NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

by | Apr 23, 2021 | News, NHL | 27 comments

The Avalanche clinch a playoff berth, a big night for Jakub Vrana, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the second team to secure a playoff spot by doubling up the St. Louis Blue 4-2. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists for the Avalanche, who were playing their first game since their schedule was postponed by a COVID-19 outbreak last week. They sit two points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Jaden Schwartz scored both goals for the Blues (44 points), who remain one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jared Bednar surpassed Bob Hartley as the Avalanche’s longest-tenured head coach with his 360th game. He’s now in his fifth season in that role and has done a magnificent job coaching this former bottom-feeding club into a Stanley Cup contender.

Two shorthanded goals by Sebastian Aho carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Carolina’s Martin Necas picked up three assists while Florida captain Aleksander Barkov scored twice. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Discover Central Division with 67 points, two up on the second-place Panthers. They also played without defenseman Brady Skjei as he remains sidelined indefinitely by a concussion.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 to sit one point back of the Panthers. Blake Coleman scored twice and Ondrej Palat netted the game-winner.

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana (NHL Images).

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana scored four goals to lead his club over the Dallas Stars 7-3. Thomas Greiss made 43 saves for the win. The Stars (50 points) remain two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. The Wings played without captain Dylan Larkin (upper-body injury) and announced Tyler Bertuzzi is done for the season with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews tallied his 34th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. Mitch Marner scored twice and Nick Foligno collected an assist in his debut with the Leafs. Mark Scheifele had two points for the Jets, who lost center Adam Lowry following a headshot from Leafs winger Alex Galchenyuk. The Leafs played without defenseman Zach Bogosian, who’s sidelined for more than a week with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 63 points, the Leafs now hold a six-point lead over the Jets for first place in the Scotia North Division.

Shootout goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Washington Capitals a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season. The Capitals (64 points) hold a one-point lead over the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the MassMutual East Division.

Speaking of the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger each had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, Kapanen returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury. The Penguins hold second place over the Islanders with 30 wins.

The Boston Bruins picked up their sixth straight win by beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist and Jeremy Swayman kicked out 29 shots. The Bruins sit in fourth place in the East Division with 60 points, three behind the Islanders and eight up on the New York Rangers.

Two power-play goals by James van Riemsdyk powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers. Brian Elliott made 33 saves for the Flyers (49 points), who sit three points back of the fifth-place Rangers in the East Division.

Matt Murray had a 31-save shutout as the Ottawa Senators blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist as the Senators have won four of their last five games.


SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed forward Ryan Hartman to a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman accepted a slight pay cut from his currently $1.9 million AAV for the security of an extra year. Cap Friendly indicates the signing leaves the Wild with $59.6 million invested in 13 players for 2021-22.

TSN: Only four players were on the NHL’s COVID-19 list yesterday. Three of them were the Avalanche’s Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer and Mikko Rantanen. The fourth was the Devils’ P.K. Subban.

Frank Seravalli reports the NHL and NHLPA have given the International Olympic Committee until the end of May for a financial commitment for the 2022 Winter Olympics because they need to set their schedule for next season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Kraken are being sued by Seattle’s Kraken Lounge for $3.5 million. The lawsuit alleges the risk of irreparable harm to their brand name due to the team’s name choice and plans to open the Kraken Bar & Grill at their planned training facility.


  1. It would an absolute slap in the face to return Swayman to the ahl. He should be the official backup. He’s been brilliant and has shown he’s ready to carry the load.

  2. Someone should tell the owners of the Kraken Lounge that they aren’t McDonald’s.

    • If anything, the publicity generated to them by having the same name as the team will help business. Come to think of it, the lawsuit is obviously just a big publicity stunt.

      • Heh. Hadn’t thought of that. Good point Howard

      • It’s an interesting lawsuit covering many bases and claims.

        It’s a punk rock dive bar that has been unhappy with the numbers of hockey garbed folks going there thinking it was team related and they don’t want to be seen as a sports bar.

        They then switch lanes and complain that a former owner of a chop and oyster restaurant will be running the Kraken bar & grill.

        Dare to be different dare to be the same….which is it?

        Somehow I doubt there will be any confusion between a pirate themed dive bar and a sports themed restaurant,

        Their own lawsuit points out the different clientele.

        I still think that Seattle Totems would have been a better choice for a name,

      • I think the Kraken is a good name Habsfan30, or as good as anything else I have heard.
        Totem would make for an interesting logo, but Kraken has a history and a good ring to it along with plenty of logo options.

      • Ray,
        The Totems name has a long hockey history in a number of leagues and levels that are synonymous with Seattle.

        Apparently Price was willing to go to Seattle until the Kraken name was chosen instead of Totems and he then nixed all discussions.

        lol, just kidding obviously

      • It is a weird name – but by far not the weirdest in the world of sports. The Mighty Ducks spring to mind, along with Utah hanging onto the “Jazz” moniker when the New Orleans franchise transferred there, or Calgary keeping the “Flames” when that Atlanta franchise went there.

