NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2021

by | May 31, 2021 | News, NHL | 24 comments

The Avalanche and Lightning win the opening games of their respective second-round series, an update on Jake Muzzin, the Islanders consider a goalie change, commemorating a notable anniversary in Jets history, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog each had two goals and an assist while Cale Makar collected four points as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1 in the opening game of their second-round series. Game 2 goes Wednesday in Denver.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Tempers flared after Vegas forward Mattias Janmark left the game in the second period with an apparent head injury following a hit by Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves. Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves received a match penalty in the third period for punching Graves in the back of the head, throwing him to the ice and attacking him while he was down. The Avs defenseman was down for several minutes before skating to the dressing room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche took control of this game in the opening minutes and never let up. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner looked a little rusty in his first appearance of this postseason. I daresay we’ll see Marc-Andre Fleury return to the Vegas net for Game 2. Lehner wasn’t solely to blame for this lopsided loss. His teammates were outclassed in this contest.

Reaves’ match penalty means he could receive a suspension by the NHL department of player discipline. Graves received a minor penalty for interference on the Janmark hit. No word on whether he’ll face supplemental discipline.

The Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Barclay Goodrow snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period while Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves for the win. Brayden Point was the other Lightning scorer while Jake Bean replied for the Hurricanes. Game 2 goes Tuesday night in Carolina.

Carolina winger Nino Niederreiter missed the game with an undisclosed injury suffered during practice on Saturday. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Niederreiter is “very, very doubtful” to play in this series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series will be closely contested between two talented clubs if Game 1 was any indication. Vasilevskiy made the difference in this contest. Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic played well for most of this contest but looked off-balance on the Goodrow goal.


TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs aren’t ruling out defenseman Jake Muzzin from Game 7 tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. He left Game 6 with a lower-body injury and was receiving further tests yesterday. If Muzzin can’t play, Rasmus Sandin is expected to replace him.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders coach Barry Trotz is mulling whether to replace rookie Ilya Sorokin with veteran Semyon Varlamov for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins tonight. Sorokin gave up four goals on 39 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Bruins.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Craig Smith status for Game 2 is uncertain following a lower-body injury suffered in the first game.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ front-office purge continues as director of European scout Nick Bobrov was dismissed by new general manager Chris Drury.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: On this date in 2011, the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg and become the second edition of the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling in Atlanta, moving to the NHL’s smallest market improved the franchise’s fortunes. They’ve become a perennial playoff contender and are well-supported by Winnipeg fans. The Jets upset the Edmonton Oilers last week to advance to the second round of the 2021 playoffs. They currently await the winner of the Toronto-Montreal series.


  1. Reaves should receive a suspension that meets or exceeds the 8 games that Kadri was given. In truth, Reaves should not have even been allowed to play in this game. His hit on Suter in game 7 against the Wild should have been a match penalty and a suspension following it.

    • The Graves hit on Janmark was nothing dirty…if he was a few inches either direction nothing happens on his fall.

      The Reaves hit on Suter was completely pointless and deserved a suspension.

      He probably gets a single game for the punching or nothing

    • What should have happened and what actually transpires are miles apart in the mind of George Parros – that much has become evident.

      • Agreed. Parros is a retired fox, guarding the hen house for other foxes. Reaves needs to be done for the playoffs.

        DeBoer should also be fined for continuing to throw his goons out there after the game got out of hand.

      • Yes, and as long as the department of player safety is a hot mess, players will continue to take it upon themselves to mete out ‘justice.’

    • Lago, what i find strange i couldn’t find anyone talking about it.

      I couldn’t believe Reaves put his knee on his face and dragged it across.

      I watched sportsnet after the game to here hear a discussion on it but nothing.

      I totally disagree with Gary Galley and Kevin Bieksa, that Graves has to answer the bell for his hit. Why????

      The check was clean i don’t believe there was interference on the play, although called.

      If you throw a hit, you must fight? then ban hitting or give the player an extra minor for instigating regardless if they drop their gloves at the same time, we all know what happening.

      The play was dirt Reaves did to be suspended for 3-6 games in other words for the completion of the second round.

      • IMO Caper, if this was the regular season he should have. A borderline late hit, but fine IMO. No targeting to hit head, just taller.
        Carrier should be happy Graves only laughed at him. Graves is a big boy with a reach advantage. The likely reason he didn’t go was he is a way more valuable player than Carrier and this is all about the cup for COL.
        If they want to settle it, wait til next season. My guess is it will happen sooner or later.

        Vegas and COL look pretty evenly matched on paper. Difference is Vegas doesn’t have anyone like MacKinnon or Makar. That is what elites skaters look like. Wow.
        Vegas need to slow these guys down and the only way that happens is if the refs let them bend the rules, which happens come playoff time. Will be interesting.

