NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2021

by | Apr 18, 2021 | News, NHL | 46 comments

Patrick Marleau ties Gordie Howe’s games-played record, Alex Ovechkin moves closer to another scoring milestone, Connor McDavid hits new scoring heights for this season and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrick Marleau tied Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767 NHL games played as his San Jose Sharks fell to the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Marleau can break Howe’s record when the Sharks face the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday. Minnesota’s Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist while Zach Parise tallied the game-winner as the Wild (57 points) moved to within five points of the second-place Golden Knights in the Honda West Division.

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

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a remarkable streak of longevity on Marleau’s part. His NHL career began in October 1997, spending over 20 of his 23 seasons with the Sharks. This season, however, is likely to be his last as the 41-year-old has just 8 points in 44 games. We should take the time to appreciate his career while he’s still playing.

For those of you unhappy over a supposedly “lesser player” breaking the great Howe’s NHL games record, console yourself with the fact that Howe’s record of playing five decades in the NHL remains intact. Factor in Howe’s 419 WHA games, and he remains the all-time leader in professional games played with 2,186.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves and Michael Bunting netted the game-winner. With the win, the Coyotes (45 points) vault one point over the Blues into fourth in the West.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was an emotional win for the Coyotes as they inducted Leighton Accardo, a Coyotes fan who died last November at age 9 from cancer, into their Ring of Honor. With his team down by two goals, Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson guaranteed a win during a first-intermission interview. He and his teammates delivered on that promise.

Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and John Carlsson collected four assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin is now one goal behind Marcel Dionne (731) for fifth place on the all-time goal-scoring list. The Capitals sit in first place in the MassMutual East Division with 62 points while the Flyers (46 points) are eight points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins. Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was scratched just prior to the game with a lower-body injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their points streak to five games by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Tristan Jarry made 28 saves and Bryan Rust netted the game-winning goal as the Penguins (59 points) move one point ahead of the New York Islanders into second place in the East. The Sabres became the first team to be officially eliminated from the playoff race.

Pavel Buchnevich’s hat trick carried the New York Rangers over the New Jersey Devils 6-3. Artemi Panarin had a goal and three assists for the Rangers, who sit four points behind the Bruins. 

Connor McDavid became the first player to reach 70 points this season by collecting two assists in the Edmonton Oilers’ 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Mike Smith made 26 saves for the shutout as the Oilers (54 points) moved within three points of the second-place Jets in the Scotia North Division.

The Ottawa Senators ruined Carey Price’s return to the Montreal Canadiens net with a 4-0 victory. Price missed six games with a lower-body injury. Ottawa’s Matt Murray turned in a 23-save shutout performance while Drake Batherson scored twice. The Canadien (47 points) still hold a six-point lead over the Calgary Flames for fourth place in the North.

Third-period goals by Janne Hakanpaa and Andrei Svechnikov lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Discover Central Division with 62 points, one ahead of the Florida Panthers while the Predators (49 points) hold a two-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth place.

The Panthers, meanwhile, defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 to hold a one-point lead over the latter. Sam Bennett collected two assists in his Florida debut while teammate Brandon Montour tallied his first goal with the Panthers.

A 29-save shutout by Malcolm Subban carried the Blackhawks over the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist while Vinnie Hinostroza collected three helpers.

The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1, extending the latter’s losing skid to five games. The Stars tallied four second-period goals, including two 20 seconds apart. They sit three points behind the Predators.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo underwent season-ending surgery on Saturday to repair a broken bone in his cheek.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist is officially done for the season. He’s been sidelined since undergoing shoulder surgery in November. He’s expected to be fully recovered for next season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins winger and broadcaster Johnny Peirson passed away at age 95. Peirson spent 11 seasons with the Bruins from 1946-47 to 1957-58. He went on to spend 20 seasons broadcasting Bruins games on WSBK-38 in the 1970s and 1980s.

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


  1. sitting here sipping my morning Black Rifle Coffee thinking back on how much I enjoyed the voices of the Bruins back in the day Fred Cusick and Johnny Peirson on TV WSBK-TV 38

    • I agree, watched many of those games living in Massachusetts then, now I live in Colorado for the past 20yrs. John Pierson and Fred Cusack were great. Fred was always going on about how the Bruins were shortchanged and Johnny kind of kept him grounded with his great hockey knowledge. Both were really good broadcasters and loved hockey

  2. It’s Game On with Taylor !
    Now reborn in Beantown !

    My prediction from 2 months ago , is now a “reality”

    Bettman Presentation

    The 2021 Conn Smythe Winner

    Goes to Taylor Hall !

    Only concern , if this covid situation – heightens and messes up everything

  3. ALL records are made to be broken.

    As for that Ottawa-Montreal tilt, what was evident there was the core element of what will be a top contender in two years. And next season they will be in the playoff mix.

