NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2023

by | Mar 8, 2023 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Sidney Crosby caps a five-goal comeback by the Penguins over the Blue Jackets, Cale Makar has a four-point night as the Avalanche shut out the Sharks, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied in overtime as his club overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. Crosby finished with three points on the night, Evgeni Malkin had three assists and Jason Zucker scored two goals for the Penguins, who improved to 32-22-9 and hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 73 points. The Blue Jackets fell to 20-37-7 as goaltender Elvis Merzlikins left the game following the first period with an illness and was replaced by Michael Hutchinson.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby now sits second on the all-time list for regular-season overtime goals with 20, five behind Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Before the game, the Penguins recalled Alex Nylander and placed center Ryan Poehling (undisclosed) on long-term injury reserve.

The Colorado Avalanche blanked the San Jose Sharks 6-0 with Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin each scoring a goal and adding three assists. Alexandar Georgiev made 14 saves for the shutout as the Avalanche (35-21-6) hold third place in the Central Division with 76 points. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson received a 10-minute misconduct in the third period for throwing his helmet on the ice in reaction to being cut by a high stick by Alex Newhook that went uncalled by officials. The Sharks dropped to 19-34-12 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar reached the 50-point mark for the third time in his career and for the second straight season. He’s also the third active defenseman to reach 50 points in fewer than 50 games multiple times in their career, following Karlsson and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brent Burns. The Sharks, meanwhile, played without blueliner Radim Simek as he’s listed as week-to-week with recurring concussion symptoms.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they nipped the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on a shootout goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Frederik Andersen (13 saves) got the win after Antti Raanta was sidelined in the first period by an undisclosed injury, lifting the Hurricanes to 42-12-8 as they sit second in the overall standings with 92 points. Jake Allen made 36 saves and Michael Pezzetta had a goal and an assist for the 26-33-5 Canadiens.

Third-period goals by Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the New Jersey Devils by a score of 4-3. Mitch Marner and William Nylander each had two points for the Leafs (39-17-8) while Erik Haula and Ondrej Palat each had three points for the 41-16-6 Devils. With 88 points, the Devils are four back of the Hurricanes for third place in the overall standings with the Leafs just two points behind them.

The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a five-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 33 shots while Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each had two goals and an assist for the Lightning (38-21-5) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 81 points. Philadelphia defenseman Tony DeAngelo received a five-minute major and game misconduct for spearing Lightning winger Corey Perry in the groin. The Flyers fell to 24-29-11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without Victor Hedman as the veteran defenseman is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Third-period goals by Josh Bailey and Hudson Fasching lifted the New York Islanders over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Bailey, Fasching and Casey Cizikas each finished with a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 33-25-8 and hold a one-point lead over the Penguins for the first Eastern wild-card berth with 74 points. The Sabres (32-27-4) have dropped four of their last five games and sit five points back of the Penguins with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres seemed poised to break through into a wild-card berth less than two weeks ago but their momentum has stalled. They and the Penguins have the same number of games remaining (19) but the Sabres hold three games in hand over the Isles, who are six points ahead of them. If they don’t snap out of their funk soon, the Sabres will miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.

The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, moved two points ahead of the Sabres and three back of the Penguins with a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 31-save performance while Ryan Lomberg and Aleksander Barkov scored for the 32-27-6 Panthers. Shea Theodore replied for the Golden Knights (38-20-6) as they remain in first place in the Western Conference with 82 points by holding one more win over the Dallas Stars.

Seattle Kraken forward Jared McCann extended his team-leading goal total to 31 as his club downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. McCanna and rookie center Matty Beniers each finished with two points as the Kraken (37-21-6) sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. Trevor Zegras and Max Comtois replied for the 21-35-8 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCann, 26, has blossomed into a scorer since joining the Kraken in the 2021 expansion draft. He had 27 goals and 50 points in 74 games last season and now has 31 goals and 50 points in 61 games.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild. Tyler Toffoli netted the game-winner while Jacob Markstrom made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season. With 71 points, the 29-23-13 Flames are four back of the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Wild (36-21-7) are two points behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 79 points.

A 40-save performance by Karel Vejmelka carried the Arizona Coyotes over the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-2, snapping a three-game losing skid. Clayton Keller had a goal and two assists while Travis Boyd tallied two goals for the 22-32-10 Coyotes. Pavel Buchnevich scored both goals for the 27-31-5 Blues.


  1. The Jackets simply dissected Pittsburgh in the 1sr and 2nd periods. Unfortunately, youth and inexperience meant too many mistakes in the 3rd.

