NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2021

by | Mar 16, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

Last night’s action featured milestones for Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Carey Price. Get the details plus the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 717th career NHL goals as his Washington Capitals crushed the Buffalo Sabre 6-0. Ovechkin is tied with Phil Esposito for sixth on the all-time goals list. Washington goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves for his first career NHL shutout. The Capitals (40 points) sit two back of the first-place New York Islanders in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist to reach his 1,100th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Tristan Jarry kicked out 42 shots for the win while Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists. The Penguins (37 points) won their sixth straight to sit third in the East Division while the Bruins (32 points) are clinging to fourth place.

Patrick Kane scored to collect his 1,064 point but his Chicago Blackhawks fell 6-3 to the Florida Panthers. Kane sits fifth on the all-time points list for American-born players, one behind Keith Tkachuk. Florida tallied five unanswered goals with captain Aleksander Barkov leading the way with a goal and two assists. The Panthers (42 points) vaulted over the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Discover Central Division while the Blackhawks hold fourth place with 33 points.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 34 saves to pick up the win in his 700th career game as his club doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Montreal winger Tyler Toffoli scored twice and collected an assist while Winnipeg winger Kyle Connor tallied two goals. The Jets (36 points) remain in second place in the Scotia North Division while the Canadiens held onto fourth place with 33 points. Earlier in the day, the Habs announced defenseman Ben Chiarot will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery on a fractured hand.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 38 shots while Calle Jarnkrok scored and picked up three assists as the Nashville Predators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the Predators while Steven Stamkos tallied Tampa Bay’s only goal as the Lightning (40 points) slipped to third in the Central Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Rangers 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jakub Voracek, who also collected two assists. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin also had a goal and two helpers. With 31 points, the Flyers sit one back of the fourth-place Bruins in the East.

J.T. Miller scored in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. The Senators overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame on goals by Josh Norris and Colin White. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko picked up the win with a 42-save performance as the Canucks (30 points) sit three behind the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division.

The Calgary Flames picked up their third straight win under new coach Darryl Sutter with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Noah Hanifin netted the game-winner in the third period just over a minute after Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl tied the game. Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira left the game after being knocked out by Brett Ritchie during a first-period fight. Khaira answered the challenge from Ritchie following a high hit on Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington, who left the game but later return to action. The Oilers (36 points) remain in third place in the North Division while the Flames (31 points) are two behind the fourth-place Canadiens.

Mark Stone scored the game-winning goal and set up the game-opening tally as his Vegas Golden Knights held off the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Max Pacioretty also scored while Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 23 shots for the win. Timo Meier scored for the Sharks. With 39 points, the Golden Knights opened a four-point lead over the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Honda West Division.


NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 15.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen’s recent struggles may be tied to the groin injury he’s playing through.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve seen Leafs fans on this site and elsewhere demanding general manager Kyle Dubas acquire a goaltender. However, they have limited salary-cap space and the pickings are slim in the trade market for rental goalies.

I’ve seen some suggest Arizona’s Antti Raanta as one option but he’s unlikely to move with Darcy Kuemper sidelined and I’ll be very surprised if the Coyotes trade the latter. Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier could be the best available choice but the Leafs could face competition for his services from contenders like Colorado and Washington.

TSN: Three Rangers (Pavel Buchnevich, Phillip Di Giuseppe and Adam Fox) are among the five players on yesterday’s NHL COVID-19 protocol list. New Jersey’s Will Butcher and the Islanders’ Noah Dobson are the others.


  1. Saint Hellebuyck has a save% of .910 while the lamented Carey Price has a save % of .912.

    Hellebuyck has given up 11 goals to the Habs in his last two games.

    Hellebuyck is a hero and Price a zero to many commenters here, yet the numbers show otherwise, point being that folks jump to conclusions far too quickly.

    Andersen has a 2.86 GAA and Bernier has a 2.96 GAA, so which is a savior for the TML?

    It’s very much a chicken or the egg situation, goalie or defensemen, which comes first and I side with defense except for the times of a hot goalie when the puck is a beachball.

