NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2023

by | Apr 21, 2023 | News, NHL | 31 comments

The Rangers take a 2-0 series lead over the Devils, the Avalanche, Golden Knights and Leafs bounce back to tie their respective series, plus updates on Joe Pavelski, Patrice Bergeron and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 5-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, Chris Kreider scored twice and Igor Shesterkin stopped 22 shots for the Rangers. Erik Haula replied for the Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils had a better start to this game compared to Game 1 but once again the experience of the Rangers shone through. The Blueshirts overcame a 1-0 deficit with veteran stars like Kane, Kreider and Vladimir Tarasenko leading the way. This series shifts to Madison Square Garden for Games 3 and 4 with the Rangers having an opportunity to pull off a sweep on home ice.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

John Tavares collected a hat trick and Morgan Rielly’s four assists tied a franchise playoff game record as the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-2. Mitch Marner scored twice and picked up an assist as the Leafs tied their series 1-1 as it heads to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A convincing bounce-back win for the Leafs as they avenged their humiliating 7-3 loss in Game 1. Tampa Bay played this game without sidelined defensemen Victor Hedman (undisclosed) and Erik Cernak (head injury). Hedman is listed as day-to-day and could return for Game 3 on Saturday. Lightning forward Mike Eyssimont (upper body) also missed this contest but be in the lineup for Game 3.

The Colorado Avalanche overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Seattle Kraken 3-2 and tie their series at a game apiece. Artturi Lehkonen, Valeri Nichushkin and Devon Toews scored for the Avalanche. Justin Schultz and Brandon Tanev tallied for the Kraken, who got a 38-save performance from goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The series heads to Seattle for Games 3 and 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A pep talk by sidelined captain Gabriel Landeskog in the first intermission helped the Avalanche recover from their shaky first period.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone scored twice and collected an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to tie their series 1-1. Jack Eichel scored his first-ever playoff goal while Laurent Brossoit kicked out 31 shots for the Golden Knights. The series moves to Winnipeg for Games 3 and 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers was sidelined for the second straight game. He’s been out of the lineup since April 11 with an upper-body injury.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Joe Pavelski will not travel with the Stars as they head to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series. The 38-year-old winger remains sidelined in concussion protocol. Head coach Pete DeBoer remains hopeful that Pavelski can return to the lineup later in the series.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason accused some of the Dallas Stars of embellishment during their first two games of the first-round series. “It’s a fine line because we don’t dive. The Minnesota Wild don’t dive,” he said. Meanwhile, it’s unclear if sidelined Wild centers Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Hartman will be ready for Game 3 tonight.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron remains questionable for Game 3 of his club’s series with the Florida Panthers. The 37-year-old remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered during the club’s final regular-season game in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many fans and pundits wondered why Bergeron played in what was a meaningless game before the playoffs began. It has since emerged that he wanted to play in front of his father in Montreal for what might be the last time as his dad is currently battling cancer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: New York Islanders coach Lane Lambert is struggling with limited options to replace sidelined defenseman Alexander Romanov (upper-body) in his club’s first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lambert said Romanov is getting closer to returning to action but didn’t indicate when he’ll be back.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings hope to avoid the slow starts that plagued them during the first two games of their series with the Edmonton Oilers. They overcame a 3-1 deficit for a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 and rallied to tie the second game 2-2 before falling by a score of 4-2. Game 3 goes tonight in Los Angeles.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins defenseman Jan Rutta underwent core muscle surgery and is in a recovery period of eight-to-ten weeks.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri called his fourth knee surgery “a quick cleanup” and expects to be ready for training camp in September.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Jason King will not be returning next season.


  1. I try never ever to blame the refs for a game. and my Toronto buddies were blaming so much on Wes Mccauley after their first loss.
    but that was a bizarre game called by Wes last night.

  2. That was a “must win” game for Toronto. If they couldn’t defeat Tampa at home while they played without Hedmann and Cernak, the Leafs may as well have conceded the series.

