NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2022

by | Mar 4, 2022 | News, NHL | 28 comments

Recaps of Thursday’s action, barriers emerging for Russian players, an update on Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Tristan Jarry made 29 saves while Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist. Lightning coach Jon Cooper was ejected from the game near the end of the second period for criticizing referee Wes McCauley. With 76 points, the Penguins move to within three points of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division while the Lightning (76 points) drop one point behind the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Panthers, they snapped a three-game losing skid by blanking the Ottawa Senators 3-0. Sergei Bobrovsky had an 18-save shutout while Mason Marchment, Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Lomberg were the goal scorers. Panthers star Jonathan Huberdeau was held scoreless to end his points streak at 10 games.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were shut out 4-0 by the Washington Capitals. Vitek Vanecek got the win by kicking out 36 shots while Alex Ovechkin scored his 763rd career goal to move within three of Jaromir Jagr on the all-time list. The Capitals hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward Anthony Mantha returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 4. The club created salary-cap space for his return by placing Carl Hagelin (eye) on long-term injury reserve and Joe Snively (upper body) on injured reserve.

Boston Bruins winger Craig Smith tallied a hat trick and David Pastrnak scored twice to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman turned aside 34 shots for the win as his club sits three points up on the Capitals in the first Eastern wild-card berth. Jack Eichel netted his first goal with the Golden Knights, who’ve slid into the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 64 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of sidelined captain Mark Stone has contributed to Vegas’ slide in the standings. Since his last game on Feb. 8, the Golden Knights have just two wins in their last eight games. Robin Lehner returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 9 but gave up four goals on 35 shots.

A 42-save performance by Arizona Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka carried his club to a 2-1 upset over the league-leading Colorado Avalanche. Nick Schmaltz broke a 1-1 tie in the third period. The Avs remain atop the overall standings with 84 points.

Speaking of upsets, the Montreal Canadiens nipped the Calgary Flames 5-4 on an overtime goal by Ben Chiarot, who finished the game with two goals as the Habs ended the Flames’ 11-game home winning streak. Mike Hoffman had a goal and three assists and Nick Suzuki had three points for the Canadiens. Andrew Mangiapane had a goal and two assists for the Flames, who remain in first place in the Pacific Division with 71 points. Montreal forward Jake Evans left the game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens remain competitive under interim coach Martin St. Louis. If this keeps up their improvement could hurt their odds of winning the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery but I don’t think the team cares about that. Their players look like they’re enjoying playing the game again.

In another upset, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oiler 4-3 on an overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who honored former defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson with a pregame ceremony and a video tribute for Oilers blueliner Duncan Keith, who spent 16 seasons with the Blackhawks before being traded to Edmonton last summer. Evander Kane tallied twice for the Oilers (64 points), who moved into third place in the Pacific Division. Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury.

The Minnesota Wild snapped their four-game losing skid by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Matt Boldy and Jonas Brodin scored 25 seconds apart in the third period as the Wild overcame a 4-3 deficit. Ryan Hartman scored twice while teammate Jared Spurgeon broke the club record for most games by a defenseman with 744. The Wild sit in third place in the Central Division with 67 points.

Third-period goals by Nils Hoglander and Vasily Podkolzin lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders. With 60 points, the Canucks are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Increasing international sanctions and bans imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could bring up barriers for its hockey players hoping to reach the NHL or other elite leagues.

SPORTSNET: Guy Lafleur’s family issued a statement yesterday thanking fans for their support as the Hall-of-Famer battles lung cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hope you get well soon, Flower!

NBC SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes will host the Washington Capitals in the 2023 Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, NC on Feb. 18, 2023.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks goaltender James Reimer is sidelined week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Kevin Rooney will be out for at least a week with an upper-body injury.


  1. Nazim Kadri is a UFA after this season .
    Can Colorado afford to sign him
    Nathan McKinnon is a UFA next year
    Perhaps Boston rethinks their strategy and loads up for Kadri in the off season
    Toronto is unlikely to buy out Tavares , but the leafs will definitely retool their core 4 of Nylander , Marner and Tavares
    Matthews is not an issue
    Tavares has a NTC
    Kadri , I am only pipe dreaming on the possibility in Leafland , but I am sure the Bruins have given it strong consideration
    His style of game is a perfect “fit” there

    • If Toronto had a guy like Kadri, they’d probably just run him out of town.😂

      • @Captain it’s not like Kadri would help them in the playoffs. He’d just get suspended anyways. Colorado can keep him.

      • He has 68 points in 52 games.

        Tavares has 50 points in 53 (which is more than respectable).

        But imagine what Toronto could do with that 6.5 million in extra cap space this year?

      • @Captain – At this point all that matters is the playoffs and you can always count on Kadri’s selfishness to get him suspended. Leafs have plenty of scoring in the regular season so Kadri doesn’t move the needle. He had 1 point in 2 playoff games last year because surprise he was suspended. Kerfoot had 6 points in 7 games so ya I’ll take that. Real problem is Matthews and especially Marner dissapear in the playoffs. Goaltending is fine, offense is fine. Could use 1 or 2 solid defenseman but it all hangs and Matthews and Marner showing up. If that happens they’ll be competitive in the playoffs.

      • You make some solid point. But I wouldn’t pencil in Kadri to get suspended every year. Maybe every other year?

        In 19-20 Kadri had 9 goals and 9 assists in 15 playoff games. Which is 3 points less than Marners and Mathews combined stats in the playoff over the last 3 years.

