NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2023

by | Mar 5, 2023 | News, NHL | 36 comments

Lightning stars benched in loss to Sabres, the league-leading Bruins pick up their 10th straight win by downing the Rangers, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres forwards Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner each had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Eric Comrie made 33 saves as the Sabres (32-25-4) sit within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 68 points. Alex Killorn scored two goals for the Lightning (37-20-5) as they dropped their fourth straight game and sit third in the Atlantic Division with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance. He benched his top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point for the entire third period. “It just felt, in the third period, that they weren’t giving us the best chance to win,” said Cooper. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

New York Islanders captain Anders Lee (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders got two goals from captain Anders Lee to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. The Islanders improved to 32-25-8 and vaulted over the Penguins into the first Eastern wild-card berth with 72 points. Dylan Larkin replied for the Red Wings as they fell to 28-25-9 (65 points).

Speaking of the Penguins, their four-game win streak came to an end as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Florida Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots while Carter Verhaeghe had a goal and an assist for the 31-27-6 Panthers (68 points) as they sit three points back of the 31-22-9 Penguins (71 points). Kris Letang scored Pittsburgh’s only goal while Casey DeSmith made 38 saves.

The league-leading Boston Bruins picked up their 10th straight victory by doubling up the New York Rangers 4-2. Tyler Bertuzzi collected an assist in his Bruins debut while Charlie Coyle had a goal and an assist as their club improved to 49-8-5 and sit atop the overall standings with 103 points. Alexis Lafreniere scored both goals for the Rangers (35-19-9), who’ve dropped six of their last eight and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The much-anticipated reunion of Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin has yet to pan out for the Rangers. In fairness, it’s only been two games and Kane is still adjusting to his new teammates after 16 seasons in Chicago. The Rangers were also short two defensemen with K’Andre Miller serving a suspension and Ryan Lindgren sidelined by an injury.

Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson scored twice and collected an assist as his club snowed under the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 7-3. Roope Hintz collected two assists as the Stars (34-16-13) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Western Conference with 81 points. The Avalanche dropped to 34-21-5 and hold the final Western wild-card spot with 73 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cale Makar returned to the Avalanche lineup after being activated off concussion protocol. Meanwhile, Avs defenseman Josh Manson remains sidelined by a lower-body injury.

The Washington Capitals kept their playoff hopes alive with an 8-3 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and picked up an assist, Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists and Craig Smith tallied twice for the 31-27-6 Capitals, who sit three points back of the Penguins with 68 points. Erik Karlsson collected two assists for the 18-33-12 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks head coach David Quinn was ejected from this game after voicing his displeasure after winger Kevin Labanc was penalized for clipping. Quinn was apologetic following the game, admitting he was embarrassed by his actions.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey tallied twice and collected an assist as his club held off the Edmonton Oilers 7-5. Mark Scheifele had a goal and an assist as the Jets snapped a five-game losing skid (36-25-2) and move back into third place in the Central Division with 74 points. Leon Draisaitl collected a hat trick for the Oilers (34-22-8) as they hold the first Western wild-card berth with 76 points.

Two shorthanded goals by Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller 44 seconds apart carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Thatcher Demko kicked out 36 shots for the 25-32-5 Canucks. John Tavares scored for the 38-17-8 Leafs as they hold second place in the Atlantic Division with 84 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs center Ryan O’Reilly left this game in the second period after being struck in the hand by a shot by teammate Auston Matthews. An update on his condition isn’t expected until Monday.

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist and Gabriel Vilardi scored the game-winner for the 36-20-8 Kings as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. Robert Thomas and Kasperi Kapanen scored for the Blues as they dropped to 27-30-5.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson kicked out 31 shots to shut out the Calgary Flames 3-0. Joel Eriksson Ek and Matt Boldy each had a goal and an assist as the Wild improved to 36-21-6 and hold second place in the Central Division with 78 points. The Flames (27-23-13) have dropped five straight and six points behind the Avalanche for the final Western wild-card spot with 67 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were booed off the ice by the Saddledome crowd following the game. Their window of opportunity to secure a playoff berth is just about shut unless they can somehow reverse their fortunes soon.

