NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2022

by | Jun 2, 2022 | News, NHL | 24 comments

The Rangers take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the latest on the Avalanche and Oilers, the Canadiens make Martin St. Louis their full-time head coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers drew first blood with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a convincing 6-2 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. A four-goal second period powered New York to victory with Filip Chytil scoring two of them. Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist while Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves for the win. Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat replied for the Lightning. Game 2 goes Friday night in New York.

New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was close until the Rangers blew it open midway through the second period, controlling the play and pinning Tampa Bay in their own zone for lengthy stretches of time. Their “Kid Line” of Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko made the difference as they gave the Lightning fits throughout this game. Shesterkin frustrated the Bolts’ scorers, shutting the door after Palat’s goal.

The Lightning looked rusty from their 10-day layoff following their second-round sweep of the Florida Panthers. I anticipate a better performance from them in Game 2. The Bolts also suffered a blowout series-opening loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round but rallied back and eventually took that series.

The Rangers were the better team in Game 1 and their victory was well-deserved. Nevertheless, they must avoid getting swept up too much in the emotion of this big win. Their opponent hasn’t lost consecutive postseason games since 2019.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Lightning, head coach Jon Cooper confirmed before Game 1 that sidelined center Brayden Point probably won’t play in this series against the Rangers. He suffered a lower-body injury in Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cooper said Point is over the worst of his injury and is improving daily. Footage emerged yesterday showing him skating with full equipment for the first time since he got hurt. However, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be returning for this series.

Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft declined to say whether Mike Smith or Mikko Koskinen will be the starting goaltender for Game 2 against the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals on Thursday. Smith was replaced in the second period of Game 1 after giving up six goals on 25 shots. Koskinen gave up one goal on 21 shots in the 8-6 loss.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche starter Darcy Kuemper’s status remains uncertain for Game 2 after leaving the opening game with an upper-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens officially removed the “interim” tag from head coach Martin St. Louis’ job title. On Wednesday morning, they announced the signing of St. Louis to a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lacking NHL experience behind the bench, St. Louis did a good job stepping in back in February and improving the struggling Canadiens. This rebuilding club still has a long way to go to become a playoff contender again but they obviously liked what they saw in St. Louis’ efforts in improving struggling players like Cole Caufield.

NHL.COM: Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar is this year’s winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of all the awards Kopitar has won in his long and successful NHL career, the Messier Leadership Award is one of them.

THE SCORE: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen missed the 2022 playoffs with an MCL tear. He suffered the injury on April 16 in a game against the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know if a healthy Andersen might’ve changed the outcome of the Hurricanes’ second-round series against the New York Rangers. Still, having their starter on the sidelines certainly didn’t help the Canes.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Calle Rosen to a two-year, two-way contract.


  1. This year’s Vezy beats Vazy

    Rangers pressed and pressed and pressed; Bolts were rusty and it showed and were off-target with passes; failed to win puck battles; had loads of defensive miscues. MSG was brimming with energy. Shesterkin shined ; Vasilevskiy looked shaky.

    Remind anybody of Bolts first playoff game this season?????

    I expect a completely different Bolts team tomorrow night. Rangers better prepare with those same expectations.

    • Tampa was the better team in the 1st but you could see them losing legs after that.
      A big part of Tampa’s Cup wins was a 3rd line that was hard to matchup with…and Rangers have that line right now AND one of Tampas past 3rd liners centering their 4th line.

      I expect a full 60 minute game by Tampa friday

      • Agree ds

      • Can it be that maybe Rangers are a better team right now? They look faster, especially with Pointe out. Zib and Fox are 3rd and 4th in playoff points. (Ahead of Makar and Mac. ) Kreider is tied for 2nd in goals. (Ahead of McD and Leon) Not saying they’re better than those guys, but it’s not just the goalie. Also, they just beat the team that gave up fewest goals this year.