        I also thought Pittsburgh should have just retained the “Hornets” name when they got a franchise in 1967. Penguins and Igloos have no connection as there aren’t any in Antarctica.

    • Maybe the issue is the Kraken Lounge doesn’t want the hockey team getting around to suing them for copyright infringement, George.

      There are a lot of examples of a larger organization coming after a smaller one for alleged copyright infringement. Some years ago the Canadiens forced the Gazette had to change their hockey coverage from Habs Inside Out to Hockey Inside Out.

      By the way, thanks to your Sens for beating the Canucks last night. The Habs need all the help they can get as they don’t often help themselves.

      • Yeah, LJ, best part of that game was seeing Murray get his second SO in the past 3 games (the other was 2 goals against in a 4-2 win). Encouraging to see him finally settle in with some consistency. Mind you, he’s also seeing better D in front of him from both the D and Fs than he did early in the season when Gudbranson and Cobourn might as well have been “totems” on the blue line.

      • George!!!!

        Coburn and Gudbranson were “totems” and not pylons…now I understand why you were unhappy when I described them as such…..too tall to be pylons.

        Goalies are an odd breed as we all know and they have these periodic spells of pucks looking like beach balls, then they go back to being peas.

      • Heh habfan30 – I was always more or less ambivalent when it came to Cobourn – he was part of the cost of getting two LTIRs off the books (along with Paquette) – which Ottawa would never use anyway as cap relief. As for Gudbranson, I always viewed him as a decent “grit” replacement for Borowiecki but in the 7th D role. In other words, minimal ice time per game. But Smith began putting both of them out there for 12:00 – 14:00 minutes a game and their lack of mobility became glaringly evident.

        Anyway, what’s done is done and now they’re gone and the young guns are getting a chance to show their worth. Except to see Bernard-Docker in more games in what’s left of the season, and perhaps Lassi Thompson up from Belleville. Although I can understand the reluctance to upset a winning combination and they have been getting very good D from Chabot, Zaitsev, Zub, Josh Brown (unlike early in the season), Brannstrom and Mete.

        Should they lose the next game vs Vancouver badly, the game following will be the one where we can expect a change or two. But for me, I hope that doesn’t happen. I can wait til next season to see the new faces.

      • Expect to see – damned auto-correct

  3. They deserved to be sued for picking a dumb name like the Kraken in the first place …

  4. Boston picked up their 6 straight victory last night, not 5th as stated above.

    They haven’t loss since the trade deadline.

    Need to take care of business with the Sabres, who are playing grind out hockey.

    Side note Pierre McGuire say whoever doesn’t consider Brad Marchand for the Selke should have their vote taken away.

  5. Swayman is the real deal he could start next year not sure how many games he can play before he can’t be put down without being picked up. Bergeron should always win Selke but bad Brad should get votes for Hart but impossible to not give it to McDavid.

  6. Whatever happened to Matt Murray when he was hurt… thank you! Last 3 games he has played on an elite level. Just wow!

    • Now if Freddy Andersen comes back like Matt Murray, Leafland will be thrilled.

    • Maybe that switch in goalie coaches has helped a bit JJB.

      • It’s murray being Murray. Consistency not his thing. Very talented. Get used to it for a few years.

      • Never too old to learn new … err … techniques!

  7. Swayman Just acts like he’s done this before and will only get better….Bruins are going to have to make a decision on what to do with Rask at season end …. I doubt he takes a team discount and he’s probably going to want more than the 7 million per he’s making now…….

    One or two of Krejci…Rask…. Hall won’t be coming back next season

    • I think all 3 will earn less than they did this season. We can afford all 3 back, but ya, don’t think all 3 will be.
      I’m optimistic on Swayman as well. 6 games does not a starter make.
      Not if you trying to win and at the end of your window. Risky.

  8. The officiating in the Florida Carolina game was perhaps the most inconsistent I have ever seen in an NHL game. Fortunately Florida only went 1 for 9 on the power play so it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Carolina’s PK unit was exceptional and had 2 short handed goals.

    I’ve watched Pesce and Slavin play some great defensive games but last night performance was at another level. There were many moments in the 3rd period that I thought both players had nothing left to give and some how they found more. Pesce played 28 minutes including almost 10 minutes of PK and Slavin played 27 including 12 minutes of PK. Carolina had to kill off 4 PK’s in the last 10 minutes of the game.

    What makes this team so fun to watch is how hard they compete.

    • GO, that’s a reflection of their coach, Rod Brind-Amour, who was one of the consistently hardest working players in the history of the game – regardless of the score. He always reminded me a lot of Claude “Joe” Provost in that regard.

      • The Golden Jet still has nightmares of Claude Provost, the ultimate checker who was an integral part of 9 Stanley Cups

      • Yeah, some media types tend to credit those 9 cups with dumb luck for being on such a power-house team – but Provost was every bit as important to those cups as any of the more recognized “stars.” I can still see those bow-legs working like pistons as he swiftly switched from defense to offense after stealing the puck.