The Ottawa Senators remain in the Eastern Conference playoff race following a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jakob Chychrun collected his first points with the Senators with a goal and an assist while Tim Stutzle scored two goals, including his 30th of the season. The Sens improved to 32-26-4 and are three points back of the Penguins with 68 points. Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic scored for the 20-37-6 Blue Jackets.

The Nashville Predators kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. Tyson Barrie’s first goal with the Predators was the game-winner as they improved to 31-23-6 and sit five points back of the Avalanche with 68 points. Seth Jones replied for the 21-36-5 Blackhawks.


  1. any one think the Flames clean house in the front office, letting Treveling (without a contract after this season) and Sutter go? it’s about time the team starts putting more younger players into their lineup

    • I think the Flames chemistry left with their 2 stars and Huberdeau has been average.
      Imho Trevling did a great job finding deals to try to keep the talent level high.
      also Markstrom was all world last season.

      not sure its on the GM this season.

      • ds,
        Your right …💯%…👍

        When the Flames traded Matthew Tkachuk they Lost there leader and the Straw that stired the drink in Calgary ………he was the Hart & Soul of the Calgary team.

        We all did the Happy Dance in Edmonton when we hear that Trade 🤣
        Johnny Gaudreau was a great Scorer and happy go lucky guy,

        Kadri & Huberdeau are Not Half as good as the 2 they Lost…. but we are happy they are Stuck in Calgary for 7&8 Years….👍

        Coach Sutter maybe tries to run the team with an Iron Fist ,…….. that will not work in the NHL in the day and age👀😳

    • mikeP, looking ahead to the off-season and on into next season, it would appear that, no less than 1/4 of the league will be in the throes of a full-on re-build – Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim, Arizona (perpetual), Montreal, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and possibly Vancouver. I did not include Columbus here simply because, with over 400 man-games lost to injury, if they can ice a full NHL roster, especially Werenski, and with the crash-courses being experienced by some in their system, I think they could move up rapidly, especially if they get lucky in the draft lottery and land Bedard.

      Calgary SHOULD be looking at a total re-build, but I’d bet they, along with Washington, Florida and Nashville, will take “tinkering” approach, as might Vancouver, which is why I say “possibly” above.

  2. The battles for the 2 WC slots East and West couldn’t be more different.

    In the East there are 6 teams still in the mix

    NYI 65gp 32 25 8 72 188 177 +11
    Pitt 62gp 31 22 9 71 201 199 + 2
    Buf 61gp 32 25 4 68 229 218 +11
    Ott 62gp 32 26 4 68 199 193 + 6
    Fla 64gp 31 27 6 68 219 217 + 2
    WA64gp 31 27 6 68 199 192 + 7

    While in the West, unless Nashville can win all 4 of the games in hand they have on Edmonton, it seems that “race” is over

    Edm 64gp 34 22 8 76 248 216 +32
    Colo 60gp 34 21 5 73 193 171 +22
    Nas 60 gp 31 23 6 68 175 176 -1
    Cgy 63gp 27 23 13 67 194 196 -2

    Calgary, after that pathetic display last night, seems dead in the water.

    • NYI 65gp 32 25 8 72 188 177 +11
      Pitt 62gp 31 22 9 71 201 199 + 2
      Buf 61gp 32 25 4 68 229 218 +11
      Ott 62gp 32 26 4 68 199 193 + 6
      Fla 64gp 31 27 6 68 219 217 + 2
      WA64gp 31 27 6 68 199 192 + 7

      George, interesting to note that if “loser points” (column 3) were counted as the losses that they truly are, then Buffalo and Ottawa are the only teams listed above with a record Over .500
      I know I’m Old School but it’s sad how the NHL scoring system disguises the mediocre records of most teams in the league. However, I realize that this is what the league wants – keep as many teams as possible in the playoff race regardless…..

