NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2020

by | Aug 8, 2020 | News, NHL | 41 comments

The Maple Leafs rally to tie their series with the Blue Jackets while the Canucks, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Coyotes, and Islanders march on to the playoffs. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Auston Matthews’ overtime tally capped a four-goal rally by the Toronto Maple Leafs to edge the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3, tying their best-of-five qualifying-round series at two games apiece. The Leafs were down 3-0 late in the third when they tied it on goals by William Nylander, John Tavares, and Zach Hyman, setting the stage for Matthews’ OT heroics. The fifth and deciding game will be played Sunday.


    SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until that rally, Toronto looked done and dusted. With the game and the series seemingly in the bag following a solid defensive performance, the Jackets were unprepared for the Leafs’ desperate push. Both teams are now even in third-period comebacks. The Vancouver Canucks are marching on to the playoffs after Chris Tanev’s overtime goal gave them a series-clinching 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 4 of their qualifier. Tanev enjoyed a three-point performance while Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes, and Tanner Pearson each had a goal and an assist.  


SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series was a big step forward for the rebuilding Canucks. The Wild, meanwhile, enter an off-season that could lead to some significant roster changes. This game may have been the last one for long-time Wild captain Mikko Koivu. 

Carey Price had a 22-game shutout as he backstopped the Montreal Canadiens over the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 in Game 4 of their qualifier, winning the series 3 games to 1. Artturi Lehkonen snapped a scoreless tie on a beautiful pass by Paul Byron late in the third period. Shea Weber put it away with an empty-netter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens out-worked and out-hit the Penguins, whose intensity seemed to wan as they struggled to put pucks past Price. The Habs goalie was outstanding in this series, silencing (for now) the critics claiming he was past his prime. 

Dominik Kubalik snapped a 2-2 third-period tie to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2, series-ending Game 4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews collected two assists while Corey Crawford kicked out 43 shots for the win. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks had solid goaltending, veteran postseason experience, and scoring depth. The Oilers had McDavid’s line and not much else.

An overtime goal by Brad Richardson propelled the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 series-clinching win over the Nashville Predators. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 49 saves, team captain Oliver-Ekman-Larsson collected two assists, and Phil Kessel tallied his first goal of the series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuemper was the difference throughout this series. Nashville dominated much of the play but couldn’t crack the Coyotes netminder. The Preds also didn’t get much secondary scoring in this series. 

Anthony Beauvillier scored twice as the New York Islanders wrapped up their series against the Florida Panthers with a convincing 5-1 victory in Game 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers had little answer for the Islanders’ defensive system. Their lack of depth could lead to a front-office shakeup as a report claimed Dale Tallon could be out as general manager.


LAS VEGAS SUN: The top seed in the Western Conference is on the line as the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche face off today in round-robin action.

TSN: Steven Stamkos will miss today’s final round-robin game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain is still recovering from an undisclosed injury suffered during Phase 2 training. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Stamkos is considered to be out indefinitely for the time being.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Jakub Voracek is unavailable to play in today’s contest with the Lightning. As per league protocols, the club cannot elaborate as to his condition. Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Thursday’s win over the Washington Capitals.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings have loaned Filip Zadina to HC Ocelari Trinec (Czech) and Moritz Seider to Mannheim, his former German League club.

TSN: The NHL is continuing its investigation into allegations of pre-draft fitness testing by the Arizona Coyotes. A ruling could come on Monday.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken named Everett Fitzhugh as their team broadcaster, making him the NHL’s first Black full-time play-by-player announcer.





  1. NJ joins Ottawa with 3 picks in the 1st round. Adds to the prospect of seeing more trades than usual before or on draft day.

    • Hi George ; if I did my calls right, Sens odds of having their third first round pick at its highest (16th overall) is still possible due to the upsets.

      Of course that would require Isles losing first round; AND all of Habs; Hawks; Coyotes; and Flames pulling off first round upsets. No upsets (which includes the Isles losing)…. 20th pick I think

      3rd; 5th; 20th; 33rd; plus 3 more likely in the high 40’s/low 50’s

      If that does end up 16th… and if Askarov still available at say 11 or 12…. why not ask to parlay 16th & 33rd & the lowest of the remains 2nds to move up and grab him?

      • “Calcs” not “calls”

      • Because, as I’ve said numerous times, their primary need is offense – not goaltending, of which they have a few promising prospects.

