NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2021

by | May 21, 2021 | News, NHL | 45 comments

The Canadiens win over the Leafs overshadowed by Tavares injury, the Panthers rally back against the Lightning, the Penguins and Golden Knights take 2-1 leads in their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: A shorthanded goal by Paul Byron late in the third period lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their much-anticipated first-round series. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 35 stops while Josh Anderson opened the scoring. William Nylander tallied for the Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

The Habs win was overshadowed by a scary injury to Leafs captain John Tavares in the first period. Checked to the ice by Ben Chiarot, Tavares was accidentally struck in the head by the knee of Corey Perry as the latter attempted to avoid the fallen Leaf. He was stretchered from the ice and spent the night in hospital, where he was reportedly conscious, communicative, and passed all tests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares’ status for Game 2 on Saturday is unclear. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and returns to this series.

While Perry’s collision with Tavares was accidental, Leafs winger Nick Foligno felt the Habs winger had to answer for his “transgression” by fighting him on the next faceoff. Had Perry deliberately attempt to injury Tavares it would’ve been justified. That wasn’t the case in this instance. Even former NHL enforcer Matthew Barnaby questioned Foligno’s actions.

The Canadiens didn’t emerge entirely unscathed from this game. Center Jake Evans left the game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return.

The Florida Panthers clawed their way back into their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 6-5 overtime victory. Ryan Lomberg tallied the game-winner as his club overcame a 5-3 deficit on third-period goals by Patric Hornqvist and Gustav Forsling. Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists for the Panthers as did the Lightning’s Victor Hedman. The Lightning holds a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 set for Saturday afternoon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle was a healthy scratch for the first time since 2009. However, this doesn’t affect his consecutive-games streak of 922 as only regular-season games are counted.

Jeff Carter scored twice, Kris Letang collected three points and Brandon Tanev netted the winning goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the New York Islanders 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in their series. Cal Clutterbuck scored twice for the Islanders. Game 4 is on Saturday afternoon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a wild contest that saw the Islanders overcome 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3 deficits before Tanev put the game away. A wild scrum near the Penguins net in the third period resulted in nine roughing minors.

The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 2-0 deficit to drop the Minnesota Wild 5-2 and take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Mark Stone led the way with two goals for the Golden Knights. Game 4 is on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild were the better team in the first period. They appeared to take a 3-0 lead on a goal by Joel Eriksson Ek but that was overturned as offside on a coach’s challenge. Had that goal stood, perhaps it would’ve changed the outcome of this game. Instead, the Golden Knights rallied with a strong effort over the remaining two periods.


THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri faces a suspension for his hit to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of their first-round series. Kadri was offered an in-person hearing with the league’s department of player safety.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri has two prior postseason suspensions. He could be gone for at least the remainder of this series. His punishment is expected to be handed down today.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time earlier this month. He returned to action for Game 3 of his club’s series against the Boston Bruins. It was his first game since May 1. He had also tested positive in January.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi said he’s feeling well following back surgery on April 30. He was limited to just nine games this season and hopes to be ready for training camp in September.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly close to signing head coach Travis Green to a new contract. His current deal expires at the end of this season. Meanwhile, Canucks center Elias Pettersson said his season was ended on March 1 by a hyperextended wrist. He said it’s almost 100 percent healed and doesn’t expect any issues for next season.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to a two-year contract extension.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he’d like to build a new arena in Kanata to replace the Canadian Tire Centre. However, he also hinted at moving across the Gatineau River into Quebec, though the team would still be within the Ottawa region.


  1. What I questioned about Foligno’s decision to challenge Perry last, saying after the game he didn’t care if it was intentional or not, the team needed redemption for their captain laying on the ice.

    Justified or not, after that fight which IMO Perry really only hung on to get it over with, others such as Simmons should leave it at that. Had it been a malicious hit, then I would understand.

    I feel it really took the wind out of the Habs sails in the second period.

    Now did Foligno set precedence for players to held accountable in this series that if a players get injured that the opposition player that was involved must fight afterwards. If say there is a scrum in the crease & Matthews gets knocked on top of Price who gets injured, is Matthews now obligated to take a challenge from say Edmundson???? I would hope not, but believe Foligno’s actions & words would say so.

    FYI, if I am the Habs , I would decline all PPs. Their PP outright, absolutely sucks!!!!

  2. Had things not happened a s they did last night (tragic injury to JT) I may have opened today’s post with… “after 54 years, what’s a couple of more days just to get the first playoff victory against the Habs?”

