NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2023

by | Apr 7, 2023 | News, NHL | 29 comments

The Kraken clinch their first-ever playoff berth, the Panthers maintain their hold on a wild-card spot while eliminating the Senators, the Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen reaches the 50-goal plateau, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: In just their second season of existence, the Seattle Kraken are headed to the playoffs after doubling up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Jordan Eberle and Jared McCann each had a goal and two assists while Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for the 44-26-8 Kraken, who hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 96 points. Barrett Hayton and Laurent Dauphin replied for the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the first time Seattle will have a team in the Stanley Cup playoffs since the 1919-20 Metropolitans lost the Cup Final to the Ottawa Senators. The Kraken join the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings among the Western Conference clubs that have punched their tickets to the 2023 postseason.

A 56-save effort by Alex Lyon and a four-point night (one goal, three assists) by Brandon Montour powered the Florida Panthers to a 7-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Aleksander Barkov scored twice and collected an assist for the 41-31-7 Panthers (89 points), who maintain their hold on the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Claude Giroux and Ridley Greig replied for the 37-35-7 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators coach D.J. Smith was ejected from the game for arguing with officials in the final minutes in a physical third period that resulted in six roughing penalties and three misconducts.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen tallied a hat trick to reach 50 goals for the first time in a 6-2 trouncing of the San Jose Sharks. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists for the Avalanche (47-24-6), who move into first place in the Central Division with 100 points. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson had a goal and an assist to move within two points of 100 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Head coach Jared Bednar had no timetable for Makar’s return.

The New York Islanders kept pace with the Panthers by dumping the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-1. Brock Nelson had a goal and two assists and Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 shots for the 40-30-9 Islanders, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth with 89 points. Steven Stamkos played his 1,000th career NHL game and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning, who hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 96 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles played without defenseman Alexander Romanov, who’s been sidelined since Sunday with an upper-body injury. They have the same number of points as the Panthers with each club having three games remaining in their schedules. However, the Panthers hold the advantage with 41 wins. The Lightning, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers have clinched the top six playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of the Lightning, winger Alex Killorn was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin on Wednesday. Teammates Tanner Jeannot and Pat Maroon both left this game with injuries. Head coach Jon Cooper called Jeannot’s leg injury “worrisome”.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins kept up with the Panthers and Islanders with a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Kris Letang and Rickard Rakell each had a goal and an assist while Tristan Jarry made 27 saves for the Penguins (39-30-10) as they sit one point out of that final Eastern wild-card spot with 88 points. Marcus Johansson replied for the Wild, who sit third in the Central Division with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the NHL department of player safety fined Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman $2,000.00 for embellishment during an April 2 game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Wild, meanwhile, lost Joel Eriksson Ek and Oskar Sundqvist to lower-body injuries.

The Buffalo Sabres kept their thin playoff hopes live by beating the Detroit Red Wings 7-6 on shootout goals by Jack Quinn and Alex Tuch. Dylan Cozens had two goals and an assist while Tage Thompson tallied his 45th goal of the season for the 38-32-7 Sabres (83 points) as they sit six points behind the Panthers and Islanders with two games in hand. Lucas Raymond collected three assists and Dylan Larkin netted his team-leading 32nd goal of the season for the Red Wings (35-33-10) as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes had two goals and two assists in an 8-1 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Timo Meier had two goals and an assist and Jack Marino collected three assists as the Devils reached the 50-win plateau (50-21-8) for the second time in franchise history as they sit one point back of the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with 108 points. Joona Luoto replied for the Blue Jackets, who lost winger Johnny Gaudreau as he left the game due to illness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes now has 95 points and sits one back of Patrik Elias for the Devils’ single-season record.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they were blanked 3-0 by the Nashville Predators. Juuse Saros kicked out 33 shots for the shutout while Mark Jankowski, Michael McCarron and Dante Fabbro scored for the 40-30-8 Predators (88 points), who moved within one point of the idle Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames for the final Western wild-card spot.

The league-leading Boston Bruins moved one step closer to tying the single-season wins record (62) by nipping the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on an overtime goal by David Pastrnak. Charlie Coyle scored the game-tying goal for the 61-12-5 Bruins (127 points). Sam Lafferty scored for the Leafs, who sit second in the Atlantic Division (103 points) and clinched home-ice advantage in their opening-round series with the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy left this game midway through the second period with an upper-body injury for precautionary reasons. Pastrnak, meanwhile, is just three goals away from 60 on the season.