      • I agree and what I’d like to see, HarryO, is the 3-2-1 system. 3 pts for a regulation win, 2 pts for a SO/OT win and 1 pt for a SO/OT loss.

        Be interesting to see what the standings would be like right now if that system had been in place.

    • Hey George,

      in the East I think, Hope its going to be the young Guns Ottawa and Buffalo in 7th and 8th spot…👌
      and they are both looking good

      in the West i think its going to be
      Nashville and Very happy to say Calgary Flames that will Miss the playoffs 🤔🤣

      • Man O man, Am I ever glad that Dorion did not listen to all the stated reasons from various posters here on why Ottawa should not trade for Chychrun. Heck watching him in his first two games with the Sens I think he was worth the two 1rst and Grade A prospects Arizona was asking for. Heck now that he is a Sen I wouldn’t give him up for less. He may end up being our top defensemen and Chabot.

        What a couple of game she has had.

        Though we did almost get a scare from the voodoo witch doctors magically injuring him.

      • @Jeff no one said Ottawa should not trade for Chychrun. We said Dorion should never pay what the asking price was…which he didn’t. This was a fair trade leaning toward Dorion getting a steal.

  3. Merzlikins was terrible. Not what one expects from a goalie making $5+MM/year.

    • Paul, to be fair it was his second of a busy back-to-back. Wonder why they didn’t go with the fresh back-up?

      • That’s Larsen’s way of preparing Elvis for playoffs.
        But, George, two things.
        1) I’ve been an amateur goalie for a little over 40 years. Back-to-backs are a pain, nothing else. Note that Talbot was also on the 2nd night of a back-to-back and totally outplayed Elvis.
        2) I’ve studied body language. Elvis’ body language, when standing, reveals that he’s afraid to make mistakes. Thus, when he makes a mistake leading to a goal (or, worse, two), his game completely falls apart as he mentally punishes himself for making the mistake (s).

      • Merzilikins was not terrible.

        Ist. goal: completely screened by his own defenceman on shot from Hammonic

        2nd. goal: Stützle in alone after great pass from Tkachuk

        3rd goal: Hammonic left completely untouched directly in front of goal – puts in the re-bound

        4th. goal: He probably should have had the blast from the point by Chycrun.

      • Two years ago, Elvis would have stopped three of those four. Yes, he was terrible.

    • Was at the game. Great atmosphere with almost a sell-out. Sens dominated for long stretches and actually Merzlikins made some great saves, Most of the goals were not on him.

      Chychrun looked very good and he showed off his excellent shot. If he can stay healthy he will be very valuable player for the Sens. Mathieu Joseph seems to have turned a corner and played with lots of energy. It seems like the acquisition of Gauthier has re-energized him. Stützle was dynamic although he tends to hang on to the puck too long. This lead to Columbus’s second goal. Reminds me a bit of how Karlsson played early in his career.

      The crowd chanted “we want play-offs” near the end might have been a good send-off for the 5 game road trip ahead.

      Fun night to watch the team in person.

  4. The Bruins goal differential is 2 goals better than the next two best teams combined. Unreal. That assist by Bertuzzi was a Beaty!

    Happy for Craig Smith to score 2 goals for Washington last night. He’s a good hockey player and a real pro, just was never a fit in Boston.

    It will be interesting to see how that benching plays out in Tampa. Could be motivating or could backfire. Quite a fight between Jeannot and Stillman, with one recent addition knocking the other silly.

  5. “snowed under the Colorado Avalanche”
    Now that is cold! 😄

  6. Huberdeau been over a point a game in his previous 4 seasons. He is on pace for 16 goals his lowest since 2016- 2017 he averaged 26 goals over his previous 5 seasons.