    And meanwhile , that so-called “miser” owner will not refuse to allow Dorion to re-up RFAs Tkachuk, Batherson and Zub before next season, and Formenton, Norris and Brannstrom before the following season.

    • George your team is funny…they play like a contender when they face the Habs or Leafs….once they see every opponent as either a hab or a leaf, they will be cert contenders.

      Give it some timing, luck and skill, 2-3 years from now they might be a force.

    • George, two things are true: the first is that the Sens have some good young players now, and have more in the wings. They will be consistently good in a few years.

      The second is that basing an assessment on beating the Habs is not advisable. Yes the Habs were playing on less than 24 hours rest but the longer the season proceeds the more pathetic the Habs have become.

      They are in the midst of an epic collapse and will soon tumble out of a playoff spot. The Habs are Icarus, not Lazarus. Watch out for falling bodies.

      • Ron and LJ (lol – good analogy LJ) – I’m not basing anything on the 4-0 win over the Habs. All I said was, what you saw in that game was the core of a team that will be a strong contender in 2 years.

        There will be further adjustments made along the way – including this off-season – where I can see them doing everything they can to add one solid Top 4 D to help Chabot and Zaitsev augment the kids.

        Their natural rivalry is and always has been the Leafs and Habs and the kids know full well that, when playing those two long-time legendary franchises, friends and family are watching. So it’s added incentive not to be embarrassed.

        They’d also played the Flames tough this year, while their early season pastings at the hands of Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver came when they were trotting out pylons like Coburn and Gudbranson on the blue line and the likes of Galchenyuk up front.

        Their seasonal record against the Oilers is pretty dismal when you look at the whole package … but in the most recent games against them, although losses, were much tighter.

        It’s all a learning process and at least they are showing signs of that.

    • Hey George,

      The Sens have an extremely bright future. The Leafs need to get it done over the three season before the Sens overtake them as the best team in the North Eastern Division.

      Would it be in the Sens best interest to maybe make a move with a team like ‘zonia who has two solid veteran goaltenders to land one of them to solidify their goaltending during the next couple of formidable seasons for rest of the team or do you think they feel comfortable moving forward with Murray???

      • Murray I have to admit I’m not too sure of Uwey. I mean, yes, he has the credentials (2 cups) but those came with a formidable team in front of him. While it’s hard to form an assessment of him based on this up-and-down season, those games where they were getting hammered in the first 12-15 came when the team they were icing regularly probably couldn’t have gotten a win if they had built a brick wall in the crease.

        I think they’ll stick with him heading into next season (not much choice given the contract and term he signed) and hopefully he will become more consistent with a better structure in front of him. They also have Daccord who was looking very good until that season-ending high-ankle sprain, Gustavsson who has played well, and they just signed the the 6′ 7″ 200 lb “Great Dane” Mads Sogaard to a pro contract.

        So, I doubt Dorion has a goalie acquisition on his mind … as I say, I think he’ll be trying hard to bring in an established Top 4-type D. Right now, in terms of goals for, they are ahead of 13 teams in that respect … the offensive potential is there now and will get better … it’s keeping the shots down and the puck out of their own net that needs improvement.

    • Tsk, tsk, tsk. Bless your heart.

    • Marleau is a class act, unlike you Wendel.

  4. Big Game in Boston today Caps/Bruins, the B’s should be ready to play some up & down physical hockey after the 8-1 drubbing they took from the Caps last Sunday and sure they saw all the laughing that went on from the Caps bench it will be interesting on how Cassidy sets his lineup today . Right now for the Bruins and Rangers all these games are playoff games

    • I think if there is a game the Bruins are prepared for its today. This is going to be an overly physical game I think. We all know Wash plays a heavy game and now that the Bruins have started playing that way I’m a bit nervous. Last thing the Bruins need is another injury. Hopefully the zebras keep the game in control especially with Wilson.

    • Caps on the 2nd of back to back today on the road, that should help a bit.
      Get the jump early and get a lead and clamp down on space.
      A nice low event 3-1 (with EN goal) game that Pengy hates would be perfect.
      Be physical, but stay out of the box.

    • The Caps look massive with Nantha. Can the Bruins, or any team, match them in physicality? Perhaps “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” tactics would be better.

      • with Mantha

      • correction: Mantha

  5. these players look like they wont play for the Bruins today

    C John Beecher OUT
    C T. Frederic OUT
    D M. Grzelcyk OUT
    D Kevan Miller OUT
    D B. Carlo IR
    G J. Halak IR
    RW Ondrej Kase IR
    D John Moore IR

  6. Oilers played a good road game against a good team last night.
    Oil looked and sounded like a team that took advantage of their unexpected extra time off in practice. Jets looked tired after a long stretch of a compacted schedule on the road.
    North will be interesting.
    WTF is with the Habs?
    Hope that lasts too.

