NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2023

by | Feb 19, 2023 | News, NHL | 25 comments

The Hurricanes down the Capitals in their Stadium Series game, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk gets two points in his return from injury and Ryan O’Reilly gets his first point with the Maple Leafs. Details on these and other game stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 4-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 56,961 at Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium. Martin Necas led the way with a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes (37-10-8), who sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 82 points, seven back of the first-overall Boston Bruins. The Capitals dropped to 28-24-6 (62 points) and are one point behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Carolina Hurricanes celebrate their 4-1 Stadium Series win over the Washington Capitals (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was the Hurricanes’ first outdoor game and the first outdoor NHL game in North Carolina. It proved to be a big success. “The league got everything it could ever have wanted: A full stadium, a unique experience, a memorable evening, a made-for-broadcast spectacle right down to Dave Doeren in a Hurricanes jersey slamming a Coors Light on live TV,” wrote Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer.

Capitals winger Tom Wilson was activated off injured reserve for this game. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 24 with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the league-leading Bruins, they beat the Islanders by a score of 6-2. Boston winger Jake DeBrusk had a goal and an assist in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Jan. 2. Trent Frederic scored twice for the 42-8-5 Bruins (89 points) as they remain seven points ahead of the Hurricanes in the overall standings. The Islanders (28-24-7) cling to the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders also lost center Mathew Barzal in the first period with what appeared to be a knee injury. Head coach Lane Lambert gave no update on his condition following the game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got two goals from Michael Bunting in a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Ryan O’Reilly collected an assist in his debut with the Leafs after they acquired him on Friday in a three-team trade. Auston Matthews collected two assists as the Leafs improved to 34-14-8 and opened a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division with 76 points. Josh Anderson replied for the Canadiens as they slipped to 23-29-4 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens center Kirby Dach missed his second straight game with a non-COVID-related illness. The Habs also moved defenseman Arber Xhekaj (shoulder) to injured reserve. They currently have 11 regulars sidelined by injuries or illness.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram scored two goals to down the St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-1. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist while Justus Annunen made 19 saves to pick up the win in his season debut. The Avalanche rose to 30-19-5 and sit in third place in the Central Division with 65 points. Sammy Blais scored for the Blues as they dropped to 26-26-3 since trading Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari to the Leafs on Friday.

The New Jersey Devils got two goals and two assists from captain Nico Hischier in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jack Hughes collected two assists for the Devils (36-14-5) in his first game since being sidelined on Feb. 6 with an upper-body injury. With 77 points, they’re five back of the second-place Hurricanes in the overall standings. Evgeni Malkin scored both goals for the 27-19-9 Penguins as they remain in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 63 points and four games in hand over the Islanders.

Nashville Predators defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan McDonagh each collected three points in a 7-3 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Tommy Novak scored twice for the 26-21-6 Predators (58 points) as they moved to within five points of the Minnesota Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Brandon Montour had two assists for the Panthers (28-25-6) as they remain one point behind the Islanders with 62 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas left this game in the second period after being struck by a shot on his right wrist. There was no post-game update regarding his condition.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their fifth straight win by holding off the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. Shea Theodore had a goal and two assists and Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice as the Golden Knights (34-18-4) overtook the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 72 points. Corey Perry and Vladislav Namestnikov each had a goal and an assist for the 35-17-3 Lightning as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Mathieu Olivier had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 upset of the Dallas Stars. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 28 shots for the win as the Blues Jackets improved to 18-34-4. Scott Wedgewood made 33 saves for the 30-15-12 Stars as they slipped to second in the Western Conference with 72 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau missed this game with a lower-body injury, ending his consecutive games streak at 349.

Shootout goals by Gabriel Vilardi and Adrian Kempe gave the Los Angeles Kings a 6-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes after the latter overcame a 5-1 deficit in regulation. Kevin Fiala had two goals and an assist for the 32-18-7 Kings (71 points) as they sit one behind Vegas in second place in the Pacific Division. Clayton Keller scored twice for the Coyotes as they fell to 19-28-9.

The Seattle Kraken doubled up the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. Jordan Eberle scored twice and collected an assist while Matty Beniers had two assists for the Kraken (32-18-6) as they are one point behind the Kings in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Pius Suter and Dylan Larkin scored for the 26-21-8 Red Wings (60 points) as they sit three points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

An overtime goal by Mikael Backlund lifted the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, snapping the latter’s seven-game win streak. Andrew Mangiapane and Nazem Kadri gave the Flames a 2-0 lead but the Rangers rallied on goals by Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexis Lafreniere. The win gives the Flames 63 points (26-19-11) to tie the Minnesota Wild but the latter holds the final Western Conference playoff spot with three more wins and a game in hand. The Rangers (33-14-9) sit two points back of the Devils in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.

