NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2021

by | Oct 26, 2021 | News, NHL | 15 comments

T.J. Oshie and Drake Batherson get dueling hat tricks in high-scoring Capitals-Senators game, the Panthers, Hurricanes and Blues remain undefeated, the Sabres upset the Lightning and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-5 in a wild game that saw Washington’s T.J. Oshie and Ottawa’s Drake Batherson each tally a hat trick. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to move within four goals of Brett Hull (741) for fourth place among the all-time goal leaders. With seven goals, he takes over the goal-scoring lead from Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. The Capitals led 4-1 at one point but the Senators stormed back to tie it in the second period to make it interesting before the Caps regained the lead.

Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie (NHL Images).

Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour had two-point performances and Joe Thornton scored his first goal of the season as the Florida Panthers beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. The Panthers take over first place in the overall standings with a 6-0-0 record. Coyotes goalie Carter Hutton and defenseman Conor Timmins both left the game with lower-body injuries.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders Frederik Andersen made 24 saves against his former team to backstop his club over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Andrei Svechnikov and Jaccob Slavin each had two points for the Hurricanes, who remain unbeaten at 5-0-0. Auston Matthews tallied his first of the season (the 200th goal of his career) for the slumping Leafs, whose record drops to 2-4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of unhappiness in Leafs Nation as their club’s early-season woes are drawing comparison to their similar difficulties two years ago. That led to a November coaching change as Sheldon Keefe replace Mike Babcock. Could Keefe face a similar fate if the Leafs fail to reverse their fortunes? Stay tuned…

Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals and Ville Husso turned in a 34-save shutout as the St. Louis Blues blanked the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. The Blues extended their record to 5-0-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues, Hurricanes and Panthers join the Edmonton Oilers as the only clubs to remain unbeaten through their first five games of the season. It’s the first time in league history four teams begin the season with records of at least 5-0-0.

The Buffalo Sabres stunned the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-1. Craig Anderson made 35 saves for the win while Victor Olofsson scored twice for the Sabres, who maintain their surprising hot start with a 4-1-1 record. The Lightning are still without winger Nikita Kucherov, who could be sidelined for another eight weeks by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning definitely miss Kucherov’s offense but other factors are also behind their stumbling start. Their forward depth was depleted by this summer’s departures of Tyler Johnston, Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow. A shortened offseason also gave them less time than most clubs to rest and prepare for this season.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 31 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. On his way to pre-game warmups, Merzlikins was heckled by a Stars fan making a negative comment about the death of his close friend Matiss Kivlenieks, who was killed in a fireworks accident in July. “I was expecting a shutout because I believe in karma,” said Merzlikins. “There is some stupid people in this world. That was really, really bad what happened in the tunnel when I was walking out. There was a fan from Dallas who (provoked) me about Matiss.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are some disgusting people in this world whose lives are so pathetic that their only source of joy is trying to incite sadness or anger in other people. Good on Merlikins for not letting that douchebag’s remarks knock him off his game.

A 28-save shutout by Jacob Markstrom and two goals from Andrew Mangiapane carried to the Calgary Flames to a 5-1 win over the New York Rangers. Blake Coleman and Mikael Backlund each had a goal and two assists for the Flames, who’ve now won three straight games.


NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, and New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 24, 2021.

YARDBARKER: The Vegas Golden Knights have moved Max Pacioretty (fractured foot) from injured reserve to long-term IR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move provides the Golden Knights some flexibility to call up a player or acquire one via trade. However, they must become cap compliant when Pacioretty returns to the lineup.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed defenseman Kris Letang tested positive for COVID-19 and remains in COVID protocol.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury after being checked awkwardly into the board by the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos on Saturday.

NBC SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils confirmed goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week. He’ll have to continue following league protocols for unvaccinated players until two weeks after his second dose.

TSN: New York Islanders goaltender Cory Schneider hit the waiver wire yesterday. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks placed forward Alexander Volkov on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Former NHL player Colin Wilson opens up about his addiction to drugs, including cocaine and prescription drugs. He cited the recent death of Jimmy Hayes motivating him to come clean about his addiction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a difficult but invaluable story that everyone should read. Wilson’s tale will hopefully motivate other players with addictions to seek help and perhaps provoke more positive change with the NHL toward addressing this issue.


  1. If anyone in mid September prognosticated that in the last week of October that Bolts, Leafs, Avs, and Knights would be in 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 29th place while Sabres are in 6th….. then that person better have been an 80 yr old Biff in a flying Delorean

    Freddy played great; Leafs lacklustre

    Season is early…. But if they lose the next two…. Blackhawks, Wings….. not good

    Panthers…. 6-0……👍👍👍👍

    To the Sens fans…. Great energy and determination…. A couple of raw deals in the game…

    I watched it live last night. I saw the replay. I watched the play again this morning, AND I froze it on the moment of contact….. How does Ovi get away with that…. CLEAR hitting the numbers and boarding….. NO call???????????

