NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2021

by | Feb 21, 2021 | News, NHL | 16 comments

A five-point performance by Connor McDavid, a four-point output by Auston Matthews, Sidney Crosby’s 1000th career game and a long delay in the outdoor game between the Avalanche and Golden Knights are the highlights in this edition of the NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid enjoyed a five-point performance as his club thumped the Calgary Flames 7-1. McDavid tallied a natural hat trick while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice. Oilers defenseman Slater Koekkoek and winger Kailer Yamamoto left the game with injuries.

Edmonton Oiler captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid remains the early favorite to win the Hart Memorial Trophy this season. He leads all NHL scorers with 25 assists and 37 points.

Auston Matthews scored twice and set up two others as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. Mitch Marner collected three points for the Leafs, who hold a five-point lead atop the NHL’s overall standings. Matthews now has a league-leading 18 goals on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs feasted on the defensive miscues of a rusty Canadiens squad that hadn’t played in six days. Matthews tallied two of the Leafs’ three power-play goals.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected two assists in his 1000th career NHL game during a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Kris Letang tallied twice as the Penguins swept the two-game series. Before the game, the Penguins honored their captain with a silver stick and video tributes from current and former teammates and several NHL stars including Steven Stamkos and John Tavares.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Crosby on reaching another significant milestone in his long NHL career.

The Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in the Bridgestone NHL Outdoors game at Lake Tahoe was overshadowed by an eight-hour delay following the first period due to poor ice conditions. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists for the Avs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What could’ve been an entertaining match-up against a beautiful outdoor backdrop became an embarrassment for the NHL. In fairness, the league has a solid track record staging outdoor games in various locations. I don’t fault them for staging this outdoor contest in that scenic location. Unfortunately, no one seemed to consider what might happen to ice conditions on a bright sunny afternoon at a higher altitude in Nevada.

The sunny conditions at Lake Tahoe forced the league to change the start time for today’s outdoor match between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers from 2 pm ET to 7:30 pm ET.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing skid by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Sam Reinhart scored twice for the Sabres, who lost defenseman Jake McCabe to an apparent right-knee injury in the third period. Before the game, the Devils announced Nico Hischier as their new team captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on McCabe’s status is expected later today. Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said he was very concerned about the blueliner’s condition.

Mika Zibanejad ended a 13-game goalless drought and Artemi Panarin collected two assists as the New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 4-1. Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for the win and Ryan Strome had two points, including his 100th career NHL goal.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s 38-save performance carried his club to a 2-1 upset of the Florida Panthers. The Wings got second-period goals by Patrik Nemeth and rookie Mathias Brome as they held on for the win.

The Los Angeles Kings got two goals from Alex Iafallo as they doubled up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty each collected two assists. The Kings have won four straight games.

Logan Couture’s game-winner in the third period gave the San Jose Sharks a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads before Couture sealed the deal. Jordan Kyrou had a goal and two assists for the Blues.

Third-period goals by Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg lifted the Nashville Predators over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Jarnkrok scored twice for the Predators while the Blue Jackets lost goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to an apparent arm injury in the third period.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 24 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 4-0 blanking of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov each had a goal and an assist.

Kevin Fiala scored twice as the Minnesota Wild rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Fiala now has six goals in his last seven games. Teammates Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov each had two points. In a surprising move earlier in the day, the Ducks placed struggling veteran center Adam Henrique on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone claims Henrique. He’s in the second season of a five-year contract with an annual average value of $5.825 million.

TSN: Former NHL coach Mike Babcock has been named head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Men’s Hockey Team. He will lead the club on a voluntary basis for the next two years.


    • No problem here.

    • Sidney Crosby is the closest thing in pro sports to Tom Brady!Certainly! Pro -hockey!

  1. Enough with the outdoor games, the novelty has worn off …

  2. Sidney Crosby changed the way hockey is played and it isn’t mentioned enough.

    The skill, conditioning, work ethic that Juniors have today and carry into the game is on account of him.

    Study and preparation, players coming to the league in the same mould able to play on any team and for a large part interchangeable.

    Bigger, better, faster, prepared,

    • 100%!

  3. Congrats Sid; and great win 👍👍👍

    Well said Lyle re “ rusty Canadiens squad ”…. that and 3 PPGs truly was the difference in the game. I expect that match-up to be the CanDiv Conference finals

    McD for sure best player in the league . Unchallenged as at now.

    Outdoor game guffaw… WTF…. watched first period live… they should have postponed after 5 mins… 5 players and one ref tumble at same spot near centre ice

    They showed a close up of basically a snowcone granular type of surface in a patch about 18” in diameter… a torn ACL just waiting to happen. Add to that the massive glare… basically almost impossible to see (as the viewer) the puck on the LH end.

