NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2021

by | Jun 21, 2021 | News, NHL | 10 comments

The Golden Knights tie their semifinal series with an OT win over the Canadiens plus ongoing reaction from Game 4 of the Islanders-Lightning series and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights tied their semifinal series with the Montreal Canadiens at two games apiece with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 4. Nicolas Roy tallied the game-winner in the extra frame.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (NHL Images).

Montreal opened the scoring with a second-period goal by Paul Byron but Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb tied it midway through the third period. Robin Lehner was a surprise starter for the Golden Knights, kicking out 27 shots for the victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eyebrows were raised when Vegas coach Peter DeBoer went with Lehner over starter Marc-Andre Fleury for this contest. Fleury’s turnover in Game 3 cost his club that game but he’s been otherwise superb in this postseason. It was a gusty move on DeBoer’s part that paid off. Lehner played very well, showing little sign of rust in just his second game of these playoffs.

After the Golden Knights dominated Game 3 and lost in overtime, it was the Canadiens turn to fall in the extra frame after outperforming their opponent. This was one of the Habs’ best games of the playoffs despite the loss. They’ve done an effective job bottling up the Golden Knights’ scoring forwards.

The poor quality of the NHL officiating has been an ongoing theme in this year’s playoffs. It reared its ugly head in this contest. One example was Montreal defenseman Joel Edmundson boarding Vegas forward William Carrier from behind right in front of referee Dan O’Rourke. Another was NcNabb manhandling Canadiens center Nick Suzuki, punching him in the face in full view of referee Chris Lee. There was no call in either incident.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was placed in self-isolation yesterday after testing positive for COVID-19. The test result was revealed hours before Game 4. McCrimmon is the second person in this series to test positive. On Friday, Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme tested positive and is self-isolating for 14 days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme was fully vaccinated but a Golden Knights spokesman declined to comment when asked if McCrimmon had reached that status. The story goes on to say that 85 percent of their traveling party had reached the vaccination threshold that qualified for relaxed travel protocols. McCrimmon and team president George McPhee was seen maskless while watching Game 3 from a suite at the Bell Centre, which could be considered a protocol violation.

The games in this series are the first involving NHL teams traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States since March 2020. So far, no players have tested positive. You can bet the league will be closely monitoring this situation, reminding both clubs about the importance of maintaining its COVID-19 protocols.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: For the first time in two postseasons, the Lightning is tied 2-2 in a series heading into Game 5. They led each of their last six series three games to one heading into previous Game 5 situations.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock’s game-saving block in Game 4 is earning comparisons to other famous saves in sports history.


  1. Without hesitation Vegas Coach goes to Lehner. Cassidy had to stay with Rask a proven loser, instead of Swayman, that decision will bite him in the you who for years to come. Bowman would have gone with Swayman.

    • Since you’re so much smarter than the Bruins front office and head coach, maybe you should apply to be their GM and head coach combined.

    • Boston? They were eliminated from the playoffs. Why are we taking up space talking about the Boston Bruins???

  2. Officiating was terrible last night especially in the 2nd.

  3. Sorry but the officiating wasn’t a both sides now. Edmundson’s boarding of Carrier in front of the ref was precipitated by two crosschecks by Carrier on Edmunson in front of the same ref.

    Mcnabb punching Suzuki in the face was precipitated by….nothing.

    Danault getting a pro wrestling flip to the ice was precipitated by what? Nothing

    The high pick at the blue line by Tuch in front of the ref was blatant.

    The official on the boards blocking a clearout , not even attempting to hop….led directly to the Vegas tie goal.

    Calls on both teams were ignored of course however the tempo was set right away when
    Perry was tripped, slashed and cross checked on his first shift, its clear that Vegas is free to do anything to the guy.

    It’s not an excuse for losing the game but it wasn’t lost on DeBoer and he sent his crash line out right away in OT.
    It was a smart move, take advantage of the blind eyes.

    I don’t know how the series will end but for a team that was going to sweep the Habs, DeBoer has been tinkering and changing his gameplan while struggling to 2-2 after 4 games.

    They say that teams take on the personality of their coach and team leaders.

    The Habs, for the most part seem to follow the lead of Ducharme, Gallagher and Price, just do your thing and don’t let others get to you.

    • I’m waiting for someone to run over Price.

    • Habsfan30, there have been missed calls on both teams. One might have a tally sheet that shows the Habs have had more missed calls, but if so it is down to incompetence rather than bias.

      The bigger point is that there were cross checks into the boards by both teams and unless the refereeing gets better someone is in danger of getting hurt.

      ShoreOrrPark, knowing you as I do I know you meant that your waiting for Price to be run is a prediction, not a desire. Were that to occur then someone on Vegas risks being stretchered off. Which brings us back to the refs losing control of the game and someone being hurt.

      • Yes, a prediction. Price is one of my favorite players in the league. Wish he was a Bruin.

  4. I am fairly certain Sgt. Schultz at Stalag 19 saw and knew far more than the 2 guys pretending to be officials last night. Some star is going to have a career ended real early because guys like this are not doing their job.

  5. The officiating is bad, on both sides.

    Don’t blame the players for taking liberties if the officials are not going to make the call.

    I believe game 5 will be a close call game.