NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2023

by | Jan 8, 2023 | News, NHL | 27 comments

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin matches a franchise record with five points, the Leafs’ Mitch Marner reaches the 500-point plateau, Jack Hughes sparks a Devils comeback over the Rangers, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin matched a franchise record for most points in a game by a defenseman with five points (two goals, three assists) as his club rallied to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-5. Dahlin collected an assist on Victor Olofsson’s overtime winner as the Sabres (20-15-2) moved to within four points of the New York Islanders (46 points) for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (22-13-3) as they sit third in the Central Division with 47 points.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sabres paid tribute to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin as he recovers from cardiac arrest in hospital following a hit on the field during a game last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

This is the point in the schedule when in recent years the Sabres would usually be in the midst of a free-fall in the standings. It’s a different story this season as they’ve won eight of their last 10 games and have moved into the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will be on temporary leave starting Sunday through Tuesday as he journeys to Montreal for personal reasons.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist to reach 500 career points in a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. John Tavares scored two goals for the Leafs (24-9-7), who sit in third place in the Eastern Conference with 55 points. Jake Walman replied for the Red Wings (16-15-7), who sit seven points out of an Eastern wild-card spot with 39 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings’ promising season is being undone by its recent slump. They’ve won only three of their last 10 and are slipping out of the playoff race.

The New Jersey Devils got two goals and an assist from Jack Hughes to overcome a 3-1 deficit and beat the New York Rangers 4-3 on an overtime goal by Damon Severson. The Devils (25-12-3) hold a two-point lead over the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points. Igor Shesterkin made 39 saves for the 22-12-7 Rangers.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied twice to double up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. The Bruins (31-4-4, 66 points) extended their win streak to three games and hold a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first overall in the league standings. With a record of 12-21-8, the Sharks (32 points) finished with their worst record for the first half of a season in 27 years.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rookie winger Kirill Marchenko collected his first career NHL hat trick for the Jackets (12-24-2) while Kent Johnson tallied the game-winning goal in the shootout. Max Pacioretty scored his first two goals of the season for the 25-8-7 Hurricanes.

An overtime goal by Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Hunt scored for the Avalanche (20-15-3) as they overcame a two-goal deficit on goals by Oilers winger Zach Hyman. The Oilers (21-17-3) hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 45 points while the Avs are two points behind them.

The Seattle Kraken rolled to an 8-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Jordan Eberle and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and two assists as the Kraken improved to 22-14-4 to sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 48 points. Senators forward Tim Stutzle had a hat trick and collected an assist for the Senators (18-18-3).

Los Angeles Kings winger Kevin Fiala’s hat trick powered his club over the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1. Gabriel Vilardi collected three assists for the Kings (23-14-6), who hold a four-point lead over the Kraken for second place in the Pacific Division. Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson was pulled following the second period after giving up three goals on 19 shots. His club still sits atop the Pacific with a record of 27-13-2 and 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights activated forward Jonathan Marchessault and defenseman Alec Martinez off injured reserve for this contest. They also moved blueliner Shea Theodore (lower body) on IR.

The Montreal Canadiens snapped a seven-game slide by nipping the St. Louis Blues 5-4. Joel Armia tallied two goals and Josh Anderson got the winner to break a 4-4 tie. The Canadiens now sit at 16-21-3 on the season while the Blues (19-18-3) sit four points behind the Oilers for the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Nick Leddy missed this game with an upper-body injury. As yet, there is no timetable for his return.


SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and winger Tom Wilson are scheduled to make their season debuts on Sunday against the Blue Jackets. Both players had been sidelined since the offseason as Backstrom underwent resurfacing surgery on his left hip while Wilson had surgery on his left knee.

CBS SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Ryan Poehling is likely unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Coyotes, they’ve sent Michael Carcone back to their AHL affiliate in Tucson as Dylan Guenther returns to their lineup from his stint with Team Canada in the 2023 World Junior Championship.


  1. Will be interesting to see if or how much caps improve with the returns of Wilson and Backstrom. I personally would not be surprised with NJ falling out of playoffs. Hard to imagine a month ago

    • Hi MB4

      Caps head shots and hits from behind, PER game…. Will increase dramatically

      • Come on, Pengy. If Wilson suddenly became a Leaf or a Penguin he’d not only make both teams better but just as quickly go from “cheap-shot artist” to “aggressive” in the eyes of Leafs fans.

      • That’s not true of many Pittsburgh hockey fans George. Absolutely some. But many would be appalled. After what happened with cooke in Pittsburgh it soured many on that type of shenanigans

      • Hi George

        It would make me sick to my stomach for the King of Cheapshots to become a Leaf or Pen

        I watched him in his mid teens…. He’s been this way all that time

        I have zero respect for him and believe most NHLers see him in similar light

        Some of the blame MUST be laid at Parros’ feet….Had he been doing his job…. Wilson would have been suspended (progressively longer games missed) at least 3 times last year….. surely making him less likely to offend

        He has free range right now due to Parros

        I’ve said it before…. He (Wilson) just might end a career; possibly a life

      • Chrisms & Pengy – I am in no way defending the “aggressive” approach taken by Wilson throughout his career, nor the fact that Parros has been an absolute disaster in his current NHL role.