        Dorion won’t be using that Islanders pick to take anyone – and possibly not even the 33rd pick. They will be parts of deals made with teams absolutely needing to clear cap space to land – NOT a top 3 F or Top 2 D-man just to forestall yet another misinterpretation – but solid established 3 to 6 F in their mid- to late 20s with term and cap hits that make it practical to be moved by the teams needing space. In other words, NOT players with limited NHL experience/prospects making minimal salaries. He has enough of those in his own system.

  2. 😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁😭😁

    That’s my two feelings from last night

    Very very sad for Pens. Hoping now GMJR fires Sully. He switched goalies and did that through a presser effectively throwing Murray (913 in series; over 970 when JJ on the bench) under the bus and trying to lay the series (cause of being down 2-1 on) oh so wrongfully on Murray. This obviously peeved the team as they appeared completely depressed and unmotivated. Had Sully switched but also sat JJ ; then the team could have got behind the decision. Two losses completely on JJ. Assistant coaches begged for him to be sat in game 4; fans blasted the internet and called in to radio pleading for him to be sat. Instead; Sully pretends all is good and sits Murray. Changes must happen and it starts with firing Sully and then buying out JJ.

    Congrats to Habs. Fantastic series all of them; major kudos to Price; several kudos to the big 3 d-men; honourable mention to Suzuki. Well done

    Leafs …. tale of two hockey games… comeback certainly appeases a great deal; the faltering/collapse on Thursday. For Jackets fans; yes we Leafs are not blind … we did see Hyman do two obvious trips with no calls in the last 90 seconds and one of those only a dozen or so seconds before he scored to put it to OT. Yes a call of a penalty for those obvious trips would have won the series for Columbus; but Refs had put their whistles away for the final 2 minutes. It’s typical as they don’t want to decide a game. Yes had Jackets scored on the EN series is over. A couple of inches (EN) and two blown calls on Hyman. We get it. We’re not gloating; just happy to be playing Sunday. Unfortunate for Jackets but sets up an exciting game 5 Sunday. Elvis played great until those final 2 mins. I’m very happy Leafs won but know it can go either way on Sun …🤞🤞

    Congrats to Hawks; really thought Oil was going to come back and win. Don’t see them beating VGKs or AVs though

    Congrats ‘Nucks ; Isles and Coyotes. I’m not overly confident that they get past 1st round ; but good on ya.

    Sunday…. GO LEAFS GO

    If they lose… my devotion for the playoffs then goes to my third fav team … VGK

    • For the first time ever your jj post mimics the overall feel in Pittsburgh as indicated by local journalists sports talk etc.

      • What the heck am I missing here? Johnson played 17:22 and had a zero +/-. Letang (26:09) and Schultz (18:28) were on the ice for both Habs goals.

        By what stretch of analysis can this loss be laid at the feet of Johnson?

      • One thing NHL on-ice officials will never be accused of and that’s consistency. As Pengy says, they tucked away their whistles in the final few minutes and let Hyman get away with two blatant trips with the Leafs down by a goal – but their confreres in Edmonton choose to make a call on Nurse with 2 minutes to go and the Oilers down by a goal.

      • George

        It was not JJ that caused last nights game… he caused the series (2 of 3 directly on him) …. plus team was pissed that the culprit of two losses and ALL Pens stats for the last two years is effectively “vindicated “ by the coach throwing Murray under the bus. Murray (970 w/o JJ) would have been 3-0 w/o JJ; Pens would have moved on

        If Sully has done the right thing game 2 on… Pens win series 3-1

        After game two; shows he’s willing to make a change… Laffy in McC out… and McC wasn’t playing super but far better than one of his line mates (soon to be 41) …. a change but not sitting the worst player who already cost game 1?

        Then JJ also cause for game three loss

        Next morning presser… Sully says he likely won’t publicly divulge any changes for game 4… fans, asst coaches; owners; and all Pens players (except JJ) are now very excited as that hints that a change is coming and that JJ will finally sit and Pens can play at their true level

        Then yesterday morning… Sully does an about face; throws Murray to the wolves (again let me add; Murray in series over all at 913 with his season at 899; and series w/o JJ 970; and he has two cups)

        That was a slap in the face to 19 Pens players for Friday night

        They played depressed and unmotivated and rightfully so

        Twice when JJ already on ice and Sully nodded to Gino to go on… Gino stared daggers at Sully

        No Pens player wants to be around JJ when he’s in the ice

        Now that they have been upset in the series and sit back and review the tension that Sully has created (all he had to do was also sit JJ Friday if he was so hung ho on the goalie flip and things would have been fine; they could have rallied around it)

