NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 23, 2021

by | Mar 23, 2021 | News, NHL | 49 comments

Recaps of Monday’s action, Oilers-Canadiens game postponed over COVID-19 concerns, stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko lifted the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres 5-3, handing the landing their 14th consecutive defeat. Kreider and Kakko tallied twice for the Rangers. Dustin Tokarski played his first NHL games since 2016, making 33 saves after taking over for sidelined Sabres goalie Carter Hutton early in the first period. With the win, the Rangers (32 points) moved within two points of the fifth-place Philadelphia Flyers and within four of the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

Dougie Hamilton collected an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Alex Nedeljkovic made 19 saves for the shutout and Sebastian Aho picked up two assists. The Hurricanes (45 points) vaulted into second place in the Discover Central Division with a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers. The Blue Jackets (33 points) are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks but slipped to fifth place.

A third-period goal by Chris Tierney gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Rookie goaltender Filip Gustavsson kicked out 35 shots for his first NHL victory. The Flames (33 points) remain in sixth place in the Scotia North Division, four points back of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens.

An overtime goal by Anthony Beauvillier lifted the New York Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Isles rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin made 36 saves for his eighth straight win. Flyers center Sean Couturier returned to the lineup after missing one game with a hip injury. The Islanders sit in first place in the MassMutual East, two points up on the Washington Capitals. Meanwhile, the Flyers (34 points) sit two points behind the fourth-place Bruins.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

The Minnesota Wild edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on a third-period goal by Nick Bjugstad. With 39 points, the Wild remains two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Honda West Division. Marcus Johansson returned to the Wild lineup after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury.

Mark Stone scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down St. Louis 5-1. The Golden Knights have won six of their last seven contests and sit in first place in the West with 45 points, three points up on the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues remain in fourth place with 37 points.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 22-save shutout and Adam Lowry scored twice to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. Canucks center Brandon Sutter missed the game with an undisclosed injury while captain Bo Horvat limped off in the third period after being struck by a shot from teammate Alex Edler. The Jets sit in third place in the North Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oilers and three up on the Canadiens.

The Colorado Avalanche picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. Joonas Donskoi scored two goals and Philipp Grubauer picked up the win with 24 saves. Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson left the game with an upper-body injury. With 42 points, the Avs hold a four-point lead over the Wild for second place in the West Division.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 41 saves backstopping his club over the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Ryan Donato tallied the game-winner in the third period. The loss leaves the Kings with 32 points, five back of the fourth-place Blues in the West.


Monday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens was postponed after Canadiens forwards Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. The Habs also canceled practice for today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first North Division game to be postponed this season. The Canadiens will be awaiting the results of further testing. Placing Kotkaniemi and Armia on the list doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve contracted the coronavirus. Further information is expected later today. If all players pass the subsequent testing there’s talk this game could be played tonight.

The additions of Kotkaniemi and Armia to the COVID protocol list pushed the total number to 10 players. The Boston Bruins have five players on the list, including David Pastrnak, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

The Canadiens also announced forward Tyler Toffoli will be sidelined until at least Sunday with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the remainder of the Canadiens’ games for this week aren’t postponed.

Nashville Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 21.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks claimed forward Travis Boyd off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s the second time in a week the Canucks have plucked a player off the Leafs roster, having claimed Jimmy Vesey on March 17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some see those moves as the Canucks positioning themselves to become sellers by the April 12 trade deadline. That may well be the case if they fail to gain any ground in the North Division playoff race.

SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league isn’t expecting to have full arenas this season despite more American teams allowing limited numbers of socially distanced fans to attend their games.


  1. Hopefully, another goaltender on the horizon for Toronto .
    I just read that above Toronto Sun article, nothing is guaranteed On Jack Campbell’s health .. All you need is 1 of the Tkachuk’s , running the crease , that will be it for him again . It won’t take much , by the sounds of it .
    There is talk about Jonathan Quick being available and Dubais has inquired .
    We someone other than Anderson , healthy or not , he hasn’t taken Toronto out of the first round in 5 try’s

  2. I took a look at one of the national sports networks to see if there was any more information on the covid situation and was reminded of why I don’t go there.

    The writing on the Habs and Leafs are absurdly one-sided and almost as devoted to click-bait as a supposed reporter for an English paper who shall not be named.

    The site itself is slavishly Torontocentric and the comments are mainly trolls with nothing positive or informative, just attempted “shots”

    I was somewhat surprised at the number of folks claiming the league/team had special treatment, sheltering from the Oilers, game should have gone on as there were only 2 players under the protocol etc etc.

    While we still don’t have all the facts, we do know that test results came in the late afternoon, we do know that all the Habs players were together for the morning skate,We do know there was no time to retest and get results.

