NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 1, 2022

by | Jun 1, 2022 | News, NHL | 16 comments

The Avalanche hold off the Oilers in a high-scoring Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, plus the latest on Igor Shesterkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jordan Binnington and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche took Game 1 of the 2022 Western Conference Finals by holding off the Edmonton Oilers 8-6. Cale Makar lead the way for the Avalanche with a goal and two assists, J.T. Compher scored twice while Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist. Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists, Leon Draisaitl collected two helpers and Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Game 2 goes Thursday night in Denver.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar’s goal late in the first period generated some controversy when it appeared teammate Valeri Nichushkin was offside. However, the Oilers lost the coach’s challenge when it was deemed Makar didn’t actually cross the blueline and take possession of the puck until after Nichushkin tagged up. The Avs made it 4-2 on the subsequent power play and never trailed after that.

Both starting goaltenders didn’t finish this game. The Oilers’ Mike Smith was replaced by Mikko Koskinen in the second period after giving up six goals on 25 shots. Meanwhile, an upper-body injury forced the Avs’ Darcy Kuemper to leave the game soon after Smith’s departure. Pavel Francouz took over for Kuemper. Smith will likely return for Game 2 but Kuemper’s status is unknown at this time.

Give the Oilers credit for battling back after falling behind 7-3 late in the second period. Smith didn’t look sharp on the Avs’ first goal but wasn’t at fault for the other five that eluded him. His teammates struggled to defend against the Avalanche’s speed and puck-possession game, which at times turned the Oilers’ zone into a shooting gallery.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin is looking forward to facing Tampa Bay Lightning starter Andrei Vasilevskiy when the puck drops on the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday. Shesterkin was the Rangers’ regular-season MVP and he’s a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. However, he praised Vasilevskiy, calling him “the best goalie in the world right now.”

NHL.COM: Speaking of Vasilevskiy, he’s trying to become the first goaltender to backstop his team to three straight Stanley Cups since Hall-of-Famer Billy Smith with the New York Islanders in 1982.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This should be an entertaining matchup between the two best goalies in the league. Shesterkin was 3-0-0 against the Lightning this season with a 1.30 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. However, Vasilevskiy has a well-deserved reputation for elevating his game in postseason competition, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy last season.

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington admitted he threw an empty water bottle at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri following Game 3 of their second-round series. Binnington was upset with suffering a series-ending injury following a collision with Kadri earlier in the game. “I just felt it was a God-given opportunity,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A futile attempt at payback by Binnington, whose temper sometimes gets the better of him. The report noted the two players have a history. During a game in October, Binnington swung his stick at Kadri’s head but didn’t make contact.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said his club is considering all its options regarding the 2022 draft. He said they had not yet decided which player they’ll select but will reach a decision by July.

Hughes also said the club is still awaiting clarity on the status of Carey Price’s injured knee. He indicated the goalie has not seen additional doctors since visiting a specialist at the end of this season. They can place him on long-term injured reserve if they know he’s unable to play next season.

The Canadiens GM indicated they intend to soon finalize a new contract for head coach Martin St. Louis. He also shot down a rumor from a Russian media outlet claiming his club won’t be selecting Russian-born players in this year’s draft. (UPDATE: The Canadiens announced this morning that St. Louis signed a three-year extension)

NHL.COM: Speaking of the draft, the league released the draft order for selections 17 through 28. The final four positions will be determined by the outcome of the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens hold the first-overall pick after winning the draft lottery last month.


  1. Wow….love those high scoring super fast games… that’s entertainment…. 80 plus shots, 14 (well 13 + EN) goals; spectacular rushes; sniper goals; multi-precision passing plays; ping-pong goals; some solid hits 👍👍👍👍

    Avs were expected/favoured to win game 1…. Overall game… played better than Oil, deserved the win IMHO

    That said…. the off-side Makar goal…. Come on…. ruling it a “delayed off side” as he “didn’t have control entering the zone” and “it is similar to shooting puck in when teammate is in zone and you don’t touch puck until he clears”….. sorry, not the way I perceive it

    If you can legally stick handle backwards into zone; and have both skates, and your entire body inside the zone )stick and puck OUTSIDE zone) and as your stick handling with speed and your stick actually not touching puck for the fraction of a second as it crosses the blue-line….. deeming that to be “in control of puck”…then Makar for sure entered zone “in control” and the play is off-side

    This comes down to two linesmens’ interpretation and with one nodding and the other shaking his head when they were reviewing…. Certainly not cut and dry

    Per SN (their explanation)….. “delayed” off-side is off- side if….

    “any member of the attacking team …….attempts to gain possession ….”

    My contention (as I’m confident most Oil fans contention is as well) is that Makar HAD possession

    Think of any breakaway that has ever happened starting from outside the blue-line; the player never keeps his stick entirely touching the puck all the way in…. He nudges and skates; nudges and skates; then positions for the shot

    Same with Makar

    To me …. Off-side

    That of course cost Oil 2 goals against (power play goal on subsequent failed challenge penalty)

    A tough hit to Oil; yes should have been tied early next period instead of Avs up by 2….. that said… Avs played an overall better game than Oil…. win by Avs deserved

    Game 2…. Who starts? Of the 4 goalies…. Koskinen did the best

    • yes agree Makar had possession…he wasnt going to a lose puck

    • Yeah that call is an absolute joke . Makar clearly has possession entering the zone .
      However , smith has to make that save , he was awful.
      Nurse , who is clearly battling a core issue , was terrible , he isn’t able to play the physical game he needs to and even his reach and strength on stick is severely limited . I think this is why the last few weeks he is defaulting to trying to block , lay in the lane way more, and passing up shooting opportunities instead of his usual style.
      Those were the two biggest factors in the loss for me .
      Mcdavid was just ok , Leon was good , not great .
      Koskinen was great , Kassian was better than he has been.
      Good sign that they didn’t just give in , battled back and had a couple cracks at tying it up late.
      They need a much better effort from the entire lineup if they expect to push the avalanche into deep waters, especially from the starter and top d man . Without those two things , they have Zero chance to win the series.

