NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2021

by | Jan 31, 2021 | News, NHL | 21 comments

Recaps of a busy Saturday, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:Connor McDavid scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Leon Draisaitl and Tyson Barrie each collected two assists while John Tavares had two assists for the Leafs.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s end-to-end power-play goal in the second period is my candidate for goal of the year. I realize it’s very early in the season and lots of great goals are coming but it will be difficult for McDavid – or anyone else – to top that tally.

Jack Eichel tallied the only goal in a shootout as the Buffalo Sabres edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Sabres winger Taylor Hall collected two assists. Devils defenseman Ty Smith scored to move into a tie with Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov (seven points) for the rookie scoring lead.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. Rookie defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph had three assists for the Penguins, who lost blueliner Kris Letang to a lower-body injury. Rangers center Colin Blackwell left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Letang’s status could be coming later today. The Penguins already have four regular defensemen on the shelf with injuries.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Islanders 3-2 on an overtime goal by Scott Laughton. Carter Hart kicked out 26 shots for the win. It’s the Islanders’ fourth consecutive defeat.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. It was Ovechkin’s first game since being placed on COVID-19 protocol list a week ago. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists. This was Zdeno Chara’s first game against the Bruins since signing with the Capitals. Bruins winger David Pastrnak collected an assist in his first game of the season following his recovery from offseason hip surgery.

The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 to hand the latter their first loss of the season. Vincent Trochek scored twice for the Hurricanes, who chased Stars goalie Anton Khudobin after he gave up four goals on 16 shots. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek left the game early in the first with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin didn’t get much help from his teammates in this contest. The defense was sloppy, giving up three power-play goals.

A four-goal second-period outburst carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Nashville Predators 4-3. Lightning rookie Callan Foote tallied his first NHL goal while Steven Stamkos scored the eventual game-winner. Filip Forsberg had two assists for the Predators.

Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist while Aleksi Heponiemi scored his first career NHL goal in overtime to lift the Florida Panthers over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Panthers extended their season-opening points streak to five games (4-0-1).

The Calgary Flames blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 to hand the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 37 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Granlund were the goal scorers as the Flames halted their three-game losing skid. Canadiens winger Josh Anderson left the game following the first period with flu-like symptoms. He tested negative for COVID-19 but will be retested today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames winger Dillon Dube got away with a blindside headshot on Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It’s unlikely he’ll receive supplemental discipline. Kotkaniemi was shaken up but returned to action.

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Saad, Andre Burakovsky, and Samuel Girard each collected two points as the Colorado Avalanche downed the Minnesota Wild 5-1, handing the latter their third loss in their last four games. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game with a leg injury in the third period. Earlier in the day, the Wild revealed prospect Marco Rossi returned to Austria to rest due to complications from COVID-19. He’s expected to return to the Wild sometime in March.

The St. Louis Blues scored their fastest three game-opening goals (2:06) in franchise history on route to a 6-1 thrashing of the Anaheim Ducks. Jordan Kyrou scored two of those three goals. Ducks goalie John Gibson was pulled after giving up those three goals on just six shots.

Brock Boeser scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks over the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 for their fourth straight win. Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko made 23 saves for the win while Jets netminder Connor Hellebucyk turned aside 35 shots.


  1. A fun night of hockey!

  2. I’m not one to criticize coaching, but Quinn’s decisions are starting to hurt any chances Rangers have of being a playoff team. Gorgiev had another bad night. Granted, defense wasn’t as good as it had been up until last night as far as giving up shots, there’s at least 1 or 2 that Gorgiev should’ve stopped. Alternating goalies isn’t working. Shesterkin played as expected the other night vs Buffalo and should be #1. Leave him in. Gorgiev is back up. Also, I’ve been adamant here about moving DeAngelo. There’s no question this kid is offensively gifted, but Rangers have Fox and Nils Lundkvist in the pipeline. DeAngelo would fill that need on a team lacking. As long as he’s with Rangers, pairing him with either Smith or Johnson is that stupid. He needs a good defensive dman to compliment him.

    • I doubt that there is much of a market for DeAngelo. Since he doesn’t defend well, he sounds like a PP specialist who you have to try and hide the rest of the game.

      • Lago, I don’t think you need to hide him. Pairing him with guys that are worse than him defensively is a recipe for disaster. Honestly I don’t hate on JJ as much as most here. But Smith was absolutely horrible last night and was benched. DeAngelo wasn’t as bad rest of game being paired with various partners as they went with 5 dmen. If they’re not going anywhere, then put in Hajek. Put DeAngelo with either Miller or Lindgren. Waive Smith and hope somebody claims him.

