NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2021

by | Feb 19, 2021 | News, NHL | 19 comments

Recaps of Thursday’s action, another Stars game postponed, the league’s COVID-19 numbers are dropping, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice and set up two others to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Ottawa Senators 7-3. Matthews leads the league with 16 goals while his points streak has stretched to 15 games. Mitch Marner has a goal and three assists while Joe Thornton a goal and two assists. Senators rookie Tim Stuetzle had a goal and an assist. Senators’ defenseman Thomas Chabot missed the game with an upper-body injury while Leafs forward Zach Hyman was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is making an early case for the Hart Trophy this season.

Kyle Palmieri scored twice as the New Jersey Devils held on for a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Pavel Zacha scored what proved to be the game-winner while Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves. Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak replied for the Bruins, who lost center David Krejci to a lower-body injury.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin’s shootout goal gave his club a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Hayes collected two assists for the Flyers, who were playing their first game since Feb. 7 due to COVID-19. They will also play their upcoming outdoor game against the Bruins with six regulars (Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Scott Laughton and Justin Braun) sidelined because of the NHL’s COVID protocols.

The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped the New York Islanders’ eight-game points streak with a 4-1 victory. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry made 31 saves while Jason Zucker and Bryan Rust each had a goal and an assist while Evgeni Malkin collected two assists.

A 32-save shutout performance by Elvis Merzlikins gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Cam Atkinson, Max Domi and Eric Robinson were the goal scorers. The Predators have dropped five of their last six contests.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom scored to extend his points streak to five games as his club downed the Buffalo Sabres 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen remains sidelined as he works on his conditioning after being sidelined for two weeks by COVID-19.

David Perron scored in overtime as the St. Louis Blues edged the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Brayden Schenn scored the tying goal for the Blues late in the third period, setting the stage for the winning goal by Perron, who had a three-point performance. Torey Krug and Marco Scandella returned to the Blues roster from injuries but Colton Parayko missed the game with a nagging undisclosed injury. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced defenseman Erik Karlsson would miss at least the next two games with a groin injury.

The Los Angeles Kings nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on a shootout goal by Gabriel Vilardi. The Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to force overtime and the shootout.

Kevin Fiala scored what proved to be the winning goal as the Minnesota Wild beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. It was the Wild’s first win since Jan. 31 when their schedule was paused because of COVID-19 protocols.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars’ Saturday game against the Tampa Bay Lightning was postponed due to power outages related to recent storms in Texas. It’s the fourth straight Stars game postponed this week and the eighth of the season. They face potentially playing 44 games in 78 days if the NHL mandates the Stars must play all their remaining games if the regular season ends on May 10 as scheduled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will also depend on where the Stars are in the standings later in the season. The league could cancel some of their remaining games if they’re out of playoff contention within the final couple of weeks in the season. No point in having them play a pointless game against another non-contender.

ESPN.COM: The NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list continues to shrink, dropping to 13 players yesterday. The drop coincides with enhanced health and safety measures implemented by the NHL within the past two weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The outbreaks earlier this month may have also served as a wake-up call for players and staff, making them more vigilant and adhering more closely to the league’s protocols.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets claimed well-traveled goaltender Eric Comrie off waivers from the New Jersey Devils. It’s the second straight season the Jets have lost Comrie off waivers only to claim him back again later in the year.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez hopes to have an opportunity to play a game in Mexico City in an effort to expand the NHL’s brand. He’s also hopeful the Coyotes will one day take part in an outdoor game with one of their rivals.


  1. If I were a Maple Loaves fan I wouldn’t be getting very over confident yet, it’s easy beating the Little Sisters of the Poor every other night …

    • And yet no mention of how the west is the weakest conference, but hey the maple loaves, never heard that one before.

      What’s going on in Buffalo? Eichel, Hall and Skinner make like $27M combined and have 3 goals between them? Who knew that hiring a head coach away from an English soccer club wouldn’t be the best idea?

  2. Haven’t heard from Wendel in a bit.

    • Blackwood is a tremendous young goalie. Not sure what Marchand was trying to accomplish with that high stick on Hughes. Bjork played the best game of his career. Moore stinks and Kuraly’s stick is where plays go to die.
      Lauzon was out of position quite often.
      Can we get a Blackwood on the Bruins roster?