    The injury to JT looked awful. Tragic and completely accidental but awful. Obviously he was concussed but the way his neck was tilted awkwardly as he repeatedly tried to get up was very disconcerting to see

    Hoping for a quick and full recovery

    Re game…. great saves at either end …. the winning shorty goal was something else… credit where credit is due…. good on ya.

    Price was…. super Price . I saw this last year vs. heavily favoured Pens. Leafs , pull up your socks

    Pens ….. Phew 😅 ….. stop letting the Isles back in the game …. those goals are not on Jarry… hard work by Isles outplaying Pens in spurts and making sight-lines very difficult for Jarry…. clean up the front of the net and win those battles. Great game by Carter, Tanger, and Turbo.

    First time in the playoffs that I can ever remember that there was a full penalty box for both teams , on same shift, with no majors??? Wow

    Knights and Wild…. I went to bed when it was 2-0 for Wild and they held the play. I just watched the rest of the game…. certainly a tale of two different mini games…. Knights dominated back part of game. DOMINATED.

    I’ve only watched the quick summary/hi-lights vid on the Panthers/Bolts game….but wow what a tilt…. that looked entertaining

  3. Typical goon reply from Foligno, he can’t do anything else so he wants to fight Perry for an inadvertent knee … if anything he should have gone after Chiarot for the initial hit …

    Would love to see a four game sweep of the pathetic Maple Loaves who lost to a clearly inferior lineup …

    My Pens got physically abused and manhandled last night but won the game … but my guess is that Brian Burke will rectify that aspect for next season … that punk Mayfield throws a punch and the Pens end up short handed … sad part is that Ryan Reaves would taken care of Martin & Mayfield last night rather than have the skill guys in the box … next year will be different, I guarantee it …

    and lastly, the Avs are gonna wish they had someone like Reaves for tonight’s game …

  4. Some random takes from last night’s Leafs-Habs tilt from someone with no horse in this race:

    the “delay of game” penalty to Holl was ridiculous and based on pure “technicality” and absolutely nothing to do with a deliberate attempt to relieve zone pressure. The fact the 4 zebras had to gather to discuss it first shows that it just as easily have been overlooked. Hell, the game was delayed longer by their conference;

    Price looked like the old Price – so what does the coach do next game? Put him back in for what will surely be a determined early Leafs onslaught – or go with Allen?;

    that “response” by Foligno, coming at least 8-10 minutes after the Tavares incident, and the fact both he and Perry were on the ice to resume play, tells me it was the coaches who dictated that. Dumb useless gesture.

    And that Tampa-Miami series just got interesting again.

    • George I don’t understand peoples fascination with the Faligno/Perry fight. It was simple he fought Perry to get it over with. They could just get on with the game instead of debating whether it was intentional or not. Obviously we know it wasn’t intentional but the players on the ice did not know as they don’t have slow motion replay with all these angles. They only saw it in real time and it is Corey Perry we are talking about Posters on here are just nuts. Personally the player I was most impressed with last night was Anderson. Man does he ever play well against the leafs. With that being said the Habs always play well after a long break. They start the season strong, they won there 1st 3 after the covid break ect… The leafs will easily win this series. The habs fans were already making excuses. My favorite was well our players are just coming back from injury. My Habs fan friend used it as an excuse and when I explained we were getting back Hyman, Nash and Anderson from injury which is easily as good as Gallagher, Price and Danault he couldn’t get the confused look off his face.

      • Yeah, but Roger they had at least 8 to 10 minutes before resumption of play to watch the replay and whether in slow-motion or real time the whole thing happened bang-bang – absolutely NO chance to avoid him it happened so fast. Regardless of the later – and lame – “justification” -it was about as useless as a goon-to-goon fight before the opening faceoff or immediately the puck drops. It – solved – nothing and did absolutely nothing to “inspire” the Leafs. What Foligno was saying later was he did it because ‘that was our captain” – in other words, had it been someone else he wouldn’t have done it – or perhaps come up with some other “justification.”

        And where did I suggest the Habs would win this series? I agree, the Leafs will win it – likely in 5. I offered no indication otherwise.

      • Roger Laurin,

        Are the players on the bench just looking at porn with all those tablets on the bench when they are not on the ice???