    They (NHL) certainly didn’t have a think tank session beforehand to walk through possible outcomes/issues 👎👎👎👎👎👎

    Just finished watching final two periods…. this is the biggest shame in the new Div and playoff format…. 2 of the top 3 teams in the NHL squared off last night…. great last two periods…. these two teams are head and shoulders above any teams not named Lightning or Bruins.

    One of those two teams is guaranteed to miss the semis. Guaranteed to miss the semis. Unbelievable. 🤬😡🤬😡👎👎💩💩

    Logic as at now …. IMHO….. Bolts v Knights or Bolts v Avs in SC

    …. but wait…. has NHL decided how final 4 are to be seeded? Since there is no inter-Div play , how do they decide on seeding.

    Are they going to do geographical ? West v Central; CanDiv v East?

    If so , the proverbial “ideal” SC by talent : Bolts v Knights or Bolts v Avs; becomes a semi-final. WTF 💩💩💩💩💩💩

    Covid sucks again

    • Pengy “Since there is no inter-Div play , how do they decide on seeding …” is pretty much what I said the other day re deciding the order of the draft! How can anyone determine if, collectively, one division is appreciably stronger – weaker – than any other if the various teams don’t go head to head at least once in a season. These are, in every respect, 4 separate leagues.

      No matter how they decide things it’s going to be wide open to criticism. Same with deciding if, indeed, the final 4 teams in the cup run all play out of one locale. Will it be a completely neutral (to the 4 involved) site or could it involve the arena of one of the finalists? Unfair “familiarity” advantage some will scream. Will it be a locale in Canada or the U.S.? On what factors will they base their decision?

      • Not to concerned about seeding what’s they get out of their division. Have to beat everybody to win.
        Local didn’t help the Leafs or Oilers too much without a crowd.
        If it was me, and depending on the rates of infection, I do the same thing with the playoffs in a bubble.
        You can postpone games when a team gets hit during the season, but not in the playoffs.
        So what do you do if a team has an outbreak? They forfeit?
        I think you try to avoid that scenario at all costs.

      • Couldn’t agree more, Ray. But even with the assignment of a “bubble” location you can almost bet that, with the quick-transfer variants taking over all across North America, when the players and staff from the 4 teams are tested heading into the bubble, there are going to be a BUNCH of positives. It’s inevitable.

      • Hi George and Ray


        Sorry must have missed your post the other day… certainly wasn’t trying to post w/o acknowledging your previous sentiment

        Guess we are on same page

        If NHL had said before Season started that it would be West v Central and East v CanDiv , at least teams would know…. I don’t think NHL has

        If not I would hope that if you didn’t finish 1st in your Div but you win Div playoffs; that you don’t automatically seed somewhere

        Perhaps once the Div playoffs are over; rank final 4 by a regular season winning percentage in your Div but only use the play against the 4 teams that do make the playoffs??

        Or mathematically rank each Div final four by how mathematically tight their Divs were….

        Say 1st to 4th in one Div is separated by 3 points; while 1st to 4th in another is separated by 10. Wouldn’t the logic hold that the second example is of a team in a division with a much inferior (comparatively) lower tiered (non playoff teams) end to play against?

        Absolutely right…. no matter what way they do it, there will be detractors

        I may have missed it, have they announced how they are doing the seeding

        If they haven’t, that’s not good

        Announcing pre season start would have everybody playing with the same knowledge

        Without that knowledge , even a team already locked in first in their Div with 3 games to play (normally sitting top players to rest) might re-strategize if they feel winning any of the last 3 games might solidify their seeding IF they advance to semis


        With you re bubble for final 4

        If Canadian quarantine rules still in place come semi’s then there would be delays on any series North of the border

        Neutral US bubble …. once Div finals start, they can pick a neutral bubble US sight from one of the already ousted (at that point in time) 18 US franchises

        Hell, if the Seattle arena were ready, they could do semis and SC there…. but I’m not sure the arena is ready in time

  4. Crosby is great but watched McDavid last night in a league of his own by far best player in NHL.

    • Absolutely NO argument there Obe.

      • George, a buddy of mine always said of great players, “What’s he ever won?”
        I love watching McDavid but he’s got some winning to do to catch up with Crosby.
        BTW if the Oilers keep getting decent goaltending those wins will keep coming.

    • Hi Obe,


      McD is Mcnificent

      Unless an injury happens or some serious decline…. trophy is his

      • BCLF,
        What’s he ever won is an adage that is meaningless

        Bobby Hull won one Cup in ten years in a 6 team league.

        Gilbert Perrault never won a Cup

        Brad Park never won a Cup

        Ovechkin has won one Stanley Cup in his career.

        I could go on but you get the idea, I’ll add one, the greatest hockey player in the world only won 2 ups in his career, number 4.