NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2023

by | Feb 22, 2023 | News, NHL | 28 comments

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl reach point milestones while Ryan O’Reilly and Mitch Marner play big roles in Leafs win over the Sabres. Get the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid reached his 800th career point while teammate Leon Draisaitl netted his 700th in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. McDavid and Draisaitl each collected three points as the Oilers (31-19-8) snapped a four-game winless skid and hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 70 points. The Flyers slipped to 23-26-10 (56 points) and remain eight points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. They played without Travis Konecny as he missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is the league leader in goals with 44 and points with 105. He’s also the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 800 career points, doing so in 545 games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a hat trick from Ryan O’Reilly and a five-assist performance by Mitch Marner to beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. O’Reilly finished with four points while John Tavares had a goal and three assists as the Leafs improved to 35-15-8 to maintain their three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points. Alex Tuch had two points as the Sabres fall to 28-23-4 (60 points) to remain four points behind the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The line of O’Reilly, Marner and Tavares is showing impressive chemistry thus far for the Leafs.

Speaking of the Lightning, they thumped the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 6-1 to remain unbeaten in regular (14-0-1) over their last 15 games. Brayden Point tallied his 200th career goal while Nick Perbix recorded three assists. The Lightning (36-17-3) have 76 points and sit third in the Atlantic Division. The Ducks sank to 17-34-7 on the season and played without John Klingberg as he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1 thanks to three-point performances by Andrei Svechnikov and Seth Jarvis. Frederik Andersen stopped 35 shots as the Hurricanes (38-10-8) have won 13 of their last 15 games and sit in second place in the overall standings with 84 points. Justin Faulk scored for the Blues as they dropped to 26-28-3. They also lost defenseman Torey Krug as he left this game with an undisclosed injury.

Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman scored twice in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings to snap the latter’s four-game win streak. Filip Gustavsson made 33 saves as the Wild improved to 31-21-5 (67 points), opening a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final Western wild-card berth. Anze Kopitar replied for the Kings (32-19-7) as they remain one point up on the Seattle Kraken for second place in the Pacific Division with 71 points.

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 to extend the latter’s losing skid to five games. Pius Suter tallied two goals and Ville Husso kicked out 26 shots for the 27-21-8 Red Wings (62 points). They moved to within two points of the final Eastern wild-card spot and sit ahead of the Capitals (28-25-6) with three games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin was ejected from this game in the second period for cross-checking Washington forward T.J. Oshie in the face. Capitals forward Anthony Mantha left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a hit by Wings defenseman Moritz Seider.

A shootout goal by Tyler Johnson lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Johnson also scored the tying goal in the third period and finished with two points as the Blackhawks improved to 19-32-5. The Golden Knights (34-18-5) opened a two-point lead over the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 73 points.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault made 38 saves in a 5-2 upset of the New Jersey Devils to end the latter’s six-game home win streak. Nick Suzuki and Mike Matheson each had a goal and an assist as the Canadiens improved to 24-29-4. Jesper Bratt and Dawson Mercer replied for the 37-15-5 Devils as they sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Canadiens forward Joel Armia left this game following the first period with a non-COVID-related illness.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Matt Duchene. The win kept the Predators’ fading playoff hopes alive as they rose to 27-22-6 and sit seven points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 60 points. Andrei Kuzmenko tallied twice for the 22-30-5 Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators forward Ryan Johansen left this game in the second period after suffering a cut. Following the game, head coach John Hynes said he was uncertain about Johansen’s condition but felt it was possible it might be serious. Meanwhile, the Canucks are sitting defenseman Luke Schenn for trade-related reasons with the March 3 trade deadline on the horizon.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is in concussion protocol and will miss at least two games. He had missed four games earlier this month with a head injury and reinjured himself on Saturday after initiating contact with Alexei Toropchenko of the St. Louis Blues.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Winnipeg Jets placed forward Cole Perfetti (upper body) on injured reserve. He last played on Feb. 19.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Plans for the Bruins to play a two-game set against the Los Angeles Kings next September in Melbourne, Australia have been put on hold due to travel concerns.


  1. ROR is a welcoming addition to the Maple Leafs , reminds me of Gilmour

    My concern vs Tampa Bay in the playoffs is

    1. Vasilevsky vs Samsonov
    2. Cooper vs Keefe

    I am boggled why Keefe will not play Woll . He has been outstanding in the AHL this year and looked very good bs Montreal
    I am sorry , but Samsonov is not the guy

    George , Pengy , Iago , I need your support here, as I know there are Samsonov supporters on here …
    Yikes !

