NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2021

by | May 17, 2021 | News, NHL | 8 comments

The Lightning, Wild and Islanders win the first games of their opening-round series, plus the latest on Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Nathan MacKinnon and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point scored the game-tying and winning goals as his club squeaked past the Florida Panthers 5-4 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Tampa Bay winger Nikita Kucherov tallied two power-play goals in his first game after missing the regular season recovering from offseason hip surgery. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and two assists for the Panthers. Game 2 of this series is on Tuesday evening.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the best game of the playoffs thus far. It could end up being the best series of the first round if the Lightning and Panthers maintain the pace this set in Game 1. Kucherov showed no signs of rust in his first game of this season. The Panthers must play a more disciplined style. Three of the Bolts’ goals came with the man advantage.

An overtime goal by Joel Eriksson Ek gave the Minnesota Wild a 1-0 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of their first-round series. Cam Talbot kicked out 42 shots for the shutout while Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves. They meet again in Game 2 on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was an entertaining game despite the low score. Both clubs had plenty of good scoring opportunities but the goaltenders were superb. The Golden Knights were without sniper Max Pacioretty. He’s been sidelined since May 1 by an undisclosed injury.

The New York Islanders nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on an overtime goal by Kyle Palmieri, who also opened the scoring. Ilya Sorokin picked up the first playoff victory of his career with a 39-save performance while teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a three-point game. Game 2 of this series is also on Tuesday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry was shaky in this contest. Every goal beat him high to the glove side. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Sorokin got the start as Isles starter Semyon Varlamov was out with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Elias Lindholm lifted the Calgary Flames over the Vancouver Canucks 6-5 after the Canucks overcame a 5-1 deficit to force overtime. Brock Boeser scored twice for the Canucks. Both clubs face each other two more times before their regular-season schedule is complete.


SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and winger Brendan Gallagher have been assigned to the club’s AHL affiliate in Laval on a long-term injury conditioning stint. Both are expected to be in the Canadiens lineup for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Canadiens followers freaked out on social media over this decision because they’re afraid one or both could get hurt playing a meaningless AHL game. However, the Habs want both players to get in some game action before Game 1 due to their long absences from the lineup.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will be in the lineup when his club faces off tonight against the St. Louis Blues in the opening game of their first-round series. He missed four of the Avs’ final five regular-season contests with minor injuries.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov returned to the ice yesterday for the Capitals optional practice. Both had been on the COVID-19 protocol list since May 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s unclear who will back up Craig Anderson for Game 2 tonight against the Boston Bruins. Anderson replaced Vitek Vanecek in Game 1 when the latter suffered a lower-body injury. Kuznetsov, meanwhile, could be several days away from rejoining the lineup.

TORONTO SUN: Jack Campbell will get the start for the Maple Leafs when they faced the Canadiens on Thursday. Winger Zach Hyman is also expected to return to action after being sidelined since April 18 by a sprained knee.

THE ATHLETIC: John Tortorella reportedly wanted to step down last offseason as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. One of the reasons he stayed was because Nick Foligno convinced him to return for one last season.


  1. I agree with you Lyle – Florida/Tampa was the best game, by far. Huberdeau was a beast on the ice, followed closely by Point and Kucherov. It isn’t often that you can say that both goalies played well in a 5 – 4 game, but both did. Florida is in a bit of a pickle – they want to physically dominate Tampa, but with Kuch and Stamkos back, the Bolts PP looks unstoppable. With everyone healthy, no one in the East or Central has the depth of talent that Tampa has. The Vegas game kind of confirmed my thinking that the Pietrangelo signing was not a good one for the Golden Knights. They were knocked out of the playoffs last season because they couldn’t score enough, and needed a sniper or two more than another defenseman. And yes, I know they played without Patches, but if Vegas does not win the Cup this year, it will be because they can’t light the lamp enough. Oh, BTW, I hope Steve Yzerman reads this. I want Blake Coleman to wear red and white next year.

  2. Glad to see Campbell get the start. Andersen has proven year after year he can’t be counted on in the more important times of the playoffs, albeit the rosters in front of him for those were also to blame.

    However, despite this being one of the best Leaf rosters in years, and reducing shots by 15 or more per game, he has shown his numbers are getting worse.

    I see limited passion, limited poise, and most teams are realizing he’s like a broken record: wait for him to go down, like he always does and beat him high.

    He’s been injured and his play his first game was brutal. After everything Campbell had done for this team, it’s time to recognize that they are where they are in large part due to him this year, not Andersen. Let Andersen sit, watch, stew and learn.

    A phat cat meows when it’s hungry or when it’s full of milk. Best to keep Sylvester hungry.

  3. It looks like the Isles are just simply not a good matchup for the Pens … Trotz has Sullivan’s number … although Tristan Jarry has to play a lot better for the Pens to win the series … Pens didn’t miss Malkin, he’s been a malingerer all year, turns it on when he feels like playing, coasts when he doesn’t, is a turnover machine, fragile and takes dumb penalties … Marino & Pettersson were awful yesterday, Pens need to bolster their blueline for next season for sure … it’s only one game but … I am not confident right now.

    The Panthers/Lightning game was awesome … that’s the way Brian Burke envisions how the Penguins will look next year … both Florida teams have speed, skill and size … too bad one of them gets bounced out early.

  4. I took the over on Kuch being ready-
    Someone (one of the many naysayers) owes me sum loot!

    • Yeah, that was some “rust”

  5. Again tonight the Bruins are a -$130 against the Caps which to me is a mistake line ….. just for that I’m taking the Caps on the $ line …. this should guarantee a Bruins win ….catch my drift


    • Most of the on line betting is usually wrong. I’m not not going to jinx anything with a prediction, but if Rask doesn’t hold the Fort tonight Swayman will be in to stay. Personally I think he should be in tonight.
      I would like to see Frederick in tonight. The caps don’t like him and if he can keep out of the box I feel he has something to prove that and Swayman would be the only change I’d make. Oh yeah and hit Alex and Oshie no ones said anything but I’m willing to bet they are playing hurt. If they can’t beat Washington with their third string goalie. They never belonged in the playoffs to begin with.

  6. I don’t think the writing could be anymore clear on the wall that Toronto will probably move on from Anderson this offseason. They will either try and resign Rittich or look for an affordable veteran back up in the offseason and give Campbell the net. Not feeling the need to bring Anderson back will be huge in allowing Toronto to resign Hyman, look at bringing Spezza & Foligno back for another year and fill out the roster.

    The season after they’ll have Reilly & Campbell to deal with, which will likely come with hefty contracts (assuming Campbell performs).

    Also, this Tampa/Florida series is going to be great! Ultimately, Tampa will probably win due to their depth and experience, but Florida is going to make it close and this will be a valuable step into them becoming a perennial playoff contender. Based on how they have played, cannot wait to see Florida with a whole year of Sam Bennett… no matter what happens, that trade is looking like gold for Florida.