      • Hi Slick

        Rangers certainly the better team last night

        I’d never take credit away from Zib, Kreider or Fox, et al

        That said…. Rangers are in the ECF on the back of Shesterkin

        Shesterkin out; Georgiev in…. V Pens or Canes….Rangers are not in ECF

        Shesterkin IMHO , has the ability to carry Rangers to the SCF

        The kid is spectacular

        Certainly he can’t do it alone (unless he pitches a shutout AND scores a goal in each game) but he has, by far (again IMHO) been the key deciding factor getting Rangers to the ECF

        Last night , whole Rangers team ready to play; kid line full of P&V, precision, speed; Shesterkin was Shesterkin; Zib, Kreider, Breadman, Fox et al…. Ready, raring, contributing; Bolts rusty, flat, out of synch, disengaged; Vazy had a very poor game

        Tomorrow night…. I’d be astounded if the same “tilted” (in Bolts zone) game happens. I expect Vazy to be much better

        Remember Leafs game 1 dominance ….. Bolts prevailed in series

        Bolts will (to a T) be thinking… it ain’t over until…. Mamma Cass or Kate Smith sing

      • Hit send before I realized the inappropriateness of that

        Apologies out to the Elliot and Smith families


      • “Id never take credit away from Zib, Kreider or Fox, et al”. But you’re saying they wouldn’t win without Shesterkin.? It’s a team game. Couldn’t you say that about any team. If not for so and so they wouldn’t be there. You’ve been carrying this grudge ever since NY beat Pens. You’ve convinced yourself that Pitt was better team. They weren’t. Not in regular seasons n not in playoffs. Refs stop game 1 from NY and Pens still couldn’t win even though Shesty wasn’t at his best. Carolina imo was a challenge. Imo NY will have an easier time scoring against Tampa.

      • Exactly Slick62. Every team has to have a goalie. Basic rule. If that goalie is barely average you’re apt be out early in the playoffs – if you make them at all. Carolina – suddenly without Anderssen and who finished just 6 points ahead of NYR – just couldn’t cover for their (relative) mediocrity in nets.

        TB, without Vasilevsky, might well have been bounced in the first round by Toronto.

        And the Rangers have a pretty decent back-up to Shesterkin.

      • Hi Slick

        I said it well before the playoffs started; well before seedings/match-ups determined; . Shesterkin scared me (as a Pens fan)

        He will win Vezina

        I’ve touted him for weeks and weeks to win the Hart (most valuable to his team)

        He is a fantastic goalie …. No ifs ands or buts

        Would Rangers have beaten Canes with Georgiev in instead of Shesterkin…. I just can’t see that happening in any possible way

        Pens somehow won games against Shesterkin early…. But game 1 Pens blasted 83 shots… he had at least 10 , ten-bellers…. And a tip-in beats him in triple OT…. Still goes 952 in that opening game

        Pens were the better team… only went to OT because of Shesterkin

        41 shots…. 951 game two….

        He’s had 2 tough games all playoffs (games 3 and 4 in Pitt) …. Georgiev finished those games. Pens were the better team games 3 and 4 and especially game 4 almost doubling up in shots and a huge advantage in scoring chances

        Pens were up 3-1 in series; up 2-0 in game 6…. Pens pressing when Sid had to leave….If No injury to Sid…. with Pens up 2-0; pressing….. basically impossible for Rangers to win 3 1/2 games then Sid had to leave

        I said many times (before the series) that Pens beating Shesterkin in a series was nigh impossible

        Somehow they got to Shesterkin in games 3 and 4 and basically had series wrapped up…. So, much to my surprise and against my pre series predictions….Pens were overall the better team.

        Sid has to leave, Pens 3rd string goalie goes 879; 892 to Shesterkin’s 910; 906…. Series tied 3-3

        Game 7 , Pens pound 42 shots…. Shesterkin 932…. Many many spectacular saves

        This is not a grudge

        I said it before playoffs; during first round; during 2nd round; and again now… Shesterkin is great

        without Shesterkin…. even with the Sid injury game 5; Pens win series. How can you think Georgiev beats Pens if he is the starter each game

        without Shesterkin , Canes win series… not a chance Georgiev wins series v Canes

        Last night I did say Rangers were the better team

        Again… not a grudge… just fully acknowledging the spectacular player that Shesterkin is

        That’s all I’m pointing out

      • If Pitt was better team why aren’t they still playing?

      • If Pitt was better team why aren’t they still playing?

