NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

by | May 23, 2021 | News, NHL | 15 comments

Golden Knights and Lightning take commanding series’ leads while Leafs and Islanders get big wins to tie their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 35-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Fleury moved into a tie with Curtis Joseph for third place among the all-time playoff shutouts leaders with 16. Nicolas Roy scored twice and Mark Stone tallied a shorthanded goal. The Golden Knights can wrap things up in Game 5 on Monday in Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An apparent game-tying goal by the Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek was overturned on a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference. Eriksson Ek also had a goal overturned in Game 3 as offside on a coach’s challenge.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-1 lead in their series with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each collected four points while Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 41 shots. Panthers’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up five goals on 19 shots. Game 5 goes Monday in Sunrise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the worst-officiated game of these playoffs thus far. The Athletic’s Joe Smith pointed out this game took an ugly turn after Kucherov left the game with a leg injury from a slash by Panthers’ winger Anthony Duclair and teammate Mikhail Sergachev was shaken up following a blindside hit by Patric Hornqvist.

Smith also noted the game finished with 26 penalties and five misconducts, many of which stemmed from a brawl late in the third period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper struggled to keep his emotions in check talking about the officiating during the postgame press conference. No word following this game over the conditions of Kucherov and Sergachev.

Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 to even their first-round series at a game apiece. William Nylander and Mitch Marner each had two points while Jack Campbell made 22 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff win. Jesperi Kotkaniemi replied for the Canadiens. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was evenly matched but Toronto blew it open in the second as the Canadiens spent most of that frame on the penalty kill. The Leafs adjusted well to the Habs’ physical play while bringing their speed and offensive depth to bear.

The New York Islanders squared their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece with a 4-1 victory. Ilya Sorokin got the nod as the Islanders’ starting goalie over struggling Semyon Varlamov and turned aside 29 shots for the win. Isles winger Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Pittsburgh on Monday for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are doing a fine job shutting down the Penguins’ top line. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each have just one point in this series. Meanwhile, a banged-up Evgeni Malkin has two assists in as many games but was also held off the score sheet in Game 4.


TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager said team captain John Tavares suffered no structural damage to his head, face, neck or spine after being accidentally struck by the knee of Canadiens winger Corey Perry in Game 1. However, he has a concussion and also a sprained knee. He’ll be sidelined for at least two weeks.

TSN: Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for goaltender interference against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during Game 4 of their first-round series.

The league also fined Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Nashville Predators winger Luke Kunin during Game 3 of their first-round series.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defensemen Justin Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo remain doubtful for Game 4 today against the Colorado Avalanche. Blueliner Vince Dunn’s status is also uncertain.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss Game 5 today against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined in Game 4 by a high hit to the head by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Kevin Hayes will reportedly undergo sports hernia surgery next week in Philadelphia. His recovery time is expected to be six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars promoted Rich Peverley to Director of Player Personnel. He’s served as their Player Development Coordinator for six years.


  1. The officiating has been nothing short of abysmal throughout the first four games thus far. Is this the new norm? What a debacle!
    Wonder what Hathaway, Dillon and Wilson have up their sleeves if tonight’s game gets out of hand?
    Heads on a swivel tonight, boys! Ovie will also be looking for a pound of flesh.

    • Why change something that’s working ……but I would change outFreddy for Wags and slide in Tinordi in Miller’s place

  2. Leafs …. finally pull their socks up…. first playoff win (over Habs) in 54 years

    If they had gone down 2-0… uh oh

    Yes Habs fans, us Leafs fans realize that there was very skewed reffing last night and at least 3 missed Leaf penalties. Prior to the offsetting minors with 2 seconds left the penalties were 6-1 for Habs. I’m sure GMMB is fuming.

    I expect there may be some “make up” calls scattered in the two upcoming games

    This Leafs fan was certainly glad for the missed calls…. Leafs could have been down 3-1 by end of first…. that’s a whole new game… possibly different outcome

    The highlight of course is the bearded wonders kiss on young Sandin

    Flower….. congrats…. the ‘21 playoffs is about to have the best series of the entire playoffs… Knights v Avs


    Puck Luck… not… for Pens last night

    Pens score 3 times; Isles twice… yet Pens lose.

    How…. two own goals.

    Worse… two goals actually scored by Isles… one shouldn’t have counted; and the other was scored on a PP that happened due to a timers error

    Isles first goal…. Beauvillier holding onto Tangers stick…. Tanger trying to wrestle it free … the struggle knocked Beauvillier into Jarry where he had no chance at stopping shot…. should have been a PP for Pens…. but ended up 1-0 for Ilses

    Pullock’s shot going probably 2’ – 3’ wide, hits Ceci’s skate and deflects in…2-0

    Blueger actually shoots puck into his own net while Isle’s had a PP…3-0

    Note…. due to timer’s error…. they deemed the goal to go in the exact moment that Mayfield’s penalty was to expire… it was actually 1 second earlier

    1 second earlier…. score on 4 on 3…. the next face off happens with 4 on 4. Due to the timer’s error….they deemed Mayfield, although not out of the box… would have been…making that error cause a “5 on 3” goal instead ; so then next face off … 5 on 4 PP…. and Eberle scored

    The score of that game was certainly not indicative of the play

    • Hey where ate you seeing Habs fan mention what I’m assuming you’re saying is the Leafs won because of non-calls on the Leafs otherwise the Leafs could be done 3-1? All i need to say is puff puff pass dude. 🙂

      Surprised that no mention of a very dumb and probably why the Habs won’t win is that goaltender interference terrible call. I don’t know but hopefully MB will be gone after this year.