      • George the players don’t just sit there and rewatch the replay. It was perfectly justified and both players didn’t even give it there all in the fight. It was just let’s get it over with and move on which is exactly what Faligno and Perry said after the game. The leafs are screwed either way if Faligno doesn’t stand up for Tavares the the leafs are soft and don’t care about each other. Faligno does stand up for Tavares and he’s a goon with no class posters are finicky. It was no big deal. Faligno, Perry, the leafs and habs all know it why can’t commentators on a fantasy web site get it.

      • No one said Foligno was or is a goon. He is indeed a hard nose winger that every team wants on their bench.

        What is being said is, he made a bad decision.

        Now had he or any other Leaf player gone after Perry or Chiarot at the time of the hit, I would have no problem believing they had no idea what had just happened.

        My question is, what happens if a star Leafs player is in the same situation as Perry during this series, will they also be obligated to take the challenge of redemption from a Habs player???

        BTW, Foligno admitted during the post game interview that he felt there was no malice intent on Perry’s part.

    • George,

      The delay of game penalty is automatic, the four get together to check if there was a deflection or did the puck clear the glass . Full stop.

      The three may have been caused by the Habs determination to finish their checks and take away time and space.

      Foligno is a clean player and stand up guy, to be honest I think it was just a lets get it over thing to ensure no retribution, Perry hardly threw any punches and Foligno went easy on him. No harm no foul everybody gets it out of their system.

      • What’s with this “Full Stop” ?? Is that some latter-day comment to suggest that there’s no room for further discussion?

        I think there IS room for discretion – just like with any penalty. Hell, if they want to apply the full technical approach to any penalty there’d be an endless parade to the box. Holl clearly wasn’t trying to deflect the puck over the glass – he was trying to knock it down.

      • The problem is with the penalty definition itself, George. Every delay of game penalty I have seen this year is inadvertent by the player. They all know it is a penalty and that icing the puck is better. So what you are saying is get rid of the penalty.

        Ok. But then we will go back to the days when players intentionally shot the puck out of play to relieve pressure, which effectively penalized good pressure by the offensive team and stalled the game.

        That isn’t any more desirable.

      • George,
        Full stop is another way of saying, period
        Nothing latter day or new age about it.

        This penalty is specific in that intent isn’t required, it isn’t a judgement call, it isn’t stated as deliberately or not.

        It’s been a rule since 2004 and stated as automatic so as to not make the referees rule on “intent”.

        Are you really not aware of this?

      • George O that is the point, there no room for discussion and it’s best left that way.

        Still waiting for Chara to put one or two over the glass. Always good for a couple in Boston, no need to change now.

      • I agree with George regarding Holl’s intent but I don’t know if the rules specify intent or not. If it’s a penalty regardless of intent, then too bad for him; his knucklehead play earned him a penalty which I feel might the case. My issue is, should the play be dead because of the high stick made the puck go out… but if it wasn’t for that dumb play, the puck would not have left the playing surface, so… penalty?

        Also 3 over the glass penalties… did that even happen to one team even when the rule was first implemented? I’m sure they had other stuff on their minds which I can understand since I wasn’t much into the game post hit.

      • HabFan30, then effing well just put in a “period.” The impression it leaves with me is like saying “you’re a dummy.” You do NOT want to go down that endless road with me.

      • Well done Caper.
        Thanks for that.

  5. The fight and the injury to Taveres also overshadowed something else and that was the fact that the Habs, physically dominated the Leafs on the ice. Not skill or score, but they were way more aggressive, finishing way more hits, and just being relentless on the body. Toronto clearly the more skilled team, but they will have to match the intensity the Habs played with or they will get bounced.

  6. What Foligno did was an embarrassing not only for him and Leaf organization but also the NHL. Why fight someone who felt worse than anybody for an accidental incident. Game was boring not much happening Price was better than any Leaf. Montreal will have to rely on Price until they start to get healthy and in game shape most of their top players coming back from injury.

    • Like who One. Habs got Gallagher, Price, Danault and Weber back from injury. Leafs got Hyman, Anderson, Nash and Bogosian back seems pretty similar to me. As for that Foligno fight you should get over yourself. The players saw it in real time not in slow motion replay like us. As Foligno stated after the game it was simply to get it over with so that they can continue with the game, makes perfect sense to me but I guess it’s a leaf player so the rules are different. Anderson was the best player in last night’s game. Both Price and Campbell had great games the Canadians just came out on top. Goaltenders always have to play well for teams to win the cup so wait to predict that Price has to play great for them to win the series. I’ll give you a hint Campbell has to play well for the leafs to win the series.