    • No challenge re Jackets outplaying Pens first 1/2

      Jackets by far outplayed Pens early in the game…. and the ; goals were in no way Jarry’s fault

      youth/inexperience re Jackets in third partly to blame , but fear (of heading out of playoffs) and desperation by Pens also contributed

      Don’t forget the Hutchinson in for Merzlikins contribution towards the loss as well

      Jackets “youngins” are a very good sign for their future….and some goof prospects coming and 2 first rounders this year!!

    • Pens vs Jackets, entertaining game. All the big names made an appearance… except Johnny hockey. Rough night, minus 1 and 0 points.

  2. Note to HexBurkie from Lyle above…

    “McCann, 26, has blossomed into a scorer since joining the Kraken in the 2021 expansion draft. He had 27 goals and 50 points in 74 games last season and now has 31 goals and 50 points in 61 games.”

    In return for McC….. Pens got a player that likely will never play in the NHL

    Pens effectively lost 2 good players (Turbo as well) in the Expansion draft

    McC still had a year left at $2.9 m and is on a $5M contract now…. Ya think McC would be the 3C solution for Pens ? YES

    Former Pen’s “throw aways” on Krakken (McC, Turbo; the Big Rig; Shultz; Sprong) for less than $17 M in Cap hit

    82 G pace of 107 G, 111A; 218 pts

    Hexburkie …., Kappy, McG; Petry; Rutta; Carter….. $18 M cap (so more) ; older; slower; smaller; way less in the gritty sense;

    82 G pace 65-84-149

    Not a smart set of moves

    Just McC/Turbo/Sprong as 3rd line over Carter/Kappy/McG alone would have Pens in 3rd in Metro right now (that’s just needing 7 game points)

    Great comeback by Pens last night; but the absolutely left Jarry out to dry on the first 4…. Absolutely zero chance of stopping first 3….zero

    And last one deflected up on the Petry poke check so very tough to stop that one

    Great on DeSmith holding the fort while Pens re-gathered and finally started playing

    Again…. Taking their opponents for granted

    Sully…, why are you playing Rutta/Kulikov??? P-O J is better than both!!!

  3. The NHL has a problem. They don’t know what control of the puck is. There have been similar plays to last night’s Wild and Flames game that were called onside.
    I think it’s time to get rid of the offside review. Or only review it at full speed.
    I haven’t liked this review since they were thinking of bringing it in. It can only be reviewed one way and it’s only meant to take goals off the board. If you can’t give a team back a scoring chance after a wrong offside call, then you shouldn’t be able to take a goal back after a wrong onside call.

    • I don’t like the slashing call when it’s stick on stick and the one-piece composite breaks in half. Such a weak call in my humble opinion. That never happened with wood sticks. I’m in no way against composite sticks because they’re great, but the penalty call is terrible.

      I also thought it was onside. I only watched it live, and one replay, though.
      I was also waiting patiently for a big dust up between Reeves and either Looch and Ritchie. Disappointed that never occurred.

      • Agree SOP, I always thought you could slash a guy on his stick?
        Maybe I am wrong about that.

        If so, the stick breaking should have no bearing on the call.

      • I agree with the stick-on-stick slash. That wasn’t the original idea of the rule. The idea of the rule was stick on the body to protect the player, not your stick.

  4. Jk’s name out there a lot recently for a guy who was only offered outta revenge…

    • Well 12 goals and a total of 30 points in 62 games in his 5th season is nothing to write your mother about. You are only seeing his name because he played well against the Habs but one has to wonder why he doesn’t put the same effort in his other games, says alot about him.

    • BTW, KK signed 3 contracts worth a total value of $54,935,035. The guys has 49 goals in 300 games and his playing on a powerhouse team. It was definitely out of revenge 😉

      • KK is still only 22 yrs old can’t you Habs fans let that go?…He’ll be a solid 3rd line C @$4.8m for 7 more yrs is a good contract. Bergevin is the one to blame not KK. Sheesh let that go.

    • I didn’t bring up the subject Rob, I just answered a I guess a Leaf fan, read his message

      • Rob, maybe he will be a solid 3rd line center but when you’re picking at #3, you want a front line player. He will never be that.
        Bergevins mistake was not in letting him leave. He wasn’t worth the offer sheet and signing a 3rd liner to a contract like that is nuts. The mistake was drafting him that high in the first place.

  5. Deangelo gets a phone hearing. too bad Tampa does not play Philly again this season

    • Malicious intent to injure.
      It wasn’t even debatable.
      Parros isn’t the right person for his job. I don’t care which school he went to. Time to replace him with a real hockey mind. Goons can get away with anything. Agitators get the dirty end of the stick.

      • To be honest, who wouldn’t want to spear Perry in the berries? LOL
        I would think any spear would start with a three-game suspension.

      • not defending the spitting but spitting gets 3 games which is the same as two of the ‘illegal hit to the head’ suspensions…another head got 2 games total

        and i take a nasty spit attack over a 220lb guy slew footing me