NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2021

by | Mar 30, 2021 | News, NHL | 31 comments

Patrick Marleau reaches a significant milestone, the Panthers suffer a serious blow with Aaron Ekblad sidelined, the Senators and Kings make a minor deal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines


NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson scored twice in regulation and the winning goal in a shootout as the San Jose Sharks nipped the Minnesota 4-3. Kevin Fiala and Marcus Johansson each had two points for the Wild (44 points), who sit in third place in the West. Sharks winger Patrick Marleau played his 1,757th NHL game to move past Mark Messier into second place on the all-time games list. Marleau is just 10 games behind leader Gordie Howe with 22 games to play.

San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau (NHL.com).

The Vegas Golden Knights maintained their grip on first place in the Honda West Division with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Robin Lehner made 24 saves for the win and Jonathan Marchessault collected two assists as Vegas (49 points) have won eight of their last 10 games. They hold a one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche.

Speaking of the Avalanche, Cale Makar had three assists as they downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. Colorado winger Mikko Rantanen tallied his 20th goal of the season. The Avalanche are 9-0-2 in their last 11 contests.

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on an overtime goal by Ivan Provorov. Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Provorov each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (38 points), who move within one point of the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division. Buffalo’s winless skid is now at 18 games. Sabres forward Dylan Cozens left the game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those 18 defeats, this one is the cruelest for the Sabres, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

A 19-save performance by Casey DeSmith in relief of Tristan Jarry enabled the Pittsburgh Penguins to hold off the New York Islanders 2-1. DeSmith replaced Jarry after the latter left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Jared McCann scored what proved to be the winning goal for Pittsburgh (48 points), who moved into a tie with the New York Islanders. The Isles, however, holds second place in the East Division on the basis of regulation wins. Penguins winger Jason Zucker returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Darnell Nurse gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oilers captain Connor McDavid set up Nurse to extend his points streak to 11 games. Toronto center Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 23rd goal while Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist. With 47 points, the Leafs remain atop the Scotia North Division while the Oilers sit two back in third place.

Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers each collected three points as the Winnipeg Jets snuffed out the Calgary Flames 5-1. Scheifele scored twice and Ehlers had three assists. The Jets sit one point behind the Leafs and one ahead of the Oilers in the North Division. The Flames (35 points) remain two points back of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dropping five of their last six games, the Flames have missed a golden opportunity to overtake the idle Canadiens. They sit only two points behind the Habs but the latter have six games in hand after having four games postponed last week by COVID-19 protocols.


SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will be sidelined for 12 weeks following surgery to repair a fractured lower left leg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their top defenseman is crushing news for the Panthers, who are jockeying with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Discover Central Division. It could force general manager Bill Zito into the trade market for help.

CBS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask could be sidelined most of this week with an upper-body injury.

TSN.CA: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi came off the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Teammate Joel Armia remains on the list while new Hab Eric Staal is on the list as part of a seven-day quarantine before joining the club later this week.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators traded defenseman Christian Wolanin to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for minor-league forward Mike Amadio. Wolanin cleared waivers last week and was demoted to the Senators AHL affiliate in Belleville.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch explains the reason the Kings didn’t claim Wolanin off waivers was that they wanted the ability to get a contract off their books. They were interested in Wolanin but wanted to be sure the Senators would take Amadio’s contract.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Bobby Schmautz passed away at his home in Arizona on Sunday at age 76. He spent 13 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Rockies. He tallied 20-or-more goals nine times, including two 30-plus goal campaigns. Schmautz spent over six seasons with the Bruins. In 764 games, he scored 271 goals and 557 points, along with 61 points in 84 postseason contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Schmautz’s family, friends and former teammates.


  1. Just to add to the Kings/Sens swap, LA put Amadio on waivers last week as well, so the Sens could’ve claimed him for nothing and choose not to just like LA with Wolanin.

    So this trade was absolutely about the number of contracts each team had.

    • Hi Canadian King

      With you re Kings and all about # of contracts… were (at Amadio waiving ) at 49/50; and now again at 49/50 after trade

      Sens were 45/50 though…. so I am less confident that this may have been Dorion’s Modus Operandi ….

      My thoughts….. I think Wolanin was further down the depth charts… so let others have a shot…. but once down… the swap for Fwd made sense….

      but George has more intuition on Dorion than I so ….. reaching out here to George re his opinion on the Wolanin waive; then trade.

      • It couldve been just a depth chart thing with Wolanin Pengy, good question. Although it begs the question, why not just pick up Amadio for free on waivers last week if it wasn’t about contract numbers?

