NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2021

by | Jun 1, 2021 | News, NHL | 67 comments

The Canadiens upset the Maple Leafs in seven games, the Islanders tie their second-round series with the Bruins, Reaves suspended two games, Kadri suspension upheld, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens advanced to the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs following a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series. Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 30 saves while Brendan Gallagher, Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli were the goal scorers. William Nylander spoiled Price’s shutout bid late in the third. The Canadiens will face the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for the opening game of that series.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens deserved the win. Down three games to one and seemingly on the ropes, they rebounded to upset the heavily favored Leafs. Price once again reminded everyone why teammates and opponents still consider him the best goaltender in the league. He was outstanding in this series. His teammates were buoyed by his play and his calm leadership and rode it to victory.

The Leafs choked. There’s no sugarcoating this one. They had the Canadiens on the ropes after Game 4 but couldn’t find the knockout punch. Richard Trophy winner Auston Matthews was held to one goal. Mitch Marner finished the regular season in fourth place among the league’s point leaders but couldn’t score a goal in this series. There’s plenty of blame to go around for this epic failure. However, Matthews and Marner are the Leafs’ biggest stars and were expected to lead their club to victory in this series. They didn’t, and they’ll carry that burden for a while.

This will be an interesting summer for the Leafs as they evaluate this disappointing finish to what had been a dazzling regular season. I’ll have more later this morning in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

An overtime goal by Casey Cizikas gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins to tie their second-round series at a game apiece. Semyon Varlamov got the start for the Isles and made 39 saves for the win while Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and an assist. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist for the Bruins. Game 3 goes Thursday night on Long Island.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was an entertaining back-and-forth contest. Boston quickly opened the scoring, the Islanders rebounded to take a 3-1 lead but the Bruins rallied to force overtime. A turnover at the Islanders blueline by Jeremy Lauzon sprung Cizikas for his breakaway winner.

The NHL released its full schedule for the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves received a two-game suspension for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct against Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves in Game 1 of their second-round series on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported Reaves admitted he yanked out some of Graves’ hair while the Golden Knights admitted the incident was retaliatory due to Graves’ earlier hit on Mattias Janmark. And for that, he gets two games, probably because Graves returned to the game after leaving the ice for repairs.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri’s eight-game suspension after hearing Kadri’s appeal last week. He was suspended for a hit to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of their first-round series.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes could shuffle their lineup with winger Nino Niederreiter expected to be sidelined for the entirety of their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.


  1. I think it’s been, what, over 6200 days since the Leafs last won a playoff series 🙂

    • 2004

      • And a young Spezza was playing for the team they beat – Ottawa. Talk about ancient history!

  2. For g’s sake start Swayman Thursday. Once Rask starts to fade a little, it’s over he let in an easy one Monday. I’ve seen it time and time again you cannot win Stanley cup with Rask

    • Rick relax they can’t win every game
      Islanders got some bounces let’s see what happens next couple games.

  3. It appears the Leaf’s ‘difference makers’ really didn’t make a difference…

    • If only they had a Bobby Orr type of player. Maybe one from the KHL this may be a very different result.

    • The Leafs inability to recognize the vastly diminished talent of Joe Thorton hurt this teams performance. They could not hide him in the lineup without hurting his line mates. They sat Riley Nash and his PK skills in favour of a 42 yr old who simply has NO SKILLS left and we had two PP goals scored against us. That is on Keefe.
      Campbell consistently lets in weak goals despite making countless good saves. Doesn’t that sound like Anderson??
      “we need to be tougher to play against” was last summers mantra. They were outhit by 100 in this series. Good job Kyle.

    • MayB we need a nu term 4 the “difference makers”

  4. Habs deserve credit for clawing back and ‘yes’ Price was the difference maker. Leafs missed JT and Muzzin.
    Let’s hope the Habs have no more game 7’s , I don’t want to see Bergevin’s lucky red suit again.