    • Ken, the Leafs goaltending is a dilemma that won’t easily be “fixed.”

      First, while Murray could well be declared “fit” as soon as the season ends and just before the playoffs, hanging your hat on the prospect of him being the answer is shaky … at best.

      Samsonov, while not horrible in most of his games so far this season, just doesn’t seem the type to take a team on his back and “steal” a game here and there throughout a long, grinding playoff “season.”

      Putting that kind of pressure on a kid like Woll could destroy him – he might do well in a spot role but even then the intense media/fan expectations/hopes could be too much to handle for a raw rookie.

      Trading for an upgrade in goal when you could be perceived as dealing from a position of desperation drives up the price for any “improvements” that might even be available in the first place. That, and the fact Toronto isn’t the only team that could be searching about for goalie help.

      • There are no goalies available that would be an upgrade of what we have. Jut have to deal with it Sammie has been pretty good so far do I trust him not a lot but remember we had Campbell so there is that.

      • I was thinking the same thing sort of…who would have been better when the Leafs signed their current goalies? I’m talking, cap wise as well as their stats when you compare the current season so far? Both goalies are good enough to be top 5 or 6 in GA for the Leafs. Who would have made them better than that?

        You can’t base performance or quality of a player by what you hear especially if it’s something that confirms what you perceive. I think that’s where stats and eye tests bump heads but stats do look at all players such as goalies and most of the eye tests are done just looking at the sole player and comparing with what is said favorably or not vs being objective by looking at all goalies in this case.

        Just like good teams lose to bad ones, good players make bad moves or judgement calls and when a goalie does it, it directly results in a goal.

      • Agree Man on TV, nothing out there is any better.
        Sammy’s been good hasn’t he?

        All his #’s (his HD SV% is the best in the NHL) suggest that he has been better than most 1A/1B guys and his contract looks like a steal which allows Leafs to spend elsewhere. Not sue Dubas could have done much better than he did this past off season on the goalies.

        IMO the biggest tending problem the Leafs have is they will likely play the best playoff tender in the NHL in the 1st round. Tough break but was kinda likely to happen eventually if you want to win the east.

        It’s a volatile position, and anything can happen with it. So nice to have 2.

        Never know with the rookie tenders in the playoffs, sometimes they are confident and kill it as they have no mental scar tissue yet. And ya, that Woll kid looks good so far. If Sammy struggles and Murray is out, he’ll get a shot.

      • LOL Ray. I was just checking out CapFriendly’s daily NHL transactions and did a double-take when I saw Dallas promoting goalie Matt Murray to the NHL club.


    • Well, Ken. Here is what I think…Cooper is still the king util someone knocks him off. But I think Keefe is a good coach, and deserves another shot. Personally, I would have upgraded the goalie and D first, but you might have guessed by now that no one is calling me about an open GM position.

      So what can the Leafs do now ? I am not sure they can upgrade the net at this point….maybe Gibson, but, man, he has faced a lot of rubber this season….might be shell shocked. What I would do is go all in after McCabe. I think he is the best shutdown D’man available, and is having a great season for the Hawks. As far as knocking off Tampa, we’ll, it will happen sooner or later. Maybe it’s Toronto’s year.

  2. The leafs can have Talbot and Zaitsev back for a 7th round pick.

    • Dark G
      Love the Trade….🤙🤙
      They don’t have a 7th pick left in this up and coming draft
      What’s left A3rd, 5th & 6th left…
      The rest have been Traded

      You maybe able to up grade that to a 5th or 6th bye default 😂

      • Nope. The 3rd is gone as well – belongs to Arizona

      • That 3rd is a conditional pick and I don’t know when Arizona has to select that one or the one the following year. I’m guessing if they select the pick for the following draft the earliest the Leafs may be able to use that pick (to trade or pick) would be draft day or close to that.

      • Thanks for clarifying that Ron … yeah, that’s one that could be used as a chip once Arizona decides when to use it.

      • Wonder if thier empty when McD arrives home

      • McDavid could also react much the same way Stamkos did when, as a UFA, he explored the Toronto offers and, amidst all the press attention and hoopla going on around his possible signing, told his agent to “get me the Hell outta here.”

  3. @George

    Please review ….

    Carter Hart and Joseph Woll were both drafted in 2016

    I remember this draft so well , as I desperately wanted Hart to be drafted by the Leafs , but I honestly thought he would be drafted in the first round , but slipped to the second round and went 48th over all , Leafs still didn’t make an attempt to draft him.

    I was horrified this draft year , as I honestly thought this was the dream goalie for the future !

    I always was a fan of the draft , my favourite time of year !