        He absolutely does not have their confidence now

        This all because his ego can’t sit JJ (after he publicly misdirected game 1’s loss from the true culprit to the forwards )

        Just a little reminder re Game 3…. JJ minus three….. and effectively via the game sheet he handed in on game 4 he’s telling his players… JJ is doing fine; this is all Murr’s fault… now let’s go out there and win it… and Oh by the way… Happy 33rd B-Day Sid

        Fire Sully

        Buyout JJ

        Then Pens can breathe a very big sigh of relief

      • Most of that is interesting fiction pengy.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Conjecture at the outside instead of interesting fiction. This has to be extremely close to what happened (in generality). The truth is in the gist of it and shown by what happened

        As a coach; you may have some input on player acquisitions but once the GM has finished any signings and trades… it is the coach’s job to get the best out of his players

        This was not done. NOT AT ALL:

        When game 1 is lost solely because of 1 player; you can shut up; but you can’t lay the blame on others.. . He did…. effectively (by blaming the forwards) was inferring basically that ZAR … who was EXACTLY where he should have been; asked JJ to screw up poke check; pivot wrong way; knock him (ZAR) over ; then plough 200 lbs of Habs into Murr knocking him over so he has no chance at a save…. that’s the forwards fault?????

        As a reminder ; ALL Pens who have played a minimum of 5 games in last two years have massively better stats when JJ on the bench

        Pens win game 2…. need a change after a win ????well let’s swap out McC when he had the most jump on the line and Marleau had slept through 2 games…. mmmmmm???

        Pens lose game three ; all on JJ… next morning Sully tells media that he won’t be publicly letting them know changes…. getting the excitement and buzz going as it inferred there was a change (or changes) coming for game 4 and an abundance of excitement that he would finally sit JJ. Reminder; at that point ; JJ had personally cost the Pens 3 of the last playoff/playin games AND Sully had shown he’d do it (sat JJ 1st game last year). Players and fans excited

        Then next day (Fri morning) he contradicts previous statement to press (that he wouldn’t be publicly sharing game roster changes) and announces he’s flipping goalies (from a 2 time SC winner; who was outplaying his regular season at 913 [over 899] and was 970 with JJ on the bench)… w/o announcing any other changes (he did put McC back in)… effectively announcing to the world the maniacal and fantastical assertion that Pens were down 1-2 in series ALL due to Murray; instead of the truth (JJ)

        Had he at the same time; announced McC/ Laffy swap AND the absolutely required JJ/Riikola swap…. that would have been acceptable…. instead it clearly sent the wrong message to the players (message he was saying… Murr’s fault ; all fixed now) and they were clearly miffed and definitely not motivated AT ALL

        He has lost the dressing room

        I stick with my firm belief that the ship can be righted ……but (1) MUST have JJ gone (now only two options is buyout or WBS [but he’ll likely create a problem there] ; as trade options will now be in the league of 50% retention AND a First AND Poulin AND another prospect; and (2) now that he’s lost the room; firing Sully

        I can actually imagine Gino telling his agent that he’s had it with JJ on the team. He actually got his agent to convince GMJR to tell Sully before the 19/20 season to have Gino play as much as possible w/o JJ on at same time (as he [JJ] had completely crippled Gino’s production in 18/19 ) . That was done; Gino’s stats took off

        Then Sully pulls this fiasco this week.. to me it is not unimaginable for Gino to tell his agent to relay to GMJR… “fire JJ or trade me”…not out of the realm of possibilities

        The absolute daggers stare (@Sully) that Gino had (twice) on Friday when JJ was already out and Sully motioned Gino to get on; out of rotation. If looks could kill… wow😡🤬

        There could absolutely only be 1 single Pen happy about Friday’s presser… he wears #3; and I’m hoping that he never plays a single game again for Pens; and for the excitement and integrity of the league; never plays another NHL game ever.

        I’ve absolutely nothing against the man. I’ve never met him. He just may be the greatest friend/guy you’ll ever meet. I’ve never read anybody disparage him personally. I have no idea. I’m sure if he was in anyway not a likeable person; we would have heard about it. I am just against what he does to the entire organization while he is in the ice

        With a buyout; he loses less than $1.4 M total take home $’s; retires at 33 to spend time with his fam; no longer has teammates fearing his presence on the ice and media eating him alive (I can’t blame them) …. Pens breathe a sigh of relief ; all Pens stats improve; Pens still remain very competitive….. Win Win Win


    • Pengy you are simply WRONG! JJ did NOT lose the series for PITTSBURGH

      Pitts played uninspired hockey and were not anywhere close to mid season form.