Dallas Stars winger Joe Pavelski had a goal and two assists to lead his club to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Pavelski now sits one point away from 1,000 for his career. Jason Robertson scored twice for the Stars as they netted their 100th point of the season to sit second in the Central Division. Kevin Hayes replied for the Flyers while goalie Carter Hart returned to the net after missing five games with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are tied in points with the Avalanche but the latter holds first place in the Central with a game in hand and four more wins.

A four-goal first period carried the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and two assists and Phil Kessel collected two points for the Golden Knights, who sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 106 points. Anze Kopitar and Vladislav Gavrikov replied for the Kings, who sit third in the Pacific with 100 points.

An overtime goal by Kasperi Kapanen lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 upset of the New York Rangers. Jordan Binnington made 22 saves for the win. New York winger Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist against his former team. The Rangers sit third in the Metro with 104 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the department of player safety fined Rangers defenseman Adam Fox $5,000.00 for slashing Lightning winger Corey Perry on Wednesday.

The Montreal Canadiens snapped a four-game losing skid by beating the Washington Capitals 6-2. Joel Armia tallied a hat trick and Mike Matheson had three assists for the Canadiens. Dylan Strome had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who were officially eliminated on Tuesday from playoff contention. Capitals forward Anthony Mantha missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made 33 saves to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Andrei Kuzemenko scored his 38th goal of the season and J.T. Miller netted his 30th for the Canucks. Alex Stalock made 26 saves for the Blackhawks.


  1. To all here who celebrate as I do…

    Wishing you a peaceful Good Friday and a Happy Easter

    To those here who are Jewish (hope I got this right; had to google it)….

    Pesach Sameach and Chag kasher v’sameach

    • Have a blessed, peaceful, and happy Easter Pengy.

      • Thanks Iago

      • Not one comment on this site after Lyle’s mention of Rantanen’s 50 goal milestone, unbelievable? What league is everyone watching? 50,51 &52! I have one thing to say “The Moose is on the loose”!!! GO AVS!!!!!!

    • Happy Good Friday and Easter!

      Thank You for remembering us Jewish folks….

      • YW

        Did I post the greetings correctly?

  2. My PVR had a mind of it’s own last night….. so the first Leafs game I’ve missed in eons… my PVR thought Grey’s Anatomy was more important 🤬💩

    Glad that they’ve clinched home ice…, but….must be wary of the Bolts…. Are they actually ebbing in performance, or playing rope-a-dope?

    Still think Bruins are going to SCF

    Pens (PVR worked on that one)…. finally a very solid game…. A very solid game…..But winning out still doesn’t guarantee they get in because both Cats and Isle’s also won

    I believe that set of wins basically put Pens in the worst case in mathematical possibilities…. Now 0% chance at Bedard; AND must win out and hope at least one of Cats or Isles only get 4 of remaining 6 points (5 each for both… both have tie-breakers on Pens; Pens miss)

    Hoping for Pens in; swept (and badly) by Bruins, ,, result (vs just missing)…. Streak alive; move only 1 spot down on draft board; but ensures huge changes this summer including HexBurkie firing

    Miss the playoffs… pick 16th instead of 17th; HexBurkie fired; huge changes this summer…. But streak ends

    • Maybe trade Crosby, Guentzel, and a 1st for 1OA?

      • You lost me at trading Crosby

        Would obviously love Bedard…. But that just ain’t happenin’

      • And sentimentality and “loyalty” will get you nowhere fast.

        Just off the top of my head, these Hall Of Famers all wore different colours – some through trades –

        Bobby Hull; Doug Harvey, Red Kelly, Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Guy Lafleur, Jacques Plante, Daryl Sitler, Mats Sundin, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, Larry Robinson, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk, Dickie Moore

        and I could probably add as many more through research.

      • Bums. The lot of em.

      • Hi George

        it’s not sentimentality…. Just hockey and business…. Sid is still their best player; their franchise player; and is only being paid $3M this year; and for the final 2 years of his contract

        There is also the NMC

        Sid only gets moved; IF he wants to and IF he asks

        Only two other teams I can realistically see him end his career with; and both are longshots as I think he retires as a Pen….

        Avs…. Play with his bud Mac K

        and maybe Habs (he was a Habs fan as a child; AND his dad was drafted by them)

        I think he retires as a Pen…. But if they don’t fire HexBurkie and make huge changes this summer…. Who knows????

