. The leafs need only 2 moves in offseason and one is already completed with barrie and ceci gone. The 2nd for anyone who watches this team is a replacement goalie, the best one they can find but it cant be Anderesen or next season will be a repeat.

      • If keefe is an excellent coach why didn’t he play sandin and lilegren or whoever else you think steps in as a replacements for those two guys leaving ? Your saying the leafs would be better with them in the lineup right , shouldn’t you ice your best roster in the play in ? Or is this growth going to take place over the next few months ? LOL again , note the leaf fan disappearing act today to support your opinion . Probably just coincidence or bad luck haha

  3. Tampa is in a cap crunch even worse can you spell Mikhail Sergachev

    • Less Than meets the eye. Resigned to losing Killorn, & will lose a contract to the Kracken. One High price old D leaves, & Foote arrives on schedule. Bridge contracts rather than big money get you to the end of the Stamkos deal; & in the shuffle where all the teams have to move people around, don’t you think good folks will take a little less for good situations…Bolts have a history of good chemistry and hometown discounts. Just have to be better off than most other teams, cap hurting won’t be done in a vacuum.

      • Ricardo,

        “Losing a contract to the Kraken” happens only AFTER next season.

        Sergachev gets an offer sheet, imo, hopefully Bergevin has learned his Aho lesson and goes in high enough.

        5 years at app 8 $mill should do it.

        And yes, the Habs have the space.


    • Craig, Keefe made a critical mistake for Game 5 against Columbus by shifting John Tavares to the wing and Nylander to centre. This, in an elimination game.
      The juggling had panic written all over it and I’m sure the guys in the room wondered what the hell was happening.
      Columbus deserved to win but the coach didn’t help the team or himself with that move.
      I love Boudreau but I don’t see him coming to Toronto. He’ll be a head coach somewhere else next year.

  4. I thought I heard that Montreal talked to him and he declined to accept their offer sheet? Or was that just a rumor?

  5. Kudos and congrats Bolts; Bruins; Avs for moving on

    Bolts/Jackets game very exciting

    Avs … wow… looking more and more likely Avs/Knights in WCF

    Mr. Markstrom and ‘Nucks depth guys have Blues on ropes… I did not see that coming… should be a very exciting game 6

    The battle of the dueling tenders is something to watch in this back and forth Habs/Flyers series… We just found out that Hart is human after all. Re potential suspensions…. if Koka gets a game… me thinks the Niskanen cross check to Gallagher’s face gets a game (or 2) for sure. Friedman reported a rumour after game of possible jaw broken (Gallagher)… both Koka and Gallagher out…. yikes

    Me thinks Ovi et al ; leaving bubble tonight or tomorrow morning; but Flames push it to 7

    • If it’s a small break Gallagher will play with a full protective shield. Been done before

      • Hi George

        Good to hear… thanks for letting me know

      • Ummm, haven’t heard anything Pengy. I said “IF it’s a small break …”

      • Oops

        weak eyes and scanning quickly 🤪

        Missed the “if”

        Hoping he’s OK and at most a minor break

      • He’s out indefinitely.

    • Agree on Niskanen Pengy, that has to be a game. I think Koka paid his dues and is back.

      • Hi Ray

        Per George above… broken; albeit small break…. deliberate with broken bones… cross check to face… HAS to be a game

        Agree that Koka sitting out most of the game; paid his dues… but who knows what the safety committee will decide if (as I hope) they give Niskanen a game

        To put it another way… if Koska gets 1… Niskanen MUST get 2 minimum

        One was clumsy late in his motion; started when he was facing the shoulder and not the numbers; and happened early in the game

        The other was a cowardly and purposeful attempt to injure (could even suggest attempt to remove from series) and done very late in the game; AND refs missed it… so Niskanen was not punished at all for that hit

    • I wouldn’t be so quick to count out the Caps, Ovi got slashed behind the back of his leg last game and it woke him up. Best not to engage Ovi.

      • Ain’t over til it’s over Caper!
        I wouldn’t count out the Flames or Blues either.

      • Hi Caper

        You may be right about today’s game; but I just can’t see the current Caps as being one of those historical teams that rally from 0-3 in series to win

        Possible …. yep

        Probable…. to me; no

  6. George what you said about Keefe makes perfect sense to me and if people believe he has a long leash they are nuts. Toronto starts year 6-14 Keefe will be looking for a job unless scooba boy doesn’t care about his job. Leafs are farther away than two moves and I don’t see their goalie as the problem. Must move Marner and maybe one more forward for two solid defensive D men and sign another defenseman with a mean streak. Toronto has to figure this out before Matthews leaves town because when he leaves Tavares will be to old to lead them to the promise land.

  7. The Blues NEVER have ANY game in the bag when Jake Allen is in net. This is the same Jake Allen that was the #1 goaltender for the Blues when they were in 31st place in the NHL in January, 2019. Allen can look good one minute and completely fall apart the next as was witnessed in the 2nd period.
    Now it is back to the bench for Allen and the Blues will see if Binnington can regain his 2019 form that led the Blues to the Stanley Cup.

  8. I Didnt know Boudreau is now, an assistant coach .
    As per someone’s above comment – Keefe ‘s mentor .
    Awesome decision .
    Shanahan and Dubais now need someone to mentor them .
    They have both made poor decisions , and I strongly feel Dubais isn’t ready ..
    Kadri , for example – Another major blunder in Leaf land , as Mark Hunter mentioned , this trade will come back to haunt them , in which it has ….
    They need to do a blockbuster trade , A Gilmour type !
    Dubais isn’t the guy to pull a trade off, of this magnitude !
    Matthews is untouchable !
    Outside of that, throw together a package and get yourselves an impact defenseman and some grit !