NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2022

by | Feb 21, 2022 | News, NHL | 14 comments

The Panthers remain on course for a franchise-best season, the Hurricanes and Rangers gain points in tight Metropolitan Division, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists and Aaron Ekblad had a goal and an assist as the Panthers remain on track for their best record in franchise history. With 75 points, they lead the Eastern Conference and sit one point behind the league-leading Colorado Avalanche.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers look very much like a Stanley Cup contender. They’ve dominated throughout this season and could become an even tougher opponent if general manager Bill Zito’s rumored efforts to add a top-four defenseman prove successful.

The Carolina Hurricanes got third-period goals from Jesper Fast and Sebastian Aho to hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Antti Raanta picked up the win with a 31-save performance. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 70 points and sit three behind the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are another Eastern club that must be considered among this season’s Cup contenders. It’ll be interesting to see if GM Don Waddell makes a move or two before the March 21 trade deadline to bolster his roster for the postseason.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist to lead their club to a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 29 shots for the Rangers (69 points), who moved within one point of the second-place Penguins in the Metropolitan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of teams that could be busy at the trade deadline, the Rangers have plenty of deadline cap space and depth in prospects and promising players to swing a significant deal or two by March 21. It remains to be seen if GM Chris Drury will take advantage of it.

The Minnesota Wild thumped the Edmonton Oilers 7-3, handing the latter their first loss under interim coach Jay Woodcroft. Kevin Fiala scored two goals and added an assist as the Wild (65 points) moved one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues into second place in the Central Division. The Oilers remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 59 points. They’d won five straight under Woodcroft prior to this contest.

Jack Eichel tallied his first goal with the Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Logan Thompson got the win with a 35-save performance. Eichel and Max Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist. The Golden Knights (62 points) move two points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division while the Sharks (49 points) are 10 points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could soon become sellers in the trade market if they can’t gain ground in the standings over the next two or three weeks. That could stoke the trade speculation about Sharks center Tomas Hertl if he and the Sharks fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

The Dallas Stars fail to gain ground in the race for the final Western playoff spot after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Arizona Coyotes. Scott Wedgewood made 32 saves while Nick Schmaltz had a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. With 56 points, the Stars are three behind the Los Angeles Kings, who hold the final wild-card berth.

Goaltender J-F Berube made 33 saves in his first NHL start in four years to backstop the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Buffalo Sabres 7-3. Dean Kukan and Brendan Gaunce each had three-point performances while Patrik Laine picked up two assists.

Speaking of goalies getting wins in their first start in nearly four years, Andrew Hammond made 30 saves as the Montreal Canadiens nipped the New York Islanders 3-2. Cole Caufield and Rem Pitlick tallied in the shootout as the Canadiens have won two straight for the first time this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That loss may be the final nail in the coffin for the Islanders (43 points) as they sit 17 points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. They have four games in hand on the Bruins but this appears to be a bridge too far for the Isles, who are likely to become sellers by the March trade deadline.


LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf missed his last two games with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The league’s department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Markus Niemelainen $2,043.75 for cross-checking Winnipeg Jets forward Kristian Vesalainen on Saturday.

TSN: One day after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan Dzingel has been placed on waivers. If he clears, he’ll be sent to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.


  1. todays going be like leading the charge of light brigade against the Russian troups at Balaklava armed with Nerf Blasters. If Swayman’s in net they might get away with a mere shellacking if Ullmark’s manning the pipes better say a few Hail Mary’s not to mention a couple of hare Krishnas before the game,

    • Total domination by Bruins today. Fear the Nerf

  2. Happy Family day to those in Alta, BC, Ssk, NB, and ON.

    Happy Isalnder Day for those in PEI; and

    Happy Louis Reil Day for those in MB

    Hope everybody’s day is great

    • And Happy President’s Day to our friends south of the border

      • Ahhh…. My bad

        Somehow I thought that was next Monday… doh!

        To all American’s here here …. I’m so very Sorry for missing that

        Have s wonderful President’s Day

    • Poor folks in NS, Newfoundland and Quebec don’t get to celebrate today.

      • Heritage day in NS

      • Belly Button lint day in Lower Slobovia.

  3. Note to Pens (must write this on chalkboard 1,000 times) ….

    “Must be awake for first 10 seconds of EVERY period”

    A goal against , 9 seconds into 2nd; AND a goal against 9 seconds into 3rd….. must be a record!!

    Canes a very good team; well coached

    If Pens have aspirations of a deep run (they do) ; then they have to realize that their game has to be better; and for an entire 60 minutes

    Bringing last night’s game to the playoffs and out in 4 is not unfathomable

    Panthers….. wow…. I knew they’d be good this year….. but I had underestimated how good

    I still think that if they are hell-bent on acquiring a top 4 D…. Go after Soucy rather than Chychrun… lower cap; playing better this year; cost to acquire is much less

    Without getting too short-sighted…. Their (Panthers) plans should be focused (playoff-wise) on beating Bolts…. I think their built to beat any team coming out of the Metro

    Does anybody here not see the ECF being played in the State of Florida?

    • Florida ECF feels that way. Could TML take out one of the Florida squads in the 1st round?
      Carolina imho is as deep as the FL teams.

      Igor could steal a few games but the Rangers offense is still so top heavy.

      • @DS, TML Won’t beat either of the FL teams and the Canes could deal Necas and/or Trochek for upgrades the ECF will be a heavy weight brawl.

      • Hi ds

        I agree with Rob… very hard to see Leafs beat one FLA team in a playoff series, let alone 2

        Yes …. Canes are deep and fast…. Would be great series … Panthers v Canes OR Bolts v Canes…. But as at now my guess is that Panthers or Bolts go to SCF (vs Knights or Avs)

  4. Got my first look at the UBS Arena yesterday. An absolutely stunning place. Parking is tough though. Getting out of the lot took forever.
    Gutsy game by Hammond after a long absence. Now watch him give up 7 goals next time out.

  5. I wonder if frustrated fans will top the Hamburglar with (welcome) back bacon after his first bad game.