    For Calgary sake I hope this is just an off year, with Huberdeau 8yr contract to kick in $10.5 next season.

    The trade hasn’t gotten either Calgary or Florida into the playoffs as of date.

    And Johnny Gaudreau he will get much wanted family time starting April 15th.

    • Gaudreau maybe passing on NJ looking like a bad decision IF he did.

      Florida should move Reinhardt+Bennett and bring Huber back somehow. Barkov is not the same either

      Tkachuk seems to be the straw no matter the linemates

      • Yeah, Columbus in last place because of 410+ Man Games Lost (guaranteed to break 450 games lost) is sufficient reason for Gaudreau to regret signing with Columbus instead of NJ, who would have had to shed significant salary to be under the cap and, maybe, causing NJ to struggle to make the playoffs.

  7. willie w, with Ottawa not having made any changes to their goaltending, do you still think their 1st round pick will be in the Top 10? I imagine Arizona hopes so. If the season ended now, their pick would be 14th. I feel it will find up somewhere around 18/19.

    • Hey George,

      1st pick traded to AZ for Jakob Chycrun,
      Top 5 protected🤔 i hope the sens make the playoffs

      Bye adding JC to the Sen’s d will make a Huge Difrence now we have a great young Top 4 and getting rid of NZ on d.

      Talbot is old and Very injury prone we have seen this all before from him ottawa and Edmonton ….
      Forsberg is an expensive back up,
      Young Sogaard is the goaltender of the future its all on his development right now just turning 22…🤔

      I still think they need a Starting #1 Goaltenderfor the next 3-4 years
      who would you guys like to have…❓❓

      if i have to get one for next season thats a possibility
      hear are the Top 3…🤔

      –Jarry UFA, 27 is not staying for the 5-6 yr re-build❗️

      –Hearing Gibson is avalable from the Ducks…❓

      –Demko, i think he will be avalable once the….❓
      Canucks finaly… figure out what they are doing

      over to you….

      • That is the main dilemma facing Dorion in the off-season, willie w.

        As far as Forsberg is concerned there is a question right now as to whether he’ll ever play another game. One MCL is bad enough – both in the same instance?

        I really think Mads Sogaard is soaking up invaluable experience right now that will only serve to make him an option sooner rather than later. And Mandolese has shown that he’s no slouch either.

        Both were instrumental at various stages in helping them go on their current 12-3-1 streak over their past 15 games, nor has Talbot let them down when called upon.

        A guy like Jarry, who seems to have inherited Murray’s penchant for going on the IR, is a UFA coming off a $3.5 mil cap hit. Not bad stats when he’s in there … but what will he be seeking in a new deal? And for how long? No thanks.

        As for Gibson ($6.4 mil per to 2026-27) and Demko ($5 mil per to 2025-26) – I’m convinced Sogaard will be the # 1 long before those deals expire, with Mandolese his back-up so, again, no thanks.

        If their goaltending over the past 15 games – during which they’ve climbed right into the thick of the playoff race – has been horrible and costing them games they should have won, we’d likely be on the same page. But it hasn’t. In fact, it’s been damned good and in a pressure situation.

        If Talbot will re-sign at something less than his current $3.6 mil per hit and share the load with Sogaard for another season or two, that would be infinitely better than signing/trading for any of those expensive 3, especially when a big chunk of their cap space will be eaten up by DeBrincat’s new deal and whatever Pinto gets in his RFA negotiations.

      • No thanks re. Gibson. Demko might work if he can be obtained at the right price and he can show some consistency for the rest of the season. Same goes for Jarry.

        Actually, Forsberg is in a similar situation. but I’m now worried about the long term effect of his knee injuries.

  8. Talk about goaltending
    Last nights game , Vancouver vs Toronto is a perfect example of a goaltender stealing a game

    Demko was outstanding , motivational to the team , eventually the Vancouver team wants to be part of the matinee and they all play to their potential

    I thought Murray played well , made a couple of outstanding saves , couldn’t be faulted , as his team caved in front of him , especially the 2 short handed goals to the leagues worse power play .