    Andersen deserves better than being hung out to dry behind a porous D and catching the grief. he’s a UFA at the end of the year and should move to greener pastures where he’ll be appreciated.

    • FWIW Bernier is putting up decent numbers on a bad team.

      • Which likely means he’d put up bad numbers on a decent team.

      • Lyle,

        You’re totally correct, my post wasn’t meant to belittle Bernier, his numbers are far better than Greiss, who is having an unusually poor year.

        My intent was to show that Andersen deserves better.

    • I agree with your last paragraph, yet I feel the same way about Rask as the Leaf faithful do about Andersen.
      Let’s swap goalies! Fresh start for everyone.

      How many more games are we gonna fire 35+ shots at a goalie, yet come up without a win. It’s beyond frustrating at this point.
      Swayman should get the next start Against the Pens. Might as well see how he stacks up against the big boys. He’s playing lights out in Providence.

      • What would help the Leafs would be the return of Jack Campbell. He’s the backup goalie that everyone believes in and he could give Andersen some regular relief.
        Wayne Simmonds wouldn’t hurt either.

    • Maybe actually watch the games because Hellebuyck didn’t give up 7 goals, but 4, in that lopsided loss. So 8 goals against in prior two games against Montreal isn’t good, but it’s the terrible defense, not him. He also flat out stole 3 points in his prior two starts.

      • In fact, 7 because the last one last night was an empty netter.

      • Right, thanks for the reminder. 7!

    • Hellybuyck has been playing behind a defense core that has been absolutely gutted over the last few years. Morrissey / DeMelo / Forberg / Pionk? The consensus seems that they need to add not 1, but 2 top 4 defensemen to their group to truly contend!
      Bernier has been playing behind a defense core that hasn’t had a true #1, 2 or 3 defenseman since around the time Lidstrom retired. Not even worth the effort to talk about what they need.
      Toronto at least has Reilly & Muzzin, although Reilly’s commitment to defense is questionable and Muzzin’s ability to stay in the lineup is less thean stellar.
      Price is (was) playing behind Weber / Petry / Chiarot / Edmundson as the top 4. HUGE difference.
      Based upon their teams, is Price playing up to his contract? Not a chance. Is Anderson getting a bad rap in Toronto? That one is 50/50 – he should be better but he’s not playing terribly considering. Is Hellybuyck the best of the bunch? Undoubtedly. Is Bernier a good pick-up for a team looking to solidify their goaltending? Again, undoubtedly.

  2. sitting here drinking my Black Rifle Coffee & thinking back about 3 weeks ago whining about what the Bruins needs were going forward even though they were in 1st place well right now they are 1 point from not making the playoffs. There’s no secondary scoring, it looks like C Smith might be another trade bust for Sweeney, Coyle dissapeared just maybe they should sit DeBrusk down every other game this way they might get max effort from him,Halak isn’t a every game goaltender watching this team last few weeks they are going thru the motions no push back not much energy even though every game is a playoff game …. teams have injuries & every team is playing the same shorten schedule, at this point I don’t think a trade or trades will help this team…the window is about to close on # 37,46,63,40..one more if I may since a lot of people have said the Coyle for Donato trade is one of the best Sweeney made, since that trade Donato 21 goals & 51 pts….Coyle 23 goals & 51 pts looks pretty even to me…..Sweeney GTG

    • Don t Bruins wish they had Frankie Vatrano ,the Springfield Rifle now.Has 10 goals this year.

  3. We’re the 2 worst signings of the offseason both on the rangers with jack Johnson and Keith kinkaid? Even leaf fans know these 2 aren’t nhl players

    • You mean you and fans of your lotto team?

  4. To all GM out there please ignore Halak game last night and move on. Let in 2 softies i know but only happens when he plays to much.

    NJ 1 Bos 0
    NYI 2 Bos 1(so)
    Bos 4 NYR 0
    NYR 4 Bos 0
    Pitts 4 Bos 1

    Boston last 5 games and only in Bos 4 – 0 win over the rangers did they score 5 vs 5

    Slip slide down the hill we go

    • Yep, not promising Caper.
      I know some folks are not fans of analytics or “fancy stats” but they have been pointing to the eventual slide we are seeing now for weeks.

