NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 31, 2020

by | Aug 31, 2020 | News, NHL | 30 comments

The Stars, Islanders, and Golden Knights are on the verge of advancing to the Conference Finals. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars took a 3-1 series lead over the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-4 victory in Game 5 of their second-round series. Goals by Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov within 32 seconds in the third period opened a 5-2 lead for the Stars, who held off a late surge by the Avs. Radek Faksa had a goal and two assists for the Stars while Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin scored twice. Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz was lifted in the third after giving up five goals on 26 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars can wrap this up with a win in Game 5 later tonight. They won this game in the first period, jumping to a 3-0 lead and out-shooting Colorado 10-5. The Avs were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the game. While they dominated most of the next two periods and narrowed the Dallas lead to 3-2 entering the third, those two quick goals by Hintz and Gurianov were the game-breakers.

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (NHL Images).

Brock Nelson scored twice as the New York Islanders held on for a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 and a 3-1 series lead. Jean-Gabriel Pageau broke a 1-1 tie in the third period followed by Nelson’s second goal which proved to be the game-winner. Isles goalie Thomas Greiss made 36 saves for his first playoff win since 2016.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, most of the Flyers’ leading scorers struggled to find the back of the net. Jakub Voracek’s four goals all came in the previous series against Montreal. Two of Kevin Hayes’ three playoff goals came in Game 2 against the Isles. Couturier’s two goals have come in this series, but Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, and James van Riemsdyk still seek their first goals of this postseason.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in just his third start of this postseason to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks and a 3-1 series lead. The Golden Knights overcame a 3-2 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals by Nate Schmidt, Max Pacioretty and William Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a heartbreaking loss for the Canucks. They played well through two periods but defensive breakdowns in the third proved costly against the Golden Knights, who maintained their poise despite blowing 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Boston Bruins winger Nick Ritchie won’t receive supplemental discipline for boarding Tampa Bay Lightning forward Yanni Gourde in Game 4 of their second-round series on Saturday. Ritchie received a five-minute major for the hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if Ritchie plays tonight. His undisciplined play in Game 4 didn’t help the Bruins.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Evgeni Malkin as their MVP for 2019-20.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports former NHL coach Peter Laviolette is “very much a contender” for the Washington Capitals’ vacant head-coach position.


  1. Among the biggest surprises of these playoffs is the seemingly disorganized play of the Colorado Avalanche who are discovering – as did TB the past couple of playoffs – that you can’t win a series by merely turning on your power for 10-15 minutes a night.

    I don’t see anyone stopping Vegas from emerging in the West who will have an “easier” path to the finals than TB when they finally go head to head with the Islanders – easily the biggest surprise in the East.

    • George what we are seeing in Colorado is the affect of losing their number 1 goalie. Not sure if Grubauer would’ve been the difference maker but certainly would’ve increase their chances greatly.

      • And Erik Johnson.
        Asst captain and plays over 20 minutes a night. Veteran guy who could calm things down on the ice.

      • So, a lack of depth maybe? Dallas has been without Ben Bishop for quite a while and has also lost D Stephen Johns

      • Ya, Khudobin is a really good backup.
        And E. Johnson is a really good D man. No offence to Connauton, but pretty big drop off.

        I thought Francouz would be better, but to be honest I haven’t watched much of that series, so not sure if it is an overall structure thing or…
        Just going by what I read.

    • Vegas has been playing great in all areas and also has the luxury of two good goalies. I agree with you George. As surprising as Dallas has been, I believe Vegas will take care of them in five. The Islanders are my pick to surprise in the east. I just have to admire a group that has no big stars overcome an opponent who has a plethora of them. Gotta love how Trotz has them running!

      • If Trotz isn’t coach of the year – and he isn’t even nominated – the NHL has s*&t-for-brains.

      • Hi Rock

        With you re West. I was very strong pre playoffs; of VGKs being in WCF. I didn’t envision a strong chance that they would be playing Stars (I thought Avs). Yes, I believe VGKs now positioned to get to SCF (again); but I don’t necessarily agree in 5 (over Stars). Could do; just not as confident.

        Re East. To me… Bolts to rep in SC

        Kudos, as you stated, to Isles for success w/o superstars but I have so much trouble watching (and I am definitely not excited about) their type of game. I love me some high scoring; high chance; back and forth games. Isles built to win 1-0; 2-1 or 3-2. To me, not entertaining hockey.

      • Ya, gotta like the Isles and Trotz.
        Not much on star power, but deep up front. And solid defenders on D.
        Getting Pageau helped, one of those guys who produces more when the playoffs start. They are all on the same page, a tribute to Trotz, and obviously well coached, but the players are the ones executing.

        Trotz’s sister was my dental hygienist for a while when I lived in Calgary. She didn’t have much of a neck either.

