NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 28, 2023

by | Apr 28, 2023 | News, NHL | 28 comments

The Golden Knights eliminate the Jets, the Lightning stay alive against the Leafs while the Devils are on the verge of eliminating the Rangers. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are the first team to advance to the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series. Mark Stone had a goal and two assists, Chandler Stephenson scored two goals and former Jets backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit made 29 saves for the win. The Golden Knights await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings series.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved series win for the Golden Knights, especially over the last two games after defeating the Jets with an overtime victory in Game 3. Vegas forward Phil Kessel was scratched to make room for returning winger William Carrier. It’s the first game Kessel’s missed since 2009 but doesn’t affect his NHL Ironman record as that involves consecutive regular-season games.

Jets head coach Rick Bowness was furious with his club’s performance in this series and during the season. He vented his displeasure during a short press conference following the game, criticizing his players for a lack of pushback and pride. “I’m so disappointed and disgusted right now,” said Bowness.

Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers made his series debut in this contest after being sidelined since Apr. 11 with an upper-body injury but was held scoreless.

Changes could be coming for the Jets roster this summer. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

The Tampa Bay Lightning stayed alive in their series with the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 4-2 win in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots, Anthony Cirelli and Michael Eyssimont each had a goal and an assist and Nick Paul scored the game-winner for the Lightning. Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews tallied for the Maple Leafs, who hold a 3-2 lead in the series as it returns to Tampa Bay for Game 6 on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eyssimont replaced Tanner Jeannot, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

Leafs fans can be forgiven if a feeling of dread is creeping in right now. After all, their club was in a similar position two years ago against the Montreal Canadiens but went on to lose that series in seven games. I still believe the Leafs will win this one but if they lose Game 6 they could be in big trouble given their recent history.

The Lightning lacks the depth that carried them to three straight Stanley Cup Finals but they served up a reminder in this contest that they still have enough talent and heart to battle back. They’re not going to go quietly and they don’t want to be eliminated on home ice. Game 6 should be a dandy.

New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Akira Schmid turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the New York Rangers 4-0 in Game 5 of their first-round series. Erik Haula netted two goals and an assist while Dawson Mercer had a goal and an assist as the Devils hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up in New York on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are in trouble as the Devils have seized the momentum by overcoming an 0-2 series deficit to find themselves on the verge of advancing to the second round.

They’ve done it by effectively neutralizing the Rangers’ star-studded offense, especially their power play. Schmid has played a big role in that since taking over as the Devils’ starter in Game 3, allowing just two goals on 82 shots to pick up three straight wins.


THE DENVER POST: A Seattle police department report revealed a woman was found so intoxicated in Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin’s hotel room on Saturday that a team doctor called an ambulance to take her to a hospital.

Nichushkin didn’t play Game 3 of the Avs’ first-round series with the Seattle Kraken later that day and hasn’t been with the team since the incident. A club spokesman declined to comment on whether Nichushkin’s absence to connected to the incident but said the winger is currently not with the team.

The Avalanche previously said Nichushkin was away from the club for “personal reasons.” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said his ongoing absence isn’t disciplinary and not related to legal issues, adding the team has been in contact with him. Bednar offered no timeline as to when Nichushkin might return to the lineup.

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson said there is no criminal investigation stemming from this incident. A Denver Police Department lieutenant who travels with the Avalanche told Seattle police that there were “no reports of any criminal interactions.”

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov is confident he’ll break out of his four-game scoring slump against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 tonight in Minnesota. The Stars lead the series 3-2.

TSN: There’s a chance that Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen could make his debut in this postseason tonight against the New York Islanders. He’d been sidelined from the first five games due to illness and an undisclosed injury. The Hurricanes hold a 3-2 series lead over the Islanders and could wrap things up with a win tonight.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins center David Krejci traveled with his team to Florida and hasn’t been ruled out of playing in Game 6 against the Panthers tonight. The Bruins hold a 3-2 series lead.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings forward Blake Lizotte could be ready to return to the lineup for Game 6 of their first-round series with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. He’s been sidelined since Game 2 with a lower-body injury.


