NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2023

by | Apr 5, 2023 | News, NHL | 23 comments

The Avalanche clinch a playoff berth as Nathan MacKinnon reaches 100 points, the Panthers vault into the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth, the Hurricanes reach the 50-win plateau, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Nathan MacKinnon gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks and clinched a berth in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs. MacKinnon scored twice and added an assist to reach the 100-point plateau in a season for the first time in his career. The Avs (46-24-6) sit atop the Central Division with 98 points with a game in hand over the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild, who each also have 98 points. Kevin Labanc scored twice for the 22-39-16 Sharks.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson collected an assist and has 96 points on the season with five games left in the schedule. He has an opportunity to become the first NHL blueliner to reach 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch in 1991-92. Karlsson’s teammate, Tomas Hertl, left his game following the second period with an undisclosed injury.

The Florida Panthers (40-31-7) nipped the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 to vault over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 87 points on the basis of wins. Matthew Tkachuk broke a 1-1 tie in the third period while Alex Lyon made 39 saves for the Panthers. Devon Levi stopped 34 shots for the 37-32-7 Sabres (81 points) as they remain six points behind the Islanders.

Speaking of the Penguins, they were thumped 5-1 by the New Jersey Devils as Dawson Mercer collected his first career NHL hat trick. With a record of 49-21-8, the Devils (106 points) remain three points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. The Penguins (38-30-10) slipped one point out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 86 points.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, blew a 2-0 lead over the Ottawa Senators but won the game 3-2 on an overtime goal by Martin Necas. Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (109 points), who became the second team to reach the 50-win plateau (50-18-9) this season. Claude Giroux and Brady Tkachuk scored for the 37-34-7 Senators (81 points), who remain six points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes reached the 50-win mark for the second straight season and the third time in franchise history.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist to sit one point away from a career-high 100-point season as the Oilers (46-23-9) hold second place in the Pacific Division with 101 points. Viktor Arvidsson replied for the 45-23-10 Kings as they sit one point behind the Oilers in third place in the Pacific.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second straight season the Oilers have reached the 100-point plateau.

The Seattle Kraken widened their lead over the idle Winnipeg Jets for the first Western Conference wild-card berth by dropping the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Kraken overcame a 2-0 deficit with Jordan Eberle leading the way with a goal and an assist. With a record of 43-26-8, the Kraken (94 points) sit five points ahead of the Jets. Elias Pettersson and Anthony Beauvillier replied for the 34-36-7 Canucks.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou tallied twice as his club snapped an eight-game losing skid with a 4-3 upset of the Calgary Flames. Petr Mrazek kicked out 33 shots for the 25-46-6 Blackhawks. Noah Hanifin had a goal and an assist for the 36-27-15 Flames (87 points) as they missed a golden opportunity to tie the Jets (89 points) for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will get another chance tonight when they face off against the Jets in Winnipeg. However, the Jets will still hold that berth if the Flames win on the basis of a game in hand and total wins.

The Nashville Predators kept their playoff hopes alive by nipping the Vegas Golden Knight 3-2 on an overtime goal by Cody Glass. Tommy Novak scored twice for the 39-30-8 Predators as they sit one point back of the Flames and two behind the Jets. Alex Pietrangelo tallied two goals for the Golden Knights (48-22-8) as they hold first overall in the Western Conference with 104 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Aston-Reese tallied twice as his club doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. The Leafs (46-21-10) sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 102 points. Blue Jackets goaltender Jet Greaves stopped 46 shots in his NHL debut as his club dropped to 24-45-8 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe indicated goaltender Matt Murray was day-to-day with a head injury. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, announced the signing of forward Yegor Chinakhov to a one-year, $800,000 contract extension.

The Detroit Red Wings blanked the Montreal Canadiens 5-0 as Ville Husso turned in a 24-save shutout. David Perron had two goals and an assist for the 35-33-9 Red Wings while the injury-depleted Canadiens sank to 30-42-6.

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 32 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jordan Kyrou netted his 37th goal of the season for the 36-35-7 Blues while the Flyers dropped to 29-35-13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Blues coach Craig Berube announced that defenseman Marco Scandella will miss the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury.


  1. Congrats Mac K

    Welcome to the NHL Mr. Greaves…. love the first name… Chevy , were you watchin’ ….. looking for a trade? Baptism by fire…. 50 shots… 940 save %…. Not bad for a debut as an emergency call up

    Leon Leon Leon….. on fire good sir. 5-4-9 and +8 in last 4 games.

    Bedard… hi-hum….. first 3 (THREE) play-off games…. 6-5-11 +7 ….. holy crap Batman

    Flames…. Down to a distant ember…. Is there any chance Sutter is back next year??

    Now…. The other game I watched last night….here’s a little story of two 35 year old defenders (who are closing in on a combined 1,900 NHL games) that decided to go pinch-happy and D-delinquent in their teams’ most critical game so far this season….. result….

    TWO 4 on 1’s on their goalie
    THREE 3 on 1’s on their goalie (1 of those while their team was on a PP)
    SEVEN 2 on 1’s on their goalie (3 of those while their team was on a PP)
    Goalie (who did yeoman’s work and had several 10 bellers…. Left out to dry)

    End result… outside the playoffs, looking in💩💩🤬🤬👎👎

    On the bright side, per tankathon lottery odds this morning… their team has a 2.1 % chance of picking FOURTH overall, and a 1% chance of picking FIFTH overall.

    And …. If they continue to play like that, perhaps Detroit can catch and pass them (is mathematically possible)…. Their team would then have a 3% chance at Bedard

    ….. OR…. wait for it….