  2. George:

    That series between TB & the NYI ….will be very interesting to see if it will be a repeat of TB vs CBJ last year….I think Tampa has toughened themselves up sufficiently to avoid the repeat…

    All this being done without superstar ( little sarcasm there) Stamkos…..beginning to wonder how much the highly paid individual players matter in hockey perhaps in contrast to basketball.

    Poor Dubas with his aura of being a manager of the future may have to learn the past endures longer than young people think.

    It takes few decades to learn how powerful inertia really is.

  3. Lots of folks crapping on Ritchie and yet for me it was his best game.

    I found Eddie O and Brian Boucher funny, they called Ritchie first penalty a bad one when his teammate got nailed with a dirty hit from Paquette and then the penalty that Cernak took a roughing against Pastrnak for sticking his stick in the glove a good penalty.

    Sticking up for your teammate after a questionable hit is a bad penalty and taking a penalty because a player stick was at the glove of your goaltender was a good one.

    If Ritchie didn’t respond the way he did i be saying get him off the ice. He did exactly what he should’ve done.

    The 5 minute major was the result of Gourde was a result of Gourde playing dead on the ice, should’ve been 2 minute penalty. Bad call and bad penalty.

    Ritchie plays tonight and based on the last game he should.

    Chris Wagner injury is a good think.

    What surprises me of this series is how badly Boston D has played. Not one single Dman has elevated or played at their regular season level.

    Chara should be scratch but even i wouldn’t do that to him. He is way out of his element i rather have JJ back there. (ok maybe not)

    • I completely disagree, that’s got to be a 5 minute penalty plus.
      The puck was long gone, the hit was grossly late and no way Gourde was or should have been expecting that hit.

      This is a type of hit that can end a career. No place for it in the game.

    • I didn’t like the hit either, it was late and Gourde wasn’t expecting it.
      I didn’t think it was in the back or the head so I get why he wasn’t suspended. He got a major and served it. Seems like more than similar hits are getting and this definitely hasn’t been the only questionable hit these playoffs.
      So, my only issue is the consistency of these calls.
      Especially the hits in the back when facing the boards, whether they have the puck or don’t. Sooner or later somebody’s career will get ended.
      Like this one on McAvoy in Rd 1. No call. I get that he had the puck, but these types of hits are dangerous and you can’t hit a player from behind unless he turns his back to the player just prior. They happen regularly.

      Time for the PA and league to provide clear guidelines to players and officials. And enforce it to end them. Until they do, we get what we are getting.


      I play Ritchie again, they need a physical guy out there, he just needs to be smart.

    • I agree with all of this …

  4. OldBlueDog – yup – inertia: an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

    It could be that the figure-filberts have developed their own law of inertia … unfortunately, citing Chayka as another example and the cap nightmare in Arizona, it doesn’t appear to be gaining any momentum

    • George, you under the apple tree again?
      Any theories about repetition? Asking for Ron.

    • George

      Were you watching David Suzuki and/or Bill Nigh the Science Guy last night. 🙂

      • LOL. Nah – just that when OldBlueDog mentioned “inertia” that sprang to mind.

  5. Ritchies hit came just 0.6 seconds after the puck left Gourdes stick.

    Clown show.

    How about that penalty on Nate after Perry ran into him.

    Clown show.

    How about Dom Rousell getting called for anything and everything, yet Vegas can run guys all game, every game.

    Clown show.

    The Flyers are dealing with the same crap in their series.

    Clown show.

    I’ll hang up and listen from here on in.

    • Sop that penalty on McKinnon who was playing the puck…. well was stupid. Talk about an over reaction by the refs and the strangest part was the ref went and watched the replay. Pretend to be hurt and you’ll get the benefit of the doubt.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark

      I might accept the Clown Show if they were consistent Clowns.

      It seems there is not only inconsistency in the same game same crew; but game to game same series; and one crew compared to another in a different series.

      If there ends up being another scenario like last year (erroneous 5 min maj. call involving Little Joe that costs not only game, but series)…. then the Shite will hit the fan.

      I’m not talking a repeat 5 min maj. mistake as the new rule allows for review; but with tight games; any 2 min penalty called or missed at critical times in one goal games; and possibly in deciding games; is crazy to think about….

      say …. missed and/or wrongfully called over the glass in a one goal game; late Game 7

      say… friendly fire miss called minor high stick in same scenario as above

      phantom trips; missed obvious trips

      when is it icing… skating at wide stance at 1/4 speed so puck beats D-man down the ice to red line ; when normal speed he would have caught it; no icing!!

      Net front pushing and shoving in front of goal with multiple players giving/getting face washes; only one player sent to box

      missed picks resulting in goals

      Interference on the goalie— subjective

      Call nothing for 55 minutes then call a “questionable” infraction with the game tied and/or goal diff; deciding game.

      Call everything; then miss critical call late in game when tied or goal diff.

      The list is lengthy

      From all the games I’ve seen so far; there is not a team that has not benefitted from a missed or blown call; and not a team that has been hosed from a missed and/or blown call.

