NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2021

by | Apr 6, 2021 | News, NHL | 16 comments

Recaps of Monday’s action, stars of the week, concern over growing COVID numbers on Canucks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice and John Tavares picked up his 800th career points as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Calgary Flames 5-3. Matthews has a league-leading 27 goals on the season as the Leafs sit atop the Scotia North Division with 55 points. Leafs goalie Jack Campbell extended his record to 9-0-0. Mikael Backlund scored two goals for the sputtering Flames, who’ve dropped eight of their last nine and sit sixth in the division with 35 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick a fork in the Flames, folks, they’re done. They’re eight points out of a playoff spot in the North and show no sign of reversing their death spiral in the standings.

Montreal Canadiens center Eric Staal (NHL Images).

Eric Staal’s first goal with the Montreal Canadiens was an overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Staal made his debut over a week after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. It was a costly win for the Habs as winger Brendan Gallagher could be sidelined for weeks with a fractured thumb. With 43 points, the Canadiens sit five points behind the third-place Oilers in the North.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The feisty Gallagher will be difficult to replace. The Habs are pressed against the salary cap. If Gallagher’s out until the playoffs perhaps GM Marc Bergevin will place him on long-term injury reserve. It would free up $3.75 million to put toward pursuing a forward or defenseman before the April 12 trade deadline.

The Winnipeg Jets survived a late push by the Ottawa Senators for a 4-3 victory. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied twice for the Jets (49 points), who sit one point up on the Oilers for second place in the North Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game wasn’t as close as the score suggests. The Jets dominated the Senators, outshooting them 46-23.

A four-goal second period enabled the Colorado Avalanche to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 5-4. Nathan MacKinnon and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, extending their points streak to 15 games and sitting in first place in the Honda West Division with 56 points. Ryan Hartman had a goal and two assists for the Wild. With 48 points, they are third in the West.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their first win in four games by downing the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Alec Martinez scored twice and Alex Pietrangelo picked up an assist in his first game in St. Louis since the former Blues captain signed with Vegas in the offseason. The Golden Knights are second in the West with 52 points while the struggling Blues are sixth with 38 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years after winning the Stanley Cup and a year after finishing with the best record in the Western Conference, the Blues are in serious danger of missing the playoffs. They’re winless in their last seven (0-6-1), tallying just eight goals in that stretch.

Michael Bunting’s first career NHL hat trick powered the Arizona Coyotes over the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. Adin Hill kicked out 36 shots for his third straight win as the surging Coyotes (43 points) hold a five-point lead over the Blues and San Jose Sharks for fourth in the West.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Travis Sanheim. The Flyers moved to within three points of the fourth-place Bruins (44 points) in the MassMutual East Division. Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19.


NHL.COM: New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, and Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 4, 2021.

The list of Vancouver Canucks on the NHL’s COVID protocol list grew to 17 players as Nils Hoglander tested positive. The league has extended the postponement of Canucks games to April 10.

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly expressed concern over the Canucks’ COVID numbers but remains confident the team will be able to complete its 56-game schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend upon how many more Canucks test positive, the severity of their symptoms, how long they’ll be sidelined, and if this outbreak remains contained to the team. The league has a buffer week of May 10-14 to allow for rescheduled games to be completed.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness remains hopeful his COVID test result on Sunday turns out to be a false positive. He’s fully vaccinated and said he feels fine despite the positive test. If his follow-up test is negative he’ll be unable to rejoin the Stars in time for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks due to the NHL’s COVID protocols.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Tanev is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have sent rookie forward Trevor Zegras to their AHL affiliate in San Diego. The Ducks were pleased with the promising youngster’s play as a winger but want to give him more experience at center. It’s expected he’ll return to the Ducks before the end of the season.

NEW YORK POST: A Minnesota medical examiner ruled the March 3 death of Mark Pavelich a suicide. The former Team USA and NHL forward was receiving treatment at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Minnesota as part of his civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in August 2019. He was diagnosed with a mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury, likely related to repeated head injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, my condolences to Pavelich’s friends, family and former teammates.


  1. Whoooo boy, after watching last night the bruins need to dismantle everyone needs to go except chuck and Pasta grab a bunch of first rounders… This team is going nowhere fast. No amount of tinkering will help. And oh number one If the team disassembles they cannot rebuild with Sweeney at the head of helm think 2015 draft. That nightmare is coming back to bite Sweeney in Behind.

