NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2022
Connor McDavid reaches 100 points again, Leon Draisaitl and Chris Kreider make the race for the Richard Trophy interesting, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 100th point of the season and Leon Draisaitl tallied his 49th goal of the campaign as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Both players also scored in the shootout for the Oilers. Alexander Edler and Carl Grundstrom each had two points for the Kings (82 points), who hold a one-point lead over the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.
An overtime goal by Andrew Copp lifted the New York Rangers over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Chris Kreider’s game-tying goal was his 46th of the season while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists for the Rangers (93 points) as they sit three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson made 22 saves for his first NHL shutout to blank the Seattle Kraken 3-0. Shea Theodore, Michael Amadio and Jonathan Marchessault were the goal scorers as the Golden Knights (78 points) regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, sitting one point up on the Dallas Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken became the fourth team officially eliminated from playoff contention, joining the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.
Blake Wheeler potted the deciding goal in the shootout in the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Connor Hellebuyck got the win with a 35-save performance while Zemgus Girgensons scored twice for the Sabres. The Jets have won seven of their last 10 games and sit two points behind the Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without leading scorer Kyle Connor and defenseman Nate Schmidt after both entered COVID protocol yesterday.
The St. Louis Blues regained third place in the Central Division by holding off the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who sit three points behind the second-place Minnesota Wild with 83 points. With 73 points, the Canucks are five points behind the Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second straight loss for the Canucks, putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Earlier in the day, they also learned forward Nils Hoglander may be done for the season after suffering a groin injury during practice on March 16.
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka made 39 saves and Jan Jenik scored two goals in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. It was a costly win for the Coyotes as leading scorer Clayton Keller was stretchered from the game in the third period after falling awkwardly into the boards. Keller was transported to a hospital for further examination.
OTTAWA SUN: Anthony LeBlanc, the Senators president of business operations, confirmed the club had held talks with Quebec City, but only about entering a joint bid to host the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.
A report in La Presse yesterday claimed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had spoken to the Quebec government about the Senators playing five of its home games in Quebec City next season. LeBlanc said the possibility of playing neutral site games there was floated but never really discussed. “The idea that we (Senators) are going to be playing in Quebec City is very disingenuous,” said LeBlanc.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks seem to be jumping to conclusions by taking this story as an indication the Senators could be relocated to Quebec City. Coming two days after the death of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, the La Presse report stirred unease for a fan base that is, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren, insecure over the franchise’s future in Ottawa.
Part of that is uncertainty over what Melnyk’s successors intend to do with the Senators. However, Bettman recently indicated an ownership structure is in place and he anticipated the franchise will continue operating as it has. Part of it could also be tied to the late Melnyk’s attempts to build a new arena in downtown Ottawa.
If the Melnyk family decides to sell the Senators, the priority will be to find a buyer who will keep the team in its current location. Any sale of the franchise has to be approved by the NHL board of governors.
NHL.COM: The NHL department of player safety fined Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall $5,000.00 for roughing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin on Tuesday. Nashville Predators forward Tanner Jeannot was fined $2,000.00 for kneeing Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk on Tuesday.
CBS SPORTS: The Maple Leafs placed winger Ondrej Kase on long-term injury reserve. He’s been sidelined by a concussion since March 19.
SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Jake Virtanen will go to trial starting on July 18 for sexual assault charges.
Don’t put Ullmark in tonight. Go with the kid again he’ll bring home the goods.
Confirmed Ullmark Reilly. Brown. All in as per yesterdays practice lines
Cassidy said he would make some changes and is following through, as he should.
Ullmark has won his last 3 starts, no worries about putting him in.
Swayman is a rookie we the fan need to realize he will have his ups and downs, just the way it works.
B’s have been playing well up to TOR game, weren’t ready to play at that intensity. Perhaps a little too business like and maybe over confident, not sure what the deal was. Probably a good thing in the long run, Cassidy seemed to think some of them needed a wake up call.
Happens to teams when they get on an extended roll, some bad habits creep in.
RB . I would agree definitely no reason to panic Let’s see how they do on Tuuka night tonight
Cassidy thought he would try Grizz and Clifton together against Toronto.
It failed, guessing the thought process was to have speed against Toronto speed and skill. It didn’t work
I think Clifton plays better against bigger teams, he isn’t afraid to get hit or throw one and is able to use his speed more effectively.
Against Toronto he didn’t have the time and couldn’t adjust.
Plus. Blidth. In for Foligno. And
Smith out for McLaughlin
Since Jan 2/22 when teams had played between 28 and 34 games the teams occupying the 8 playoff spots in the East has not changed and won’t by season end.
The teams themselves haven’t changed – nor will they – but where they finish in the Top 8 will
Yes it will be down to the wire in east for who sits where at the table
Nasty crash for Keller last night
For comparison purposes here are the standings as of Jan 22, 2022 and today – listed in each case in order of % points attained as the number of games played by each team in both comparison differed by as much as 6 games in some cases
As of Jan 22
Car 31 23 7 1 47 106 66 .758
Fla 32 21 7 4 46 122 95 .719
Tor 31 21 8 2 44 104 76 .710
Wa 34 20 6 8 48 119 89 .706
NYR 33 21 8 4 46 97 84 .697
TB 34 21 8 5 47 105 101 .691
Pit 31 18 8 5 41 99 81 .661
Bos 28 16 10 2 34 80 73 .607
Since Jan 22 To Date
Fla 34 24 8 2 50 149 94 .735
Bos 38 25 10 3 53 124 107 .697
Car 36 21 8 7 49 119 95 .681
TB 32 21 10 1 43 110 84 .672
NYR 35 23 11 1 47 114 94 .671
Pit 37 22 10 5 49 128 101 .662
Tor 35 21 11 3 45 141 125 .643
Wa 34 17 15 2 36 106 108 .529
Easier to compare those improving, falling or spinning their wheels
Looking at the above, it’s hard to comprehend why some Boston fans are filled with angst as their team has the most significant increase in % production since Jan 22.
Florida is up a tick, as are the NYR. Pittsburgh hasn’t changed at all. while TB has dipped lightly in % production.
Other than Washington, who seem to be in free-fall, Carolina and Toronto have experienced the largest % drop
Oops. The Rangers are down a tick – not up.
Just saw the projected lines (Daily Faceoff) and pairings for Pens game tonight
Possibly Zucker on Gino’s line (and Zucker completely destroyed Gino’s stats last year)
And…. Freidman in…. Which is great…. But Sully is sitting Pettersson instead of Ruhweedel (who cost 3 goals against Rangers in the last 2 Rangers games)
The compromising video or pictures that Ruhweedel has on Sully must be spectacular
Sully…. You are supposed to put out there the best roster you have available…. And you are not