    A lot of new additions to the Leafs , but they have to figure it out , or else another disappointing season …

    IMO , Murray will have to be the go to guy come playoff time , but needs his team to be fuelling on all cylinders in order to compete
    Keefe has to figure this out !!! It’s his duty as a COACH !

    A lot of Samsonov fans on here , I am not aboard .
    Murray has to some how stay healthy , has issues – absolutely, although a proven playoff performer

    • Ken, I didn’t watch that game – but 4 goals on 24 shots while the Leafs peppered Demko with 37.

      Were those short-handed goals by Vancouver breakaways?

      • George, yes, and one was virtually a 2 on 0. Game was tied when all that happened.
        Not sure 11 forwards and 7 defence men is the answer.
        Sheldon Keefe’s turn under the spotlight.

    • Hi George,

      I feel like young Sogaard will need minimum 2 more
      years to get seasoned into the NHL, maybe he can back up next year..🤔 but you still need a good #1 to train him and help him get to #1…

      if we trade for Demko or Gibson it could cost a lot 1st pick and a good young guy?

      I would go with Tristan Jarray would be the most cost efective way to go to get one of these 3 Goaltenders.
      As a UFA Jarry would be in the $5.5 to $6.5 Range to sign as a UFA ❓ At the End of year 3… He would be a tradable asset for the team Still only at 30 yrs old

      If we can get The Cat signed for $8.M.. and young Pinto a bridge deal for 2-3 years at $2 to $2.5 then by year 3 the cap is way up and its all ok
      Sounds like they want to bring a couple of the old guys back?
      Brassard, Hamonic & maybe Holden.. but i think they need to get someone like Big like Scott Mayfield from NYI who is a UFA and hard hitter back there on D…

      For 4th line Centre i think they should look at the guy the brought back from Europe last month who was the Hawks 4th line centre 2 years ago 6.ft 1 C & RW John Quenneville from the farm team,..⁉️

    • Hi Ken.

      Your right Goaltending is 50% of the Win right there

      its Key if you dont have a #1 Goaltender to help you out
      Ottawa has to look at one of these 3 Goaltenders to make it work for the next 3 Years and to bring
      Young Sogaard is the goaltender of the future its all on his development right now just turning 22…🤔

      Samsonov is very young at 25…, and has lots of potential ,…

      Murray is a walking Injury Zombie 😳

  9. Tampa is looking more and more like a veteran-laden team that, knowing what it takes to consistently win during the stretch run – when few games are “gimmes” – that’s decided they have no interest in putting out that consistent effort.

    • Even more so as, at this time (5:10 pm EST) they’re down 4-0 to cross-state rival Florida in the 3rd. This is a team unraveling right before our eyes.

  10. Well , I think they should do a video of Steve Dangle and myself viewing a performance , as per a Vancouver – Leaf game for example

    What a duet viewing that would be …
    People that actually know me , compare me to him

    @George – as per your above comment – I think Cooper sat out his top line last night – make a statement

    • Well, he sat them out in the 3rd period.

  11. The Avalanche got what they deserved yesterday! They were “snowed under” by the Stars. No excuse for AVS, they got taken to school; should no better when facing a division rivalry and going for 1st place? . Hopefully rebound tonight. It’s all mental with the Avalanche despite the injuries. They have to take better care of the puck; they are really wreckless with their puck management. If you do that to them; like what dallas did , you can beat them but If the Avalanche are responsible with the puck and get the “juggenranut” going, watch out! GO AVS!!!!!!!!!

    • 💥

      The Canes Just Hammerd the Tampa Bay 6-0 this afternoon…..😳❗️

      Andrei Vasilevskiy was in Net… maybe he was out with Sponge Bob from the Panther’s for a Beer🤣