      Playing your 8,9 &10th D man doesn’t help either.

      The effort was better last night, so that is positive. If they keep playing like that they have a shot to get in when healthy.

      If they keep sliding or 1 good 1 bad, I don’t know how Sweeney can justify giving up assets for a playoff run.

  5. Demko, last night, was unbelievable. Literally “stole” that game for the Canucks.

    • Ya George, he’s been good for a while now and is the biggest reason Canucks are winning games again.

    • I think both Ottawa and Vancouver are going to be good if they continue with their rebuild. Just need to manage cap and add slowly, like this trade deadline is a low States event for both as they can pick and choose what could potentially help their clubs.. It sucks a bit because your team will lie it share of games that they should of won as well as games they had no business winning. It’s a great time to deep dive into your team and it’s assets. Cheering for them makes it more meaningful for going through it all.

      Side note, management will let you down. Enjoy your teams and hang on for the ride of your life.

      • Management – that IS the fly in the ointment. It seems that, for every good deal he’s made Dorion has also come up with a clunker … the only saving grace, so far anyway, is that the results of the good deals have over-shadowed the clunkers.

    • ‘Bubbl’e Demko is back

  6. Bruins time to move on.Look at the future.Set goalie situation for future by trading for Spencer Knight.Take advantage of Florida s situation and playoff hopes.He and Swayman 7-0 in the AHL this year.2 Hockey East kids,B C and Maine.Panthers have a lot of money and years tied up in 72,and their other goalie has played well.B S have players to give up.Only 4 untouchables on roster 73.37.63,88.

    • B’s should seriously be thinking about if trading Rask … get him healthy and at least put his name out there let’s see what a return he brings

      • I think Sweeney will wait to see if they turn it around Joe, but ya, why not if they continue to slide. He is a UFA at seasons end. He says he wants to stay in BOS, so bring him back on a short term. He doesn’t have a NTC.

        COL doesn’t have much space, but that seems like a good destination and if the B’s eat some salary the return could be better.

  7. My surging Pittsburgh Penguins! oh my, Mike Sullivan for the Jack Adams … and although they don’t have very much to trade you would think that Hextall & Burke are gonna make a few tweaks before the deadline … still a long way to go but the Pens play Buffalo & Jersey a lot down the stretch … it’s in their own hands …

    and I have to say I was also wrong about the Bruins … they are punchless … tons of pressure on a goalie when you know your team isn’t going to score more than one or two goals a game … sure, you can trade Debrusk & Coyle & Wagner and whomever else but what are you getting back? not too much imo …

  8. I just hope this Bruins slide doesn’t fall on the lap of Cassidy instead of Sweeney

  9. 42 of 43 Saves…. Jarry… that is the big difference. Kudos on Jarry. Great to have a V last night. Hopefully DeSmith can pull one out tonight.
    I still wish for Sweeney to stand pat; please, and thank you
    Two things caught my eye last night around the league’s games; one I’d never seen before and the other a rarity but great to see in action.
    What I’ve never seen before but I had to laugh and laud admiration on the move at the same time:
    Face-off; Marchand jumps… Bergeron is waived emphatically by linesman. Bergeron says no and stares straight at ice. Linesman again emphatically waives out Bergeron. Bergeron stares at dot with his stick ready for the face-off. One steambolt, two steambolts , three steambolts…. And linesman drops the puck. Talk about a battle of wills. I guess since the linesman has no power to call a penalty (as there was only one infraction – one jump by Marchand) that Bergeron felt he could demand the face off. Kudos to Bergeron.

    The other , seldom seen… Kane breakaway…. The Flower comes way out stares him down… watches Kane’s eyes, as soon as Kane looks down… poke-check… quite an awesome move.. if you get a chance; have a looksee

    Hands up for anybody that saw (at season’s start) that at season ½ point; Panthers would be tied first in league for points and 2nd overall in winning percentage. This all done with Bobo 36th in save percentage and GAAs.
    Can you imagine if they had a $5M starter and spent that extra $5M elsewhere?

    Just sayin