    • Mike smith deserves a shoutout. He has been phenomenal all season long . At this point his name belongs in the vezina discussion . Not saying he will or should win it , just that he will and should receive some votes . He looks so much bigger in the lower half of the net , steady , still playing the puck effectively and a lot but has also cut down the mistakes handling too. Keep it up old boy ! Koskinen has always played better with rest , has been good since smith returned and he will be fully rested heading down the stretch also , another benefit of smiths continued great play .

      • 15-4-2 / .922 / 2.36 .
        8.9 goals saved above replacement .
        At the top or in the top percentile of assisting d relieve pressure and exit the zone , not sure where or how to find that stat but he gets to and moves a tonne of pucks .
        I’ve heard demko and Campbell mentioned for receiving some votes , smith has to be ahead of both .
        To be clear , again , I’m not saying he should or will win it, but he deserves some recognition and votes for sure to this point in the season

      • Ya Craig, the deals that don’t happen can be the best sometimes.
        George talks about Karlsson and Duchene in OTT.
        You can add Markstrom in EDM. Smith has been better, a lot better. They likely wouldn’t have had the space for Barrie either.
        Markstrom will likely turn it around and Sutter is a good coach for goalie #’s.
        Based on the #’s and not just the standard ones, Smith deserves some votes. Vas in TB, as of now, has been the best though. Again.
        And Graubaur.

      • Agree with all of your points ray . What makes things slightly more impressive through these eyes is doing it without klefbom . The last few years when he goes down , so did the defensive group . Nurse stepping up has helped mitigate that greatly but still losing your top minute muncher , pp and pk guy on the backend is a huge blow which they have dealt with admirably. I think kulikov will be a great fit also . Jones , who I like , has lost his confidence and I don’t like his chances of grabbing it heading into the stretch run and playoffs . Having kulikov to slot ahead of he and lagesson is a small move , but one I think can help, experience is something Tippett Values greatly when the games matter most

    • Hey Ray,

      WTF is with the Habs?

      IMHO, it’s leadership in the dressing & coaching.

      Leadership: Namely, Weber & Price. Bergevin brought in players with SC experience as well as goal scoring to help these two win now. The problem being either, neither are interested in or neither are capable of raising the level of their play when required. This is what strong leadership does. With Gallagher out, there is no core leader on this team tat can inspire the rest of the team.

      Coaching, the majority of the coaching staff on the Habs have very little NHL experience. There seems to be a disconnect between coaching staff & players as to how they are suppose to play or what their assignments are.

      For the most part, Bergevin has assembled a capable group but the disconnect between the direction of this team & the core leadership group have left the rest of this team in a state of of disarray. The parts do not equal the sum.

    • Ray,
      Might be the 11 games in 19 nights they have gone through, including 2 in less than 24 hours.

  7. Nedeljkovic has been Carolina’s the biggest surprise this season. I don’t see how Carolina can continue to rotate three goalies with Mrazek and Nedeljkovic playing so well.

    Carolina is about to start a stretch of 4 games at Tampa and Florida. Both teams made key moves at the deadline. This 4 game stretch will determine if one of the teams can break out of the pack.

  8. More crying from flip floppy Bruins fans already … and Marleau should be ashamed of himself as should San Jose … he is holding back a young, deserving forward who should be playing instead of him … he has been washed up for years …

    • So Marleau should be ashamed of a long successful career?
      Or that an NHL team still wants to pay him to play?
      I’m confused.
      If you think Marleau’s last season is more of a sideshow than Howe’s when he was over 50, you may want to rethink that.
      If SJ thought they had a young guy as good, then the young guy would be playing.
      He is one of the most respected players in the NHL. As was Howe. As they both should be.
      Both are small town Sask guys who grew up working on the farm. Both have worked hard their whole lives and absolute team first professionals who spoke with their games vs self promotion.
      Give the Malreau should be ashamed talk a rest.

      • Ignore that type Ray. Years back the same sort were yapping that Cal Ripken, Jr. should have had the grace to cut short his consecutive game streak just shy of Hergig’s record and somewhere down the line they’ll be braying that Ovechkin should cut his career short 1 goal back of Gretzy’s record. Nuts to that crap.

      • Gehrig

      • I know the #’s Wendel I almost always do, you speak of a watered down NHL now, back then way worse as the WHA just joined and players from all over the world were not being scouted and playing in the NHL.

        Watch an old game and tell me there were not more weak links then. More weak goals scored. If you do and can’t see that?

        Today everybody is in shape and everybody can skate and every team plays it tight.

        Is Marleau done, yep. Can’t blame him for taking another shot when a team comes calling. Especially his old one. Marleau isn’t a me first guy, never has been.
        I understand it, you don’t, all good. You and I often see things differently.

