NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2023

by | Mar 31, 2023 | News, NHL | 23 comments

The Bruins clinch the Presidents’ Trophy, the Golden Knights clinch a playoff berth, the Oilers’ Connor McDavid scores his 300th career goal, the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk reaches 100 points, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins won their fourth Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on an overtime goal by David Pastrnak. Tyler Bertuzzi also scored for the league-leading Bruins (121 points) as they set a franchise record for wins with 58. Jack Roslovic scored for the 23-43-8 Blue Jackets, who played without Adam Boqvist due to an illness.

The Vegas Golden Knights dropped a 4-3 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks but gained a point to become the first Western Conference club to clinch a playoff berth. Logan Couture tallied the game-winning goal for the 21-39-15 Sharks. The Golden Knights (46-22-7) sit atop the West with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas center Jack Eichel became the eighth player in NHL history to make his playoff debut after scoring 400-plus regular-season points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored his 300th career goal while Stuart Skinner kicked out 43 shots to shut out the Los Angeles Kings 2-0. Evander Kane also scored as the Oilers improved to 44-23-9 and moved one point ahead of the Kings into second place in the Pacific Division with 97 points. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 35 shots for the 43-22-10 Kings, who were without winger Kevin Fiala due to a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid set an NHL record by becoming the first player to record five 10-game points streaks in a single season. He’s also the fifth-fastest player to score 300 goals and 500 assists before his 600th career game.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk became the fourth player to reach 100 points this season in a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Tkachuk (101 points) tallied a hat trick while Anton Lundell scored twice for the 38-31-7 Panthers (83 points) as they remain one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Canadiens defenseman David Savard missed this game with a lower-body injury while forward Kirby Dach is sidelined for at least a week with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk became the fourth player in NHL history to record 100-plus points in consecutive seasons with two different teams.

Speaking of the Penguins, they maintained their lead over the Panthers by blanking the Nashville Predators 2-0. Tristan Jarry turned in a 28-save shutout while Jason Zucker and Jake Guentzel scored for the 37-28-10 Penguins. Juuse Saros stopped 43 shots for the 37-29-8 Predators (82 points) as they remain three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Ottawa Senators blew a 4-1 lead but recovered to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on an overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat. Tim Stutzle had a goal and an assist while Shane Pinto tallied his 20th goal of the season for the Senators (37-33-5) as they remain five points back of the Penguins with 79 points. Cam York had a goal and an assist and Owen Tippett netted his 23rd of the season for the 29-32-13 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins and Senators each have seven games remaining. Unless the Pens collapse, the Sens aren’t going to catch them.

First-period goals by Erik Haula and Timo Meier enable the New Jersey Devils to hold off the New York Rangers by a score of 2-1. Chris Kreider replied for the Rangers. The Devils improved to 47-20-8 and widened their lead over the Rangers by four points (102) for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

A goal by Jake Walman with four seconds remaining in the third period gave the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 upset win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Alex Nedeljkovic made 31 saves for the win as the Red Wings improved to 33-32-9 on the season. Jaccob Slavin had a goal and an assist for the 47-18-9 Hurricanes as they sit one point ahead of the Devils in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 103 points. Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen missed this game due to illness.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon tallied twice in a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had a goal and an assist for the 44-26-6 Lightning as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 94 points. Craig Smith replied for the Capitals (34-33-9) as they fall seven points behind the Penguins with 77 points.

The Seattle Kraken strengthened their hold on the first Western Conference wild-card spot by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Matty Beniers and Jaden Schwartz each had a goal and an assist for the 41-25-8 Kraken as they hold a five-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets with 90 points. Brock McGinn replied for the 23-42-10 Ducks.

St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues (35-34-9) have won six of the last eight games. Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist for the 24-45-6 Blackhawks, who’ve now dropped seven straight games.


DAILY FACEOFF: Marty Walsh, the new executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, spoke with the media yesterday for the first time since taking over from former director Donald Fehr.