      Unfortunately for you and your daily rant about JJ has given you nothing but tunnel vision.

      JJ played a good game yesterday and the penguins lost; Malkin play was lethargic.

      Crosby didn’t play well, not up to his standards

      In your world with the way JJ played yesterday Pittsburgh should’ve blown out Montreal but they still loss.

      Don’t worry as i stated this is a 2 part series; Part two is Monday night and all Penguin fans will be chanting “Lafreniere, Lafreniere, Lafreniere”

      • Hi Caper

        Pens won’t get Lafrennierre … Karma just can’t allow it

        Re cause of series loss… see the post I just did above responding to Chrisms

        I firmly believe that there is absolutely no chance Pens lose this series if Sully sat JJ game 2 onward

        Series in essence lost by Sully decisions (not sitting JJ and flipping goalies while still playing JJ for game 4… wrong message and move) and statements (After game 1 defends JJ , blames forwards????;) ; after JJ hand delivered game 3… Sully effectively publicly laid blame on Murray (2 time Stanley cup winner playing at 913 and 970 when JJ on bench) while publicly announcing the change less than 24 hours after stating he wouldn’t

        So … over all… series loss basically in Sully… he could have easily won series by (1) NOT defending JJ and blaming Fwds after game 1 combined with actually sitting JJ game 2 onward

        So yes; individually JJ lost 2 games for Pens; but Sully’s public convos and his game sheet decisions lost the series

    • Spoken like a gentleman, Pengy. I am quite surprised my Habs won the series – but then, who isn’t?

      • 👍

    • Fire Sully??? How asinine … but not surprising from you. I guess he got stupid all of a sudden … look at the roster he was given. Do us a favor and go watch ladies golf … your brain will thank you.

  3. The Islanders future looks very bright after the two best owners in sports Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky bought the team a few years back. They brought in the best GM in Lou Lamoriello, these coach Barry trotz and best goal tending coach Mitch Korn. Solid defense and talented forwards as well as great goaltending should set them up for years to come. Throw in a new arena on Long Island can only make you smile 😀

    • You have to wonder how Nashville might have fared if Trotz was still behind their bench. Losing to the Coyotes has to be a bitter pill to swallow there.

  4. Character win by the Leafs last night.
    Thats the kind of game that brings a team together.

    Spezza should be proud of himself. He figuratively grabbed the team and drug them into the fight, as he finished his own real bout.
    If the Leafs beat the Jackets on Sunday………all bets are off going forward.
    This may be it, Leaf fans. This may be your time.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark

      Yes character win for sure; but we were 2” (EN goal stuck in webbing ; that forced face off outside instead of scoring ending game and/or worse it goes in) and two “missed”/“ignored” calls on Hyman in last 90 seconds; away from losing the series

      We still have to win Sunday and then beat Caps or Bruins to move further…. that’s a big uphill, and I am not fully confident in that

      I just can’t fathom them past Bolts

      Next year through ‘25 , IMHO , is our true window and we still have to address the Cap and improve the back end



  5. Pittsburgh and Edmonton loss to teams that would not have made the playoff if the schedule had of played out.

    This just cements that this has nothing to do with the 2019 2020 regular season and why it is referred to as th ” Covid Cup”

    If you agreed that is was OK that Montreal and Chicago be part of a tournament to generate as much excitement and involve as many cities as possible then you cannot complain that;

    Pittsburgh and Edmonton have a 12.5% chance at the first overall pick.

    • Hi Caper

      Mathematically yes Pens have 12.5 % chance at Lafrennierre ; but almost 88% chance of no first round pick this year (goes then to Wild)

      Via Karma … Pens have no chance at Lafrennierre… nor do they deserve it after Sully’s bonehead presser and game sheet debacle throwing Murray under the bus and publicly in effect stating his love (and zero blame) for/on JJ

      My gut before thought Lafrennierre was going to La Belle Province

      Now… my gut feel has him 90 miles off Cuba’s coast

      Off to don mask and shop in my Uber depressed (Pens) and weirdly concurrent euphoria (Leafs)

      Will check back in a few hours

      • As you know Pengy, I stated before the play in round started that Montreal would beat Pitts (reminder: you replied no way)

        Part two of my prediction will be shown to be accurate come Monday night.

        Hope I’m wrong as it was Winnipeg who own the pick before the expanded playin round and it would be appropriate for them to win it now.

