NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2023

by | Feb 21, 2023 | News, NHL | 17 comments

The Bruins’ David Pastrnak tallies his 40th goal of the season, the Jets’ Connor Hellebucyk stops 50 shots to beat the Rangers, the three stars of the week are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Jake DeBrusk also scored and Linus Ullmark made 30 saves for the Bruins (43-8-5) as they opened a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the overall standings with 91 points. Claude Giroux replied for the Senators as they dropped to 27-25-4 (58 points) and sit six points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is gaining ground on Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid in the race for the Richard Trophy. The Bruins star sits one goal back of McDavid. This is also the third time in the past four seasons that Pastrnak has reached the 40-goal plateau.

The Winnipeg Jets got a 50-save performance by Connor Hellebuyck to defeat the New York Rangers 4-1. Mark Scheifele scored twice while Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists as the Jets improved to 35-21-1 to sit one point out of first place in the Western Conference standings with 71 points. Vincent Trocheck scored for the Rangers (33-15-9) as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.

An overtime goal by Carter Verhaeghe lifted the Florida Panthers over the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 despite a 51-save effort by Ducks goalie John Gibson. Matthew Tkachuk collected two assists for the Panthers (29-25-6) as they vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins into the final Eastern wild-card spot with 64 points. The Ducks are 17-33-7 on the season.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Bo Horvat, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson gave the New York Islanders a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nelson finished with two goals while Ilya Sorokin kicked out 44 shots for the Islanders as they improved to 29-24-7 and hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 65 points. Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker replied for the 27-20-9 Penguins while Tristan Jarry made 28 saves in his first game since Jan. 22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders announced that center Mathew Barzal is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body (knee) injury. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season.

San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer stopped 26 shots to shut out the Seattle Kraken 4-0 in his first start since Jan. 27. Erik Karlsson and Logan Couture each collected two points for the 18-29-11 Sharks. The loss leaves the Kraken (32-19-6) sitting in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points, one behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings and two back of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights.

The Philadelphia Flyers upset the Calgary Flames 4-3. Wade Allison snapped a 3-3 tie in the third period while Samuel Ersson picked up the win with 32 saves as the 23-25-10 Flyers (56 points) sit eight points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had a goal and an assist as the Flames sank to 26-20-11 (63 points) to sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers leading scorer Travis Konecny left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury. There was no update regarding his condition following the game. Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim was a healthy scratch from this contest.


NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin as the three stars for the week ending Feb. 19.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights reportedly placed captain Mark Stone (back) on long-term injury reserve. The move gives the Golden Knights a projected $8.7 million in trade deadline cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move suggests Stone is likely out for the remainder of the regular season but could return for the playoffs. It’s also an indication that the Golden Knights are preparing to bring in his replacement before the March 3 trade deadline.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette is hoping that Alex Ovechkin returns to the lineup later this week. Ovechkin is away from the roster indefinitely dealing with the recent death of his father. The Capitals have lost four straight games, three of those without their captain.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues have activated defenseman Marco Scandella off injured reserve for Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. They also activated defenseman Scott Perunovich off LTIR and sent him to their AHL affiliate in Springfield for conditioning.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Defenseman Chris Wideman is the latest Canadien to be sidelined after suffering an upper-body injury during the club’s recent skills competition.


  1. That Wild Card chase in the East is something else. Right now the 7th and 8th spots are held by the NYI and Florida, with the Islanders in 7th with 65 pts and the Panthers 8th with 64 pts.

    BUT, Pittsburgh has 63 pts AND 4 games in hand, Washington has 62 pts with 2 in hand, Buffalo and Detroit each 60 pts with a ridiculous SIX and FIVE games in hand, and even Ottawa (who played a much stronger game than I anticipated against the Bruins yesterday) is within hailing distance and 4 games in hand.

    • The differences in games played are not so profound out West (a reflection of less severe-weather postponements??) with Edmonton and Minnesota holding down 7th and 8th with 68 and 65 pts respectively.

      Calgary is 2 back of 8th with 63 pts but has played the same number of games as Edmonton and 1 more than the Wild. After them, it drops to 58 pts for Nashville who hold 2 games in hand on Minnesota and 3 on the Oilers. No one else out West is seriously in the mix.