Walsh said he recently met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, joking that they’ll have a wonderful relationship as long as Bettman agrees with everything he says. Turning serious, he expressed the hope of working together with Bettman but stressed that he works for the players.

He also addressed his relationship with the Jacobs family, who own the Bruins and donated to his political campaigns. “Supporting my campaign is one thing,” said Walsh. “Using that as a way to leverage me is never going to happen.”

Walsh said he likes the idea of increasing next season’s salary cap by more than $1 million but indicated the players are not interested in increasing their escrow payments to do so. He also said he’ll need some time to consider the next round of collective bargaining that is two and a half years away.

The new PA director is interested in working with the league toward staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2025. He also said that he’s supportive of the LGBTQ-plus community and wants NHL dressing rooms to be inclusive spaces but also supports a player’s individual right to decide whether they’ll wear a Pride warmup jersey. He pointed out that “a super majority” of players have worn the jersey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walsh addressed other topics but these were the main points of interest. It’s noteworthy that he is willing to discuss raising the cap for next season by more than the agreed-upon rate of $1 million but quickly dismissed the idea of increasing escrow payments, which is what Bettman has said must happen for the rate to rise beyond $1 million.

The players seem fine with playing one more season under a flattened cap. They’re secure in the knowledge that there will be significant cap increases over the remaining two seasons of the current CBA that won’t require increases in escrow.

It’s the team owners and general managers who prefer raising the cap for 2023-24. It’ll be up to them to pressure Bettman into finding another way to raise it that’ll meet with the PA’s approval.

DAILY FACEOFF: The NCAA announced that University of Michigan forward Adam Fantilli and University of Minnesota forwards Logan Cooley and Matthew Knies are the 2023 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as the most outstanding player in NCAA hockey.

Fantilli is eligible for the 2023 NHL draft. Cooley was chosen third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2022 draft while Knies was taken 57th overall in the 2021 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The winner will be announced on April 7.


  1. So, Cam Talbot has somehow arrived at the conclusion that, despite turning 36 on July 5 and, over the past 6 seasons, spending more time on the IR than off, he should get a 5 year deal at $5 mil per.

    Being “rusty” following his latest stint in the IR aside, allowing 4 goals on 11 shots suggests otherwise.

    Meanwhile, Ottawa fired 46 shots at the Flyers goalie who wasn’t named Hart but rather his back-up Sandstrom. And, in the process, lost both Hamonic and Brassard to injury, to join Chabot and Chychrun. The newcomer, Tyler Kleven, played just over 17 minutes and looked solid, even getting an assist on Giroux’s goal. Looks like Bernard-Docker and/or Thompson will be getting in some NHL time over the final 7 games.

    A few weeks back I said my biggest fear was that Senators would not make the playoff cut, but finish close enough to put them out of the # 1 pick lottery and smack dab in the middle of the draft positions. But now that that is exactly what is transpiring, the pain is lessened by having dealt their 1st round pick to Arizona.

  2. Congrats Bruins, well earned

    McD…. Ho hum…. shorty, steal, sprint, breakaway …. 61st this year… 300th overall….he’s washed up!!

    Things so tight top 3 in Pac, Central, metro and WC races still tight… only first round match up set is Leafs v Bolts… and that’s been basically decided on since before Christmas…. Easy first round prep for those two teams

    Cats…. I can’t remember IF it has ever happened let alone when… a third stringer plays on B2B nights; BOTH on road; wins both…. A first???

    Pens…. Yes great performance by Jarry; good to see a win; but as I posted yesterday… better in long run to miss playoffs; pick higher; strong impetus for change (fire Hextall, Burke, perhaps Sully; move out older none performers [even if retaining 50% is needed]; re-tool for staying competitive for balance of Sid’s tenure)

    In … then out in 6 or 7 first round…. Not good…. Ownership then may not fire Hextall…. And he could then still make team older, slower, smaller, weaker…. For longer 🤬💩👎

    • Always play for the playoffs if there is a chance you make it. Only “tank” if it’s a race for a top three pick.