  5. The National (Toronto) media is falling over the TML collapse, photos of dejected players instead of the real story and photos of the winners.

    The hype machine kept ignoring the reality of playoff hockey as compared to the skills competition that decides so many regular season games.

    News flash, TML didn’t lose the series the Habs won it. Four solid lines, a defense that boxed out the forwards, a coach that used his depth wisely and now you know why players keep voting Price as the goalie.

    As Bergevin has frequently been quoted as saying, there are players who get you to the playoffs and there are players who get you through them.

    Old guys Staal, Perry and the kids KK and Caufield know how and when to step up.

    Ducharme, was confident. “We’re going to Toronto to head to Winnipeg.”

    • Sorry but I disagree Leafs were up 3-1 should have won series. Habs played hard but have very little talent their two young guys show plenty of promise. Price was good but will need to be a magician in next round.

    • Habsfan30,

      As usual the fancy stats and I don’t agree with much of what you say here, but congrats and good luck!

      • One of the Leafs many acquisition mistakes from the past, and now a blatant homer on a national network (Jeff O’Neill) has leveled the ultimate sports insults, calling them “chokers.”

  6. I expect to see the usual anti-Leafs gloating comments fill this thread … but I won’t be one of them. The only thing I will say – about the team itself – and which I noted in another thread, is that was absolutely floored to hear that Marner doesn’t have ONE goal in 18 playoff games. That’s a hell of a lot of coin to be putting out for that sort of playoff incompetence.

    I genuinely feel sorry for some Leafs fans – such as my grandson and daughter-in-law in Scarborough and, yes, Pengy and Ron who have lived through this unparalleled repetitive failure, and for players like Spezza, Simmonds and Thornton. BUT, not one iota of sympathy for the blatant homers inhabiting the so-called national sports outlets such as CBC and Sportsnet and, in fact, was delighted to see the abject shock on their faces.

    • George,

      Totally agree with you on :

      not one iota of sympathy for the blatant homers inhabiting the so-called national sports outlets such as CBC and Sportsnet and, in fact, was delighted to see the abject shock on their faces.

      I’m very happy with the result of course and at the same time commiserate with some TML fans here and at home..
      No Schadenfreude here.

  7. When I saw this graphic on TV yesterday, my first thought was, what odds would Lloyd’s Of London give on the occurance of this “coincidence”?

    Kotkeniemi, who wears # 15 – scored at the 15 minute mark of OT – it was their 15th shot on goal in the OT and, in total, he had 15 minutes 15 seconds of ice time. Holy crap!

  8. Good Morning ALL

    I will be the only man here that will be honest in telling it like it is.

    We live in a hyper sensitive world right now where being honest and telling it like it is are NO NO’s.

    I’ll say what everyone is afraid of saying.

    Here’s the reality that no one wants to type of admit.

    It’s Game 7. Everyone is playing hurt. Body parts will be frozen. Drugs of all kinds will be taken.

    For a player and the captain of a team to not play is unforgiveable.

    John Tavares is a PUSSY. He needs to be traded. #TradeTAVARES.

    He is the Captain of the Maple Leafs. He skated 2 times at 10 minutes each and then tells the coach in the coach’s room he can’t play. He is a pussy. He should not be the captain.

    He should be traded as soon as possible.

    I am the only man here that has the balls to say this.

    • And you guys think I’m harsh??? wow

      While I agree with you that nobody is 100% at this time of year I think his knee got messed up in that collision and that’s probably why he didn’t play … or maybe the medical staff didn’t give him the green light … lots of liability here … but I appreciate your candor.

      • LOL, ed … harsh indeed … we may not agree on much, but in this we are on the same page re Tavares.

