NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2021

by | Apr 2, 2021 | News, NHL | 51 comments

A five-point performance by the Islanders Mathew Barzal, three more Canucks games are postponed by COVID-19 protocols, division stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, Nathan MacKinnon fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines


NHL.COM: Mathew Barzal’s hat trick carried the New York Islanders to an 8-4 romp over the Washington Capitals. Barzal finished with five points while teammate Jordan Eberle scored twice. John Carlson tallied twice for the Capitals, who lost goaltender Ilya Samsonov early in the first period following an accidental collision with teammate T.J. Oshie. The Islanders are tied with the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins with 50 points but the Capitals remain in first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of a game in hand.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (NHL Images).

The Penguins, meanwhile, rode a 30-save performance by goaltender Casey DeSmith to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Pittsburgh forward Branden Tanev returned to the lineup after missing six games and picked up an assist. The Penguins have won five straight but sit in third place behind the Islanders as the latter has two more regulation wins. Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo left the game with an upper-body injury. The Bruins sit fourth in the vision with 41 points, three ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

Speaking of the Rangers, they edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on an overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad. Artemi Panarin collected two assists for the Blueshirts while Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski kicked out 44 shots. The Rangers are tied with the Flyers with 38 points but the latter holds fifth place with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The East division is getting quite interesting. The Penguins have surged to jockey with the Capitals and Islanders for first place, the Bruins are clinging to fourth place but are being threatened by the Rangers, who could soon surpass the struggling Flyers.

Third-period goals by Ross Colton and Brayden Point 66 seconds apart lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. Point had two goals on the night while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 36 shots. Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist for the Jackets. With 52 points, the Lightning holds onto first place in the Discover Central Division. The Jackets (36 points) remain in sixth place in the division, three points back of the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks.

An overtime goal by Alex Wennberg gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal and collected an assist on Wennberg’s winner. The Panthers also have 52 points but remain in second place in the Central as the Lightning hold a game in hand.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a late goal by Jesper Fast to nip Chicago 4-3 and sit one point behind the Lightning and Panthers. Warren Foegele tallied twice for the Hurricanes. The Blackhawks remain tied with Nashville with 39 points but the latter holds fourth place in the Central on the basis of regulation wins.

As for the Predators, they missed an opportunity to open a lead over the Blackhawks as their six-game win streak ended in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Joe Pavelski collected two assists for the Stars (34 points), who sit five behind the Predators and Blackhawks.

A shootout goal by Kevin Fiala lifted the Minnesota Wild past the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 3-2. Cam Talbot had a 35-save performance while Kirill Kapizov had a goal and an assist for the Wild (46 points), who moved within four points of second-place Vegas in the Honda West Division. The Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche each have 50 points but the latter holds first place because of regulation wins.

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 as Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault each had a goal and an assist. Jake Allen made 23 saves for the Habs, who hold a six-point lead for fourth place over the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks with 41 points.


Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is the star of the month for March in the Discover Central Division. Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer is the Honda West star of the month. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took home the honor for the MassMutual East Division while Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the Scotia North Division star for March.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for March 2021.

The Vancouver Canucks have had three additional games postponed as forwards Adam Gaudette and Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudette and his wife faced some flak on social media by several folks alleging they failed to properly protect themselves from COVID-19. In fact, the couple followed all guidelines and were informed they did nothing wrong by the team and health officials. The Gaudettes have no idea how they caught the coronavirus and don’t deserve being hounded by some ill-informed fans.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon received a $5,000.00 fine from the NHL department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct against Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland on Wednesday.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson received a three-game suspension for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot on Wednesday.

NEW YORK POST: Brendan Lemieux requested a trade from the Rangers prior to their dealing him last week to the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round pick. Lemieux made the request as he wanted to play for a team where he’d have a more meaningful role. He’d been seeing fourth-line duty this season with the Rangers.

THE SCORE: Roberto Luongo is expected to be named general manager of Team Canada’s 2021 World Championship team.

SPORTSNET: Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield, Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay and North Dakota forward Shane Pinto are this year’s finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. Caufield recently signed an entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens while Pinto inked a similar deal with the Ottawa Senators.