    I know Woll is a so called rookie , but he is the same age as Hart ; therefore, I think he’s ready !!!

    OR Am I Wrong
    I don’t want to be Negative , but Leafs will fail with Samsonov in net, this is the time with O’ Reilly – he is a Game changer – He reminds me so much of Dougie Gilmour !!!

    My other thought is Murray does come out of his sleep , sickness , whatever it might be in the playoffs , the main reason I think Dubas traded for him , other than a previous Sault Greyhound
    He is a proven playoff success !
    Our only hope !

    Samsonov made Patrick Kane look like an action hero the other night , and was someone we cannot rely on , proven last night when Leafs totally dominated and he gave up 3 late goals with the score 5-0!

    It’s Scary ! At best

    Then U have Swayman and Ullmark coming at you in the next round , if there is a next round ?!?!?!

    What a waste of space for Carter Hart in Phillie – trade him for future considerations to Toronto – Lol !!!

    • Carter Hart has to stay where he is, he has the perfect name for the Philly/Boston/New York area. You HAVE to drop your r’s when you say that name.

  4. Too Add…

    Joseph Woll was drafted , same class as Hart , same draft year , 2016 , round 3 …

    He has been well groomed , IHL , AHL etc , an outstanding year with the Marlies this year

    Now is the time to be playing him , especially against the bottom teams , and on the road , where Samsonov struggles …

    A keefe blunder , you can definitely be out coached , well proven , as per Keefe’s resume

    • You know, Ken, going with an unproven goalie at the NHL level has worked before – not a lot, but the history shows Rogatien Vachon (Punch Imlach: “no Junior B goalie is gonna beat me …”) and, of course, Ken Dryden, stepping in and exceeding expectations.

      But it is a helluva risk and takes a GM and coach with gonads of steel.

      But comparing Woll to Hart only goes as far as their draft year – 7 years ago. Since then, Hart has 189gp at the NHL level under his belt, along with 14 play off appearances. Woll has all of 6 game in the NHL and 0 playoff action.

      Hindsight suggests they blew it at the draft – after getting Matthews # 1 overall – by taking someone named Egor Korshkov with the 1st pick in the 2nd round who eventually would play 1 NHL game before wallowing in Yaroslavl (Hell, he could be somewhere in the Ukraine by now). Carter Hart was theirs for the taking. But then, again, we don’t know what the detailed scouting reports said about him at the time – or Korshkov for that matter.

      They COULD bite the bullet and go with Woll … but if that backfired that would spell the end of Dubas, Keefe and perhaps even Shanahan. And self-preservation is one strong motivator.

      • Hey George I think Korshkov was a Hunter call at the draft. You know another example how size at the draft should be carefully looked at as to the mitigating factor for the draftee’s success and ranking.

    • You’re funny man. Keefe’s been a winning coach in, I think every level he’s coached in. What you see in Keefe is his coaching style, system, or whatever.

      What exactly don’t you like about him? His over use of certain players? Him blending lines or refusal to do it. Is he not playing guys you think he should be? I’d bet anyone with a beef for the coach has got to have one or more of those issues about him, right?

  5. Ken are you Pengy so negative

  6. Just checked the Leafs’ remaining games and there’s a three week stretch in March that will tell us a lot about the goaltending and the team in general:
    They play 12 games between March 1 – 25 and have 7 games against the Oilers, the Devils, the Avs and the Hurricanes in that span.
    Before you jump off the Toronto bandwagon, Ken, see how they do then.

  7. @ Ron Moore once again ,

    Keefe doesn’t believe in line matching , refer to George please on this quote.
    He plays Samsonov on the road back to back against a bottom team , totally is the reason for them embarrassing themselves against Chicago
    Against Buffalo , he allows 3 late goals
    Keefe is no where in coach Coopers wheelhouse , Tampa , proven in the past …
    Torts put Keefe to shame – Columbus vs Leafs , remember that series – another joke !

    Summary – an average coach , he is ok , nothing special …
    I like Brind’Amour , of course – Cooper – check his resume ?!?!? new Boston coach , players go to the wall for that guy

    • I guess you have a point…so who replaces Keefe now, with about 25 games left?

      • Barry Trotz. Then look out.

      • Hahaha

    • Just out of curiosity, how do you go about making your posts? In effect, I guess when you get right down to it, we’re ALL “geeks behind our computers claiming we know all.”

  8. Ron

    Nobody replaces Keefe
    Enjoy the days up to trade deadline

    Hopefully , a tremendous outcome !

    It’s an exciting time in hockey and extremely competitive , more than ever !!!

    The playoffs , people will be on the edge of their seats !