      This game is what most Leafs fans expected to see. The Habs will adjust and hopefully the Leafs continue this play the next three games.

      • Hi Ron

        Sorry if I came across as inferring that Leafs won due to non calls

        Not the case at all

        What I was bringing to the forefront was that I, as a Leaf fan, certainly acknowledge that Leafs got the far better side of the subjective whistle caller last night.

        If say just 2 of those missed calls had been called in the first; and IF Habs had scored on both… that’s 3-1 after 1; Leafs down 1-0 in the series

        Lots of IFs there…. but down 3-1 AND down 1-0 in the series that they were supposed to sweep…. then I don’t necessarily see them winning last night (not saying they couldn’t come back; they could have; but it would be more likely IMVHO , that they would have failed in a comeback) and certainly not by 4 goals (with the above scenario they’d need to score 6 straight in the final 40 minutes).

        I am pleased as punch that Leafs won

        They, under no circumstances, can take their foot off of the pedal when they’re in La Belle Province.

        …and Leafs better be especially careful re questionable hooks and interference as I would think the first two or so questionable calls are going Habs way

  3. I’d rather them (refs) just let them play. But don’t give them any life take em out tonight. Hit the stars like Ovechkin and Oshie etc. Often and hit them hard. NO OT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do not I repeat do not put Tinordi my little niece could outskate that guy.

  4. Watching the Lightning game but listening to Lightning radio Phil Esposito’s first reaction to the Duclaire slash on Kuch was the Bobby Clarke hit on Kharlamov…..ten minutes into the game Phil was saying the refs had no control and somebody was going to get hurt. There is a difference between rough play and intent to injure. The latter should be sanctioned. If it came from the coach that should be addressed as well. I will be disappointed in my team if they go after Huberdeau or Verhege, but if they have to continue without Kucharov it would be understandable. Suspending the player delivering the slash is a waste of time if it was sanctioned by and helped his team.

  5. With Maroon, Gourde, Schenn, Sergachev etc. Jon Cooper should just shut his mouth … the Lightning get exactly what they hand out …

    The Caps will be tough to close out at home but I’ve been wrong about everything in that series so we shall see …

    No fun watching my Pens self destruct but no surprise that Malkin and LeTurnover lost their composure … but the real problem is Jarry. You just never know what you are going to get with him.

  6. Isn’t the change from regular season to the playoffs a big part of what’s happening with the officials?
    Everyone expects the refs to let a lot more go in the playoffs; teams build rosters based on that assumption. As a result the line between physical play and dirty play gets harder to establish.
    Two things I’d suggest: start the game by calling it tight. Set the bar immediately, don’t wait until all hell breaks loose.
    Secondly (and it will never happen unfortunately), go back to one referee.
    I know from coaching basketball that the change from two referees to three hurt the game – “Not my call” became the favourite excuse for the officials.
    I think the same thing is happening in hockey and it’s killing these games.

    • They should re name it the Grit Grinder Cup . With how things are being called , or not called more specifically, it’s a battle of the grit and grease , not the skill and talent . I’m not sure how it’s good for any part of the game to completely toss aside the rule book . People talk about mcdavid like it’s a mystery how he’s not producing , watch the game , the normal hooking and holding and grabbing he normally deals with , now they are letting the obvious and egregious ones slide too , check rishaug Twitter for a perfect example , or the 5 they showed at intermission that were missed , or the 3 Ron McLean pointed out . The best players will always have to battle through heavy attention , but there has to be a line , so far there hasn’t been one in sight , and Winnipeg knows this , so they continue to push the envelope with obstruction in a plethora of ways . At least call the obvious I guess is my point , let some skill prevail in the playoffs , if you want to let an extra punch in a scrum go , or guys rolling around together , or two guys both wacking each other back and forth , fine , but allow some hockey to be played and call the obvious

  7. Sitting here sipping my BRC…

    Looking at the at the 4 games today and noticed all 4 home teams are underdogs today which means nothing but interesting…… keeping with the scrip Bruins are a -$125 today against the Caps …. give me $200 on the Caps to win…..Go Bruins

  8. Weber fined $5000 for a crosscheck on Simmons last night.

    • If you watch the clip where Weber cross checks Simmons on the back of the head, no penalty was called Kadri would`ve gotten 6 games for the hit. Then seconds later Edmundson skates up and gives Simmons a wicked 2 hander across the legs no call. That explains why Simmons went after Edmundson at the start of the 3rd. Yeah missed calls for both teams but Montreal still got away with more than the Leafs

      • Thanks Bob, honestly, I didn’t see the play.

        Surprised that the commentators didn’t jump all over it & show replays.

  9. That fine to Weber is a punctuation on the plethora of missed calls in the Habs/Leafs game last night.

    Simmonds could have been called on a number of crosschecks, boarding and swinging a punch over the linesman’s shoulder but that’s ok.

    Karma has a way of righting things 🙂

    If anything I’m disappointed that Habs let it get to them instead of playing through.

    Play on.