    They could review last nights game films, learn by their abhorrent play, pick up their socks….. play hard for their last 4 games, get in ,streak alive….. but pick 17th in a strong/deep draft; get swept by Bruins but still get 2 home gaits; delay their golf season by just 10 days…. But know that GM will be fired, big changes afoot where team gets better, younger , faster and more competitive next year…. Where streak can continue

    Is it door #1 …. with embarrassment, shame and depression, but Uber early golf season and very very long odds at Bedard and a slightly better (still remote) odds at picking top 5?????

    Or door #2… streak alive, pride intact, future bright with but the downside of 10 days delay of the start of your golf season??

    You weren’t expected to win last night…. But you also weren’t expected to mail it in and leave your goalie hanging in the wind!!

    I have something for you….

    A Football Crowd Chanting ‘This Is Embarrassing’ Gives the Audio Illusion of Other Possible Phrases


    • Added note on Jet (named for Bruce Lee’s son) Greaves’ game. That fourth goal was into an empty net. Of the three that got by him, only the first was one he’d want back.

      On a related note, Greaves and Gilles may be making the Jackets plan for next year’s goalie arrangement questionable.

      • Well he certainly impressed me

        Re name… were his parents marshall arts enthusiasts or maybe marshall arts competitors ??

      • I have no idea. That little tidbit was dropped by Jody Shelley, the Jackets’color commentator, during the game.

      • Bruce Lee’s son was named Brandon, he was the star of the original Crow movie where he was killed on set in a tragic accident. Jet Li is no relation to him.

      • Where did anyone get the idea that Jet Li and Bruce Lee were related? Bruce only had one son…Brandon.

      • Oh, gee, so sorry for not knowing everything. I suppose you two walk on water and raise the dead.

  2. I realize that small sample sizes can be very misleading and rarely show continued equal performance… but…

    Before last week… 30 year old Alex Lyon was basically a career minor leaguer, with but 30 NHL games under his belt and a career NHL sub 900 save %


    In the last week …. 4 W’s , no losses, 959 save percentage

    Lyon is making League Min

    Remember… Bobo this year is a 900 goalie; is only 24-20-3; has blown several games….. yet has a $10 M Cap hit

    Just sayin’

  3. Well Pengy, there’s that 1 point the algorithm projected for Ottawa over their final 5 games – a 3-2 OT loss to Carolina – with yet another rookie goalie in nets – Leevi Merilainen from Finland who the Senators drafted from the Kingston Frontenacs who stopped 34 of 37 shots. Not too shabby.

    • Senators have a productive goalie farm

      Yeah that model was complete whack-a-doodle

      Guess you won’t get the luxury of Tim’s and I’ll be saving over $100 (as I’d be donating the rest of the bag) for a cup o’ Jo I do not like at all

      All good

  4. Pengy

    If pens can get win vs wild they should get in based on last 4 games of year. Pretty soft final 3 for them. Isles should win 3 of 4. And panthers should split 2-2 based in final 4 records 1of the 3 going to choke to someone they shouldn’t

    • Yes Mrbruin4 the schedule looks favorable, as it did for Calgary last night.

      • Friggin Kadri. Where was his head last night?

    • Wings will be Penguin killers thid year! Bank on it! 😁

      • Hi JZ

        I’m certainly not banking on it; but am aware that the possibility is there

        If Pens play like last night…. Yep … bank on it

    • I agree MB4…. Pens SHOULD get in ; IF they beat Wild

      That’s a very wonky IF and a long shot IF

      To me…. More likely, if they can pull their heads out of their buttocks….

      Pens lose in reg to Wild, get final 6 points …. End with 92 points (note…. They do NOT have tie/breakers over either Isls or Cats…. Regulation Wins)

      Cats…. V Sens; @ Caps; V Leafs ; V Canes…. The last teo might be irrelevant games to Leafs and Canes (so might sit regulars)… so Cats should fairly easily get 6 points….. should definitely br in

      Isles…v Bolts, V Flyers; @ Caps; v Habs

      I don’t think they can get to OT with Bolts

      So Pens realistic hopes are Isles getting no mote than 4 points from Flyers/Caps/Habs

      Not much of a promising next week of play for Pens

      • I will be at the Pens/Wings game Saturday….looking for another W for the Red & White over the Black & Gold.

  5. All these players with Winnipeg on their ntc!!!

    They don’t know what they’re missing!!!!

    There has been snow on the ground between November, December, January, February, March, and April!

    Presently, in the midst of a nice April snow storm between 25cm and 35cm coming so they say.

    Snow day in April got to love it!!

    Jets are home to Calgary, as long as they could fly in.

    The flames players are going to be so depressed about being here, should be a 5-0 win for the Jets.

    The weather outside says it’s Hockey Time!!!

    Me I say something else.

    • Lol. Nice. I admire your positive spin on the Peg, Caper. Great fishing over there as well, I hear.

      • Well, with a lake seemingly every half mile, not only is the fishing great but so are the friggin’ mosquitos. LOL.

      • Sop and GeorgeO you’re both correct.

        That is why the deck at my cottage is screened in.

        Did you know Big Buff still comes here in the winter to ice fish.

  6. Sorry Pengy- when it looks like your GM’s best moves since the end of last season were the resigning of your future HOFers……
    Trade for 32 year old Kulikov
    Trade for 34 year old Bonino
    Trade for 31 year old Granlund
    Waive 26 year old Kapanen(12 pts in 19 games for STL)
    Trade for 35 year old Petry
    Trade away 29 year old Matheson
    Trade away 25 year old Marino (21 mins a night for Devils)
    Extend 35 year old Letang
    Extend 36 year old Malkin

  7. let the east beat the hell out of each other…if av’s get landy, manson and lecky back for playoffs…look out!!!!