NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2023

by | May 1, 2023 | News, NHL | 56 comments

The Panthers upset the Bruins and the Kraken stun the Avalanche to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers shocked the hockey world by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-3 to win Game 7 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Carter Verhaeghe tallied the winning goal in overtime, Brandon Montour scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots as the Panthers advanced to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round with Game 1 starting Tuesday night in Toronto. David Krejci had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who had won the Presidents’ Trophy with a record-setting 65 wins and 135 points in the regular season.

Florida Panthers winger Carter Verhaeghe (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Sportsnet, the 43-point difference between the first-overall Bruins and the Panthers in the regular-season standings marks the biggest upset in Stanley Cup Playoffs history in a best-of-seven format.

The Bruins appeared to have this series locked up after taking a 3-1 lead in games. The Panthers, however, never gave up.

Switching to Bobrovsky following Game 4 helped to change the course of the series. “Bob” doesn’t have the best career playoff record but he was the goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019 so he’s had some experience facing a heavily-favored Presidents’ Trophy winner.

This was a team effort by the Panthers but Montour and Matthew Tkachuk stood out for me in this series. Their timely production made the difference in this series as the Bruins struggled to contain them.

Tkachuk called this a legacy win for the Panthers. It’s certainly something to build on after struggling to reach the playoffs following a franchise-best regular season performance in 2021-22.

The Bruins, meanwhile, were in shock over the reversal of fortune in this series. Despite a stacked roster coming off a record-setting season, they failed to close the deal and seemed helpless to halt the change of momentum in the series.

This may have been the final NHL season for centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Bergeron skated with a herniated disc in his back suffered during the end of the regular season which caused him to miss the first four games of this series. He said he’ll take some time before deciding whether he’ll return next season.

Krejci, meanwhile, missed three games in this series with an upper-body injury. He skated last season in Czechia and could return there for good following this season.

Speaking of stunning upsets, there will be a new Stanley Cup champion this year after the Seattle Kraken beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in Game 7 of their first-round series. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves as the Kraken picked up their first playoff series win in franchise history. Mikko Rantanen replied for the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a major upset as most observers (including myself) gave the Kraken little chance of beating the Avalanche. Their hard work paid off with a well-earned series victory. They pulled it off with a steady defensive system, solid goaltending by Grubauer, and spreading their scoring throughout their lineup.

Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen stepped up and did everything they could to carry their team over the finish line in this series. However, top defenseman Cale Makar appeared hampered by injury while other Avs struggled with consistency and possible injuries of their own.

Like the Panthers, the Kraken will have little time to savor this victory. They face off against the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their second-round series on Tuesday in Dallas.


NHL.COM: The league released its schedule for Games 1 and 2 of the second round. As previously mentioned, the series between the Leafs and Panthers as well as the Kraken and Stars begin on Tuesday, May 2. The Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights will square off starting on Wednesday, May 3 as will the Carolina Hurricanes and the winner of the New Jersey Devils/New York Rangers series.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Devils-Rangers series, New Jersey head coach Lindy Ruff won’t reveal whether it’ll be Akira Schmid or Vitek Vanecek starting in goal for tonight’s series-deciding Game 7. Schmid took over from Vanecek after Game 2 and won three straight but was lit up in a 5-2 loss in Game 6.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff confirmed Rick Bowness will return as head coach next season. Bowness’ scathing remarks about his players’ performance following their first-round elimination by the Golden Knights prompted speculation about his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowness’ status is no longer a topic of conjecture but that won’t allay rumors of potential lineup changes this summer.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings captain Anze Kopitar hopes to spend the remainder of his NHL career with Los Angeles. He will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Kings general manager Rob Blake is quite keen to discuss a contract extension for Kopitar.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins recently signed forward Alex Nylander to a one-year, one-way contract extension worth $775K.


    • No curse. The team who stays healthy,wants it more. And ups the will to win and gets a little puck luck wins. So much parity in the nhl now

      • The Leafs-Bolts series was like that. The Leafs were hungrier, healthier and more desperate. The deciding factor in the series was that unlike last year, the breaks went the Leafs way.

      • Is anyone aware of one instance where someone picked Florida over Boston or Seattle over Colorado?

        There has to be a lot of gnashing of teeth in fantasy pools with both the Bruins and Avalanche out, and that will grow louder if NJ knocks of the NYR tonight.

        I had NJ winning in 6 and if they win I’ll be 4-4 in winner picks, along with Toronto, Vegas, Edmonton.

      • Hey George,

        NJ were the favorite to win that series.

        I won’t say at this point exactly what my pick was, but it wasn’t NY winning that series.

        I’m not jinxing anything!

      • George,
        On my bracket, on the West side, Seattle over Colorado was the only series I got wrong. On the East side, I’ll either go 0-4 or 1-3 depending on if NJ beats NY or not. LOL

    • Amazing! Bruins have to blow the game and series the one time I’m rooting for them.
      Now us Habs fans are in a conundrum. Florida winning drops the pick from #17 to no better than #29. But cheering for the Leafs? UGH!!!

      • Hey Howard, call me amazed a Habs fan was cheering for the B’s!

        I thought it was like that old cartoon with the dogs – “It’s not enough for dogs to win, cats must lose” or something like that.

        Having said that go Canadian teams, Oilers before the Leafs obviously. It’s going to be weird to root for the Leafs against anybody. But hey, if it was the Habs it would be even weirder.

        Go Riders!

