NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2023

by | Apr 6, 2023 | News, NHL | 21 comments

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 center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images).

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.


  1. Lyle re: SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would mean the Wolves will no longer be a development team for an NHL club.

    If I’m not mistaken, when AHL teams in the past operated as independents, there were “loan” arrangements, primarily to have a player closer to the “owning” team for call-ups, but also when an NHL team had a glut of one position at the development stage and wanted a player to have regular AHL action as opposed to the ECHL.

  2. So you lose at home to one of the worst teams in the league. You travel to play your 2nd half of back to back. Playing against a team who just had two strong outings and you come away with the win.

    Hockey is a strange and funny thing.

    RNH 100pts only 45 of the points are even strength.

    The Oilers have 4 players totaling 82 power play goals.

    ROR plays tonight against Boston.

    Not likely TB can catch Tor. This is really just a game on the calendar for both teams; However, I think it will probably play more like a playoff game.

    Now that Dubas has spoken to the league in regards to Bunting not getting the calls, it will be interesting to see how it goes.

    My money is on Bunting, trying to exploit the situation to see if he can draw more calls.

    • Nothing wrong with PP points. They all count the same. What a deadly PP does is keeps your opponent more honest.
      It was reported that in last year’s playoffs, there was 1 more penitently called per game than there was in the regular season. So they do call penalties in the playoffs.

      • Well the problem with PP points is when you don’t get PPs like in the playoffs so…. If you can’t score at a good rate on 5 vs 5 and things tighten up, you don’t see that as a problem?

        One good takeaway is if you’re down a goal or need a goal, knowing if you team lands a PP, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get it…that’s a big plus regardless.

      • You missed the part of my post where I said that last years playoffs penalties per game went up by a full call compared to the regular season.
        The Oilers also lead the NHL in 5on5 goals for. So they don’t have an issue scoring 5on5, 5on4, or even 4on5 as they lead the NHL in short-handed goals as well.

      • Oilers look really good. Calder should go to Skinner.
        Ekholm was the most significant pick up by any team in the NHL at the deadline.
        There. I said something positive about the Oil.

        Here’s my list of the next 5 cup winning teams
        New Jersey

    • Kevjam, I will counter that when the pp gets shut down, then what?

      Secondly they may call more penalties in the playoffs but what else is true is they let a lot more things go.

      Can Edmonton win without the pp?

      That will be answered soon enough.

      • Caper, Ron
        The pp hasn’t been shut down for any length of time in 3 years now . Also not sure if you guys realize but Edmonton sits 4th overall in even strength goals for as well.
        Goal scoring will not be a problem.
        Sticking to the details on the defensive side and cutting the high danger chances on skinner like they have been heading down the stretch will be the crucial factor. I’ve been critical of nurse all season long but he seems to be rounding in to form , ekholm will also be huge for the playoff grind .

      • The Oilers also lead the NHL in 5on5 goals, so they don’t just rely on the PP.
        The big difference this season from last season, is the Oilers are getting more production from the bottom 6. They have 4 forwards in the bottom 6 with 10+ goals so far this season. Nick Bjugstad has played 16 games with the Oilers since the TDL. He has 4 goals in those 16 games. Project that through 79 games this season, that comes to over 19 goals.
        The Oilers will again be a force in the playoffs this year.

      • Boston might have something to say about this with ORLOV..

      • Lots of good points Kevjam and Craig. With that said i would still be concerned.

        Draisaitl ranks 3rd in the league in goals 51
        ranks 1st in pp goals 31 which is 10 more then the next player McDavid
        ranks 55th in evg goals with 19
        He does have a shortie to get to his 51

        Edmonton also ranks 21st with ga; but they added a top 4 dman in Ekholm.

        SOP i think the calder is going to Matty Beniers out in Seattle

      • Oiler reg season PP % last year 26.0%, 3rd in the league.
        Their PP % in the playoffs was 26.0%, 6the for the playoff teams.
        #1 in the playoffs was cup champ Colorado at 32%.
        #2 was NYR at 32%.

        Cup winner the year before was at 32%, TB. 3rd for the playoffs but played way more games than the teams with a better %. COL was #1 again.

        PP seems kinda important in the playoffs as well is the only point I’m trying to make. 5 on 5 gets really tight, gotta make hay when you can.

      • I’ll spend zero time worrying about draisaitl. Don’t forget his performance on 1 leg in last years playoffs. You do make a good point about the gaa though , that’s why ekholm was added to help address that. So far , so good but going to need nurse playing well and the focus to detail and the defensive side like I mentioned in first post . If they can commit to that , and get good to above average goaltending I like there chances of coming out of the west.

      • Steve R,
        Since the trade deadline, the Oilers have had the NHL-best win percentage of .853 with 17 games played. 14-2-1
        At that same time, the Bruins are 4th with a .750 win percentage with 16 games played. 12-4-0
        There is just something about teams that just coast into the playoffs compared to teams that have played at a high tempo right to the end of the season.

      • Ray Bark, do you remember the bruins PP in 2011 cup win? I think it was ranked 16th.

        Not saying it’s important but guarantees nothing , as you pointed out Oilers PP was high but got them nowhere.

        Kevjam last 10

        Boston 9-1-0
        Edmonton 9-0-1

        Glad Boston coasting, not sure what they would do if they tried.

    • I read an article this morning in the Toronto Star about Bunting written by Nick Kypreos, who calls out Bunting for his embellishments, whining and pouting. Kypreos thinks that Bunting has lost the
      respect of both the players and the officials, and that officials think that Bunting is trying to show them up, which is bad news for the Leafs. Kypreos thinks that it is up to Bunting to adapt to the refs, not the other way around.

      I believe that the refs tried to do Bunting and the Leafs a favor with the way they called penalties in the Detroit game. You (Bunting) have got last nerve, and this is how it’s going to be in the playoffs kid. Clean up your act, or expect more of the same treatment.

      Do we know for a fact that Dubas spoke to the league to defend Bunting ? I felt that Keefe’s comments after Sunday’s game was whining, and if Dubas did say anything, it probably only made matters worse.

  3. Bunting would get more calls if he stopped embellishing everything. Until then doubt it
    Call a few more dives and he will stop

    • Old habits die hard … he’s probably been pulling that crap since he was in Novice/Pee Wee … likely worked then and on up through the various age levels

  4. The whole “will they/won’t they” saga with the Coyotes has nearly reached the who gives a damn stage. With other cities eager for a team, it’s time for the league to let them move.

    • Could not agree more with you PB. Time to 💩 or get off the pot as they say

  5. Kansas City Coyotes in two years haha