NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2021
Recaps from a busy Saturday night and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: Sean Couturier had a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. Brian Elliott made 23 saves for the shutout. The Sabres played without Jack Eichel (day-to-day, lower-body injury) and goaltender Linus Ullmark, who will be sidelined for a month by a lower-body injury. Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tobias Rieder returned to the Sabres’ lineup.
A three-goal first period powered the Washington Capitals over the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Devils winger Pavel Zacha scored to extend his points streak to nine games. Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was a late scratch with an upper-body injury and remains questionable for Sunday’s rematch.
The Calgary Flames downed the Ottawa Senators 6-3 to snap the latter’s three-game win streak. Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while brother Brady scored for the Senators. Mikael Backlund had a goal and two assists for the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators pulled goaltender Matt Murray after he gave up six goals on 33 shots but this loss cannot be pinned on him. His teammates didn’t play well in front of him and the Flames capitalized.
A two-goal performance by Mattias Ekholm rallied the Nashville Predators past the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Cam Atkinson tallied for the Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets have dropped six of their last seven and sit five points out of a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. A lack of experienced depth at center is part of the problem. Jack Roslovic, Alexandre Texier and Kevin Stenlund are centering three of their four lines.
Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had two points as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. Jack Campbell made 30 saves for the shutout in his first game since being sidelined by a leg injury on Jan. 24. The Leafs played without leading scorer Auston Matthews (wrist injury, day-to-day) and goaltender Frederik Andersen (lower body, day-to-day).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An impressive win by the Leafs without their best player (Matthews) and starting goaltender (Andersen). They also got a boost from the return of winger Joe Thornton and defenseman Jake Muzzin from injuries.
Kris Letang scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the New York Islander 4-3 in overtime. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck missed the game with an undisclosed injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his second straight shutout backstopping his club to a 5-0 drubbing of the Dallas Stars. Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli each had a goal and an assist. The Lightning have won four straight.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first game between these two clubs since last year’s Stanley Cup Final. The defending champion Lightning still looks like a Cup contender while the Stars are stuck at the bottom of the Discover Central Division. The good news for the Stars is they’ve got several games in hand over their division rivals because of several postponed games. The bad news is they’ve won only twice in the last 12 contests and face a daunting challenge of getting back into the playoff chase in a compressed schedule.
The Carolina Hurricanes snapped a three-game losing skid by nipping the Florida Panthers 4-3. Martin Necas tallied the winner in a shootout. Brett Pesce collected two assists for the Hurricanes while Panthers’ winger Patric Hornqvist had a goal and an assist.
Frans Nielsen and Evgeny Svechnikov each had a goal and an assist as the Detroit Red Wings upset the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3. Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves for the win. Earlier in the day, the Wings announced captain Dylan Larkin would sit out this weekend’s games with an upper-body injury.
Minnesota Wild blueliner Matt Dumba scored with 0.3 remaining in overtime in a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings, who have rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Dumba finished with two points while Kings goalie Cal Petersen made 38 saves.
A four-goal third period carried the Colorado Avalanche over the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 6-2. Six different players scored for the Avs, including Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.
An overtime goal by William Karlsson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights past the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. It was Karlsson’s second goal of the game while teammate Alex Pietrangelo collected a goal and an assist. The Ducks are winless in six games.
The Winnipeg Jets squeaked past the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on an overtime goal by Paul Stastny. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 41-save performance as the Canadiens are winless in five straight.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens dominated most of this game but Hellebuyck made the difference. The Habs still need to improve in the faceoff circle and their special teams still need work but this effort was an improvement over their recent play.
Marco Scandella scored twice, including the game-winner, as the St. Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 7-6. Evander Kane and Timo Meier each scored twice for the Sharks, who welcomed back defensemen Erik Karlsson and Radim Simek from injury. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was pulled after he allowed four goals on 19 shots and went after several Sharks players before finally leaving the game.
IN OTHER NEWS…
TSN: Only five players (Arizona’s John Hayden, NY Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko, Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel, Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl) remain on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins claimed defenseman Jarred Tinordi off waivers yesterday from the Nashville Predators.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins named Chris Pryor as director of player personnel.
NBC SPORTS: The Seattle Kraken announced Friday it raised $150,000.00 from team and individual investors to save the hockey program at the University of Alaska Anchorage.