        Something else I noticed about their roster – including the Marlies roster, they have EIGHTEEN UFAs, the majority of whom likely won’t be re-signed. That is one helluva roster turn-over heading into next season:

        NHL Roster
        Nash, Hyman, Simmonds, Foligno, Galchenyuk, Spezza, Thornton, Bogosian, Hutton, Marincin, Andersen, Rittich,

        Minor League
        Nosesen. Agostino, Kossila, Sabourin, Suomela, Rosen

      • I didn’t realize Zach Hyman was a UFA … I would think that most teams in this league would be knocking on his door …

      • That isn’t candor Ed, it is like Chrisms said, talking sh** anonymously online to pretend he is some tough guy.
        It is the opposite of candor.
        Just a weak fool projecting it for all to see.
        JT could kick his ass with one hand behind his back. If you have never gone through concussions, you have no clue.

        The Leafs aren’t blowing up this core. They were missing there #2C, #2D (Arguably) and their big pickup at the deadline was hurt.

        Did Matthews and Marner not deliver? Yep. McDavid didn’t either in the first 2 games.

        As Holland keeps saying this takes time. First you get there consistently, then you learn to win there.

        For their sake, I hope they are healthy next time. Habs are a better team than many folks gave them credit for.

    • not a Leafs fan but I can tell you from experience having had four confirmed grade 3 concussions + numerous ‘having my bell rung’ events, JT is no pussy . Unless you have lived through a concussion you don’t know what it is like.

      • Agree here. All you have to do is skate some tight circles while recovering from a concussion to show you are not ready.
        Team Dr might not of cleared him regardless

    • Man… those are some big balls you got calling out a dude on an online forum in complete anonymity.


      • Nearly spit out my coffee while reading this. Well done.

      • Chrisms! All time Top 10 response to a comment. Well done.

    • So, the series loss is the fault of a player who was unhealthy enough to be unable to be cleared to play? What a pile of bunk!
      Maybe you should be pointing a finger at Muzzin as well. He wasn’t tough enough to play through a groin pull after all.
      The blame goes to the 3 guys playing and earning a ridiculously high salary without ever having won anything, the man behind the bench. Perhaps even the architect of the team should get the blame, but certainly not Tavares.
      JT is a fine captain. Those other 3 lack a third of his heart.

      • Have you guys never seen a troll before?

        You’re all so SERIOUS, responding just like he wants you to.

        Some pimply 14 year old in his pajamas, you made his day!

        wtf, and lol


    • Man that is brutal. So the leafs lost because of Tavares? Hmmmmm? I wonder how Tampa won a cup without Stamkos?

      I’m not one foolish enough to believe injuries don’t play a big role in sports. But with or without Tavares this team will not succeed as currently constructed. One year getting bounced , ooops it happens, two years of getting bounced in the 1st round “ wow that’s bad luck” 3 years? It’s you! Especially when 2 of those 1st round exits we’re series they lead 3-1.

      It’s time to rethink everything Toronto has done and is doing.
      They are not built to win in the playoffs. Similar to what Tampa went through for a few years.

      This team does not need to blow it up, but is sure as hell needs a hefty makeover.

    • Disgusting comment…

  9. Feeling sorry for Maple Loaves fans??? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha … grade A choke job, the Loaves never fail to disappoint …

    and I was totally wrong about two things … Ducharme handled the pressure extremely well and prepared his team for battle with little margin for error … cheers to him … and Jack Campbell proved his worth as a starting goalie … he wasn’t the reason the Loaves are golfing now … it’s that old cliché, once the playoffs start your stars have to play like stars … Matthews & Marner choked …

    so where do the Loaves go from here? Thornton, Simmonds & Foligno were the three invisible men when they were needed the most … it’s probably impossible but I would try and get out from under Tavares’ deal … and make a run at Seth Jones …

    and Bergy is a fashion plate … great hair too!

    • More than 2 Ed.
      Who would have thought you would be kicking Leaf fans when down? So not like you.

  10. There is a difference between “difference makers” and pieces of a puzzle that form a cohesive whole.
    There are quality players and quality people on the Leafs, many of whom have pedigrees of proven performance elsewhere. There is plenty of aggregate talent, but perhaps some missing roles.
    Then again, there is a huge amount of random chance variation in hockey due to small sample size; this, coupled with the disproportionate impact a goalie can have may be mostly what’ ailing Toronto; but when I look at the body language on the bench, I miss that “team” thing my imagination tells me is there when I look at the benches in the Carolina/Tampa or Vegas/Colorado series.