      • Pens mathematically could still get a top 3 pick (via lottery)

        Hextall has really hurt the Pens

        I truly believe getting in; taking it to 6 (or 7) and losing…. Is absolutely the worst thing for Pens…. Gives a sliver of confidence to ownership (re HexBurkie) and may not fire them…. Leading to more horrific moves by Hextall

        I guess , since realistically their pick window is 13th-17th….. maybe…. Light on the maybe…. Best thing might be to narrowly get in (5th tie breaker type of scenario) ; then get swept (and handily so…. All in reg, all minimum by 3 goals); forcing major changes in summer

      • Or the best thing is they get in and slay the giant. You don’t get that chance if you don’t get in. Slim chance. But it’s still fun.

      • And player play the game to win. Well, most of them do.

        If the GM and Ownership committed to Crosby when he signed his extension that they would try and be competitive while he was there, then they need to.

        Or have a long talk with him and see if he is up for a rebuild. If he isn’t let him go to BOS for a small return and eat some $ to facilate the deal.

      • 🤮

  3. That game was a curious one George. I’m ready for Talbot to go.

    The one question I wish someone would have asked Bettman in his recent media availabilities or Walsh even was the NBA’s behavior “creeping” into the NHL. That being load management. I see both sides of this argument. Look how it was successfully employed by the Toronto Raptors with Kuwai Leonard. But. IF My son and I spend thousands on a road trip to go see the Boston Bruins and Bergeron, Pastanak and Marchand are “rested” that game…..you can’t have that.

    • The fact they decided to start Talbot against the Flyers and “save” Sogaard for the Leafs goes a long way to showing the thinking on Talbot.

      If they did make an offer on him I’d bet it was for 1 year and at something closer to $1.5 mil. After last night’s sieve display Dorion is probably already exploring his off-season approach to next season’s goaltending tandem.

      Some think it should be a # 1 priority – even to the point of dealing DeBrincat or Pinto (one of my bright ideas – lol).

      But if Sogaard can continue to show improvement in his NHL game the rest of the way, and the medical prognosis on Forsberg looks good, I can see them deciding to go with a Sogaard-Forsberg tandem. That alone will free up more cap space to re-up both DeBrincat and Pinto.

      • George, there is no question in my mind that DeBrincat should be retained IF they can sign him for under $8m for 6-7 years. And ,yes, Talbot is dreaming in technicolour.

        I enjoyed watching Kleven and even though he made a couple of rookie mistakes he was quite solid for the most part.

        I also think Brannstrom has played himself into a 5-6 D position for next year. I think the Sens defence is firming up quite nicely 23-34.

        Now the main question is how to improve the bottom 6. If Norris is healthy that should help because then Pinto can be moved down, but there are still a couple of obvious gaps. Would be nice to have Formenton back but that ship has undoubtedly sailed.

  4. Knies being a Hobey finalist is ridiculous. His stats are good but far from outstanding. He wasn’t even the top scorer on his team. Lane Hutson is more deserving. So is Devon Levi.
    That being said, it’ll be a huge surprise if Fantilli doesn’t win.

    • @ Howard. I read a Habs article that agrees with you but, for what it is worth, this is what is says on the award site:

      Established in 1981, the award’s unique criteria include strength of character, sportsmanship, and academic achievement as well as excellence on the ice—the characteristics embodied by Hobey Baker in his lifetime.

      I don’t follow college hockey at all but just maybe they really take the off ice stuff seriously.

    • What do you or any of us really know about what is a good hockey player or not. I think all those guys where in the running but for whatever reason (not hype) these are the three. How important is this award? Barely enough to talk about it because some of the finalist, not even the winners, have had good NHL careers and some not even that.

      Maybe your teams past management should of done a better job of drafting players that would be talked about because of their on ice events vs off ice.