Third-period goals by Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch lifted the Buffalo Sabres past the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Dylan Cozens reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career while Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen kicked out 33 shots as the 28-22-4 Sabres (60 points) sit three points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot. The Sharks sank to 17-29-11 on the season.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson scored twice and collected three assists in a 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Anthony Beauvillier tallied two goals for the 22-30-4 Canucks while the Flyers slipped to 22-25-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks played without Oliver Ekman-Larsson as the defenseman is expected to miss several weeks with an ankle sprain. Forward Curtis Lazar remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. They also placed defenseman Travis Dermott on injured reserve.


  1. Sorry Lyle. But Canes are 7 back of Bruins not 2😎

    Good to see Debrusk back on the ice. Looked good for 1st game back

    • Lyle. I see you. Corrected the 2 back to 7 later on the piece 🤐

  2. Good to see Debrusk back on the ice. Looked good for 1st game back. Bruins going to a tough out for all. This year if stay healthy

  3. I found the Leafs bench was much more engaged last night .
    This is very important moving forward , as you want the team motoring on all cylinders …

    It’s all about confidence , and feeling welcome .
    O’Reilly was the captain in St.Louis , he was definitely engaged , and it was contagious , evident last night ..
    The 2 top lines were dominant , I do have concerns about the bottom 6 , hopefully Acciari can help and moving players down the lineup ..

    I would imagine there’s another addition come March 3rd .
    It would be nice to have another high energy , hard to play against player on the 3rd or 4th line

    Justin Holl needs a new home , along with Kerfoot

    • I agree Ken. The problem is in the doing so. I think that Toronto has two options here, and neither is ideal. Either they need to retain 50% salary and get next to nothing in return, or hope to trade their full contracts knowing that you need to sweeten the pot to pull it off, hoping the cost isn’t too steep. I can’t see any other realistic option.

    • Holl and Kerfoot are very good pieces for a team with cup aspirations. There’s no dead weight on that lineup, with the exception of maybe Matt Murray, and that’s only because of the notion that he can injure himself whilst bathing. I believe Samsonov is legit, so there is no need to panic.

      Know how Pengy goes on and on about the Leafs not getting past Tampa, Boston, Carolina, New York, New Jersey, etc?
      The fans of any of the aforementioned teams feel the same way about Toronto.
      All I know is, come playoff time, we’re in for an absolute treat of high intensity hockey.
      Dubas still has a pair of 1st-round picks for currency. He just might spend the wad and secure the back end with an angry stay at home defenseman. Or he might snag Chychrun.
      These are very exciting times for fans of the NHL right now. Lots can happen in the next 2 weeks. Enjoy it, Ken.

    • Last night there was such a disparity I dont think it is a good reference. Let’s face it, you can’t judge a performance when your team plays an injury riddled rebuilding AHL type of team. Any team would have look great and engaged yesterday. Let’s wait ’till they play another decent or contender one.

      • That rebuilding AHL team has beat Toronto 2 out of 3 this year.

        I get what you’re saying, I wouldn’t take 1 game into this trade so serious. It really takes a bunch of games to see how it all really fits.

        Tarasenko scored on his 2nd shift less than 2 minutes into his 1st game, and I didn’t take off from work for the parade down the canyon of heroes the next day.

      • *looked* and *contending* sorry.

        I was expecting the Habs to get crushed 8-9-10 to 1…

        Caufield, Dach, Xhekaj, Ghule, Edmundson, Monahan, Slavkovsky injured, Carey gone. Besides Suzuki, Anderson, Harris… Didn’t have much on the ice, mostly veterans near the end of the road.

  4. Absolutely Iago !

    Both players are dead weight …

    Either of your suggestions are bang on , as any freed up cap space, Dubas can venture out to bring in another significant piece, addition to the lineup .
    Only way actually ?!?!?

    • Wow, Ken, you continue to amaze me.
      Sheldon Keefe must not have a clue – he uses Kerfoot up and down the forward lines and says Holl is a fixture on the penalty kill.
      Some dead weight.

      • Ken and Iago, from this vantage point (which is exactly the same as everyone else in here – i.e., our armchairs 🙂 ) I see a couple of glaring obstacles to getting rid of Holl and Kerfoot.

        First of all IF, say, they truly are generally observed as “dead weight” who is going to take on either? Both are pending UFAs so you could count out any playoff-bound team taking them in what would be a purely rental situation, while non-playoff hopefuls would naturally be rigidly reluctant to give up anything of consequence for two “dead weights” and then be put in a position of re-negotiating new contracts. To what end?

        Secondly, I can’t help but wonder what you see in their games that makes you believe they are useless? Holl, costing just $2 mil off the cap, has played in 55 games so far and has 2g 9a 1pts and is a +10 playing mostly 3rd pairing, while Kerfoot, a versatile F as BCLeaf Fan popints out, jas 7g 18a 25pts and is also a +10 while playing in 56 games, costing $3.5 mil off the cap. Both, clearly, are durable and reliable.