        What I AM saying is that, if the guy who has an 82-game career average of 15g 20a 35pts (with 14g 17a 31pts in 83 playoff games) suddenly went to another team – not just the Leafs or Penguins (I singled them out only because those are the teams you follow Pengy) – and was instrumental in turning their season around, even to the point of scoring key goals in the playoffs, even the most appalled at the fact he had joined their team (and they’d be in the minority) would be up screaming and celebrating,

        I’ve watched a lot of team sports over my years and seen it happen many times, including right here in Ottawa when the hated (and quite dirty) Angelo Mosca came here from the Tiger Cats during Russ Jackson’s tenure and was instrumental in Ottawa winning a Grey Cup.

        It’s basic human nature.

      • Sorry George

        Can’t see but a small minority in Penguinville liking a Wilson addition no matter what

        Raw numbers (those accepting Wilson) in Toronto much larger… but that’s due to pop size….

        Would still be a minority

        He’s a goon…. Plain and simple

        He could end a career or a life…. What fan truly wants that?

      • Ulf Samuelsson was considered one of the dirtiest players of his era, and he quickly earned a reputation for hitting opponents near their knees. The worst such incident took place in the 1991 playoffs when he hit Boston’s Cam Neely in the knee and knocked him out of the series between the Penguins and Bruins. Neely never fully recovered from this hit, developed a degenerative knee condition and was eventually forced to retire from hockey prematurely. Over his carrer, he played for Hartford, Pittsburgh, NYR, Detroit, Philadelphia and drew cheers in every rink.

        Chris Simon was one of the worst, and had 8 suspensions, involving a racial slur tossed at a Black player and a cross check to the throat of Peter Popovic. In 2007 he whacked his stick to the head NYR Ryan Hollweg, earning a 25-game ban, and followed that the next season with a deliberate step on the back of the leg of Jarkko Ruutu while the Pens’ player was face down on the ice. That led to a 30 game suspension. He played for Quebec, Colorado, Washington, Chicago, NYR, Calgary, NYI, Minnesota – and was cheered at every stop.

        Claude Lemieux once bit Calgary’s Jim Peplinski’s finger during a fight, and hit Kris Draper from behind so viciously that it sent Draper face-first onto the boards, resulting in reconstructive surgery on his face and had his broken jaw wired shut for several weeks. He played for Montreal, NJ, Colorado, NJ again, Phoenix and Dallas – and was embraced by the throngs at every stop.

        So, please, spare me the righteous indignation. All sports fans are notoriously fickle when it comes to a single player hate/love flip-flop. And it will never change.

      • Hi George

        No righteous indignation

        Absolutely right re Samuelson , Simon, Lemieux

        All 3 on the wrong side of the sportsman’s needle

        None of those 3 are in the League of Wilson

        He’s been head hunting since (at least) he was 15….. I watched him (at 15 ) ; after he charged from centre and tried valiantly to put his opponents (facing the other way) head not only through the boards , but out the arena and into the street….laugh as the ambulance attendance put a collar on an opponent (who was right out for 5 minutes) and while all parents (except Wilson’s) all players (his team and other team) and both sets of coaches…. Looked on aghast and in total fear for the injured lad

        If you don’t believe that Wilson’s main game focus when he first plays Bedard… being, “how can I put him out of the game, at the very least for a few minutes”…. Then you haven’t been closely watching Wilson play

        Fighting …. No issue from me…. All part of the game

        Huge hard clean checks….. all good

        I take nothing from his offensive ability

        At the core however…. He is a head hunter not held accountable by Parros, that very well could end a career or life

        Samuelson knocking Neeley …. Definitely hampered his career and I would say contributed to shortening it…. Awful…. Disgusting

        That pales when thinking of the possibility of Wilson actually giving permanent brain damage or ending a life because he is by nature, a head hunter

        I just have no respect for him

      • George is right pengy. It would be a minority that refused to cheer for a Wilson if he came to Pittsburgh and played a big role in the offense. But it would be a larger minority than George thinks. Cooke and how the pens ended up handling him made a lasting impression on a lot of fans.

      • Hell, they cheered Sean Avery in Madison Square Garden, while just about every fan of every other team would have volunteered for a lynch mob.

        And pretty hard to see Wilson – dirty as he is – as worse than Chris Simon – Uber-dirty and a racist bigot to boot, Yet 8 different teams saw no problem in taking him.

