NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2023
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.
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.