  1. sitting here in my kitchen sipping on my Black Rife ( Freedom Roast ) Coffee can’t help but wonder after watching the Bruins going thru the motions would a trade for a Dman or 2 & a top 4 winger or 2 actually turn this team around the funk they have been in has been going on for a while after a 10-1-3 start they are I believe 8-9-2, injuries aside the young D just isn’t getting the job done they do a alful lot of running around the middle six players on O seem to take a lot of nights off, ( from the coach ) just maybe the B’s should be sellers don’t see them getting out of the first rd if they get into the playoffs …decision time for Sweeney/Neely & I hope this don’t fall on Cassidy

    anyone seen Pasta

    • Hi Joe

      Thought I’d give it a shot after all of ur praise…. worth a shot…so we ordered and got some BRFR Coffee for the fam…. now unless we bought something different …. you always say “Rife”; we ordered from the Black Rifle company…. it didn’t have big interest at Chez Pengy…. 5 of 6 …. didn’t like; # 2 son gave it a “meh”…. so now have given rest to my mom

      Re last night Bruins v Pens…. certainly glad for the win… but agree with ur assertion re Bruins play last night… please encourage them for identical performance tomorrow

      • Pengy…LOL

        they have different kinds have to settle on the one you like it took me a while & $$$$

        the Freedom Roast is my go to

      • Thanks Joe

        Think now I’ll stick with the Triple “T” …. tried, true, tasty…. a certain brand found basically on every corner in every major city in Canada…. one which George does not like… no name need be given here….. but for those who need a hint…. found a an outlet named after the only player in NHL history to have two different numbers retired in his honour

      • And let’s be honest here, Pengy, that fact is the MAIN reason why many Canadians feel obligated to buy that sludge. It’s simply become a habit more than anything else.

        You might think, with the way the hostile takeover shunted that family aside, that most would have dropped it.

      • Hi George … agree Branding and the “norm” for many to start, kept them going

        Convenience also a big mover and shaker for their market share

        They have failed miserably at their Dark roast attempts

        Every person’s taste buds are different

        I didn’t like Joe’s fav but gave it a try

        I don’t like McDs, I absolutely cringe at Starbuck’s

        I’ve tried many many many brands …. my taste buds keep coming back to the same one over and over again…. and I like it by far above any other I’ve had….the convenience thing is a bonus to me

        Again, to each his own

        Your sludge is my “ Hardy Le Printemps”. 😄

      • Not if you ever try Jamaican Blue Mountain!

      • Hi George

        Haven’t tried…. Mrs Pengy has and wasn’t “sold” on its flavour… so will likely not be going out and buying

      • I grind beans picking and choosing, sometimes blending based on the flavour I want at the time.

        The dark roasts out there and chain coffees aren’t much better than instant coffee.

        But…as mentioned chacun a son gout.

        It’s like comparing a blended scotch to a single malt, the difference is obvious but some like the blends.

  2. If Sweeney’s not going make a move just mail in the season and dissemble ,this club is toast. Sell everyone except pasta and Mac build up number one picks and go from there. Oh & one other thing Get Sweeney out of beantown I wouldn’t trust this clod with drafting or trading anyone the guy is a disaster,

    • Sweeney usually waits till the last tick of the clock at the trade deadline to make his move or two & they won’t be game changers or stars just Kase types

      • Joe

        If that is the case and BOS is still just squeaking into the playoffs at the TDL are you comfortable with them dealing Halak and using one of their youngsters as back-up?

        Leafs are in a bind regarding Andersen’s health and they will need a proven goalie as insurance in case Campbell goes down too.

  3. Habs are looking good – seems like they are finally responding to the change in coaching regime and with Allen and Price both on top of their games heading into the playoffs, 4 solid lines and cohesive D pairings, they are going to be a major hurdle for any opponent in the North Division.

    • George, Mtl has lost more games than they have won?

      They will be the soft touch of the playoffs should they sneak in.

      Zero difference makers.

      • Hi WH17/Mike

        You keep dumping on Habs and ranting about more losses than wins and the other day about OT points…. going back to the old system of win loss tie (no OT)…. Leafs would have 44 points in 36 games…. .611; Habs would be 40 in 33 GM… .606

        A Habs reg win coupled with a Jets reg win (meaning Leafs reg loss) in their next games… and discounting the extra point past 60 minutes….

        Leafs… 44 in 37 …. .595
        Habs….. 42 in 34…. .618

        Also… Habs better in last 10 than Leafs

        In no way can I conclude as you have that Habs “ will be the soft touch of the playoffs”

        It is quite possible that these two meet up first round…. and in no way are Leafs guaranteed to win

        If 23 Leafs take your attitude that Habs are a pushover…. then to me, that just boosts odds of a Habs series win

        Do not underestimate any of the Jets, Habs, Oil

        I’m certainly hoping that Leafs can win a round or two but I am certainly not taking it for granted

      • I wouldn’t be too sure Wendel – I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

        There was a reason Julien got canned – again – his style of coaching just eventually goes in one ear and out the other. Just ask the Bruins fans.