      • Avery was a cantankerous di%@k….I certainly had no respect for him…. . He grew up very close to where I am right now…. I never had any respect for hi…… that said….. he was never hell bent on ending a career

        Sorry Chrisms…. Can’t possibly ever imagine that it would only be a minority refusing to cheer for Wilson in a Pens uni

        Just can’t fathom that at all

        Again…. Wilson could very well end a career …. Possibly a life…… not something you ever want to cheer for

  2. After that embarrassing 8-4 pasting – at home – “back to the drawing board” takes on a whole new dimension.

    DeBrincat 0g 0a 0pts -5
    Giroux 0g 0a 0pts -3
    Pinto 0g 0a 0pts -5
    Hamonic 0g 0a 0pts -4
    Sanderson 0g 0a 0pts -4

    Forsberg – 3 goals against on 5 shots
    Talbot – 5 goals against on 19 shots

    Talk about getting “schooled.”

    • It’s difficult to understand why players find it so difficult to grasp the concept of team defence. While most forwards clearly want to provide offence first this team has collectively stated that they want to “play for the team” want to be “team players” etc. Yet they can’t seem to commit to that consistently, hence results like this 8:4 thrashing. Of course, having goalies let in soft goals doesn’t help players’ mind set.

      • Hossaheat, the one thing that has Seattle standing out and such a difficult team to play against is their style of coming at you in waves, relentlessly, through all four lines. If a 200-foot game and sticking with your check is not in effect – as it wasn’t for at least one of Ottawa’s lines last night – they’ll bury you if your goalie isn’t standing on his head. As nether Ottawa goalie wasn’t – or the Leafs goalie two night before,

      • Hossaheat, prospects can go to Cap Friendly and see why defence doesn’t matter so much.
        The players with the biggest contracts are the guys who score and set up goals.
        If Patrice Bergeron was the highest paid player in the league, things might change but don’t count on it.

    • Hi George

      No challenge re Sens not playing well last night; but that was parlayed with a Krakken team firing on all cylinders…. Leading to the lopsided results

      Krakken quite a surprise team this year

      • Hi Penny & George

        The Ron Francis EFFECT…..!
        I can see him making a big trade for a centre and its just a ferry ride away to get him there….🤔

        Sens are still in a re-build…. you all seen that last night,
        Add a Good 2nd paring RD man…. UFA Route
        Add a Good Starting Goaltender… Trade maybe its Pinto as trade bate❓
        This should be the Sen’s Top priorities to fill these big holes……,🤔

      • Hi Willie

        Kraken on fire but only in 2nd year…. Open to suggestions for rational improvement (short and long term ) for Pens

        Re Kraken trades…. They shouldn’t be trading futures now (all in early in evolution like Knights did)….

        Kraken only in 2nd year; last year 60 points; this year on pace for 104 and currently sit 4th in West for winning %’age

        Next year they have $20M for 8 spots, with 5 RFAs (Dunn, Sprong, Geekie, Fleury, Borgen) and UFAs (Soucy, Donskoi, Donato, Jones)

        Soucy and Dunn should be priorities

        Yes BH would be a great add…. But he’s UFA….. tons of suitors, no guarantee of re-upping

        If it were a sign and trade (don’t count on it)…. Then the investment likely we’ll worth it

        However, without that…. Why blow futures with no guarantee that BH will re-up; and certainly nowhere near a certain promise land (Cup). It’s possible they pay heavy for him; give up a chunk of the future; and out first round with him signing off season elsewhere

        Better to bid on him in free agency

        Krakken will not be moving Wright; should not move Melanson

        They have three 2nds in ‘23….. moves at TDL should be low cost tweaks and/or futures for RFAs (this summer ) or RFAs (in summer ‘24) with good upside

        Otherwise…. Ride it out this year….. draft well; re-up Soucy and Dunn; off-season moves for up and comers with term

        Anther potential move… if they feel they will have difficulty re-upping Soucy

        Soucy and lowest 2nd (as at now all 3 looking like mid to late 50’s picks) …..

        For Yammo, Ryan, 1st (Lottery protected)

  3. Re “Sabres (20-15-2) moved to within four points of the New York Islanders (46 points) for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.”

    Note…. Sabres have 4 games in hand on Isles

    Sabres on the rise; with Dahlin and Powers; their giant TT second (only to McD) in goals; 5 players at PPG (or greater); possibility of six 30 goal scorers; high octane offence; young/speedy; 41 year old Anderson going 923; team on rise…..and

    Pens fumbling, falling; failing and f$#king up….