      • @ Captain ya that was a good playoff year but to be fair it was the only 1 in 4 year of playoff appearances that Kadri is not suspended so I think you’re being generous saying every second year. Yep Matthews and Marner need to start showing up come playoff time and that would be enough to have gotten out of the first round

  2. Rask who? Swayman may be the best goalie for the bruins since Thomas and he’s already got better positioning. His anticipation of the play may be one of the best in the nhl and he is only 23. Still need a top 4 d and centre

    • So……….are you back on the bandwagon……………………or off it……………………………………..or half-way up?
      Just hard to keep up with all the flip flopping and stuff.

      • Boston is the greatest team ever when they don’t suck so badly!

        They should keep and trade everyone!

      • Congratulations Captain.

    • Hold your horses on Swayman,really like him but does the name Jordan Binningtom ring a bell?Need more of a sample.Happy for 12 last night.Very honest player who works hard and is accountable.Agree with your observation of a First D pair.Mcavoy needs help with a solid D partner that can play both ends of the rink.The center position might not be touched until the offseason to see what 37 does.Both announcers being Messier and Chelios were very complimentary of the B S.

    • Rask sucks. Just the most winning goalie in bruins history ranked 3rd all time in nhl. That is a Forrest Gump post right there. Swayman looks great. But if he doesn’t bring the cup. He a bum too right?? Thomas f d the bruins cause he was losing his spot to Rask saddled them with 5 mil cap hit great team guy lol

      • I think you mean he ranks 3rd in Bruins history? Not nhl.

        He doesn’t rank in the NHls top 50?

        Not knocking Rask. But I’m a bit confused.

      • My bad, he ranks 33rd in wins. But that’s a far cry from 3rd.

      • Hasek. 2.20. GAA sv% 921
        Dryden 2.22 GAA. Sv% 921
        Rask 2.28 GAA Sc% 922

        123 in nhl history by stats

      • Tim Thomas signed a 4yr contract extension at $5m per on April 3rd 2009

        2010 – 2011 season Thomas posted:

        2.00ga and .938 sv% in 52 regular season games
        1.98ga and .940 sv% in 25 playoff games

        and won the Conn Smythe

        The only thing Tim Thomas saddled Boston with was the Stanley Cup!

        Without Tim Thomas Boston would be looking at celebrating 50yrs with no Cup this season.

        So no trashing Timmy. Defend Rask but leave Tim out of it.

      • Okay, 3rd in save percentage.
        12th in gaa.

        I wasn’t understanding where 3rd was coming from.

    • So, Rick, if the Leafs didn’t trade Tuuka Rask for, gulp, Andrew Raycroft, would things have turned out differently or not?
      Make up your mind.
      BTW Kadri to Boston in the summer would be the ultimate irony.

      • Kadri will be looking to cash in on a long term deal $$$$$. Bruins be wise to pass

      • So Tank never stuck the Bruins with his over cap of 5 million??? Team players don’t do that. Was he great goalie hell yes. Lost my voice in Tampa watching him stone the bolts as well as gm 6 in beantown vs nuks Still screwed the team in the end

      • Mrbruin4 really don’t care about the $5m; well spent if you ask me.

  3. Watched the highlights of the Bruins/Knights game…. Holy Swayman Batman… kids for real …. And Eichel’s breakaway goal was a flub by Eichel

    Re Pens v Bolts…. That was a fantastic effort by Pens… came out flying from the get go and never let up. Hope that they still have it in the tank for tonight’s match v Canes (in Raleigh). Gino was on a mission

    Re Habs…Chairot 2-1-3 and + 2 last night… good for increased asset value…increased GM calls?

    Guy…. speedy and full recovery good sir… even as a Leaf fan, always loved your game

    • Why do people assume that one game increases value? Debrusk, Zucker , Chairot etc.?

      I don’t think GMs see it quite the same.

      “He was god awful all season, but god what a performance he had last night! Let’s offer 4-1st round draft picks and 3 of our best players and capture this lightning in a bottle asap! “

      How could that possibly go wrong? I don’t think GMs are that short sighted.

      I’m not picking on any specific player. But every time a guy has a good game it doesn’t move the needle.

      As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind Chairot in NY down the stretch, but it has more to do with his overall play and fit for their needs than it does last nights game.

      Debrusk has looked much better lately. But does that translate over to another teams top line or bottom 6? I’d be awfully cautious about that idea.

      • Increased value re Chairot was said and meant tongue ‘n cheek

        That said; come TDL… GM’s get foggy glasses clouded by recency bias

        I could only hope the JZ had increased value so that Pens can free up $5.5 M in Cap space

        Value always subjective and guided by supply/demand….. if many teams covet a 2nd pairing RHD and there are only 1 or 2 available …. Some GM will likely end up overpaying

        As long as those GMs aren’t named Dubas , Hextall or Burke…. I’m good

  4. It’s obviously great to see the Habs playing better even if it costs the first overall pick. Hopefully it’ll provide momentum for the future. And they’re still pretty certain to get a top five pick.
    Don’t look now but the Knights are in danger of falling out of the playoffs. They hold the final spot, one point ahead of the Stars who’ve played two fewer games.

  5. Bruins …. LD & RD with size and toughness to keep the D zone clean …. Winger with size and toughness to protect the Star players ….forget the true 2nd line center to cost will be to much especially for a player with term left

  6. Habs first UFA signing should be Ben Chiarot. a big physical D who skates well and plays both sides.

    He has an affordable contract, like Edmundson and likes playing in Montreal.

    Montreal has a good prospect pool for LD but nobody ready to step in next year.