        It took a while for them to adjust to the changes made by the new regime – but it’s starting to have positive effects.

      • Pengy & George, why waste your time responding to him? You are interested in sharing ideas and generating good discussion. He is not and never has been.

    • George they played two games after having 10 days off, their first game back was playing Edmonton on the Oilers second game in two nights.

      Habs have 17 games in the Month of April, lets see how it holds up; if fatigue hits and injuries because of all the games.

      As of today they look like a lock for the 4th spot and a first round date with Toronto; which if happens will be entertaining to watch.

      • True – but Ottawa had 6 nights off before last night and while they showed signs of “rust” the Habs showed no such thing in that game against the Oilers (I’m sure Edmonton were hoping for a little opposition “rust”).

        Is that a reflection of the difference in coaching approach vis-a-vis Ottawa and Montreal? 38 shots on Gustuvasson is NOT a sign of a team taking advantage of a week’s rest.

        The Habs came within less than 2 minutes of having back-to-back 4-0 SOs – with two different goalies.

      • caper,
        They have a tough schedule but it isn’t easy for any team. Team depth will come into play and I’m not overly concerned since Toffoli, Armia,and Staal will be available soon and Chiarot shortly.

        The Habs have the luxury of being able to rest and replace some players without a significant drop off.

        It will be interesting.

    • We shall see, George. They have had several good games, preceded by some stinkers. And while they are not the only team that will have a tough, covid induced schedule they play a crazy number of games in an even shorter period than originally scheduled.

      And while the addition of Staal gives them a lot of reserve on forward, they cannot afford another injury on their D.

      And I expect your Sens to play much better on Saturday …

      • They’d better … I think Dorion may be running out a patience … Chabot needs to stop trying to be Mr. Everything – that -3 last night stick out like a sore thumb, as did Batherson’s -3 up front … he’d better start showing some consistency or he’s going to find himself in Belleville for “fine-tuning.” Dorion learned that from Murray who wouldn’t hesitate to drop someone down if he saw “roster complacency” settling in (assuming he still has such options where Batherson’s concerned).

      • Don’t be too hard on your boys. No one expected much from them, they are in a rebuild. And they are 3 – 3 against the Habs this year. Had you been offered that split, I’m sure you would have taken it.

      • George,

        I expected Ottawa to beat the Habs last night considering the (to me) the surprise win over Edmonton.

        I expect the Sens to win Saturday, but I hope not lol.

        I know he only played 23 min last night but Tom Chabot is getting way overplayed and he’s expected to rush all night.

        His avg TOI is almost 27 min sometimes up in the 30’s.

        If the Sens were in the heat of the race I could understand but they are burning him out for nothing.

        Weber is known to be a horse but his career avg is around 24 min per game and his game doesn’t call on skating up and down the ice.

      • Oh, overall I’m satisfied LJ – the bad start aside (attributed to a multitude of factors) there are enough encouraging signs to be optimistic down the road. Losing to better teams is acceptable – as long as the effort is there … what I don’t like to see are signs that complacency has set in with regards to a roster spot. That’s unacceptable regardless of whether it’s a veteran or a rookie/sophomore figuring he’s got a spot sewed up and so doesn’t give the same effort every night. Especially after 6 days off. There are other good young prospects coming up through the system (Bernard-Docker and Pinto have just signed ELCs) and if some of these kids start to take the odd night off there will be someone anxious to get their shot.

        I like Batherson … just not when he’s dogging it.

  4. Knights

    Just finished watching the game 10 minutes ago…. played with only 10 skaters… I get suspensions and injury scratches , but why couldn’t they call up Sekura or Brown from Taxi squad??

    Talbot … several 10 bell saves including a great mid-air paddle save on Kolasar

    East… 50-50-50… points, 1st through 3rd… that’s tight

    Barzal… now there is the real deal…. wow…he was wearing his McD/Mac-K persona; kid can fly

  5. “Lemieux requested a trade”
    Read that story. Request was made by his agent/dad.

    • On his son’s behalf. Brendan wanted to be traded.

      • Lyle, honestly…. do you not think partly his dad wasn’t happy with sons role and influenced kid? Was his role any bigger on previous team? Kings loaded with young prospects as well. I don’t see Lemeux having any bigger role there.

