NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2023
Sabres rookie Devon Levi backstops his club to a crucial win in his debut game, Stars winger Jason Robertson breaks a single-season franchise scoring record, plus the latest on Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi made 31 saves in his NHL debut in a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers. Jeff Skinner scored the game-winning goal as the Sabres improved to 36-31-7 to move within five points of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 79 points. Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox scored for the Rangers (44-21-11) to force the extra frame. With 99 points, the playoff-bound Rangers sit three points back of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division.
The Dallas Stars got a four-point performance by Jason Robertson (one goal, three assists) to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. With 42 goals and 95 points, Robertson broke Mike Modano’s single-season franchise record as the 41-20-14 Stars (96 points) moved within one point of first place in the Central Division. The Coyotes fell to 27-36-13 on the season.
Winnipeg Jets forwards Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. With the win, the Jets (42-31-3) maintained their two-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 87 points. The Red Wings dropped to 33-33-9.
Speaking of the Flames, they kept pace with the Jets thanks to an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli to nip the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Toffoli scored twice in this game to reach a personal best of 33 goals on the season for the 35-26-15 Flames. The Canucks sit at 34-34-7.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said defenseman Filip Hronek’s season is likely over as he continues to recuperate from a shoulder injury suffered earlier this season. The Canucks want Hronek to spend the next four months regaining his full strength to be ready for 2023-24.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 28 dealing with the effects of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews’ motivation for returning this late in the season with the Blackhawks eliminated from playoff contention is the realization that these could be his final games with the club. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
Toews said he’s not near deciding on retirement. Given his health issues, however, he must decide if he can physically withstand the rigors of an NHL season.
TORONTO SUN: Ryan O’Reilly returned to practice with his Maple Leafs teammates on Friday for the first time since suffering a broken finger on March 4. His goal is to be 100 percent before the playoffs open on April 17.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, winger Noel Acciari remains sidelined by a neck injury while Wayne Simmonds missed practice on Friday due to illness.
THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken winger Andre Burakovsky suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury that has delayed his return to the lineup. It’s hoped he’ll be ready in time for the playoffs.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks rookie winger William Eklund underwent successful season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Derick Brassard and defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower-body injuries) will miss Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators will honor the Covenant School shooting victims and their families on Saturday and for the remainder of this season.