  3. Vince Dunn scored a goal and played a good game. For today, he is “out of the doghouse”. Maybe trade discussion will lessen!?!

  4. Connor McDavid – half man, half amazing.

    • Hi BCLeafFan

      That goal was completely awesome

      It’s awesome to see it (an end to end rush through opposition players and then top cheese for a goal) at AAA Bantam

      Seeing it at the NHL level … wow

      A W E S O M E

    • He does like the highlight reel against the Leafs.
      Oil needed that one last night.

  5. Re Dube hit

    Didn’t see it live but looking at clip Lyly provided with the link he gave….. that looked like a hit directly into the head.

    Lyle you said “ It’s unlikely he’ll receive supplemental discipline.”

    Again didn’t see it live but that to me was a head shot

    Re McD end to ender …. sick, just sick. That IS goal of the year so far

    To me , Oil deserved the win.

    Pens…. another come from behinder …. that’s a plus

    They scored first (oddly Zucker scored but had almost got a primary assist on a Ranger goal when he “passed” directly from DeSmith’s left , straight in front of his own net, to a wide open Ranger , who just missed the gaping net)

    Second period … not so good

    But they came from behind and won in OT 👍👍👍👍

    Another D down 🤬😡🤬😡😭

    Weber…. absolutely played awful

    But all that can be set aside by the come from behind OT win , but more importantly by the extremely inspirational play of PO-J….

    Only 5th NHL game he has ever played….# 1 star of game; 26 mins; 3 points; +3

    I’m loving this guy

    Will he continue at this pace… nope

    Will he have an awful game this year… likely

    Am I happy he is on the team… you bet your sweet bippy I am

    Pens are still in tough with all this D injuries and no GM; but a win is a win; and they are back above the cut line


  6. Kris Letang only played a little over five minutes last due to an injury but he still had 8 turnovers …

    P.O. Joseph might be the real deal … I see another buyout (Matheson) in the Penguins future …

    • Buying out Matheson would mean he was on the books until 2031, no chance that happens.

  7. Why is Dillon Dube unlikely to receive supplementary discipline….does KK have a target on his back?

    He got haced and slewfooted into the boards….and got an unsportsmanlike for complaining to the non-call.

    This time, a completely blind sided hit directly to the face by a player who clearly went up on his toes to deliver the hit….KK was lucky to somehow escape injury….and in the after hit tussle, the Habs end up short handed.

    If Dillon Dube doesn’t get a suspension for this, look out for more blind side head hunting.

    • Agreed. Deserving of at least 3 games. If nothing is done then the Department of Player Safety May as well close up shop.

    • Agree, I think he gets suspended, or at very least fined.

  8. I cringe every time Kevin Pollock is named the ref of a Habs game.

    Not sure if he was beat up as kid by someone in Habs jersey or what, but there always seems to be “questionable” officiating when he does.

    Beyond that, it was a great game by two evenly matched teams with the difference being Markstrom.

    Also, I wonder what guys are thinking when they get down to block Shea Weber shots??? He shattered the blade of one Flames D-man skate with one shot & shook the net on it’s pegs with another off of the crossbar!!!

  9. What are the thoughts on the headbutt by Backlund on Evans on the opening faceoff????

    • Everyone needs to take liberties with the Habs. Put them in their place, you know? Start running some of the talented kids and see if anyone stands up and fights back.

      Just kidding. I am quite enjoying the new rivalries though. Animosity is building quickly in each division. Won’t be long before we have a Donnybrook or seven.

      • In my fifty years of watching NHL hockey, I never witnessed a a faceoff won by slamming your helmet & head into the opponents helmet & head!!!!

        It wasn’t just a nudge or a push, it was a mountain goat headbutt. Perfectly legal apparently, ref drops the opening faceoff puck & had a first hand, birds eye view of the incident.

        Honestly, I never seen that before.

        He did the same thing to Gallagher in a defensive draw for him, but Gallagher being of short stature was getting his head in under Backlund’s view of the faceoff dot. Still, headbutting seems to be an unusual way to win a faceoff.

  10. Mellanby withdrawns from from Pens GM pool!!!!

    Word is NHL safety committee deems Dillon Dube’s hit on Jesperi Kotkaniemi a legal hit.

    No hearing / suspension for Dillon Dube after his hit on Jesperi Kotkaniemi. @NHLFlames @CanadiensMTL

    • “…withdrawns from from…”

      HaHaHaHa, Geez!!!!!

    • Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported on Sunday the NHL reviewed the hit on Kotkaniemi, but “based on Rule 48.1 determined head contact was unavoidable.”