    Sens fans …. Do you agree that this was a completely missed call?

    • Pengy, one thing I’ve learned over 7 decades of following hockey … you don’t fret over missed calls. They happened 7 decades ago and, on average, I doubt the % of missed calls hasn’t changed in all that time.

      As Forrest Gump allegedly coined “s*&t happens.”

      • Not to mention that star players have always been treated differently by the Officials.

    • Ovechkin never gets called for that. Every game he plays, his entire career he commits multiple charging penalties and NEVER gets called. Different set of rules for him

    • Hi George, ELew, and Ranzier

      Yes calls are missed all the time; but agree that premiere players get away with more

      IMVHO, no single player gets away with more than Ovi.

      This was not a close call or a subjective call. Numbers, full inertia of 235 pounds, straight into the boards…. I fully believe that he does this kind of hit (and gets away with it) at least a half dozen times a year.

      There was no call.

      What would have happened if Paul got injured and toted off….[ it was only by luck and size and strength (of Paul— 6’3″ , 225)) that this didn’t happen] …. would the refs then make a call?

      It would definitely be 5 and a game then; plus supplemental (well who knows with Parros)

      This is not a missed hook; missed trip; subjectively not called cross-check

      This is blatant hit from behind, full weight and inertial, INTO the BOARDS

      Just my opinion

      and yes I’m peeved

      Consistency refs… that is all that is needed. Consistency

  2. One lesson learned by the young Senators last night is, you don’t engage in a run-and-gun with teams like the Capitals.

    Hats off to 40 year old Craig Anderson who, in 4gp so far for Buffalo has a 1.76gaa and a save % of 0.944.

    Flames are looking good early.

    And you have to wonder if some extra motivation wasn’t there for Freddy Andersen last night.

    Now we hear rumblings that Keefe’s job may be on the line – but it wasn’t him who coughed up $33 mil and a bit for 2 goals and 3 assists over 7 gp (Matthews, Tavares, Marner). Nylander is the bargain in the so-called “Core 4.”

  3. Do not overlook the Lightning’s defensive woes as a cause of their poor start. Only the pathetic Hawks and Yotes – who are a combined 0-10-2, have given up more goals. 26 GA in 6 games is inexcusable. Especially with Vasilevsky in net.

  4. I always thought that the best thing for Frederik Andersen was to leave TML and that ​Edmonton should have tried to sign him (maybe they did?).

    Habs, TBL, TML, Avs, VGK will all be higher in the table a month from now once they get in gear and things fall in place.

    The incessant railing against TML core 4 is tiresome as each of them would improve any team they would play for.
    Tavares, Matthews and Marner are point a game players and Nylander probably reach that level this year.

    I mentioned earlier that officials seem to have forgotten hitting the numbers during the pre-season and start of the regular season while focusing on crosschecking, hooking and slashing.

    • They didn’t forget hitting the numbers in the Vancouver/Detroit game.

      Connor Garland got a penalty for it.

      He hit Filip Zadina in the face with his numbers dead center of the back!

    • habfan30, I don’t think anyone is saying any one of those 4 wouldn’t help another team. The issue is, they are all collected on one team and the combined cap hit of over 50% makes it extremely difficult to flesh out the rest of the 23-man roster AND retain the best of the “other 19” (e.g. Hyman).

  5. Let’s hope they have that Douche bag fan in Dallas on video and ban him from further games. Disgusting

    • This.
      “There are some disgusting people in this world whose lives are so pathetic that their only source of joy is trying to incite sadness or anger in other people.“

      Sounds like some that comment here, eh? You know who you are that make a comment for no other reason to achieve some joy in inciting sadness or anger with their post.

    • Agree, Isotopes.

      If they can identify the, umm, ‘person’ in question (and I use that term loosely), they should definitely be banned.

  6. Pens get a huge break with Letang out … and way too early for teams to start pushing the panic button … it’s a marathon, not a sprint …

  7. It validates that I’m visiting the right sight when the moderator calls a douchebag in Dallas a douchebag. It disgusts me to read what that “fan” did. But I was at opening night for the Red Wings this year and heard from somewhere in front of me a fan yell at Giavanni Smith “this isn’t basketball”. My wife wanted to figure out who it was and confront him. I thought hockey fans had more class than other sports but was obviously wrong.

    If Dubas (or Shanahan) decide to move on from Sheldon Keefe, do they have any way to get Babcock back behind the bench or do they have to get a third coach on the books? Not that TML have to worry about spending money. Coaches still don’t count against the cap!