  1. Rangers showing no heart and the coach keeps trying the same round piece into a square hole.

    The Devils seem to have a similar structure to the Hurricanes.

    • No worries. I’m sure Trouba will elbow one of the Devil’s star players in the head with an elbow or some equally dirty hit. Honestly, it’s the only thing he really contributes. The league will then slap him on the wrist and chalk it up to playoff hockey. Meanwhile, Devils fans will be just left shaking their heads.

      • Maybe he elbows someone with his knee? Just to shake things up

  2. Nichushkin must have gotten some bad news from home? This has to affect his teammates!

    • That does not really explain the super drunk lady in his room Quite possible he broke curfew and picked her up and got wasted etc. Avs would try to keep any external noise from affecting the team
      Will probably know more when Avs are eliminated

      • We are not eliminated yet there friend!…You better worry about your own team?

      • Tommy

        Not suggesting Avs are done in rd 1. Just no full story till after playoffs
        Bruins are fine

  3. Yep, and with a goalie getting the SO who, at 6’5″ 205 lbs, was drafted in Round 5, 136th overall in 2018 and has all of 27 NHL games under his belt.

    Meanwhile, Ottawa has a 6′ 7″ 200 lb goalie who was taken in Round 2 – 37th overall – in 2019 and who has only played 6 games less – but there are those who believe he’s not ready for prime time.

    Yes, there have been instances where goalies have been rushed too soon … but there are also examples who stepped right into the NHL without missing a beat.

  4. Pld was a -3 after Vegas first 3 goals. He deserved each minus.

    With any effort at all, he could’ve easily prevented 2 goals.

    There was no push back, no effort except from the 3rd and 4th liners.

    With that said I don’t get the purpose of Bowness press conference.

    There will be changes in the off-season and I think Bowness should be part of the changes.

    I’ve watched PLD dominate games at time. He was only noticeable last night for his zero effort.

    PLD wasn’t the only passenger last night but the highest profile.

    Kyle Connor did not play well and little effort.

    With Morrissey and Scheifele out and Ehlers just coming back, this team doesn’t have the depth to beat Vegas. But you want to see a team play like they think they can win.

    • Caper, or have the team play like to hate losing. From everything I have read from later in the season, and now again the playoffs, is some guys don’t hate losing and are fine with it. Me vs we perhaps.

      I’m usually with ya on not calling out specific players, but in this case it depends what’s actually going and is he right or not? Is it that bad and that obvious?

      I’ll take a stab at the purpose of the Bowness press conference – it was for the players that do hate to lose and that give max effort game in and game out.

      My guess is they are just as pissed off as Bowness and thinking; will somebody with the ability/authority to change this please do it already?

      If you don’t get rid of the guys who don’t give a crap, you will lose the guys that do.

      It’s true in the real world workplace, so guessing it’s true on an NHL team too.

      I dunno, not in the room, but sure lots of smoke on this topic for the last 2-3 years in WPG.

    • Ray, the lightning rod here in Winnipeg has been Mark Scheifele and since he didn’t play last night, this effort isn’t on him.

      Ellerslie played hard and Morrissey is out, so not them.

      That leaves you with Hellebuyck, Wheeler, Connor, PLD and Lowry.

      I would scratch Lowry and Hellebuyck off the list.

      Although last night effort not on Scheifele but his indifferent play all season I would still put him on the list.

      PLD, Wheeler, Scheifele and Connor is the list.

      Wheeler stills puts the effort in but he is on the decline and don’t know the room dynamics. With another year left at $8.25 not the easiest of moves.

      This roster will be different on opening day.

      • Ya Caper, Wheeler can’t get moved until the TDL and eating 50%. That might be tough too. Team scouts will watch these games and see what Jet’s fans and media see, so the value of the other 3 is down too.

