NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2021

by | Jun 8, 2021 | News, NHL | 34 comments

The Canadiens sweep the Jets to advance to the semifinals, the Islanders have the Bruins on the brink of elimination, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 to sweep their second-round series. The Canadiens are the first team to reach the 2021 semifinals. They opened the scoring with first-period goals by Erik Gustafsson and Artturi Lehkonen but the Jets forced the extra frame as Logan Stanley tallied twice in the second period.

Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal dominated the play despite the close score, outshooting Winnipeg 42-16. If not for Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck this would’ve been a lopsided victory. Habs defenseman Jeff Petry missed this game after dislocating two fingers in Game 3 but he’s expected to be ready for the semifinals.

The New York Islanders held off the Boston Bruins for a 5-4 win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in their second-round series. Isles goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves while Brock Nelson’s early third-period goal held up as the winner. The Isles went three-for-four on the power play. David Pastrnak scored twice for Boston, who pulled goaltender Tuukka Rask after two periods. Bruins forward Curtis Lazar left the game after throwing a big hit on Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock. Game 6 is tomorrow night on Long Island.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy questioned the officiating during his post-game press conference, saying the penalties called against his club weren’t being called on the Islanders. He also singled out his opponent. “We’re playing a team that have very respected management and coaching staff, they’ve won a Stanley Cup. But I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints and not the New York Islanders,” said Cassidy.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter could return to action for Game 5 tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He missed the first four games of this series with an undisclosed injury but returned to practice yesterday. The Hurricanes face a must-win situation down three games to one.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers signed forward Anton Lundell to a three-year entry-level contract. He was selected 12th overall by the Panthers in last year’s NHL Draft.

Renee Hess (founder of the Black Girl Hockey Club), Kevin Hodgson (executive director of HEROS), and Howard Smith (co-founder of Pittsburgh I.C.E.) are the three finalists for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.


  1. Could this be the last we see of Tuukka Rask?

    • SOP, did I hear a TV commentator say Rask has been playing hurt?

      • He’s been playing with a “nagging” injury all post-season.

        The question though, is Rask at even 90% a better option than Swayman at 100%?

      • They say he isn’t 100%.
        I’m not sure what that even means, when referring to Rask.
        I’m not a fan. Tried to be, but kept getting let down. I’m well aware of the stats he’s put up over his tenure in Boston, but I’m pretty sure he was the beneficiary of strong defensive teams and an incredible team structure.
        Put Price in the Bruins net over the same time period, and I’d bet the farm that the Bruins win 5 or 6 cups in that last decade.
        Just one man’s opinion, of course.
        Still praying for a Bos vs Mtl finals.

    • I have never seen a team (except in a beer league) make so many mistakes in a playoff game as the Jets made last evening. It was pathetic. Now, it’s true that the Habs caused a number of those mistakes. However, the Jets made far too many giveaways and errant cross-ice passes to win the game.

      The Scheifele suspension was deserved, but it seemed to take the heart out of the Jets. Even so, perhaps the biggest reason for their demise was the long nine day layoff. This was not the same Jets club that eliminated the Oilers! The Oilers would have smoked the club that showed up last evening. Montreal fans better hope that the Vegas/Aves series ends as soon as possible or their team could suffer the same fate. I don’t like any layoff that lasts more than five days – it destroys team chemistry and momentum.

  2. Bruins absolutely dominated the Islanders should have won handily probably the worst officiating I have ever seen very one sided. Rask wasn’t great but not sure anyone stops a few of them. If refs giving them that many penalties going to have to kill a few. Perfection line was on fire an absolute pleasure to watch could have had 6 or 7 with a bounce or two. If game 6 called fairly they will win in 7.

    • Bruins are a one line team, a good defensive team like the islanders can shut them down lots of shots from the outside

    • @Obe: If your goalie allows 4 goals on 16 shots (a .750 save percentage), the hand writing is on the wall. That’s even worse than Rask’s .800 save percentage (4 goals on 20 shots) in game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup finals IN Boston.

      When your goalie has this kind of night, nothing else matters – it’s game over.

  3. Congratulations to the Habs – the so-called “least talented” of the playoff qualifiers is the first into the quarter finals after winning 7 in a row, led by a “washed-up overrated” goalie and 4 players, 3 of them UFA signings and one rookie (Toffoli 4g 6a 10pts, Suzuki 4g 4a 8pts, Staal 1g 6a 7 pts and Perry 3g 3a 6 pts) who, collectively, cost $7,428,333 off the cap – or, just $465,667 more than William Nylander and one helluva lot less than the Big 3.