  11. Leafs lost to a team that deserved to win. And not because Price stole the series, nor because the refs call a different game in the play offs, nor because the Leafs choked. They lost because Bergevin built a team for the play offs and Dubas built a team out of his advanced statistics that would win in a computer game world.

    By the way McDavid and Driastil lost in 4 were outscored by some of the players some who have never played the game before a crowd would call chokers.

    Shanahan has had 7 years. He should not get an 8 th. Dubas needs to go. There are few things as dangerous as an intelligent young man who does not understand that he does not know it all. Keefe, a big franchise is not where you start a career.

    IMO a few winners….Babcock, Lamello, Hunter, even Burke….and Leaf fans if Dubas and Keefe are fired before the next round of decisions starts. Some of these good players must be traded while they still have value. It is time to start another rebuild. This one has failed. It never had the right structure never had the right architect.

    • They lost because Bergevin built a team for the play offs and Dubas built a team out of his advanced statistics that would win in a computer game world.

      This is it succinct and spot on. Nothing more needs to be written.

    • OBD, are you pushing for a return to Burke and Babcock? Not sure that’s the answer.
      I think the Leafs are a much more solid organization now compared to Burke’s legacy.
      I would definitely prefer Bruce Boudreau behind the Leaf bench but Dubas and Keefe seem to be joined at the hip so, unless they both go, it will be the roster that will change.
      George mentioned above the large number of UFA’s on the Leafs and Marlies rosters so there’s an opportunity to make a lot of changes but it seems clear that one of the core stars will need to be moved to have the cap space to really move the needle on this team.
      Nylander outplayed Marner even without Tavares and he would likely bring back the best return but moving Marner’s contract would create the most cap space.
      Unless Shanahan blows the whole thing up, which is possible, I expect one of those guys will be traded.
      Having said all that, credit to the Canadiens for their comeback. They really sucked it up and played their hearts out.

      • no BC Leaf fan I am not pushing for Burke….but I am pushing for truculence and self respect. They are men out there and Matthews when he let Chiarot rag doll him and got the power play but he lost the respect of the Habs. They have to get some guys on the ice who demand and earn respect.

        Marner gets moved around like a balloon full of helium.

    • OBD, yep. You called it. I remember early in the year we had a few exchanges re the Leafs and agreed they were imbalanced.

      To be clear, that was about the only thing I got right this year, as I have been a fickle flounder and flopped all over the place. I recall at one point tipping over and wanting Price left unprotected so Seattle could take him.

      So no gloating, just stating the obvious: Spezza and Kerfoot were the only bottom 6 forwards who did anything for the Leafs. Simmons and Thornton were brought in for their toughness and contributed nothing.

      The Leafs have 49.7% of their cap room in 4 forwards. Add Muzzin and Reilly and the cap space for 6 players is 62.6%. And this with a cap that is projected to be flat for several years and Hyman a UFA …

  12. Paging Wendell. Come in Wendell . Freddy Anderson you say ? Playing a team of 4th liners you say ? Dubas and keefe are geniuses you say ? Lol . I could go on but I know you won’t comment , I’m sure you will read the board , but not brave enough to chime in . Chalk 1 up for the linear thinkers club ! Hahaha

    • Craig, I’m convinced more than ever that Wendell was anything BUT a Leafs fan(ataic) – his purpose was more in the nature of deliberately inviting Leafs negativity.

      I say that because, how could anyone professing to be so knowledgeable about the organization and its opposition, look at that make-up and seriously suggest they’d be hoisting the Cup this year.

      Now let’s be clear. I did think they would win that series but after that the road to the finals would have become too much for the D and goaltending.