  5. Cograts Boston, keep the rotation going and everyone healthy.

    Curious of who will be in and who is out when the playoffs start if everyone is healthy

    Marchand Bergeron Debrusk
    Zacha Krejci Pastrnak
    Hall Coyle Bertuzzi
    Frederick /Foligno Nosek/Foligno Hathaway

    Lindholm McAvoy
    Orlov Carlo
    Forbort Grzelyck

    Clifton deserves to play but can’t play everyone. I’m certain as the playoffs go on, you’ll see Clifton, Zboril and Reilly getting ice time.

    • Looking pretty deep Caper, but if everyone is healthy that would be a first time in recent memory for the B’s when the playoffs start.

      Nosek will play for sure as he is their best face off guy and kills penalties like a champ. I also play Frederic and Hathaway ahead of Foligno, to start any way. All of them are physical, but Foligno has lost a step and the other 2 create more in the O zone and skating really help when defending.

      I’m a bit worried that the B’s haven’t played in a pressurized environment in a long time. Meaning a game they need to win, for playoff position or whatever. I also see them not playing nearly as well outside of their tenders for about a month.

      It’s natural and not a conscious thing, just the reality they are in, but bad habits creep in and you don’t just snap your fingers and get it back. The playoffs might hit them like a truck in RD 1.

      Hopefully their experience and goaltending help them stay ahead in first 4 or 5 games.

      • Ray, a “newcomer” powerhouse to the playoff roller-coaster might well have trouble adjusting their game to pressure hockey after having gone some weeks without facing it.

        But the Bruins are festooned with enough savvy “been-there-done-that” veterans that it won’t become a problem.

      • Hope you’re right George.
        Just not feelin’ good about their play of late.

      • Ray, with where the Bruins are right now in the standings, that’s just a natural phase where a team has a number of veterans as part of the top half of the team. Their goal is to arrive at the playoffs healthy with no lingering dings, and so, where they might extend themselves in the early part of a season, where points are necessary, to check or hit someone off the puck or scramble in a corner, they back off a bit.

        They’ll be fine once that first puck drops.

  6. In an offbeat way, watching the bottom feeders (SJ, Chicago, Anaheim and Columbus) is fun. Who gets the best chance to draft Bedard? Step right up and place your bets.

  7. A closer look at the West wild card 2nd spot

    Wpg – Det,NJ,Cgy,Nash,SJ,Min,Col
    Cgy- Van,Ana,Chi,Wpg,Van,Nash,Sjs
    Nash- Stl,Dal,Vgk,Car,Cgy,Min,Col

    Winnipeg plays both Calgary and Nashville and both games are at home. No back to back. The Calgary game will be the second game of a back to back for Calgary.

    Schedule wise Calgary only game against a playoff team is the one against Winnipeg.

    Nashville has a very tough schedule

    Winnipeg plays 5 of their remaining 7 games at home.

    For Winnipeg take care of business at home and your in the playoffs.

  8. Oilers looked great last night.
    In their last 2, they have beaten both the teams they are chasing in the Pacific LA and VEG. It seems like the only way they can gain ground as all 3 have been great in the 2nd half. The Pacific is now a tough division, and should be a battle come playoff time. A very good team will be out in RD 1.

    Contrary to popular belief the Oil are now a big, physical, tough team.

    Some of Holland’s additions to the roster in last 2 years.

    Kane – 6’2″ – 210 and physical
    Kostin – 6’3″ – 215 and physical
    Desharnais – 6’6″ – 215 and physical
    Bjugstad – 6’6″ 209 and physical
    Ekholm – 6’4″ 215 and physical

    Add in the guys they had like Nurse at 6’4″ and 221 and maybe their most physical player, Draisaitl who’s totally engaged, Hyman and you have an imposing team.

    They came out with intent last night and took it to LA early and often. They seem like a determined team that is thinking cup.

    I wouldn’t want to play them in RD 1.

    • I can see an Edmonton-Boston final. THAT would be something to see.

      • Wouldn’t it be George!
        I wear my colors when I go watch the B’s at Rogers, and outside the normal chirps following a goal, penalty or whatever, it’s all in good fun.

        SC Final might ratchet that up a tad.

        They split the games, and both were well played, intense and close. Pretty recent too.