    I like this place because Lyle gives a cross section of opinion and links along with a personal comment giving an honest opinion.

    I like the fact that there are a number of fans from a cross section of the league, most of whom appear knowledgeable and honest in their opinions.

    Some others, we all know who they are, are a minority , c’est la vie.

    To the Bruins, Leafs, Penguins, Senators, Wings, Rangers, Blues, and others I missed. cheers

    • habfan30 what i’m wondering; when Boston had 4 additional players going into protocol the NHL immediately postpone Boston next two games, the second one being tonight. The Bruins basically got a week off.

      I’m wondering then why isn’t Montreal given the same treatment? There wasn’t lets see if them 4 players come back negative tomorrow?

      I imagine it something to do with testing but no clear answer.

      • Caper,

        I think it’s because of the result coming in 1.5 hours before game time and having a morning skate on the same day.

        The contact tracing and retesting with results was impossible before game time for the entire rest of the team which would in effect endanger both teams.

        Waiting a day to get results seems infinitely safer for all concerned.

        Bill Daly originally said no postponement then changed his mind on account of added info.

      • By the time I post this you ma already know, but the Habs covid issue i heard is a contact tracing related one, not any layers or team members have it. This is the least worse covid set back since it affects two players who they are taking precautions because of close proximity to an infected or someone who came in close contact with someone who is. Due to the short notice they did the right thing to be safe.

  3. And yet the other day when I questioned your assertion that the Habs had depth on defense, because I really could not think of anyone other than Guhle, and you offered your opinion confidently, you called me a troll … ostensibly because I did not think that Mete’s and Kulak’s ability to start on other teams’ rosters translated into organizational depth in Montreal — and thus invalidated a trade for Ekholm. I asked an honest question in the hope of learning something. Your words and your actions aren’t lining up for me.

    • Shaun,
      I gave you an honest answer with a list of young D who are ahead of the one you mentioned, Guhle, showing you the pipeline.

      You ignored it and went on about Ekholm, a D who wasn’t even part of the conversation as opposed to the fellow being talked about, Marcus Pettersson.

      You picked up exactly where you left off the day before then had a tete a tete with one of your alter egos. salut

      • I had no right to bring Ekholm into the discussion? I see. And again with the salut. Alright, habfan30. Enjoy watching hockey and this site, I’ll stay out of your way.

      • I followed that exchange Shaun and that’s the way I saw it as well. Exactly where did you see it differently?

      • Well George, perhaps my written expression was inadequate. I was addressing the point whether Montreal would benefit from trading for D, which I clearly think they will. I questioned the idea that they had internal depth, stating I was only aware of Guhle (being someone who is discussed as a cannot miss prospect but I did not state that). When a list of other players was provided, I pointed out that only two were on the Rocket and neither seemed close to being brought up with Fleury already having been brought up and then parked back on the farm. Ergo, the situation does not smack of org depth to me such that a trade would not improve the club.

        The only part of my post I would revise is the way I dismissed the assertion that Kulak and Mete would start on Pittsburgh. I was off-hand about that but simply meant in this case the player’s relative merit was to his team and not another.

        So how does that make me a troll, an alter ego, or even the slightest bit disrespectful? Perhaps Organizational Depth on Defence needs to be defined?

        No one needs to agree but accusing a poster of malfeasance for not agreeing or pointing out something or continuing to question is not good faith, honest or contributing to dialogue.

      • OK. Makes sense with that explanation. But then you have to consider that the Habs rank 6th of 31 in terms of their prospect pool according to the Hockey Writer’s poll, where they have this to say re their D pool:

        “Defensively, the club has a couple of players who might just bring as much excitement as the forwards. Josh Brook is coming off a solid debut in the AHL where he had a respectable 13 points in 43 games. He looks like a future top-pairing defender based on his puck-moving, defensive game, and decision making.
        Alexander Romanov might even be better than Brook. I do think he is, actually. He’s a defender who likes to play physical but can chip in offensively and might be the perfect complement to Brook down the line. He’s started the 2020-21 season in the NHL averaging 20 minutes a night on a third-pairing with Brett Kulak and already has his first goal. He appears to be a star in the making on the blueline.

        The Canadiens are deep on defensive prospects with 2020 first-round pick Kaiden Guhle, Noah Juulsen, Mattias Norlinder, and Jordan Harris as a few more to watch. Even in net, the Canadiens have a great prospect in Cayden Primeau. Despite being a seventh-round pick, Primeau does a lot with very little, meaning he makes saves with very little effort. ”

        Unlike F, as you are probably well aware, it takes a bit more seasoning in the minors where D are concerned. Patience is the key here – but, like the Senators, the Habs have some solid promise coming up at that position.

      • George,
        The explanation given doesn’t make sense at all.