      • Let us not invoke his name anymore George. He hasn’t been around for some time so let’s hope he remains just a memory.

        There is another Leaf fan here whose devotion exceeds sense and lacks fair commentary by a large margin, absent today. Let us also hope for continued absence from him.

      • I hear ya!

  13. As a Bruins fan i hope Pengy is cheering for the Islanders.

    It’s got to be tough to be a leaf fan.

    Regular season 3 of top 4 goal scorers playoffs goals

    Matthews 1
    McDavid 1
    Draisaitl 2

    regular season success doesn’t always transfer over to the playoffs.

    Toronto second leading scorer in the playoff Spezza was put on waivers during the season.

    look no further then Matthews and Marner and they both know it. Wait until next season I guess.

    • So of the top 15 paid players in the NHL, only Carey Price still remains in the playoffs!!!

      • In fact only 11 of the top 50 paid players in the NHL are still playing hockey.

        Colorado has 1, Mikko Rantanen

    • Playoffs are a different animal many top scorers get shut down or cooled off….

      Toffolli Montreal had 0 goals until game 6..

      It is the the third and fourth lines that usually win you a series or a Cup..

      • Yep. But Toffoli isn’t making $11 mil per.

  14. Some players play with punctured lungs and some don’t I won’t comment on Tavares as I have no clue if he could play or not. What I do know everyone has their own opinion and just because you don’t agree it doesn’t make it wrong.

    • Obe you’re correct about people being entitled to their opinions which if someone disagrees does not make it wrong but most opinions are like butt-holes, everyone’s got one and most stink or full of s#it. Opinions are also not facts as in just because YOU believe it to be true, does not make it so or even resembles it. Opinions are NOT facts so let’s not treat them as such they are nothing more than the sound of passing gas especially when no facts are given.

      • That’s your opinion and yes I can smell it from here.

      • Oh, ok then. Man I envy you being complacently ignorant – it must be nice….a world where all your opinions are facts!
        Stay gold buddy.

  15. Thank you Leafs and Vegas oddsmakers makers. Sad the Leafs lost but happy I made some bank from it as a consolation prize for cheering for the choke masters.
    So this current roster did fill out the teams shortcomings Weatherby defense, grit or experience, the question is what do you do now? Especially considering when your best players and your biggest stars are still under the age of 25? Do you move on from one of them even though they are one of the better players in the league? I don’t know but a changes will have to be made. I hope one of them is a reshuffle of the coaching team to start.

    And Ed you said, “and I was totally wrong about two things … ” dude you’ve been wrong A LOT more than that, come on!

    Lyle, like I commented on your opening series post of the series…they tripped up again, right there at that finish line. 😉

    • Ron, believe it or not I was actually hoping for a Leafs success in this series to, if nothing else, relieve the agony of my long-suffering – and extremely loyal Leafs fans – grandson and daughter-in-law in Scarborough.

      As I have repeatedly stated in these pages, I have never “hated” the Leafs insofar as the players who have toiled there are concerned – never actually “cheered” for them – but any negativity I have felt over the years was always directed towards that element of the media which, on the one hand, presents itself as “national” in scope, but does nothing to hide its Toronto-centric bias – especially the CBC which, after all, exists through the taxes forked over by ALL Canadians.

      And the sort of think that irks the hell out me is when, on their “informative” panel gatherings, they come out with late season drivel like “they had no business losing to the lowly Senators …”

      Yeah, they had certainly earned that label through their first 15 games when they went 2-12-1 5pts, scoring 32 goals while giving up 63! A deep hole indeed (in the same span the Leafs were 11-3-1 23 pts scoring 45 and giving up 33).

      But that panel, with all their “inside” expertise, were obviously aware that, over the remaining 41 gp, Ottawa was on their way to a 21-16-4 46 pt mark, scoring 125 while giving up 127. In that same span, Toronto went 24-11-6 54pts scoring 142 while relinquishing 115.