      • Agree Craig

        It sounds like they are likely starting Smith next game…. He bounced back v Flames; but I would consider Kosk… he played very good

        I agree that McD was “average” for him (your words…”just ok”)… he still managed a goal and 2 assists; and dang near two other goals

        McD @ “just ok” is still pretty good

        If Oil can tighten defensively and McD goes to levels we saw already these playoffs…, Oil have a chance

        Old adage of no concerns until you lose one at home comes to mind….

        Oil was not expected to win game 1… they didn’t…. But even with noticeably less overall (in game) control of game…. They still potted 6 goals

      • No doubt they will go back to smith as they should . He has proven a few times this playoff he can respond in a big way .
        I’m not hitting no panic button yet , that was as bad as I think they will play and still had a crack at the tie , even with that call and the pp goal with it. But game 2 , the pressure has been ratcheted up on the oil .
        I think solid goaltending and nurse stepping up gives them a chance , if Mcdavid is great along with that , a very good chance .

  2. Three year extension with St. Louis done. Let’s hope the Habs can maintain the excitement he brought to the team and improve somewhat next season.

    • Even as a Leaf fan, I applaud this

      MSL…. Great player and certainly seemed very good at getting the best out of the Habs

  3. Keumper. Injury. Night cost them series in the end

    • Hi MB4…. if he’s out for the series. I’ve not seen anything yet other than pulled from last night’s game with UBI…. did something break that says he’s out for the series? If so…. U may be right…. Oil country , I’m sure, would like to hear that

  4. Despite the win, did not like the way the Avalanche played defensively, way too easy goals given up which contributes to the game being up for grabs? This was the same thing that plagued the Avalanche in the Blues series, giving the other team some hope! Otherwise, Avalanche were dominate and the Oilers can’t handle them. If you are going to play that loosely on the defensive side, then it’s kind of roll the dice? Gretzky said it in between periods, if you want your name on the cup, you have to play some defense; something to that effect . That game last night made me sick to watch it! The Avalanche players better tighten up, they seem like they still haven’t learned from past mistakes. GO AVS!!!!

  5. Definitely was a good goal according to rule he definitely didn’t touch puck until player was back onside. I thought for sure he was offside guess it shows you learn something new everyday. To me the game was horrible was like an all star game zero hits and no defense and goaltending was average. Almost the same game as game one of battle of Alberta. I prefer a 3-2 game with plenty of chances but some big saves and huge hits. It will get better going forward teams will buckle down defensively. Colorado better get Darcy back or they are in big trouble.

    • You don’t think he had possession as he crossed the line Obe? It only matters if he touched it in zone if he didn’t have possession, he clearly did in my opinion and it’s not even close . He wasn’t reaching , battling , puck bobbling , he was head up looking for his next move , with the puck on his blade before tapping it ahead to skate in to, the moment he makes his first touch on this
      Play he is on full control imo.
      Still , again , not the main factor in the loss but how isn’t that possession ?

      • It was a bizarre and incomprehensible interpretation of a ridiculous rule. Having a proviso that the player has to have control of the puck leaves far too much grey area.

        Compare that to shooting the puck out of play from one’s own end. Interpretation of intent doesn’t matter to avoid just the absurd hair splitting on the Makar goal.

        That said, Smith got the Oil to round three, but isn’t good enough to get them further.

      • and i always thought if someone was over the blueline before the puck came in that EVERYONE had to clear the zone before touching the puck…Makar was over the blue before the other place left
        and yes he 1000% has possession of the puck. it was his to lose

      • Craig I thought for sure it was offside but when Elliotte said both official Refs agreed with call than what do I know. Colorado was much better team but best team doesn’t always win I just don’t see any goalie on these teams stealing a win.

    • Hi Obe

      Not me…. I love the throw-back 80’s style high scoring

      10-9 next game—-LOL

      Re “didn’t touch puck until player was back onside”…. As they mentioned last night…. Touching the puck is not relevant at all if he had “control” of the puck

      Stick handlng acriss the blue line with speed often has player touch puck with stick outside the blue; arc left or right; both skates cross , then puck…. Not off side. You can actually stick handle backwards; have full body and both skates and stick instead if blue-line before puck crosses…. deemed in control and irrelevant of when puck touches stick

      Ron MacLean’s “similar” goal replay was anything but similar… that was clear shoot in ; delayed offside; teamate clears zone; then touch

      Makar was NOT shooting it in; he was entering zone by pushing it ahead… in control of puck; making when he touched puck relative to teammate’s clearing zone completely irrelevant

      Watching the two linesman reviewing it and one nodding; the other shaking his head…. Certainly seemed like they didn’t start out in consensus

      As I pointed out…. Avs were expected to win; overall play deserved the win ; but IMVHO… off-side…. Goal should have been denied