    Those predicting an early exit regardless of who they meet could be in for a surprise. Much like the Islanders, they have a team game plan and are sticking to it never mind the score at any one time in a game.

    • I give em credit George, no one saw this coming.

      • George O, I agree with the player’s you mentioned but the Habs big defense seemed to keep both the Leafs and the Jets from getting to the net and into Price’s kitchen. They kept the opposition from getting grade A chances and Price closed the door.

    • As a die hard Habs fan, I have to eat crow.

      I was ready to throw Bergevin & coaching staff over a cliff, but they are making me a believer.

      As I said before the Winnipeg series, I can’t imagine they can even make a series of it against, either the AVs or Vegas.

      I hope they can continue to roll as it gives me something positive to focus.

    • George: ouch! I did some quick math and the Habs get 6 players for the same $ as the Leafs top 4. Add in the next two highest paid Leafs against their cap and you get 4 more Habs for the same money.

      Another way of showing the imbalance.

    • Fairy tail season is over when Vegas get s them.

      • Funny, I kinda heard this before for the series against Toronto and Winnipeg…

  4. Can’t blame Rask, but you would like to see him make a save or two that he isn’t suppose to make.

    Pastrnak missed empty net in game 4, Marchand missed empty net in game 5.

    Kuraly penalty was horse sh@T, never touched the stick.

    Glad Cassidy called out the officiating.

    Congrats to Montreal you were the better team and deserved the victory. Regardless if Scheifele was or wasn’t in the contest.

    Hab fans who you want? Col or Veg?

    • I simply want the Avs-Knights series to go the full 7. With each of the last 3 going to triple OT.

  5. Somebody get Bruce Cassidy a big box of kleenex … pathetic

    • Agreed, Ed. Hopalong would be much better served worrying about his team’s defensive coverage. The Isles may not have gotten many chances last night, but all of their goals resulted from Islander players left unimpeded in the slot.
      Looking at the series in general, when you exclude non-judgmental calls like “too many men” or “delay of game” calls, the Bruins have received 12 minors in the series to the Isles 9, or 33% more. During the season, the Isles got 130 such penalties and the Bruins 194, or 50% more. The real problem is simply that the Bruins take too many penalties due to undisciplined play. They seem determined to live up to the Big Bad Bruins legend and that comes with a cost.

      • Howard, did you watch the game? If you did you would know the Isle scored 3 pp goal.

        one off both Clifton skates directly to Palmeri for empty net.

        Barzal, well Rask down early again and the player Sweeney passed over 3 times (none of the 3 players he selected played) picked the top corner, Rask should’ve had.

        The difference last night was goaltending

    • Edvanimpe may look like an idiot and may think like an idiot and sometimes talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you, cause he really is an idiot.

  6. To all Habs fans…. congrats. Well earned, well deserved!!

    Mmmmmmm…. let’s compare

    only one player with Cap hit > $8 M
    1/2 Cap distributed to top (Cap hits) of 3 F , 3 D, 1 G
    Balanced lines
    Strength at D
    Good back up to lighten load of superstar goalie
    Loaded with “give it your all; never give up; energized “ players throughout

    upset Pens in ‘20
    On to Semi’s in ‘21

    3 $11 M players
    1/2 Cap on 4 Fwds
    Top heavy forward roster
    Not as strong at D
    G tandem weaker
    Nary but a couple of “give it your all; never give up; energized “ players

    Out AGAIN first round….. 5 1/2 decades since last cup

    Which roster formulae is working?

    • Thanks Pengy, good sportsmanship.

      To Jets, fans, my condolences. I had them coming out of the North this year. No one saw the Habs finding the secret sauce from game 11 on this year.

      But I would add the Jets to your list of imbalanced rosters. Despite a surprising lack of offense from the Jets their roster is loaded with scorers, but they have a substandard d. One of their issues in the playoffs was the lack of a mobile D who could wheel the puck out of their zone.

  7. And the Leafs aren’t alone in that boat, Pengy – using your comparison list, Edmonton has

    1 $12 M player
    47% of the Cap on 5 players
    Top heavy forward roster
    Not as strong at D
    G tandem weaker
    Nary but a couple of “give it your all; never give up; energized “ players

    Out in first round….. 3 decades since last cup

    I would add, too, that both the Leafs and Oilers have a large group of UFAs (Leafs 12 – Oilers 11) who either have to be re-signed or at the very least replaced with either system call-ups, or through UFA signings or trades, and if any of the latter, by whom and at what costs?

    As author Dean Koontz penned “when new hopes fail, old hopes return in the endless cycle of desperation.”