      • Most trade requests are made by the player through their agent. The fact Brendan’s dad represents him is coincidental. He was seeing mostly fourth-line duty and wanted a bigger role, something he wasn’t getting with the Rangers.

  6. Leafs have most prospects in top 75 of all Cdn teams with 5. Good job on that Dubas…now you’re fired since you haven’t traded any of them for a goalie.

    • Freddie will get the job done, get off the “we” need a goalie.

      • Raging , remember your unwavering support for him when he is the worst goalie in his 5th straight playoff series…the definition of insanity comes to mind here….

      • Teams are trying to finish 4 in the north division to get a east first round win against a soft leafs team with terrible defence! But I don’t think the leafs are going to get first they have looked bad the last while after getting all the lucky breaks early on in the season

      • Easy first round win *

  7. Thinking out loud, in a word as of late the Bruins suck!

    No one can make a tape to tape pass
    No one can throw a body check
    No one can go to the net
    Minimum of 3 break away a game given
    No one has any speed
    No one no where to be on the ice.

    exception to the above McAvoy and Marchand give effort for the most part and the goalies have played well.

    Pastrnak is curious to me, i remember watching his shootout winning goal two games ago against NJ. He showed 0 emotion and skated directly off the ice. He is skating like he doesn’t want to be there; got called out by Cassidy for not getting dirty and Cassidy saying he just pokes his stick in there and goes.

    The last few games now Cassidy has called out his top line on two occasion and directly called out Pastrnak. Cassidy has been pleading for effort and execution but has received neither.

    I read this morning the Bruins are tired , yes they played a lot of hockey but so has everyone else. I don’t believe it the amount of games.

    Is there something bigger at play? Did the players tune put the coach? I only say this because there isn’t much effort from the players; listen even if your tired there would be still some shots of adrenaline and you would see some effort. I’m not seeing it and i keep going back to Pastrnak play and keep asking what gives? Hurt? don’t thing so because Cassidy said he need to get dirty and play physical. Is he mad being taken off the number 1 line? sound petty; I just think right now there is a disconnect from the coach and players.

    • caper…..was thinking the exact same thing did some of the players Cassidy call out actually dial it back it sure looks that way, but this is suppose to be when the team leaders step in and have a team meeting havent heard of any of that going on …..I’m thinking the Bruins fans are tired of watching this team going thru the motions

  8. If Chandler Stephenson got 3 games then Connor McCheapshot should have gotten FIVE … what a bunch of b.s. talk about favoritism …

  9. People are saying that Habs line of Gallagher-Danault-Tatar deserve a name considering that for a few years in a row:

    They play against the opposition top scoring line.

    They have one of the best possession times.

    They have one of the best goal differential.

    Individually none of them are stars or amazing talents, they cost half the money of the other lines in the “top 5”

    With a nod to the past I propose:

    The CounterPunch Line

    • How about overrated like the rest of the team?

      • Ron Moore aren’t you a leaf fan? Talk about overrated lol

    • They already have a name: “3rd line”

    • habfan30 the concern for giving them a name is, 2 of the 3 maybe gone after the season. Plus 11, plus 19 and plus 13 is real good.

      I do like “the Counter Punch”

      here is my suggestion ” The Neutralizers”

      • I’d prefer to just call them 2021 Stanley cup winners. But of course I overrate them. I need to learn to be more realistic about my team like the people in Toronto.

      • caper,

        No way to know who will be there next year since a flat cap will deter any big contracts.

        FYI the 6yr $5 million turned down by Danault, it was a comparable by his agent to Palat that Bergevin never replied to.

        This just might be the year players take hometown discounts for a chance at a Cup win

        That’s pretty good, the neutralizers , I like it.

      • Nice to see Danault getting some luv on here finally.
        Accepts the hardest jobs that deliver fewer stats which in turn often means less $.
        He just wins his battle against the best most nights. A really good player.

        Hopefully on the B’s next season. Sweeney should give him the contract he asked for.

      • I was thinking what Ray Bark was thinking when I wrote my choice of name for Danault’s line. It’s without reference to him. For sure, he doesn’t get the credit that he’s due.

    • Lager and Chips?

      • Sign me up!

      • Shoreorrpark– We have Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Are you 21?

      • I only wish I were 21. That milestone is quite blurry looking in the rear view mirror. I’ve sampled Sam Adams and to be quite honest, it wasn’t near the top 25 beers I’ve ever tasted.