      • That I can’t answer… George. …. thoughts on this??

        BTW…. CK…. just realizing that you are posting now at just past 9 T.O. time… so u started pre 6 AM ur time …. good on ya 👍👍👍👍

      • Re Wolanin and his future in Ottawa – his main quality is his offense – back of his own line he’s just OK. But he had fallen well down the list in their D depth, especially with the performance so far of Zub and the imminent arrival of Lassi Thompson and, in a year or two, Bernard-Docker.

        L.A. apparently liked his offense qualities and simply wanted to make sure that, in taking on his $900,000 cap hit, they could clear the $700,000 one of Amadio’s. Both are RFAs at the end of the season with arbitration rights.

        By taking on a depth C with NHL experience (168 gp) like Amadio, I think this is simply a forerunner of another deal to come before or at the trade deadline involving another C – maybe Logan Brown? He, too, has fallen down the depth chart behind Norris, Tierney, and White and very soon, I’m sure, we’ll see Stutzle make his debut there on the 1st or 2nd line.

        The wheels turn.

      • And, I should have added, maybe L.A. too has something cooking leading up to the trade deadline involving a D-man.

        You hear any buzz on that score CanadianKing?

      • Another should have added: Jake Sanderson

      • And yet one more thought – lol – remember, too, that Ottawa – and perhaps L.A. as well – have recent draft picks that have yet to sign ELCs (e.g. Sanderson, Bernard-Docker, Pinto, Tychonik) and since their signings might be more imminent than we know, Dorion will need room on the 50 max limit – so simply plucking Amadio off waivers and then finding no takers for Wolanin would have eaten up one spot. Maybe the same situation ith L.A.

  2. Re Ekblad… sad to hear he is out 12 weeks; but the good news(that didn’t sound right 🤔) is that it is not shredded ligaments (which is what I , and many, thought had happened when watching it happen with weird bend and him shrieking in pain). Shredded ligaments would have been months and months of rehab

    Leafs… get a point 👍👍👍👍…. but Karma bug (weird body deflection off of Turris for tying goal…. sending it to OT) hit them this game for the Karma blown missed call on JT last game, seconds before WWs game tying goal (sending it to OT). So each team gets 3 out of 4 points in a B2B…. neither team should be disappointed

    Pens win 👍👍, but Jarry mysteriously doesn’t return for 2nd with an UBI ?? I didn’t see him hampered or shaking off anything in the first. When he didn’t come out for the second I just thought that he was feeling 🤢🤮.

    Another man down for Pens 🤬💩😡. Two days off… 🤞🙏 he’s OK by then. Hoping for at least a split in the B2B with Bruins 🤞🙏

    Knights and Avs keep rolling … again …. to me , crying shame that one of those two guaranteed not to even make it to the semis

    Re Marleau… congrats on getting past Mess…. and he should easily get past Howe… but to be clear… this “allowance” by Sharks by signing him and letting him play; is a gift by them for his many years of dedicated service. What he brings to the table this year is not worthy of replacing a younger player getting developmental NHL time. I’m just playing Captain Obvious here.

    A couple of weeks ago where it was inferred that “he wouldn’t be opposed to being traded to a contender”…. to me was (if the quote was true) highly presumptions… what contender would trade for him???

    If Jumbo Joe went to Dubas (he won’t, just work with me on this train of thought) and asked to be traded to Knights or Avs…. that certainly could be a “warranted” request (if Jumbo concluded; as I have; that Leafs aren’t winning the cup this year) over that Marleau quote (if true) . This may (more than likely) be Jumbo’s last year…. chance at a Cup…. Knights realistically only looking for a depth forward (perhaps a 3C).

    Flames are going down in their own name….. Bergevin’s smile broadens

  3. Bruins hear is your chance to get a franchise player from Florida.Trade 25.74.23 for either huberdeau or Barkov.Once Carlo get s back.give a 1st round pick if you need more.Carlo solves ekbad s injury with a very affordable contract under team control.

    • Steve, Im no Bruins aficionado but it would appear your suggesting the Bs trade Carlo, Debrusk or Studnika for Huberdeau or Barkov?

      Thats insane. I would rather have Barkov than anything the Bruins have, let alone the players you suggest, who barely move the needle. Same goes for Huberdeau.

      • Hoo, ya, that’s for sure. OK, losing Ekblad is a serious blow to the D but you don’t correct that by dealing away players of THAT quality.

        They’ll juggle their D corps accordingly and have Juulsen now on a conditioning stint in Syracuse and a couple of good young prospects in the system. They also have veteran Anton Stralman on the taxi squad.