        The good news in all this is the other 3 are talented players, and only have a year left, and should at very least be motivated by $$ in their contract year. So somebody will give up assets for them as the risk is lower and even selfish folks will work hard for a year with 10’s of millions on the line.

        I never thought WPG was a cup contender, but was rooting for them to have a decent playoff. Too bad for the fine citizens of MB.

        Go B’s!

    • Caper, the purpose of the press conference was clearly a message about commitment and accountability. Bowness singled out his best players and cited a lack of pride. You likely are well aware of his comments.

      You will remember that Maurice quit halfway through the ’21 season. I recall no such non-health related incident in my years watching the game. And, Bowness has a reputation as a player’s coach. An early interview in the “Peg had one player say: he’s like your dad, he gets disappointed in you.

      That’s off memory, but you get the gist. Bowness is not Torts, so his comments are all the more remarkable, IMO.

  5. .
    I Don’t Blame Jets head coach Rick Bowness for being So Furious with his Teams Playoff Performance✔️

    they were bad early on then got better then played like crapp in the playoffs…⁉️

    I think its time for a New GM in Winnipeg to handle a Rebuild ……as the jets wont make the playoffs next year and 3 of there Best players are UFA in 2024 & then i 3 more good ones are UFA in 2025……..🤔

    I wonder if the Coach will come back next season he dose not look happy at all❗️ that why Paul Maurice left the jets he tried and tried …. they have majior problems there.

    • Well, with 1 down I’m 1 for 1 in the prediction contest – called Vegas in 5.

  6. True hockey fans want to see a series go to 7 games

    This Leaf’s fan therefore can’t be a true hockey fan as I wanted the series over last night

    The organization might appreciate the extra gate revenue (they rolling in dough anyway)…. But game 7 it’s always an “anything can happen” game

    Tears on my pillow

    • Many games 7s over the years have been decided upon which team is more apt to choke – i.e., from the aspect of how many of the players have experienced a game 7 before, goalie experience in such situations, tendency to over-check and therefore receive more penalties. S*&t like that.

      • So true George

        There are also those…. Holy crap Batman moments

        I know I shouldn’t get ulcers over a game 7 as I still believe Leafs can’t best Bruins this year…. But I’m feeling some anxiety re a Game 7

        The bright side (?) …. Leafs losing in game 7….. change absolutely has to, and will, happen

    • .
      Hi Pengy,
      leafs in game 6 or game 7 They Never go well for the leafs as per the last 6 first Round Knock outs…

      They just want to get past the first round…
      if TB beat them Saturday down in Tampa…
      they may well get beat again back in toronto for game 7 they start to run around….❗️

      That when Ryan O’Reilly will need to step up and take charge of the team with a few of the Newer & and Older players they brough in at the dead line, like Noel Acciar & Luke Schenn… and some of there older d/men also….🤔

      John Tavaris cant seam to get the leafs going at crunch time game 6 & 7 as that when the Maple Leafs Choke over the past 6 year in the First Round……..⁉️

      • And watch … Keefe will now bow to public pressure and re-insert Bunting into the line-up.

        Which is fine if he sticks to hockey and leave the dumb stuff on the shelf. BUT, if he does do something stupid and it costs them the game – or is seen as a factor – I hope they single out those same idiots who were shown clamoring for his return to the line-up and ask them point blank “so what’s your opinion on Bunting now?”

        Then again, if he keeps his cool and contributes offensively they’ll have a right to crow.

        Ahhh, future hindsight, ain’t it grand?

      • Hi Willie

        As I mentioned above … Win…. And I still can’t see them getting past Bruins

        Lose game 7 …. Changes must (and will) happen

  7. Nothing beats a game 7. Unless it is fine 7 OT

    • OT in Game 7 of the STF! 😉👍

  8. There is likely to be seriously bad weather in Tampa Saturday night; sufficiently so the the ice may be a bit slow even with the world class dehumidification system. Bad bounces galore when this happens.