  3. One interesting stat from that Toronto-Tampa game … this time the Leafs held TB to just 22 shots on Samsonov.

  4. I fully expect Toronto to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and bow out in the first round.

    • Well, Paul, now it’s down to a best of 5 with Tampa holding home ice advantage … how the Leafs approach and actually play that first game in Tampa will be the decider in this series IMO.

      Not that they MUST win that one, but rather the tone of the game … if it’s a Tampa win it will need to be one where they had to work their butts off to get the win for the Leafs to be able to come back with a win in game 4.

      I still think they will win this series in 6.

      • I thought Tor would win last night but if anyone on here had said Tor would be leading the series in goals for after game 2 they would have been properly roasted.

      • George,
        What I’m thinking is that, as Toronto fails to get out of the first round year after year, the players feel more and more pressure to win. Which, in turn, raises the stress levels for the players, leading to mental errors and losses.
        The best thing that could happen for Toronto is for their fans to back off, easing some of the pressure on the players.

      • I picked Toronto to win this series, but don’t want it to happen because Hedmann/Cernak miss the rest of it.

      • Paul the Leafs are a better unit this year and players like ROR help with room I’m sure.
        The guy looks locked in, evidence of that when he was being egged on by a stick on his gloves on the bench by Maroon and he was laser focused. Reminded me of Kobe (RIP).

  5. If Tampa wants to continue with “goon” tactics that’s fine, but Toronto doesn’t have to buy in,
    Just play disciplined aggressive hockey , and try and stay out of the p. Box

    Jeannot enticing Schenn.to a scrap was a joke !
    Schenn should of maybe laughed at him and not indulge , why risk an injury with an idiot

    Vasilevsky will come in with a different mindset for sure for game 3

    Hopefully Hedman isn’t in the lineup

    • Tampa goon tactics ? Isn’t Tampa missing 2 players due to Toronto goon tactics ?

      • Leafs fans came off as very unclassy last night. Not being Canadian, this surprises me. The Canadian steroetype is that they are the nicest people on earth. This was not on display last not in Toronto. “Bad showing” Leafs nation

      • Lets not classify Leafs nation as being unclassy just because a small handful decided to be respectful.

      • Starsfan, while I appreciate the stereotype is out there it’s a bit misleading. We are generally more polite in public, and less angry in our public discourse, but when it comes to sports, not so much. Note that hockey is our game, and it’s the only one where your allowed to fight. And most of us understand why that’s a good idea.

        Then we have a beer together after, done it myself.

        If your referring to the fans by the penalty box last night in Toronto, it just goes to show you no country has a monopoly on stupid. WTF is with that guy? I’m sure his family is proud.

      • I fully expect the Leafs to get run and bullied all night in TB by the look on John Coopers face, so expect Maroon and Jeannot to be playing punch face in game 3.

    • That was one heck of scrap by those two men though, eh, Ken?
      Leafs are dialed in now. The rest of that series should be extremely entertaining.
      I’m not sure who I dislike more, Craig Simpson for doing color commentary, or Pat Maroon for bullying Gio.

      • I agree SOP this series so far has everything including teams swapping turns playing like they forgot how to play.

        It’s good that both teams got that bad/wtf games outta their system. I’m still looking forward to a nail-biter of a game.

        Igo I guess using “goon tactics” is a bit misleading I agree; but what do you call it when opposing players intimidate players between the whistles, with extra hits and punches the back of the head or stick swipes on the sticks and hands or challenging players to fight?

      • Well Ron, let me put it this way – I have more respect for Jeannot challenging Schenn than I do for McCabe and Bunting choosing to do what they did to Eyssimont and Cernak, rather than dropping the gloves.

        As far as Maroon’s intimidation, he did not invent that tactic, nor is he the only one attempting it in this series (speaking of McCabe), and it is certainly apparent in some of the other playoff series as well. Has anyone else been watching Boston/Florida ?