    Sabres far better chance of playoffs than Pens

    Lose (in front of the massive 4,500 fans) in reg today….. just might be too much

    1) Sully…. You need to dress the best squad and alter TOI appropriately

    2) HexBurkie…. Pens backed in to a corner…. A move is mandatory

    Sid, Tanger, Gino, Guentz…. Not going anywhere

    Under no circumstances should P-O J or Smith be moved (that’s the future on D)

    Pettersson doing quite fine for his Cap hit

    Everybody else should be available

    Not much value (some negative) in most

    True valued trade chips are O’Connor; 1st rounder (lottery protected); and perhaps Teddy B

    Space…. Waiving Dumo and on toWBS…. Clears $1.1 M automatically

    Would love to see 3 C replacement (Toews would be a dream) ; D upgrade; Bottom 6 upgrade

    🤞🙏🤞🙏🤞🙏 for Regulation V in the Barn today

  4. Quite a comeback against the Oilers by the Avalanche last night. The Avalanche are funny mentally, it seems like they can look like a team that plays very poorly and then they “flip a switch” like I have heard them described by on TV & Radio and they can wreak havoc on the other team at will? Despite the injuries, if they can stay mentally tough for another month, then they get healthy, they could be capable of another run. Got to give kuuudos to Girard, I’m always critical of him but I forget for a little guy , he brings it. He made some solid plays on defense last night for the team taht were critical; especially on McDavid. GO AVS!!!!!!!!!

    • Hi TB

      IMHO, “comeback” only in that they won in OT and were down 2….. so technically a comeback in those terms

      That said…. They certainly dominated in stretches throughout the game; dominated in shots, attempts, chances….. were it not for the gymnastics, poise and excellence of Skins (935 on the night)…. Avs more than likely have game in hand by mid 3rd period

      Avs just need to get in; make a top 6 move; and yes…. Could very well end up back in the SCF….. not sure they’d win again; but getting toSCF certainly still a possibility

      • Hi Pengy

        Yes good point, they did dominate for most of the game with out anything to show for it! Glad they stuck with it because discouraging as of late due to terrible defensive play. Skinner was good but IMHO the Avalanche have problems in between their ears when they don’t play well. They need to listen to Coach Bednard and just “keep it simple” If they put that effort in all the time, there is no doubt they will be in it. I wouldn’t mind them getting Koneckny from Philly but I don’t know if they would take Girard and a prospect like Kaut? What do you think, that is my proposal. If I were thinking about the Avs doing anything, it would be something like that: however, I forget how important Girard is to that back end, a lot of of the high octane offense comes from Makar and Girard’s speed? If Byram was healthy and ready to go, I would do it but I’m not sure what his status is? Will see, it might play out that way?

      • Hi TB

        Yes , many a team suffer from the collective team inner ear vacuum syndrome

        I realize that Avs are pick poor (lacking 2nd, 3rd, 4th inJune; and no 2nd or 3rd in ‘24)…. But BH @ 2C would certainly move the probability needle of return to SCF (not saying that puts them past Bruins; but does give them a fair shot repeating as WC champs)

        I do also realize that they have (as at now) but ~ $12.5M for 8 spots next year…. However, putting aside the cap finagling …. Think of it this way:

        Cap going up $1 M, EJ ($6 M) coming off…. So basically relative to roster right now; for next year… for $1 M more (I’m thinking 7 @ $8 M) …. Soon to be 35 year old EJ (currently 5th avg TOI for Avs D, just slightly ahead of 6th [Manson] ) replaced 27 year old (will start next year at 28) BH at 2C…. Great deal IMHO

        Now that said… on top of lottery protected 1st (leaving Avs picking for the first time, in round 5 this year!!!) that would be required….what else has to be given up?

        Let’s see how itchy Joe is for another crack at the cup

    • Hi Tommy,
      We went to the Oilers & Avs game last night, Im an Oilers fan,
      i thought Griard was no big deal, he was mediocre and yes he is a little guy for sure❗️ was on his ass more than a few times last night

      The Guy that Impresed us most last night right from the get go…. Every time he was on the ice he was flying RW, J.T. Compher👌
      He made some great d plays and cleared the zone more than most d/men, Transports the puck well,
      Would love to have him on the oilers he is the type of RW the Oilers Need….🤔

      But the 3rd period was the Nat MacKinnon Show
      He took over the Whole Game, for a complet player he must be in the Top 3… last night he was better then 97….😳
      Sorry to say MacKinnon was next level👌 He was like im done we are going to Win… End of Story…✔️

      My Oilers could Not Stop him,

      3 Very good teams are going to miss the playoffs in Western conference this year🥶 only 2 of these teams will make the Cut
      7, th Flames,
      8,th Oilers,
      9, th Avs,
      10, th Preds,
      11,th Blues,

      • willy w.

        No doubt you are right, Compher has taken it up a notch. He is one of the Avalanche’s best players this year and was clutch last year in the SC Playoffs

  5. Pengy,

    What are you proposing that they get Horvat for EJ? Or go after BH with who else? I think Sakic will do whatever it takes to win a SC!