      • I get comparing Hyman to Gallagher but you are saying

        Anderson = Price
        Nash = Danault
        Bogosian = Weber

        imo the leaf players don’t compare to the Montreal 3, Anderson is not even in the linup.

      • Yes I am Premier. Anderson was the leafs number 1 goalie and actually has better stats then Price over the last 4 years. Nash is a defensive forward so a comparison to Danault is fair. Hyman is way better then Gallagher so it washes the fact that Weber is better than Bogosian. So yes if you don’t have any bias and use facts then it is very comparable.

      • Hyman better than Gallagher? I guarantee the majority of gms in the league would take Gallagher over Hyman everyday of the week,

    • The players have replay Roger. Not only tablets but that big thing hanging over center ice.
      I would bet a pay cheque they all checked to see what happened.
      Having said that, IMO Perry was fine that Foligno did it, almost thankful that he was allowed penance, they discussed it prior and everybody on the ice knew it was coming. Perry almost had his gloves off before the puck dropped. Agree with the let’s get this over with take. Release the energy, everybody get’s back to the game.

      • Ray I know they have replay and can build whatever opinion they want on that hit. I’ll bet you that even without replay none of the players thought it was intentional. The point is because it’s the leafs all posters on a fantasy website can talk about is a meaningless fight that every team in the league would have had instead of the fact that first Tavares took a knee on knee then a knee to the head which could have been career ending. They also can’t talk about a great win by the Habs. A great goal by Byron and a great game by Anderson. Because it’s the leafs the focus is on a meaningless fight because it wad a Maple Leafs player who anniciated it. Out of that entire game it was the whatever moment but you would think the world was ending.

      • Roger watch the relay chiarot dd shoulder hit Tavares first not his knee

    • The habs did this very same thing when chiasson accidentally bumped price , perry was playing the foligno role and chiasson answered the bell .
      Foligno explained this post game , eliminates all doubt , it happened fast , not all players would have the same opinion on what took place , so you ask the guy if he wants to go , clears the grey area , everyone feels like they can move on . I take more issue with simmonds trying to engage again later in the game . Aside from that both teams handled a tough situation rather well in my opinion

      • Craig, I was pissed and annoyed with Folino last night, but your post is a better take. Including the comment about Simmons, who is now reduced to trying to fight other better players as his contribution.

  7. The Leafs are not structured to win in the play off the Habs are. I have 3 fanatic Hab fans all of whom the Leafs would in 4. I said to every one of them. I think the Leafs will be lucky to win.

    I have been writing here well over a year. The Leafs need a dominant D man. Morgan Riellly is not even close. Until they get some size up front and some meaness on the back end they will not be winners.

    The League seems to accept and support one style referring in the season and another in the playoffs. It does not matter whether is right or wrong. You build your team to win in that light or you lose.

    I honestly don’t why anyone would buy an NHL ticket between Nov and April. They play a different game then.

  8. This is for Roger Laurin, who went off on a lovely long rant last night too late for me to respond. Roger you said in part:

    “Are these the same people that said the Habs would win the North division. The same people who said that the center position was a strength for the Habs? The same ones who say that Price is the best goalie on the league … Yikes you should definitely listen to those TSN guys because wow and I mean wow.”

    And here is what I posted that set you off, Roger:

    “But in a recent TSN poll of 50 NHLers not in the playoffs the team that received the most votes for pulling off an upset is the Habs.” I underlined the key passage for you this time Roger. It wasn’t me who said that, or “those TSN guys.” NHLers, Roger, as in active players this season. Wow and wow again indeed.

    But you didn’t stop misreading there. I also posted: “And while at the beginning of the season many Leaf fans here wanted to ship Marner out, he’s had a great season as well.” You replied: “This isn’t even Marner’s best year and you just figures (sic) out now that he can play.” Again, it was not I who said Marner needed to be shipped out. In fact, in response to such comments I stated several times early in the season I’d take Marner for the Habs. I’ve always given Marner his due on this site.

    What can I say, Roger? I actually got a laugh out of this. Just not the one you might have had in mind. And I guess we shouldn’t even broach Price’s play …

    • I used your same strategy in my reply LJ I didn’t refer to you but those TSN posters you speak of. That way I can say he said and she said instead of I said. Not that expect you to understand that but you are a Habs fan so only opinions matter I guess.