      Not that big a difference. But no, it had to be “the lowly Sens.” THAT’S the sort of blatant “homerism” – to coin a new word – that results in such delight by fans of other teams when they crash and burn.

      • Couldn’t agree more George. Well put.

      • George we have been seeing that kind of homerism from the Toronto media all our lives. How many times did we see the replay of Evans taking down the Leafs player with the comment: NO PENALTY CALLED. Sure it was a penalty but the commentators were desperate to find cover for the Leafs. The sheer injustice of it was a game changer, they want us to know.

        I think a large part of the animosity against Leaf fans by other fans comes from the blatant fanaticism of the Toronto media. A media that started turning on the Leafs before game 7, perversely. Both the Star and the G&M had columnists taking a hatchet to the Leafs before the puck dropped.

      • LJ, I can accept – and understand – homerism from local Toronto media – after all, that’s the team represents their city. The Gazette and Le Devoir in Montreal, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Citizen in Ottawa are the same.

        What I cannot accept is the same kind of undisguised euphoria whenever the Leafs do well from the State Broadcaster which exists on our coin (even their newscasters wear the Maple Leaf on their sleeves), or those like TSN and Sportsnet which portray themselves as “national” in scope. The Blue Jays and Raptors? Sure. They’re the only teams in those leagues based in Canada, but in hockey there are 6 others.

        I often wondered what would happen if the GTA ever got another NHL franchise.

      • Absolutely right George O

      • George,

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the “national media” spent the entire Jets/Habs series talking about the TML loss and the ramifications.

      • You guys must think Leafs fans want or like all the attention they get. I know I don’t and not only dont think they deserve it but it’s really homer coverage and the same crap is repeated until it becomes the narrative for everyone fan or not to repeat and repeat and it’s usually a dumb take. You know, stuff they would no way say about any other team or group of players but the Leafs, whether it be over hyping them or they are slamming them with false or cherrypicked stats or hearsay.

        I think with the Leafs having one of the worlds largest fan bases that media outlets only see opportunity to profit and fans or not, pay the price. 😪

  16. I just want to point out that Auston Matthews is a big man who does plenty of crashing and banging and hands out his share of crosschecks on both ends of the ice- he is not a soft player.

    Marner isn’t physical but has a very active stick with a knack for taking the puck away without needing to hit.

    Nylander has a reputation for being soft but he was in the Habs crease every game and was bumping into Price often, even checking him once last night.

    I’m no fan of TML (doh) but these guys played hard and huge minutes and if anything were victims of a hot goalie.

    Poor coaching didn’t help either, activating the D all the time is as good as blitzing all the time, it works till it doesn’t. If you activate then a forward needs to replace and he didn’t adapt to the Habs “correction” which resulted in takeaways and goals.

    • habfan30, I agree that Matthews, Marner, Nylander and Hyman did play hard. They generated quality chances and they are getting excessive criticism and bearing the brunt of 50 years of futility and angst from Leaf Nation. They deserve criticism just the last couple of years.

      While Price was clearly the best player in the series, it is never just one thing that makes the difference. Credit Danault and Suzuki and the Habs top 4 D for keeping the Leafs guns to the outside, and credit the coaching staff for well designed game plans.

      • That was a total team “stick-to-the-game-plan” victory. They deserved it.

  17. Looked Rask might have tweaked something last night maybe it might be Swayman’s time after all. it’s getting near choke time for Rask anyway.

  18. To all Habs fans here


    Deserved the win; got the win. Plain and simple.

    Roster changes MUST happen for Leafs

    I’m 60 … and I do remember sitting on my Dad’s knee watching Leafs win the cup 54 years ago

    I’m hoping next Leafs cup comes in time for me to be able to remember it the next day or the day after 😢

    Div matchups for semis set…. North v West; East v Central…. meaning a Bolts v Knights/Avs in SC can happen (the 3 Cup favs IMHO)

    What’s the over/under for combined 10 bells saves (Price/Hollebuyk ) in game 1?

    • Nice, Pengy. Thanks.