NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2023
The Flames pull even with the Jets for the final Western Conference wild-card berth, the Oilers become the first team since 1995-96 with three 100-point players and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames moved into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a 3-1 victory. Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves while Andrew Mangiapane and Nikita Zadorov each had a goal and an assist for the 37-27-15 Flames while Kyle Connor scored for the 43-32-3 Jets. Both teams have 89 points but the Jets still hold the wild-card spot with a game in hand and six more wins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still possible for the Jets to clinch this playoff spot but nothing’s certain given how both clubs are stumbling down the stretch. We also can’t forget that the Nashville Predators are just three points behind both clubs with a game in hand on the Jets and two games on the Flames. It should be an interesting finish for these three teams.
Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected an assist to become the third Oiler this season to reach the 100-point plateau in a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Klim Kostin had a goal and an assist and Jack Campbell turned aside 27 shots for the 47-23-9 Oilers (103 points) as they moved one point behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Tory Terry replied for the 23-45-10 Ducks, who also lost forward Brock McGinn in the first period with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nugent-Hopkins joined teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the 100-point club, marking the first time since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins that a team has had at least three 100-point players on their roster. Speaking of McDavid, he collected an assist to move within two points of 150 on the season. He’s poised to become the first player since Mario Lemieux in ’95-’96 to reach the 150 mark.
The New York Rangers downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3. Mika Zibanejad collected three assists while Chris Kreider and Tyler Motte each scored twice for the Rangers (46-21-11) as they moved within three points of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 103 points. Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel each had a goal and an assist for the 45-27-11 Lightning (96 points) as they sit third in the Atlantic Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adam Fox joined Brian Leech as just the second defenseman in Rangers history to post back-to-back 70-point seasons. It was a costly win for the Blueshirts as Jacob Trouba left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. Rangers winger Patrick Kane missed this contest with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs center Ryan O’Reilly will return to action on Thursday against the Boston Bruins. He’d been sidelined by a fractured finger since March 4.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich is expected to play tonight against the Rangers. He’s been out since March 28 with an upper-body injury.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner’s financial woes continue as he’s been accused of fraud by a major lender in his ongoing bankruptcy case. The 31-year-old netminder filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December claiming $5.1 million in assets and $27.3 million in liabilities.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes’ ongoing arena saga took another turn on Wednesday as the club filed a $2.3 billion lawsuit against the city of Phoenix for damages caused by the city’s legal filing on March 27 that acted against the club’s plans to build an arena and entertainment district in Tempe.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This filing by the city of Phoenix could scuttle the Coyotes’ arena plans. That could put them on the path toward relocation if the two sides can’t find a suitable compromise.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings promising forward Marco Kasper’s call-up has ended with the youngster suffering a season-ending lower-body injury. The 18-year-old skated in his first NHL game in a 5-2 win on April 2 over the Maple Leafs. He doesn’t require surgery but the injury will cut into his offseason training a bit.
TWINCITIES.COM: Being sidelined by an injury for 18 games earlier this season turned Minnesota Wild winger Brandon Duhaime into a Lego master builder. He filled the days during rehab and recovery building a 6,000-piece Hogwarts Castle replica. His latest project is an 8,000-piece Millennium Falcon, which is currently on hold since his return to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good for Duhaime for finding a constructive way to fill his time during his lengthy rehab. When I was recovering from a broken left leg and ankle in 1998, I resumed my childhood hobby of building model ships and planes. Sadly, all but my USS Missouri battleship were destroyed three years later during our move to Prince Edward Island.
THE ATHLETIC: The AHL’s Chicago Wolves’ affiliation with the Carolina Hurricanes expires following this season. They intend to become the first independent franchise in the league since 1994-95.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would mean the Wolves will no longer be a development team for an NHL club.