NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2021
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.
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.