        Yes, clearing $5.5 mil off the cap would help in a tight cap management situation, but let’s face it, if they did find takers for both, the Leafs are not getting anything in return that would represent an immediate improvement in what they contribute. What they might have in return are mid to low round picks and/or quasi-prospects.

        As for suddenly freeing up of $5.5 mil, who do they then acquire to be better than Holl and Kerfoot without giving up more substantial assets off their roster, since they just gave up a clutch of coming draft picks and don’t have a whole lot left in that aspect? You can only mortgage the future so far without long-term consequences.

      • George,

        I am not saying both are useless. But both are constantly mentioned as players that would need to be moved to free up cap space to bring in a better defenseman, or another goalie. What I do believe is that neither has any value at full salary, and the prospect of trading either at full salary are pretty dim. I am also unconvinced that Toronto has either a defense or goalie that they can win the cup with. We all know that the regular season is one thing, but the playoffs are a different animal. I hope this makes my thoughts clearer.

      • Oh, I understood what you were saying Iago – it’s just that, when you say dealing both would be to free up cap space to bring in a better D and/or goalie, that prospect is why I added “As for suddenly freeing up of $5.5 mil, who do they then acquire to be better than Holl and Kerfoot without giving up more substantial assets off their roster, since they just gave up a clutch of coming draft picks and don’t have a whole lot left in that aspect? You can only mortgage the future so far without long-term consequences.”

        A better D and a more reliable goalie are reasonable goals, but since you have to give in order to get, and the fact they just flushed out a bunch of draft picks already, including their 1st, what do they have as bait – other than one or two of their better players? Then it becomes a classic case of musical chairs.

      • George,

        I agree…Toronto just spent much of their draft capital, and are hard pressed to find room for upgrades on D and in net. I guess that I am a believer in building from the net out. Having said that, Colorado didn’t do it that way, so maybe Toronto will be fine. And ROR will c e rtainly be a good playoff contributor. But personally, I would have had different priorities for the Leafs.

  5. If Boston lost their remaining 27 games they would still have more wins then losses and OT losses together.

    They are having a great season.

    • Yup … and Monday they’ll likely clobber the only team they have yet to beat this season – Ottawa – who’ll be visiting in the 2nd of another back-to-back (they play the Blues at home today).

      • GeorgeO, im a fan of what Ottawa is doing.

        I believe there style of play give the Bruins I very tough time.

        The Senators are on the path and will be a playoff team soon.

        To bad they lost a 20 goal scorer.

      • Well, at least right at the moment they’re taking care of the first of the back-to-backs with a 5-0 lead on St. Louis after 2. Takes a bit of pressure off the 2nd game.

  6. @ BC Leaf fan

    Kerfoot – Did he add any spark to the second line ?
    Non existent on that line .’
    He is moved up and down the lineup alright , no place for him ..

    Holl is a Jake Gardiner facsimile , the puck is a Grenade at times .

    If Dubas could move either 2 , they would be goners .
    Read Iago post above on those 2 plugs , U need a sweetener , or you have to swallow 50 % of their cap to move them , than getting nothing in return .

    If you don’t agree with Iago’s post , give George a call , maybe he would like them in his Ottawa lineup …

    If George isn’t available , give Pengy a ring .
    My phone is off the hook , heading to Florida before the end of the month , I already have tickets in place in Tampa

  7. So when an NHL player or team chooses not to participate in gay pride or hockey is for everyone.

    We hear it from everyone and its played on every media outlet.

    Why doesn’t the media give the same spot light when teams do participate and all players take part?

    Are they not missing a great opportunity to show case hockey is for everyone, when the vast majority and teams do participate?

    You hear all the negative if one player or one team doesn’t, but, no one celebrates it when a team or player does. Missing an opportunity in my opinion.

    • The B’s did it in Boston yesterday. They had people from all walks of life on the ice. Gay pride, disabilities, etc…They auctioned off gay pride sticks for charity. None of it was mentioned on the local news stations. When the Provorov thing happened in Philly, they were all over it here…..

    • I think we report on stuff that is not expected, ie crashes, deaths, etc rather than the expected, right? So I guess it’s fair to say if you stick out you’ll be seen and if it’s bad, everyone will know. Sad but true…positive news items are seen as, oh good for them.

  8. Great post by Daryl on the other Spector listing from today

    Suggests, Janner Jeannot from Nashville to Toronto or Boston

    Someone is tuned in today !

    Brilliant Holmberg , great upside going back , or other – Pick one – Poile !

    Janner Jeannot is exactly the type of player needed in Leafs lineup
    Super pest , whom would be valuable addition to the addition .

  9. Forgot to add – Mr. Poile – Do you mind accommodating a desperate colleague , as Mr .Bettman has robbed us , of our cap ?

    If you don’t mind – I need you to take Gardiner , sorry I mean Justin Holl , or Kerfoot , IOU, a player to be named later – crispy sweetener !!!