      • Hey George,
        The West is a bit of a log-jam…not really sure how its all going to go down as far as playoff mach ups….🤔 The Avs look like they are rolling into form with 2 gms in hand

        Sitting at the Top of the West tied for 1st spot is Vegas & Dallas @72 pts … Down at 7th Spot is the
        7–Oilers @68 pts…Need the d/man trade sooner than later👍

        8–Wild @ 65 with a game in hand, if MAF gets Hot they are in✔️

        9–Flames @ 63.. lots of storys comining out there
        they may miss the playoffs and go down in 🔥

        10–Preds @ 58 with 3 gms in hand, i think will be sellers..? too much of nothing again this year,
        They have a lot of money tied up in way to many Old Guys making Big $$$…⁉️
        if they can find takers maybe on d, but not these forwards
        Roman Josi $9.75M 6.5 yrs
        McDonagh $6.7M 3.5 yrs
        Ekholm $6.25M 3.5 yrs
        Matt Duchene $8M
        Ryan Johansen $8.M.
        and they are paying Kyle Turris Buyout 6X$2.M for 6 more years🥶

      • Oh yeah, THAT Kyle Turris – the one where Dorion got “hosed” when he dealt him away

    • Georgeo it’s hard to believe there is this kind of disparity of games played this late in the season.

      If you use winning % it has a different look

      Pitts 563
      Buff 556
      Det 545
      Wash 534
      Flr 533
      Ott 518

      As the saying goes you still have to win those games in hand.

      I would think there is alot of back to back and 3 in 4 nights in them schedule.

      Should be a fun ride to the end.

      • I agree Caper. I’ll look at it from Detroit’s perspective. Their schedule between today and the end of March is brutal. Starts tonight in Washington, then home games on Thursday/Saturday against the Rangers and Lightning. After that, they kick off a stretch of 17 games in 33 days with two away games back to back in Ottawa. Games in hand….yes….but winning those games is tough.

      • Yeah caper, that’s why I prefer showing the standings through the season based on winning % – as you say, games in hand are one thing – winning them is something else.

  2. George

    Yes the good thing about a hard cap is more league parity. Still think teams should be able to buyout a player a season without ramification to the cap. A mulligan if you wish to call it But the buyout cost is all on owners not league revenue

    • That was an entertaining game yesterday, Mrbruin4. Playing the 2nd of a back-to-back and against the league powerhouse with a raw rookie in goal, I think the Senators can take some positives away from that one.

      Ullmark had Tkachuk and Gambrell talking to themselves with a couple of spectacular glove saves. And, in the end, the lesson learned was, you don’t give Pastrnak ANY sort of room in that zone.

      Re your suggested mulligan – I’ve been on that page ever since the ugly ramifications of the Covid-affected stagnant cap emerged. Something like what you suggest is needed by most of the 32 teams.

  3. Chris Wideman was injured in a skills competition? How does one get injured in a skills competition? And since when does Chris Wideman have any skills?

    • Apparently his skill is getting injured. 😄

      • Chychrun is the best at that.

      • Well, at least somewhere back of Matt Murray.

  4. “Nope”
    Matt Murray – might be mental health

  5. Pittsburgh is also dropping games at breakneck speed. Not scoring goals, bad defensive play, inconsistent goaltending, bad coaching, and a front office missing in action could contribute to the Penguins’ recent toxicity.

    The Penguins have decisions to make if they want to improve the roster before the trade deadline, and if they want to win games to qualify for postseason play.

  6. I felt certain the Bruins would net a few more against the Sens AHL “back up” goalie. Oh and an already porous defense. Bruins better hope the Sens don’t make the playoffs. That’s a round one match up they don’t need

  7. I agree Caper. I’ll look at it from Detroit’s perspective. Their schedule between today and the end of March is brutal. Starts tonight in Washington, then home games on Thursday/Saturday against the Rangers and Lightning. After that, they kick off a stretch of 17 games in 33 days with two away games back to back in Ottawa. Games in hand….yes….but winning those games is tough.