      • Ya SOP, Blackwood good.
        By the sounds of it I’m happy I didn’t see the game last night.
        What happened to Krecji?

      • Terrible effort by the good guys. Excellent work by the Devils. I never noticed where Krech got injured. Palmari continues to be a Bruin killer. Blackwood is our new Holtby. Can’t buy a 5vs5 goal against the kid. Probably the worst game I’ve seen 37 and 63 play in a very long time.

  3. Sop sloppy game by Boston.

    Marchand and Bergeron caught out of position several times.

    Kerala lots of energy but iq isn’t where I like to see it.

    Appears no one can make a clean pass and if they do no one can recieve it.

    NJ played a hard game, they hound and pressure the puck all night.

    Not sure what happen to Krejci dont recall the play.

    • Mike Milbury’s penny loafer has a higher hockey IQ than Sean Kuraly. Blazing speed great hair, and nothing else.

    • I have great hair and you don’t see me out there.

      • I can 100% testify that you’re general knowledge and IQ of all things hockey, is quite a bit higher than Kuraly’s. I’m not sure how it translates on ice, but you being a Sask boy and all, I’d venture to say it translate quite well.

      • I generally know/knew what to do with the puck SOP. Likely why I played with the young fellers til late in life. Not because I could still wheel.
        Maybe George is onto something with the B’s and Stepan, although not very close to Phoenix.

      • Ray, I truly believe Stepan can be a very useful player for some team headed for the playoffs and based in the U.S. Not $6 mil useful mind you (his actual salary is $2 mil so not significant there but that cap hit is the killer).

        However, as I say, if Dorion withheld $2 mil – or took back an expiring expendable cap hit that also ceases at season’s end – he’d become a veteran presence, good on the pk, and versatile as both a C and winger for a team looking to go deep. And the biggest detriment to his game so far – being away from his wife and newborn – would disappear because they’d be able to join him in the U.S. without going into quarantine.

        In Ottawa’s case, that family factor was either not considered seriously enough or they weren’t aware of the imminent birth when the deal was made. But the $6 mil cap hit in their case meant little since they had – and still have – plenty of room there.

        The “sweetener” that Dorion would want back would be nowhere near the 2nd round pick he gave up – maybe a 4th. The glaring disparity in what they give and what they got back for 15 games would generate a lot of clucking – here and in the media – but big deal. That’s what they’d need to do simply out of concern for the man’s mental well-being. These are NOT normal times.

      • The idea is growing on me George. Always took a shine to the 2 way C, Krecji going down (for how long I don’t know) highlights the need for quality & versatile depth. PK helps too so you’re not using you big guys in that role.
        It would be the right thing to do by the Sens and I believe potential FA’s would look at that way too.
        What goes around.

  4. The situation regarding lost games is a bigger issue than you make out, Spector. Even if the Stars are out of it, what about the standings? This then affects draft order; not just for Dalls but all picks down the line, including traded picks. If the games are forfeit, the Stars draft higher than they might if they played and won. Same for the other teams. What happens if in theory the Stars won all postponed games, getting enough points to make the playoffs? I hope the league has this all sorted all ready. Hopefully, there are no teams with more chunks of missed games……

    • Here is another wrinkle…say the league wants all postponed games played before making the final standings and several teams have finished their seasons and are sitting around waiting.
      Even worse, if they use winning percentage.

      With each team having Max 50 players under contract the NHL should have made a better provision for adding players if a regular roster player became part of the Covid protocol. 6 players on the taxi squad isn’t enough. With more available players no games would have to be postponed.

  5. The Coyotes have rivals? lol

  6. Mexico City sounds like a great place to expand hockey instead of Quebec City, Halifax or Hamilton.

    Such a natural fit in Mexico, and who wants more hockey in Canada eh?

    • LOL. If there was ANY viability for a pro franchise in Mexico City – other than soccer – baseball would have been there years ago.

  7. What if players had performance bonuses they were about to achieve not on just dallas but other teams playing them as well. Something tells me it’s not just cut and dry as going “oh well they’re non contenders sooo….”