      • Hi George

        it’s not sentimentality…. Just hockey and business…. Sid is still their best player; their franchise player; and is only being paid $3M this year; and for the final 2 years of his contract

        There is also the NMC
        Sid only gets moved; IF he wants to and IF he asks
        Only two other teams I can realistically see him end his career with; and both are longshots as I think he retires as a Pen….

        Avs…. Play with his bud Mac K

        and maybe Habs (he was a Habs fan as a child; AND his dad was drafted by them)
        I think he retires as a Pen…. But if they don’t fire HexBurkie and make huge changes this summer…. Who knows????

      • Heh. Well, I suppose that, with only Mario Lemieux being an original Pittsburgh Penguin to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s understandable why they’d like to up it to 2. Marc-Andre Fleury will eventually get there … but they didn’t hang onto him.

      • If anyone is interested, here’s a list of the franchises showing the number of players for each who spent their entire careers with that team (not all, of course, are in the HofF)

        Montreal – 19
        New York Rangers – 15
        Chicago – 14
        Boston – 13
        Detroit – 13
        Toronto – 10
        New York Islanders – 5
        Minnesota/Dallas – 4
        Vancouver – 4
        Colorado – 3
        Philadelphia – 3
        New Jersey – 3
        Buffalo – 3
        Arizona – 2
        Los Angeles – 2
        Ottawa – 2
        St. Louis – 2
        Anaheim – 1
        Calgary – 1
        Nashville – 1
        Pittsburgh – 1
        Washington – 1
        Winnipeg – 1

        All the rest have 0 – so far.

      • Neat list. Don’t forget Malkin though. He’s probably number three. And tanger isn’t someone I’d rule out for hof either.

      • Oh for sure Chrisms there are a bunch “pending” – Stamkos in Tampa for example – but I realized after I posted the list, it doesn’t put things into proper perspective when comparing numbers since it doesn’t show how long the teams have been in existence so, not counting the pre-NHL structure or WHA, here’s the list updated

        Montreal – 1909 – 19 in 114 years
        New York Rangers – 1926 – 15 in 97 years
        Chicago 1926 – 14 in 97 years
        Boston – 1924 – 13 in 99 years
        Detroit – 1926 – 13 in 97 years
        Toronto – 1917 – 10 in 106 years
        New York Islanders – 1972 – 5 in 51 years
        Minnesota/Dallas – 1967 – 4 in 56 years
        Vancouver – 1970 – 4 in 53 years
        Quebec-Colorado – 1972 – 3 in 51 years
        Philadelphia – 1967 – 3 in 56 years
        Kansas City-New Jersey – 1974 – 3 in 49 years
        Buffalo – 1970 – 3 in 53 years
        Winnipeg-Arizona – 1979 – 2 in 44 years
        Los Angeles – 1967 – 2 in 56 years
        Ottawa – 1917-1934 and 1992 – 2 in 48 years
        St. Louis – 1967 – 2 on 56 years
        Anaheim – 1993 – 1 in 30 years
        Atlanta -Calgary – 1972 – 1 in 51 years
        Nashville – 1998 – 1 in 25 years
        Pittsburgh – 1967 – 1 in 56 years
        Washington – 1974 – 1 in 49 years
        Atlanta-Winnipeg – 1999 – 1 in 24 years
        Carolina – 1979 – 0 in 44 years
        Edmonton – 1979 – 0 in 44 years
        S0an Jose – 1991 – 0 in 32 years
        Tampa Bay – 1992 – 0 in 31 years
        Florida – 1993 – 0 in 30 years
        Columbus – 2000 – 0 in 23 years
        Minnesota Wild – 2000 – 0 in 23 years

        Vegas and Seattle haven’t been around long enough

      • GeorgeO that list is going to grow. With the salary cap and the long term deals and ntc, will impact all.

        Just looking at my Bruins (yes i own them) Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand potentially retire Bruins.

        As per your list 13 players in 99 years, that’s one player every 7.62yrs. That average is about to go up.

        Not sure where you put a player like Tuukka Rask on your list. Player drafted by Toronto but only played for one team is whole career.

      • Undoubtedly so, Caper – there are probably upwards of 10 sprinkled throughout the league right now who have played their long careers with one team – those Bruins – 2 Penguins – a couple in Tampa – Colorado at least 1 – and who knows in Edmonton.