    • The nightmare of having 5 players from that draft playing in the NHL? I’d rather have Conner, Aho and Barzal, myself. Some would take Chabot, White and Boeser. Others would choose Konecny, Aho and Chabot, but that’s the way drafts go. Some guys go too early and some guys slip through and Fall to the second and third rounds.
      Sweeney wasn’t my choice either. I’d have given the job to Gorton. Looks to me like the injury bug is playing a part this year. Bad puck luck. (5 posts last night) and some poor luck with Covid aren’t helping much.
      Jump if you must, but I’m gonna wait till the off-season to tear it down. Better returns, historically when GM’s actually have a few options and some money.

      • I think the B’s get in because Philly can’t get a save and if they are going to roll with Elliott I don’t like their chances, being back a few points plus B’s have a game in hand. Rangers would need to stay hot for the duration. B’s get a bunch against the Sabres.
        I think Hart gets the start tonight, will be interesting to see how he does.
        What’s the deal with Rask?
        If he is hurt not sure how we have playoff success other than a Vladar Cinderella story. While that would be heart warming, not that likely.
        Give the boys a chance, they’ve earned it over the years. Don’t sell the future to do it.

        Having said that, I still think Sweeney makes a move. Because that is what GM’s do in this situation.

    • Don’t see how the Bruins fix this situation right now entirely to much going on with them, they don’t have the pieces to get a quick fix and win now so they probably should wait till off-season …….let the UFA’s go,sign Carlo back as a RFA do a rebuild job next 2 off seasons they will have the $$$$ if they move out the old and not needed ….start with the goalie, bring in a couple of Dmen the #1 & 3 lines are OK right now ..The 2 & 4 need a overhaul …..BTW…this isn’t a job for SWEENEY/NEELY

  2. Gallagher will not be difficult to replace. He’ll be impossible to replace. He’s the team’s heart and soul.
    I don’t see Bergevin making a trade for another winger. It’s more likely that Cole Caufield gets his chance soon.

    • Howard,
      You’re right of course, there is nobody on the team who can replace but I think they have a dark horse who can step in.

      Jake Evans

      He’s a cenre/right wing who has held his own with a 200 ft game,

      He doesn’t score but his board, corner and net front work is excellent.

      For a cerebral player who isn’t physical, he never backs down from anybody.

      A late round pick like Gallagher who willed himself to the NHL leapfrogging others with more talent.

      He’s not Gallagher but but his effort and demeanor is there.

      • habsfan30. You’re right about Evans. I think he’ll get some points if he gets opportunity up the lineup. He can make some skilled plays.

  3. Lyle,

    You already dirtied a “fork” on the Flames—if you’ve got another one, you might as well give the Blues a poke as well!

    • In my most humble opinion, I honestly believe that they gave the wrong man the “C” in St. Louis, effectively wrecking the locker room. Tarasenko, Schenn and Schwartz should be wearing letters for that team. Some folks don’t put much stock in it, but it absolutely matters to the guys who are in that room, and they matter most and know best. O’Reilly has a certain way of dividing rooms wherever he goes.

      • That and their goaltending hasn’t been great. Combined with giving up way more scoring chances than they create. Like way more.

        Pretty crazy slide, so ya something weird going on in STL.

      • Cryin’ Ryan can’t get the Blues back to the promised land – boo hoo

  4. I didn’t watch the game and I apologize if I am wrong but based on the boxscore it didn’t look like the Habs went after McDavid last night for retribution for what he did to JK … how weak? What a bunch of cowards … NHL hockey is so watered down these days it is sometimes hard to watch … and the upcoming trade deadline will be a dud as predicted by many … grrrrrrr

    wonder how Geoff Ward is feeling these days???

    • Stuck in the early 70s, are you, Ed?

      The Habs’ goal is to win games, not to exact retribution. The game has changed for the better. I certainly can do without fighting. Look what happened when Chiarot took Miller’s challenge – a broken hand and 5 weeks on the sidelines during a tough, crucial schedule with the playoffs on the line. And the upside of that was?

      Sure, I enjoy thinking about some thug like Tom Wilson getting the hell beat out of him for his thuggery, but suspending him is sweeter.

      The Habs were very successful in keeping the superb McDavid (and Draisaitl) from scoring – for 5 games in a row if I am not mistaken. That’s how they went after him.

      Victory is the best revenge.

    • Hey Ed, the game they play is hockey, where the team that scores the most GOALS in a game wins the game, not a goon chasing players playing hockey around in a rink ‘looking for payback’ … like I said before, maybe hockey isn’t your game.

      • LJ & Ron: VERY WELL SAID!

  5. Larry Robinson’s hip check on Gary Dornhoefer that broke the boards was sweeter and as if not more definitive than the thrashing he gave Dave Schultz.

    Retribution comes in many forms,

    McDavid 28:38 TOI, 0 G, 0 A, 0 sog , -2