    That pretty much describes the annual mind-set of these two organizations. Let’s face it, the “Shanaplan” has had more than enough time to change the outcomes. It did not work.

    • Agree George

      The ShanNOTplan was further exacerbated by the DubNOTas plan

      BTW…. Avs…. their 7 top Cap hits ~ 1/2 Cap ceiling. Knights 6. Bruins top 7 just over 1/2 Cap; Sens…8

      Things MUST change for Leafs

      • Just saw another interesting bit of comparison in the Toronto Star, Pengy.

        “Ducharme’s team hasn’t trailed since Game 4 against Toronto — a stretch of 437 minutes 53 seconds that sits second in NHL playoff history behind the 1960 Canadiens (488:38).”

        What they’ve latched onto is an “us against the world” approach and that, combined with heart and hustle and world-class goaltending can carry a team a long way.

        Don’t write them off against Vegas or Colorado – whoever gets to meet the Habs is going to find the need to play a very different style than the one we’ve seen so far in their series.

  8. I wish coaches stop lambasting the refs during and after the games as nothing good can come of it. If they call too much it’s”payback” if they don’t make a call they’re “intimidated”

    You don’t win a war with a ref, humiliating a ref won’t get you an advantage.

    I’m obviously happy the Habs are top of the North and moving on. I have said frequently throughout the season that they are built for the playoffs and the regular season with its skill competition to decide games isn’t a real indicator.

    Beating the Leafs wasn’t a surprise but I didn’t see a sweep of the Jets, in fact they were the one team I was hoping the Habs wouldn’t face.

    The Jets are a class team, solid honest players and Wheeler represents them well.

    Scheifele, what can I say, what he did was out of character and his behavior the whole game seemed like roid rage.

    Who’s next? I like the Habs chances with Colorado more than Vegas.

    That Caufield kid is pretty good eh

    • As much as I hate to say it, I think Montreal could absolutely beat Colorado.

      I’m not sure how Colorado received so much respect as a cup favorite. That top line may be one of the best in hockey, but talent falls off a cliff from there for forwards.

      Great young d-core, but young and inexperienced. This team will continue to grow and build, but I just don’t see them there just yet.

      I still think Tampa rolls over anyone in their way this year. Too deep everywhere to get beat by anyone left imo.

      • The canadians season will be coming to an end soon.they played all year in the worse division by far.They would not of even made the playoffs if they were in the other divisions.Forget Colorado they are going to get Vegas and it s lights out.

    • Habsfan30, you are right , it doesn’t help for coaches to criticize the officiating in the media. The number of incompetent or biased referees in the NHL does frustrate me, as all to often they are directly influencing the outcome of games. This is true even in games that are meaningless to me. Something needs to be done.

  9. If I was Bruin coach I would have thrown every stick garbage can water bottle and waved white flag it was a disgrace. Even with all the one sided calls Boston should have won easily outshooting them like 50 -20 by far better team with fair reffing it’s a 5-1 Bruin win and good morning Ed as always like my dad says who’s Ed a troll. Like I’ve said every year when your team is golfing so should you be.

  10. Great Karma for Jets’ Mark Scheifele who had shown NO remorse over his illegal hit which took Jake Evans out of the series and possibly out of the entire playoffs. It’s only fitting that Scheifele’s suspension ended up being for the rest of their playoff season and fitting the Jets were swept in 4 games. Karma baby – good for Scheifele – he certainly earned it.

  11. Time to bench Rask for rest of the playoffs let him walk at end of the season. Tired his garbage year in year out. if every player did all the nonsense he pulls off year after year the bruins wouldn’t even be able to ice a team. Glad to see him go Swayman all the way if Rask starts again I’m finished with this team. I’m so sick of Rask the very name makes me want upchuck. He’ll go down as the biggest choker of all time. Also one for all or all for none Carlo has to play in the next game tinordi and Ritchie remind a couple sloths lost in the mountains of Siberia.

  12. The Habs success is rooted in many aspects,
    superior management… after 3 years in the desert with 15 percent of the cap un used the opportunities were presented to obtain the right players and they pounced.Patience personified. A coaching change was needed …done.
    superior coaching …both series the Habs out coached the opponents. Quick sign Luke Richardson to whatever he wants.
    superior leadership…the veterans quietly but forcefully setting the tone enabling the growth of the kids in a positive enviroment.
    superior commitment ….boring as their style is there are no passengers and seldom do they have a player out of position wondering where to go.The opponents have to scrap for every inch or risk being smothered.
    Luck…no serious injuries to the top end ..Toffolli , Perry ,Edmonson landing in their lap.Jelling at the right time.
    They will remain a tough out come what may.