        BNG had asked me about a Marcus Pettersson for Paul Byron trade, and I replied that I didn’t think it was good for either team.

        I said Pettersson would be a third pairing D and the D pipeline was full, and that Byron isn’t a 3C, he’s really a bottom 6 winger.

        He mentioned Guhle and asked who else, adding that Mete and Kulak don’t rate.

        i maintained that Mete and Kulak would both start and gave him a list of highly regarded LD names. He dismissed them and referred to Ekholm….didn’t even mention Pettersson, the player in question.

        It is very clear that he was tying in to the previous day comments on Ekholm.

        He can troll me with as many ID’s as he wants and I can choose to ignore.

      • George, you finished off an interesting exchange with some good information, thanks.

        I agree that the Sens are going to be very good in a few years. Batherson emerged from nowhere, it seems, to be a young gun on the rise.

      • George, I wasn’t denying the prospect pool is deep but I was looping in the idea that the Habs currently need someone better than Mete and Kulak to both make the playoffs and do some damage in there. And I did make the internal mental leap that Ekholm might be preferable to Pettersson because of contract lengths … though on second thought maybe that isn’t a good basis but whatever.

        Currently, it seems to me that by virtue of who plays where, the Habs see Kulak and Mete as more advanced than Fleury and Brooks and therefore an upgrade would come by trade.

        To be honest, though, I’d have like to see Fleury up this year and, if Brooks is that good — I have not seen him play, maybe him too.

      • Shaun, a team has to be REALLY careful with young D – very few jump from junior/college right to the pros (like Bobby Orr – but then he was from a different planet).

        With the exception of all of 13 games in the AHL, Chabot came right in from junior and, today, there are some who believe there are aspects of his defensive game that could have used more fine-tuning in Belleville. And they point that out with regard to Lassi Thompson as well, who many want to see up right away, and there are some beating the drum for Jake Sanderson (5th overall pick) to jump right from North Dakota to Ottawa when their season ends in the NCAA. THAT could well turn out to hurt him down the line.

        I remember some in the Toronto media stating that that was what set Luke Schenn back in his development, a 5th overall jumping right from Kelowna to Toronto. Now, he’s turned out to be a serviceable, steady bottom-pairing stay-at-home D – but that wasn’t what Toronto envisaged when they drafted him.

        Rielly is another – good offensive talents but, like Chabot, has warts in the defensive aspect of his game. Would they have been straightened out with season or two with the Marlies? We’ll never know.

  4. I enjoy fresh salmon. Nothing fancy. Maybe a little dill and lemon. Fresh garden salad along with it. I find potatoes too heavy nowadays. Some trout would be nice as well, or alternatively.

    • SOP I’m from Cape Breton and i do NOT like anything from the water! I will substitute your salmon for a Filet Mignon and your Trout with a T-Bone.

      • A nice choice, Caper. I grew up on moose and caribou. Beef was for the wealthy folks. Pork was a seasonal luxury.

      • Interesting. Either of those meats would be expensive as hell in the burgh. But beef and pork fairly cheap.

    • Ate my share of Moose but substitute Elk for Caribou SOP. Deer was a bit strong for my taste and generally made sausage if I went out and got one back in the day.
      Where the hell did you grow up with Caribou?
      I had caribou once on my anniversary when my wife booked us into the Rimrock in Banf. Cost a flippin’ fortune.
      Can’t beat a steak Caper, Ribeye my choice but can’t go wrong with your choices.
      For fish, I’ll take the Halibut over Salmon, although catching a Salmon is a lot more fun than a Halibut. Catching Halibut is hard work, like reeling in a mattress from the bottom of the ocean using a pool cue for a rod.

      • I really enjoy elk, Ray. It’s a great treat. My friends folks live south of the Cypress Hills and manage to “capture” one a year. I trade tuna steaks straight across for elk steaks and roasts. Bartering is alive and well around here.
        I grew up near Capers grandfather. Left as a young man, and have enjoyed life in the west ever since. Worked all over AB, SK and MB for the last few decades. The prairies are a great place for hockey.
        I also love halibut, but as you said, they’re not much fun to land. I fish to eat and relax. Not for work.

      • I like salmon and halibut (agree with you RB, there’s no fun in hauling up a halibut) but my favourite fish to eat is lingcod. Ugliest fish in the ocean but makes the best tasting fish and chips!

      • Virginia spots! Yum!

      • Perch & Pickerel are my catch. I can’t wait to get out of this godforsaken city and get at her.

        This pandemic has been a real ashole.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark; Ray; Caper

      I think I now realize how limited my diet has been all my life

      Without continuing the thread and sounding like I’m jumping in the conversation at the end (a la John Cleese in the 4 Yorkshire Men skit [google youtube : 4 yorkshireman secret policeman’s ball for a great chuckle]) …..