      • Hi Caper

        If you remember I didn’t say no way

        I did say it was possible if Price played like he can AND if Sully played JJ every game more than 15 minutes.. and that formulae is exactly what happened

        I didn’t foresee how well the other Habs could play (and boy did they) but I knew the Price (+) and JJ (-) impacts could sway if not decide the series… and it did…..

        Prior to game 4 ; Pens GA/60 in series, with JJ on ice 9.15; JJ off the ice…1.22

        Murr 913 overall in series.., 970 when JJ on bench

        So my nightmare possibility came through

        Pens still had a chance until Sully publicly laid the series down 1-2 on Murr (announcing the switch ) AND letting JJ play a last night… he lost the room by doing that… and boy did it show

        Had he not publicly announced the change (after less than 24 hours earlier stating he would not be announcing changes) and then did the flip on the game sheet (Jarr/Murr and McC/Lafferty which he did on game sheet ; AND JJ/ Riikola ; which he didn’t) then I’m confident Pens come out with a jump and not Blaise/frumpiest/mad/unmotivated as they clearly were

    • I’m pretty sure you are among the minority that call it the Covid cup. Most people call it by the real name. The Stanley cup playoffs.

  6. Congrats to Toronto on their impressive win; but holy molly for a goaltender who was very impressive for 56 mins, certainly choked for then any JJ ever could.

  7. Leafs great comeback probably one of best ever and yes whistle was put away but holy moly momentum is huge in hockey. Morgan Reilly deserves an Oscar in OT steps on stick rolls around like shot than up like a yo-yo after call from ref at other end of ice wow. Columbus got screwed but at least they have another game to show what there made of.

    • Hi Obe,

      Hoping and praying the reffing Karma bug doesn’t bite us late on Sunday in a close game

      Call it even and fair; let the best team win and no one can complain (I don’t blame Jackets anger; and I’m hoping that doesn’t motivate them)

  8. If the Oilers or Pens win the first pic in the draft watch all the Red Wings fans heads explode!

    • Does the Blue Jackets 3rd period collapse mean truculent teams also lack what the Leafs lack?

      I’m not surprised other than the fashion of it, that it would go to game 5 after both teams had lost games after having a 3 goal lead. More teams should match up like they do, both very poor at what they do poorly and very good at what they do well. Roll a dice, flip a coin…. taking your bets.

      The thing that is the most mind blowing is how both the hawks and Habs won their series that their opponents objected to having them part of this playoffs. Are they legit or just in the players heads?

      This whole playoff experience would make a great psych paper.

    • Hi Biloxi wing

      I know there is 25% chance that one of Pens/Oil, get Laff… I just don’t think it’s happenIn’

      My gut says he’s Panther bound

  9. I’m rooting for Minnesota to win the lottery.
    That way the kid goes to the West and I don’t need to worry about him on the Rags or Pens.

    • I hope the Jets get the 1st pick.

      • I’d be ok with that outcome as well.

      • I hope Columbus wins the lottery. I don’t like John Tortorella at all but I’ve always said he’s the kind of coach that can take a team that is almost there and put them over the top, I don’t think his shtick plays long term but man he coaches some good teams while he still has the room. and I used to love watching his press conferences when Larry Brooks tried to ask him stuff.

      • tb, Tortorella had some doozies alright. My all-time favourite was way back when coaching Tampa and in a scrum in the midst of a losing skid, when someone asked him what he considered the most pressing need, said simply “a save would be nice.”

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark

      Personally rooting for Jets but my gut sense says he’s ending up near the Keys

  10. I cannot believe that Nashville did not go with Rinne for game 4. Not to condemn Saros play but he could of provided a spark. What kind of faith does this show to Rinne going forward. Pretty expensive backup.

  11. I wonder what Lafreniere is thinking today – I’m sure he had a preference going into this thing.
    Strange situation for a young guy.

    • Hi BCLeafFan

      I’d be surprised if his preference was not Habs before the playin started

      That out of the way… just like any player… happy to go number 1 and just play in the NHL but if the added bonus comes to be on a team that will use him prominently or significantly early on AND a team that is on the rise to deep runs in the near future… that’s a bonus.

      NYR ticks that box IMHO

      • My order of preference to get # 1:

        ANYONE but Edmonton, Toronto (f they get bumped), Pittsburgh or Florida. They’ve all had their shots at real or potential franchise players.

        Winnipeg, NYR, Columbus (if they get bumped) , Minnesota, Nashville I could live with – in that order of preference