    • Wasn ‘t really a goalie game. All too typical of the Bolts. Toronto this, year, Boston every year, Florida last year, Islanders, too. Opponent gets in the first punch, hits hard feels good. Cooper and the Cooperettes figure things out, make adjustments, Vasy tightens pads, and Bolts start upward trend that results in series win. The streak will end sometime, though, either when they meet a better team, or a team on a high, or both. And being short their best speed forward may be a big disadvantage this time. The thing that most impressed me about the Rangers was their depth; the were a little sloppy and scoring chances given up on Igor were encouraging for the Bolts assuming they can return to typical Defensive form. Chanting “Igor’s better” is bear baiting when the Bear’s not on a chain. The Lightning string sure didn’t feel run out against Florida, and actually, this beating didn’t look as bad on second viewing as the start of the Toronto series. I will say, I thought we saw peak Toronto and peak Florida, two teams hard to maintain and likely to lose a tick; NY looks like the real deal with room to grow. Having the goal thing solved is always job one.

  2. Congrats (and well earned) MSL and Anze

    Great leader for Habs; great leader for Kings

  3. This sentence is a fantastic piece of writing.

    SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of all the awards Kopitar has won in his long and successful NHL career, the Messier Leadership Award is one of them.

    lol…oh man. Yes, yes it is one of them.
    The game was so dull last night I was happy to watch the Blue Jays somehow struggle to another win. Danny Jansen and Kirk getting it done for the Jays while the big bats struggle. And nearly every pitcher they put out there is unlit stick of dynamite on the mound. Somehow they’re getting it done.

    • Dark G, lol I was wondering if that was a type O by Lyle. I must say i had a good laugh.

      • Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week…;)

      • He was going to add: And the Vezina is not.

    • We had a fairly young manager at a job I previously had. Super ambitious and all about punching his ticket to the next promotion over anything else. That’s fine but usually comes with a cost to those left behind.

      When it was time for him to move onto a new assignment we had a little “party”, one of our longest service guys stood up and gave a moving speech about how he had “been with the company for a very long time and seen so many different leaders come and go, but that this guy was, without a doubt, the most recent” then sat down.

  4. Well deserve win by the Rangers last night.

    My preseason prediction of Av’s vs Rangers cup final is still viable.

    We all know the next game will not be the same but have to give the Rangers credit for taking advantage of the present situation.

    One would also think the longer the series goes the more it favors TB with their well rested bodies.

    Different topic i wonder if the way Rod Brind’amour has his team play; constant forecheck always on the puck. Takes away from the offensive creativity from his skill forwards.

    • Rod the Bod is as stubborn & disciplined as any coach; like Trotz that’s mostly good into the Conference finals. I don’t think it’s an outlier that Barry won with an undisciplined team that he put 85% of his system into retaining enough creativity to get over the top. He’d be good in Florida. Think Rod needs to get his creative people out of the system a little inside of the blue line, they’ve been “that one key goal away” for a while now. Isles fans, can you relate?

      • Hi Richard

        “that one key goal away” is Shesterkin’s middle name

      • Only if he wins Pengy, its Olegovich if he loses.

      • Nah…. He deserves that middle name just for his Vezina year and winning 2 series

        Kid’s a star….. had to look up the draft year…. Not only picked late in round 4….. but 13 goalies picked before him (AND he was a late birth player…. Turning 19 that year)… including (but not limited to) Demko, Nedjelkovic, Vanecek, Elvis, Sorokin; Husso, and Khakhonen

  5. Anyone else notice that no matter the outcome of a Ranger game there is always a disclaimer, (win or lose) Karmic reason , excuse, or some mystery as to why?

    It’s never “they were the better team”,


    “they didn’t show up”.

    It’s always “the other team was tired, injured, rusty,”

    “they’re losing to Carolina because Trouba hit Crosby”.

    “They’re down 3-1 against Pittsburgh because Sheterkin waved goodbye to the Pens after a regular season game”

    I’ve had my doubts about this team all year. Win or lose this series, there is a lot of good to take away. One of my biggest concerns was the kids not producing enough. But it seems they are starting to find their way. Hopefully that continues next year and beyond.

    Still not sure how their UFA issues shake out. But expecting 2 of Copp, Strome and Vatrano to be gone.

    But maybe they can replace from within? Othmann, Kravstov?

    I’d keep Motte around if at all possible.