      • Are you deliberately being thick Roger?

        How plain and clear do I have to be? There were no TSN posters. There was no he said/she said. What I referred to was a TSN poll which recorded the results from surveying NHL players.

        You have even managed to mis-read my clarification. Is this a talent or an affliction, I wonder. Either way trying to get you to understand is futile.

    • I see the underlining didn’t come through, Roger. But I hope you can read clearly now.

      • Well LJ let’s review my posts compared to those TSN posters you speak of. At the beginning of the season I said Price is no where near the goalie he was 4 years ago because numbers don’t lie. Well Price had a sub par year again. 1 for me. I said that the Habs were going to be a middling team fighting for the last playoff spot because they signed a bunch more 2nd and 3rd liners. Well guess what even with those players having career years what happened. Habs actually have less wins then this point last year but more overtime losses so they squeaked into the playoffs. I said KK was a 3rd liner at best. I know you’ll say his age but has there been any improvement this year to suggest he’s more than a 3rd liner 1 game isn’t the series LJ and I don’t think anyone thought this would be over in less then 6 or at least I don’t. You agreed with those TSN posters until towards the end of the season when absolutely everything I said about the Habs became fact. I do mean everything I said at the beginning of the season came true. So TSN posters 0 me well what can I say I got it all correct

      • I’ve been posting here for weeks that the Habs would be a tough out, because they play tough and are sound defensively when they get tending.
        I also said I thought the Leafs would prevail in a 7 game series.
        Losing Tavares may change that.
        Or the Leafs may rally around it and win it for Johnny and maybe he gets back in time to play again if the Leafs move on past RD 1.

        Going to be interesting to see how the Leafs play in game 2. Gut check time. I think think they rally and this gets interesting.

      • A refreshing post on topic, Ray.

        I agree that the Leafs will prevail. Tavares gets overshadowed by Matthews and he is a quiet, clean star. It was distressing to see him like that.

        The Leafs will miss him, but the Pens have gone on runs when Sid was hurt, and the Caps have gone on runs when Ovi has been hurt.

        Despite the fact that Tavares is better than any one of the Habs and will be missed a factor is that Gallagher and Weber are not at 100%. That has a greater effect on the Habs than the Leafs losing Tavares, but the Leafs are deeper. I’m just happy that the Habs are showing some moxy after a wretched season.

  9. To us Foligno actions pointless but it was a way to attempt to move on from the injury thoughts.

    I dont understand why everyone so upset with Foligno

  10. Perry’s always been a Dirty player he got what he deserved! I’m glad Foligno pasted him. I wished he hit a little harder & more often. A once feared fighter & player now reduced to a thug. Tavares one of the better leafs everybody in league respects him.

  11. One thing about the fight; Perry didn’t throw or attempt to throw one punch.

    Perry concern for JT seemed legit and he understood the fight aspect and decided to just absorb it and move on.

    • @Caper

  12. Can I get some clarification on why Crosby was allowed out of the box after the Islanders scored? He should have had to serve his penalty time like everyone else. The bench should have sent a guy to serve the extra penalty, no? Thanks in advance

    • Sorry for the delay in replying. As per the NHL rule book, in that situation, the captain gets to decide which player can leave the box following the Isles goal. As Penguins captain, Crosby made the decision to leave. I doubt any of his teammates had any issue with that.

  13. It’s only one game, so who knows what will come in the Habs/Leafs series, but some things seem clear.

    Habs depth over 4 lines matches well with the Leafs reliance on a top line.

    Danault, Gallagher and Weber are still injured.

    Tavares is probably out for the series.

    Price had a good game not a great one and there’s a gap between Sean Burke wanting him deeper in the crease and his moving to the top of it.

    The Habs heavy game works because they do it at high speed and are able to break the Leafs timing, causing turnovers in both goals last night.

    Neither the Habs or the Leafs are at the level shown in some of the other divisional series.

  14. Rick I’m no Perry fan if you think Foligno didn’t see what happened your nuts you comparing the Leafs coming back to the Habs is also nuts Price is better than all combined ofLeaf returnees. Everyone has an opinion your isn’t necessarily right seems like 90 percent of non Leaf fans on Social media think Foligno fight was a black eye to the NHL and Toronto. I could care less who wins but if Leafs lose will be fun listening to all the excuses. Foligno will get what’s coming to him this isn’t over enjoy your popcorn.

  15. B’s a -$165 tonight…..it’s working $100 on the Caps …