        They could also make a deal for another mid-range D. But in doing so they won’t disrupt that potent offense.

    • You are a typical delusional Bruin fanboy … beyond ridiculous.

  4. If Marleau has any class he will hang ’em up when he is one game short of Gordie.

    Marleau hasn’t been an NHL caliber player for 3 years.

  5. Marleau should be ashamed of himself … next thing you’ll hear is that Wilson extended him with a two year deal …

    • Talk to WILSON, ED. He signed Marleau. BTW was Howe at his peak at the end of his career? Was he close? I’m sure you were there.

  6. Loved Bobby Schmautz when I was a kid. **** I am getting old

  7. Good for pat. Gives the fans in San Jose something to actually root for as well.

    • Agree Chrisms, Gordie is from small town Sask (as is Pat), so I have always had an appreciation for him.
      But to suggest Howe playing as a 51 yr old in a watered down league is honorable and Marleau playing at 41 is shameful, or that he has no class, is a strange thing to say. And ironic in a way.

      Good on both of them.

      • Hi Ray

        Sorry if it came across as me inferring “shameful” or “classless” re my take on Marleau

        That was not my intention

        I (personally) feel that he signed on this year with a prime focus to catch and pass Howe

        I would be wrong if I said to anybody that I believed he was contributing right now at a level worthy of replacing a roster spot for a youngster (needing NHL developmental time). I base this on his production this year… 6 points in 34 games. Last year he had 22 points in 66 Gs

        Yes Howe played his last year in a relatively “watered down” League….. but that was after a 6 year hiatus in the much weaker WHA; AND he played until he was 52 (that is in and of itself awe inspiring); but what is more awe inspiring is that at 52 he finished that year with 15-26-41 in 80 Gs… that’s a hair over 0.5 PPG

        Marleau will finish this season at 41 and unless he kicks up production…. at 0.18 PPG

        I don’t believe that 3 4th liners on Hartford in ‘79/‘80 finished with 41 points… so with that in mind; I don’t believe Howe was wrongfully taking another younger players earned place

        Again, I’m not in any way inferring that Marleau’s situation is shameful or classless

        The strongest I will go is that his playing now (decision by coach) is more likely out of respect for Marleau than for his actual contribution

        I do stand by my doubts that a contender might seek him out in trade

        Wilson perhaps makes a few calls to see if he can find a contender (for Marleau to get a Cup shot)who is looking for F depth ; to take Marleau for “future considerations”.

        Again, sorry for my miscommunication

      • Hey Pengy, I wasn’t referring to your post, sorry if it came across that way.
        And ya, he is past his prime, but SJ is paying him to play so of course he would. As are some others.

        None of these guys want to hang them up until it is obvious they are done. I get that.

      • That’s exactly what I was going to say, Ray – whether some like it or not, you have to think that, if SJ management/coaching didn’t think he had something to contribute – other than points – they wouldn’t have offered him a contract. Going into this weird season they certainly didn’t think his presence – and return – would draw in fans from a “sentimental” point of view nor, do I think, they thought he would somehow return to anywhere near his glory days.

        Passing old stars on various “all-time” lists goes on – and will go on – all the time.

  8. Marleau couldn’t carry Mark’s jock let alone Gordie’s. Marleau is an Ironman because he hasn’t gone in a corner since the Cow Palace. It IS a shame this no hit no win wonder is going to pass the Great Goldie Howe. For anyone to not think this is very unfortunate I will hazard a guess your last name is Marleau.

    • Wendel, safe to say it is easier to talk about playing more than 1700 games in the NHL than it is to actually do it.
      6-2, 218 lb farm boy who played in the NHL as an 18 year old because he is a pussy? Playing in the best league in the world as a 41 year old because he is soft? Respect from every guy he played with, including your boys Matthews and Marner because he won’t go in a corner?

      Save it tough guy.

      • You are totally missing my point Ray. This is about the bad look it is for the NHL to have a player with such sub-star career as the All -time anything. It would be like having Mike Gartner with his hundreds of no big goals as the all time goal scorer.

        Makes NHL look like the K car of pro sports.

      • Hey. The leagues most recognized team hasn’t won the title in the majority of the living fans lives. It all sort of fits.

      • You’re right Wendel, I missed it.
        IMO that is a strange point to make.

        Good player who stayed healthy and teams valued. Helped that he was a great skater too.

        Plus he is from Sask and by all accounts a really good guy.

        Good for him.

    • Wendel, you keep outdoing yourself. Stick to goalies, man, it’s your forte.

    • Thanks, Cobra!