      • The knee on the head gives some vivid flashbacks to last year unfortunately, hopefully it gets noticed. Mostly because its the only thing that would lead to a suspension, Parros has already set the precedent of $5,000 fine if you punch a guy in the back of the head with their face down on the ice.

    • Cross check to the back of Grubauer’s head on the same play should insure a Reeve’s suspension.

      • yeah nevermind the knee to Graves when he down or not stopping when all the refs are pulling him off…

        The blatant crosscheck to Grubauer needs to be dealt with

  2. I don’t follow the NYR closely but they appear to have a strong contingent of European players on the team and in the pipeline, why would they fire fire Nick Bobrov ?

    My guess is he won’t be out of a job for long.

    • I am guessing Drury has a man in mind

      The scouting report on Lias Andersson was all about him being the most ready player in the draft……maybe that came back on Bobrov

      • I didn’t think much of the Andersson selection when it was made and it obviously looks horrible now. But of course no one is perfect. Bobrov still seems to have done well.

      • Andersson looked like a 2way center with some heart…but not sure he has NHL skills still

  3. Graves smiling and giggling after Carrier went after him first didn’t help the situation … Janmark was admiring his pass and got blasted for it and Reaves did exactly what he is wired for … and DeBoer loved every second of it. Parros was a thug so I don’t expect any supplemental discipline here. Avs can only play a speed & skill game, Vegas can play both ways. I wouldn’t count them out just yet.

    • avs are way tougher than most people think..ask the blues who tried mixing it up…that said vegas is a much more skilled team than the blues

  4. I don’t want the bruins to abandon their successful m.o but i would. Like to see Frederick inserted in the line up
    Komorov was taking too many liberties in that last game he is a dirty scumbag if you can recall I believe it was the last game of the season Between then b’s and isles he speared Pasternak in the gut for no reason at all. Someone needs to control that Orangutang.He can’t be allowed to run around and maime.

    • Hahahaha! Orangutang? Hahahaha!

      Reminds me of when I first heard Ovi called “the Great Eight”…I thought they said “the Great Ape”….

    • Leo won’t fight, and we’d end up shorthanded in the aftermath. They just have to beat them…….don’t have to beat them up.
      Martin and Ritchie might exchange pleasantries before all is said and done.
      I’m not worried about Komarov. Marchand or even Pasta himself will catch him before the series is over. Much like they got the Great Ape in the last series. (Thanks Rock)

  5. No one ever thought Montreal would push this to 7 games right? Great job on them…so much so that after game 4 when the Leafs were heavy favorites to beat the Habs, it was also the lowest odds I’ve seen on the Habs winning.
    I’m a Leafs fan and seen this movie before… so I placed a bet for an amount in the guise of how much would I pay to see the Leafs win if I could make that happen and bet that on the Habs to beat them after the Game 4 win by the Leafs, their only good game *that’s the sign folks*! If the Habs win, I’ll make out big but if the Leafs win I’ll be happy and out what I would blow on any given week. I hope I jinxed one team and whichever I did, I’ll be ok with either getting it. It would be better for everyone if the Leafs do win if no other reason than I think we’ll hear less about how good they are than how bad they are and what needs to be done to fix it… barf!

    • Heh Ron. You know that, whichever way it goes, this site will be chock-a-block full of the usual, mixed with some serious analysis tomorrow morning.

      Regardless, I think both sides are wishing for the Disney ending … but preparing for the Shakespeare ending.

  6. projected Bruins lineup
    Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak

    Taylor Hall — David Krejci — Jake DeBrusk

    Nick Ritchie — Charlie Coyle — Karson Kuhlman

    Sean Kuraly — Curtis Lazar — Chris Wagner

    Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy

    Mike Reilly — Brandon Carlo

    Jeremy Lauzon — Connor Clifton

    Tuukka Rask

    wouldnt mind seeing Freddy in

    B’s -$198 tonight ……$200 on the NYI. keep it going

  7. I fail to see the logic in Vegas starting Lehner? Fleury was great in the previous series and great all year. Letting a cold Lehner while not fully to blame was a bone headed coaching decision in my opinion.

    • It was a bad situation for Vegas. If Vegas had won with Fleury in net, it would have been nice to be up 1-0, but no one would have counted out the Avs at that point. The conventional wisdom would have been that Colorado was shaking off rust after being off for a week.

      On the other hand, if the Avs had pounded Vegas like they did, but against Fleury, what else could Vegas counter with?

      The other possibility is that Fleury is hurt – but I doubt that’s the case. We’ll know for sure on Wednesday.