  9. Patrick Marleau shouldn’t even be mentioned in same breath as Gordie Howe

  10. Mr Van Impe
    Flip floppy Bruin fans , Lol !

    The game today will dictate a lot !
    It should be a nail biter , hopefully the Bruins come out on top , and free of injury

  11. Re Marleau and tying Howe

    I certainly don’t want to detract from his lengthy career and his accomplishments ; especially the fact that he is an iron man… 2nd on current list (just 13 behind Yandle) and will reach 900 straight games mid this week… the last 896 (to date) straight AFTER his 30th Bday. In 23 seasons he’s missed only 31 games….8 of which were his first season where he was the youngest (in modern era) to ever play in the NHL …. just 3 weeks after his 18th Bday

    Setting aside his first season… he has only missed 23 games in the last 22 seasons

    That said; I’d be lying if I said I didn’t believe that he signed this year in part (perhaps a fair part of his decision) just to catch and go ahead of Howe

    He certainly is not a major contributor to Sharks this year…. 8 points in 44 games; compared to Howe , finishing at 52; and getting 15-26-41 (80 games) and +9

    Re Bruins…. please beat Caps in reg

    Just noticed … highest goal differential (for season) in East is for a team that is likely to miss the playoffs…. NYR

    • That says alot about the Rangers who only show up for “garbage time”

    • Pengy, if what you say is true re Marleau, who’s more to blame? Him for seeking a contract? Or Wilson for giving him one? All the latter had to do is say “no … we’re rebuilding and I have to see what the kids in our system can do …” and I doubt anyone else would have extended an offer.

      Let’s face it, with or without him the Sharks were a long-shot to make the playoffs and I doubt there is much left in the system for an organization ranked 24th out of 31 ready to step into the everyday line-up.

      • No one in his right mind equates Howe’s career and achievements with Marleau’s. It’s longevity, guys, that’s it.
        As for lasting as long as he has in the modern NHL, Marleau deserves credit for all the off-ice training he has endured to keep up with the pace of today’s game. Everyone acknowledges how different things are for NHL players now. Back in Howe’s time, players used training camp and exhibition games to get in shape. Playing hockey was also a seasonal job for a lot of players, including Howe for a time, simply because they were so poorly paid.
        Patrick Marleau has had a remarkable career because he has played the modern game well for a long, long time.
        If it was easy, everyone would do it.

    • Gee. I’m in the wrong business. Apparently everyone who thinks marleau only wanted to pass Howe would have been fine walking away from 700000 large ones.

    • Hi George, BC LeafsFan and Chrisms

      Again, I want to make it clear that I am not detracting from his career; not at all

      He has had an excellent career and a record breaking career in his next game to boot

      He was also the youngest (Modern era) to play in the NHL

      23 seasons; basically aleays showing up for work

      Well respected

      Well liked

      He is in fantastic shape and prides himself in his conditioning … much better than many 15 years younger

      My point was that I do believe that he resigned in part , to play at 41, in order to finish his career ahead of Howe

      George… it’s not a matter of blame on this … Wilson , Marleau

      Blame infers a negative thing

      It is what it is ; good , bad; or indifferent

      My point was just that IMHO; he signed this year partially as a means to catch and pass Howe

      Sorry if I inferred any different

  12. Its been a rough season in Ottawa. But we knew it would and seeing the kids grow with each opportunity is amazing. Next season I think they get more chances and are given the club. As a matter of fact, I think we will see something like this next season in Ottawa’s Top 6!

    Tkachuk- Norris – Batherson
    Formation- Stuetzle – Dadonov

    The bottom 6 will be a crazy competition between White, Paul, Brown, Pinto, Ambrov, Sokolov and more. Great time to be a hockey fan in Ottawa.

    • Albeit only the one game, but I can foresee, Pinto displacing Stuetzle to the on the top six.

      • …displacing Stuetzle to the WING on the top six…

    • Glad you mentioned Sokolov, JJB – I’ve been neglecting his potential whenever I post about the Sens (NOT intentionally).

      This 6′ 3″ 222lb C, who they took in the 2nd round – 61st overall – last year, spent 3 progressively better seasons with Cape Breton in the Q, potting 46g and 46a 92s in 52gp in 2019-20, and so far in his first year of pro in Belleville, is doing very well.

      • …I can foresee, Pinto displacing Stuetzle to the on the top six…

        Sorry, I meant at the center ice position. Stuetzle will still be be top six, but playing the wing.

      • I’ve been very high on Sokolov since he was drafted. I personally see our future top 9 being.

        Tkachuk – Stuetzle – Sokolov
        Formeneton – Norris – Batherson
        Paul – Pinto – Abromov/Brown

  13. Just laying on couch eating my favorite potato chips and realized the Boston Bruins are good at hockey.