  6. meanwhile there was a good hockey game in Colorado. Fast and entertaining.

    Seattle was number one in the league 5 vs 5 this team is going to battle.

    Tanev scores a shorty, then blows a kiss to the Colorado fans, at that time put Seattle up 2-0.

    Winnipeg has themselves in a good spot and were controlling the play, then slowly but surely Vegas took or and kept pushing Winnipeg defense back.

    Got the split and home for the “white-out”

  7. The Bible commands us to honor our parents in order to be granted a long life on this earth. If Bergeron’s playing that final game in Montreal ends up costing him and the Bruins a shot at the Cup at least he’ll have earned a long life.

    • Bergy is a wonderful human, who was raised by wonderful parents, no doubt.
      I think it was very touching for him to honor his dad like that.
      He owes the fans and critics of the Boston Bruins absolutely nothing. He’s given his all to that team for over 20 years. Anyone calling him out for playing against the Habs in his home province, in honor of his pops should reevaluate their stance.
      I feel blessed to have watched his entire career in one sweater.
      Get better, Bergy. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

    • SOP no one knew and since it came out most have taken a different stance.

      I for one have said that it should’ve been the Ahl bruins playing against Montreal. Meaning Bergeron should not have been in the lineup.

      My disappointment was in Montgomery who put the lineup together.

      Upon hearing the news; My prayers for Bergeron and his family and unfortunately he couldn’t finish the game.

      • Looks like he might return for game 5, Caper.
        No Linus or Clifton tonight for sure.
        Swayman should be able to get it done, and Grizzy will help on the breakouts.
        Boring series so far though, don’t you think?

      • SOP is Linus hurt or?

        I would start him again if it was my decision and he’s healthy.
        If they lose 2 in a row, change it up, kinda have to.

        With you guys on Griz, puck management an issue in the wrong spots, and get we’re a bit disjointed trying to push it back the other way. He can help with that.

      • Sop agree hasn’t been very physical at all.

        I thought Ullmark still looked sick last game.

        I’m not surpised if it’s Swayman, they gone both goalies all season. This would be the game i pick for Swayman, not to blame Ullmark but he hasn’t done many 3 games in a row. Swayman fresh, a wake up call. If he underperforms you can bring back a rested and hopefully healthy Ullmark for game 4

        I also be putting Lauko in and sitting Foligno and Grizz would draw into the series.

        Either move Forbort to the opposite side and sit Clifton or sit Forbort.

        Status quo is not an option.

      • There’s a flu going through the team. Wonderful timing.
        Foligno will sit as well.
        Linus is a game time decision, but I agree with Caper. Let him spell of Linus……… unless he starts lunging at pucks in the 1st five minutes.

  8. Lyle, Apologies if my last comment came off as offensive and was unpublishable. Wasn’t aiming for that, just surprised to see. Sorry

    • No apology necessary, it was held for approval not because of what you wrote but because you had misspelled your screen name. I’ve approved it and it’s appearing now. Cheers!

  9. I’d be surprised if TML didn’t win this series with or without Hedman and Cernak playing.

    Tampa is a good team that has passed its best before date. Vasilevskiy is great but no longer unbeatable.

    Hard for me to like TML but it seems to me that they have grown from past losses and will advance.

  10. Back to back blowouts in same series….Usually sounds like a recipe for a series win

    These B2B blowouts however; were not done by the same team

    Back to square 1…. Series is tied

    Leafs should not take last night’s blowout as overconfidence…. I believe some of the over confidence going into hame 1 led to their poor start

    If Hedman is a scratch tomorrow…. Din’t go in cocksure…. Play as if he IS in the game

    Leafs…. Remember…. This is a series; not an individual game

    Bolts got what they hoped for…. at a minimum; a split of first two games

    Bolts are a good team with or without Hedman and Crnak