  3. That Boston/Leafs game was entertaining and kept hearing how it’s again a playoff like game which is a whatever comment really.

    But let’s say it was a playoff game. The winning OT goal was scored just after a penalty expired on a 4 on 3. For those who watched, my question is, would that call been made if it was in OT in an actual playoff game? In my option it absolutely should be called but past experiences have shown that it’s not always the case…it’s when we hear the phrase the refs have put away their whistles or no ref wants to make the call that decides the game.

    It’s just another little nuance to this crazy game.

    • It was a good game to watch. Very low event for stretches and some nice quick action mixed in. Neither coach would show their playoff hand which I found amusing.
      The Leafs look really good though. I think everyone is kinda playing to not get hurt at this stage in the game. There were several opportunities for guys to level each other, and they passed on the hit or held up. I think that’s a good thing. Respect for one another goes a long way.
      Should be a fun playoffs.

    • Very intrestiong George,

      Looks like Nuge could be the first Oiler to play his whole carrer here in Edmonton….
      When he resigned here he said that was one of his
      Guarantees he wanted… that made him evem more popular 👌

      Hopfully 97 & 29 follow suit……❓🤔

  4. By the way, that algorithm prediction having Ottawa finish with 81 points may just be bang on considering their final 3 games – at home to Tampa (who might just be a little pissed following recent outings) tomorrow, at home to Carolina April 10 and @ Buffalo April 13.

  5. At Pengy, This was posted in the St Louis Blues Forum on another site. Tuesday 4/4/23 Pretty incredible by both the Pens and Blues Yesterday, the St. Louis Blues were eliminated from playoff contention mid-season for the first time since 2011.
    Below are the Blues’ numbers from 2011-12 to 2021-22. The first ranking is the Western Conference, and the second ranking is the NHL overall.
    483 Wins (1st) – (3rd)
    .634 PT% (1st) – (4th)
    2.92 GF/GP (1st) – (6th)
    2.53 GA/GP (1st) – (2nd)
    +321 Goal Differential (1st) – (4th)
    21.0 PP% (2nd) – (5th)
    83.2 PK% (1st) – (2nd)
    10 Playoff Appearances (1st) – (2nd)
    50 Playoff Wins (2nd) – (7th)
    1 Stanley Cup (T-3rd) – (T-5th)
    There isn’t a team in the Western Conference that comes close to matching STL’s consistency over the last eleven years. It all started when good ole Ken Hitchcock took over the reigns on November 6th, 2011. The Blues went from a promising team on paper, to the greatest regular season team for the next six seasons. Mike Yeo had his fun in 2017/2018, and then Berube took STL to the promise land in 2019. From coaches, to scouts, to ownership, to the general manager….massive respect to everyone within the Blues organization for making these last eleven years happen.
    Here are some more fun facts for ya:
    Since 2011, The Blues and Penguins are the only two franchises in all four major sports (NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA), to not play a regular season game while eliminated from playoff contention. That’s 2 out of 124 professional sports teams. This will change tomorrow.
    In that same span, the St. Louis Cardinals only played 5 games while eliminated from playoff contention. Outside of Penguins-Steelers, I don’t know if any city-combo can come close to matching that consistency.
    Now is the beginning of a new era. But no matter what the future holds, always remember: The St. Louis Blues are 2019 Stanley Cup champions. #blues

    • Thanks Brian

      Those numbers really put the Blues last decade of success into perspective. Being so focused on the East; I hadn’t realized how well Blues had been doing over that ling of a span of time

  6. Ive been on this Hextall kick this season and wondering how anyone lets him run an NHL team

    Two springs ago he had these 5 players in his bottom 6 and they are all gone….All 5 better than anyone of their bottom 6 players at this point(sure Carter is Carter
    Frédérick Gaudreau
    Sam Lafferty
    Evan Rodrigues
    Brandon Tanev
    Jared McCann

    • He has been an absolute brutal GM…. All started with the expansion draft and handing over McC….. for basically nothing….. right through TDL this year…. Where he made thr league’s oldest team; older, slower; smaller; worse….. AND gave up assets to do so….. AND is stuck with a $5 M non producing , small forward….. for 2 more years

  7. Where is Brian Burke in this blame game in Pittsburgh.He is still the team President isn’t he? Never one to be quiet before!