      I’ve never had moose, elk, deer, wild fowl

      Not a big fish eater; Only once had trout

      I do love lobster and shrimp… but I think that sums up my ocean adventures

      My mom is from the UK…. I grew up with everything fried and every single dinner had to have meat or chicken, at least 2 “staple” veggies, and potatoes or another starchy item; juice and milk. Desert mandatory. Mom never made salad.

      I absolutely love to cook but mostly my proteins come from beef, chicken/turkey and sometimes pork/ham

      My “exotic” veggies are Brussels sprouts

      I don’t do spicy

      I don’t do Sushi

      If I can’t pronounce it (I I have a fair vocabulary)… I don’t eat it

      So this 60 year old is bland as hell 😡🤬👎😭

      … but digestively regular 😄💩😄

      • Lol. Nice, Pengy. Your mom sounds an awful lot like my paternal grandmother. Fried and boiled was the only way she knew. That lady sure could bake though. She’d sent us youngsters into the bush to pick an assortment of berries so she could whip up some fantastic desserts with our spoils.
        Oh how I yearn for the days of old.

      • Spam!!!

      • Hi ShoreOrrPark

        Yep… mom was (and still is) great at boiling👍👍👍

        … and was (and still is) fantastic at baking…. under no circumstance will she make pastry without lard…. vegetable shortening is strictly forbidden

        Desserts had to have home-made whipped cream

        She still does her own preserves

        Everything on our plates had to be eaten…. no exceptions…. what ? felling ill ? Feverish ? Stomach ache ? My late father … “You leave the table when the plate is clean and not a moment before”

        That was followed by ….

        “There is going to be two hits…. me hitting you and you hitting the floor”

        I always heeded the warning

        My not so bright brother experienced the two hit program many times in his life

        My sisters (younger still) witnessed my brother’s failed attempts… their plates were always clean as a whistle 😂

      • Chrisms

        Spam, Spam, Spam and Eggs ; or

        Spam, Spam, Spam…. and Spam

        “I’ve come here for an argument”

        “No you haven’t”

        “Yes I have”….

        My favourite all time is the Cheese Shop skit

      • Dennis Moore

      • Today’s comments have gone way off topic, folks. As amusing as it is, let’s try to keep things on track by sticking to the topics at hand. Cheers!

      • Lol. It all ties in Lyle. Players hail from Moose Jaw to Salmon Arm to Goose Bay and Red Deer and even some from Elk point.
        Message received though.

      • Noted

        Apologies Lyle

  5. Wow, probably one of the best goaltending performances out in my a Sens net minder this year. Great game for Gustavsson and a little preview of what we hope to be our future number one.

    All season the best performers have been the young guys in Ottawa. I won’t be upset to get a little bit of an extended look at Gustavsson.

  6. I would love your t-bone or fresh salmon gift certificate at a high end restaurant .
    In exchange, I am willing to reciprocate with a Freddie Anderson autograph in exchange for this most welcomed meal

    • I don’t eat out, Ken. Every meal at home or at my lovely in-laws.

      • SOP, i grew up on Baloney, the occasional blade steak was a treat.

        I also like my in-laws i never see them.

      • I’d like to have a dollar for every slice of bologna mom put in the pan or on a sandwich.
        As for in-laws, they say “you can pick your spouse, but you can’t pick your in-laws.”
        If I could, I couldn’t have picked any better. They are wonderful people, parents, and grandparents.

  7. Re the game postponement

    All good as far as I’m concerned

    The first in the CanDiv… so not much disruption

    Agree … a couple of positive tests w/o time to test and get results on other teammates (in contact with earlier in day) …. means there is a risk of other teammates possibly having it; and then potential exposure to the entire roster of the opposing team

    No harm no foul; check them out; better safe than sorry

    …. then “game on”

  8. 2422,

    No pasta on your fave menu??????

    Are you really a Bruins guy?????

    • I find pasta a little heavy nowadays. I grew up loving Seabass.😉

      • sop nice “seabass” I see you. BTW my in-laws all 13 of them are all good.

  9. How about fresh-caught pickerel (walleye) fillets done in a fry pan with a tab of butter on the wood stove at the cottage?

    • Walleye cheeks are scrumptious!

      • I’m asking you again to stick to the topics related to the morning coffee headlines.

  10. I was positive that we would have had several trades by now to minimize the quarantine.
    Could we at least have some more waiver pickups?
    Asking for Jim Benning.

  11. So. The thread begs the question. Is there any competitive advantage or disadvantage on Canadian vs us teams based on the availability of certain meats?

    I’d think that the lack of cups would imply that caribou and or elk meat might be idnadventageous to consume.

    • I would like to see more data Chrisms, but anecdotally I would say that there may be merit to your theory for in season, but it may be advantageous during the off season and while growing up.