      Consistency from the stripes is all that we ask.

      • George O you’re partially right; now they can review calls. Like they did with Ritchie, no arguement about a 5 min major; but for me it could’ve also been a two minute minor.

        They also review the McKinnon call and still got it wrong. Again it was because Perry was injured, all goes back to the Dallas game a year ago or was it two years ago.

  6. In all my years of watching all major sports it never ceased to amaze me when, if everything else failed, fans of certain teams would scream “we wuz robbed …” and “I calls ’em like I sees ’em” to the point where both phrases appear in modern dictionaries. And don’t get me started on conspiracy theorists.

    Officials have to make calls instantaneously – do they sometimes get it wrong? Of course – they’re human. But the vast majority of times they get it right.

    I remember when baseball first began to appear on TV and I – and a host of others I imagine – swore that a runner did – or did not – beat the throw, or that a grounder down the line at first or third was fair – or foul. Then came slow-mo and I was amazed when, I’d say 99% of the time, the umpires were right.

    • Same with hockey TV broadcasts. He was – he wasn’t – offside – on and on until slo-mo showed them to be right most of the time. Now it’s gotten ridiculous with “super slo-mo” – oh look, the back part of his trailing blade was clearly an INCH past the blue line when he took the puck – the HORROR – how did he miss that – yadda yadda yadda.

    • Hi George

      I never challenge the fact that calls are subjective sometimes and are done at the split second; and I truly believe that Refs are doing their absolute best. I don’t think there is any one team being dumped on more that others. Some bad and/or missed calls at critical times; yes.

      I do believe that when there are fans in the house and a full crowd; that there are times that the subjective call becomes firm in favour of the home team. That is “at times” but certainly not the norm; and certainly not the same city. I have seen games in which Leafs (at home) have got a couple of calls going their way and/or no call on an obvious trip by a Leaf, etc

      My issue is the inconsistencies we are seeing; in game; in series, series to series.

      There are tight games happening; some going to OT; and consistency is all that the players want.

      Call it the same 10 seconds into the first game as you do triple OT in Game 7.

      They can’t change rules now; but two things I would like to see for next year

      Challenge of
      1) over the glass penalties
      2) challenge of friendly fire minors called

      Both come with same challenge risk— you get challenge wrong; penalty and/or loss of time out.

      Let’s say late in game you are tied in deciding game; phantom friendly fire minor for high sticking goes against you.

      Challenge and successful… no PK for you; game on. If you were wrong… now you are killing a 2 man advantage PP. Thus only challenging if they are dang sure.

      • Pengy, I think they should just scrap that “over the glass” crap entirely. Especially when a team is trying to kill a penalty, thereby creating a 5-on-3. Delay of game my butt – not when they frequently go to commercial during each period and are “delaying” the game a helluva lot longer than it takes to get another puck and have a face-off?

      • I get the over the glass penalty or it will become a PK tactic to ease pressure again. Agree that it still happens too often when it is accidental.

        I like the friendly fire challenge idea.

        How about we just get rid of the skate not on the ice off side. No advantage was gained, they are not completely in the zone.
        I would be fine with no off side challenges at all. How many blatant offside’s have their been that have been missed that led to a goal? to George’s point, is it really that big of an advantage to enter the zone an inch ahead of the puck?

      • Ray, I was like everyone else when a call went against my team of choice, but I gradually learned a long time ago that the “anger” was simply useless emotion, and the “crap happens.” Just shrug and move on.

        As I did a few years back when, in a playoff, and when that asinine crease rule was in effect, a key goal was disallowed because “the plane of his body was in the crease …”

    • Certainly not crying, George.
      TB has been far superior to Bos in just about every facet of the game.
      That plus terrible bounces and just poor execution won’t bode well in trying to oust the Lightning. I’m hopeful, but not at all optimistic.

      My main area of contention is the inconsistent calls throughout all four series.

      The Avalanche and Canucks are perfect examples. They can’t catch a break. As soon as they build or about to build momentum, a call soon deflates any hopes of cashing in.

      It usually evens out in the end, but that’s not the point. Why should the refs even feel like they have to “even out the calls.”
      Just call each game the same way.
      If team A is undisciplined enough to get called for say 8 infractions, and team B is playing clean hard hockey, within the rules, why do they feel the need to even it out and start the parade to the box for team B?

      Reeves was abusing guys the entire game and nothing. Rousell plays heavy and he’s immediately escorted to the box.
      I don’t even like the Canucks!
      With that said, It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong, but I don’t believe I am.
      I just don’t enjoy when the officials seem to determine the outcome.

      Looks to me like we’re set for a New York vs Vegas final.

      I’ll root for the Isle, but I won’t be going out of my way to watch it.

      Sour grapes for me.😉

  7. How does any team “blow” a 1-0 and/or “blow” a 2-1 lead???