NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2021
The Canadiens force Game 7 against the Leafs, David Pastrnak leads the Bruins to a Game 1 victory over the Islanders, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of their first-round series before 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The seventh and deciding game of this series goes Monday night in Toronto.
Power-play goals by Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the first half of the third before Jason Spezza and TJ Brodie tied it for the Leafs. Habs goalie Carey Price made 41 saves for the win, including 13 in overtime.
Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin left the game in the third period with an apparent groin injury. Canadiens blueliner Jon Merrill missed his game with an undisclosed injury and could be sidelined 1-2 weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teetering on the brink of elimination after Game 4, Montreal has stormed back to set up a winner-take-all match on Monday night. For the second straight game, the Canadiens took a multi-goal lead, the Leafs rallied to tie it, but the Habs get the win on goals by their young forwards.
I expected the Leafs to put forth a better effort in this game after they came out flat in Game 5. Instead, they were worse in Game 6, with only the goaltending of Jack Campbell (especially in the first period when he made 15 saves) preventing a lopsided Montreal victory.
The series momentum has shifted in the Canadiens’ favor, leaving the Leafs reeling as they face the ghosts of recent Game 7 failures. As someone noted on Twitter last night, even if the Leafs win this series, it doesn’t bode well for their Stanley Cup chances when they needed seven games to beat the worst team to qualify in this year’s playoffs.
If the Canadiens pull off this upset, it would be arguably the greatest series comeback in franchise history.
David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders in Game 1 of their second-round series. David Krejci collected three assists for the Bruins, who lost winger Craig Smith with a lower-body injury. Jordan Eberle had two assists for the Isles. Game 2 is Monday night in Boston. The game was played before some 17,000 fans at Boston’s TD Garden as pandemic restrictions ease in Massachusetts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: More fans being allowed back into NHL arenas in recent weeks brings a feeling of normalcy that was missing for most of the regular season.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Mike Sullivan will return as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins next season. There were questions about Sullivan’s future following the Penguins’ first-round exit against the Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins haven’t formally announced Sullivan’s return. Friedman, however, is among the best-connected insiders in the league. I daresay he’s heard from a reliable team source (President of hockey ops Brian Burke, perhaps?) regarding Sullivan’s status.
CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin injured the AC joint in his left shoulder during Game 7 of his club’s series with the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s not expected to require surgery and should be ready for training camp in September.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Brian Daccord, the Coyotes special assistant to the general manager and director of goaltending operations, reportedly resigned from the team.
Great to see fans in Montreal. A travel exemption is expected for for the semi finals to allow the North Div champ and their US opponent to play in Canada and the US. Nothing official at this point.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 30, 2021