    • If I’m not crazy, I think the answer is simple. When the Jackets upset Tampa and Florida upset Boston, Tampa and Boston had, essentially, glided through the season, basically beating opponents simply by getting on the ice. But Columbus and Florida struggled and fought for every point in the regular season. So, when the Jackets and Panthers got pushed around, they cinched up their belts and pushed back hard. But Tampa and Boston, when faced with adversity for the first time all season, just couldn’t adapt.
      To a degree, that’s why I’m picking Florida, Seattle, Edmonton and Carolina in the second round.

      • Again not picking the Leafs Paul…I take that as a good sign.

      • Ron,
        Toronto has never won more than 2 post-season series. I’m not concerned. They’ll choke eventually.

      • Eventually!!!

      • So Columbus claim to fame is beating Tampa during thier presidents trophy year?

        Ok there, congrats….?

  1. Shocking to say the least
    Avs and Bruins out in rd 1
    Door wide open for leaf run to finals. IMHO what doomed bruins. Health and poor decisions. Playing. Bergy last game of year caused herniated disk Krechi injury
    Coach always changing lines pretty much every game leaving Ullmark in when he struggled games 5 and 6. Lindholm didn’t play well
    Forbert and Clifton were horrible. Panthers wanted it more you could see it every game I will cheer the underdog panthers rest of the way along with more game 7s

    • If there’s a “sleeper” among the teams still standing it could well be the Dallas Stars.

      • @george
        i agree. if dallas stays healthy which is the usual key on top of a hot keeper

        the bruins were down their top 2 centers(bergy not himself) and the Avs had 2 top 6 wingers out.

      • I think a lot of pundits had Dallas or Edmonton coming out of the west.

        I recall coming against a random youtube video where this kid predicted the 4 series of the east with the winners being Florida, Toronto, Carolina and New Jersey..
        For the record he had Carolina and Leafs advancing from there on.

      • From your lips…..

    • I’m curious if Boston fans feel a bit froggy towards pb because he insisted on playing the last game In Montreal? I know it was important with his dad and everything but despite the years of goodwill he’s built up is there a little tinge of resentment? If he was healthy Boston likely is playing Toronto.

      • I seriously doubt that Bruin fans hood any bad feelings toward Bergeron. He’s earned the right to make his calls. Playing that game was very important to him and the team and coaching staff obviously respected his decision.

      • That’s a silly notion, from my point of view.
        Bergeron deserves gratitude from the fans if anything.

      • I agree fellas. But there are several posters on here who I respectfully disagree with who don’t believe that sentimentality should be in sports. I do. For example Mario and hopefully Sid spending their whole career in Pittsburgh means as much to me as the championships. But being from a crazy sports town I’m sure if this happened in Pittsburgh the sports shows would be having callers bitchin about his choice. Wonder how it’s perceived in Boston.

      • Not froggy at chrisms.
        Just respect for him as a player and a person.
        Family first.

      • I’ve cheered for Boston my whole life huge Orr fan Bergeron is second to Orr he could have went out on town got drunk and not showed up for game and I wouldn’t say a word. Bergeron was and is the ultimate leader unfortunately s**t happens and his play didn’t cost the Bruins to lose. Somewhere between game 82 and playoffs our defense forgot how to make safe plays and almost every mistake ended up in net. Was a phenomenal year with a horrible ending but have to give Florida credit they had their number most of year.

      • Chris I am a Habs fan so don’t confuse me for a bruin lol. But I believe this whole season revolved around a huge TY to PB . He exceeded every contract he signed and will go down as one of the best to ever wear that Jersey . I know an ultimate goal was to win and they did everything they could as an organization . I would just let that go if I was a fan

  2. Given the first round results, you would almost think that playing elimination games at home was a real disadvantage.
    Congrats to Florida but Boston just had a season for the ages. After watching their team play and consistency all year, it is incredible to me that they have been eliminated.

    • BCLeaf Fan, you could look back at a lot of those teams in the link above and ask the same question. Beginning with Florida last year.

    • I am not a Habs fan but the 1977 Montreal team was better. Also, the 1971 Bruins who lost to Montreal in the first round, were a very good team.

    • Lol maybe the home fans booing the team is NOT a great idea?

  3. Everyone loves a good underdog story so hurrah for Florida and Seattle. Now that would be a wild cup final.

  4. What a great year. To bad the boys came up short, but that’s how it goes in hockey. You just have to get in, and anything can happen. The stars are lining up for the Leafs. This could be it, Leaf fans. Good luck the rest of the way.

    • Like I mentioned yesterday regarding if the Cats were to advance, they’ll be looking to make good on their second round play last year since they got swept. Plus the Panthers aren’t exactly slugs, they did beat the best team in the league this year. There is no rhyme or reason to winning them. Luck and making good on the few opportunities is key. This stunning loss by Boston should prove that no one team is king until they are crowned as such. That the playing field is not only level, but another level all together.

      As fans, we ride or die with the teams we cheer for and all we can hope is they come out on top, something a lot easier said than done. In the playoffs, there are no easy outs. It only gets tougher and tougher to move on. And if you’re a fan of a team that moves on, enjoy that ride as long as you can cause without warning, it can be for only four more games.

  5. If there is anyone out there that predicted both Seattle and Florida would win game 7, I would like to talk to you about assisting with my financial future.

    My hope for round 2 is that all teams remain healthy, and may the better team win. Certainly, Florida, Seattle, Vegas, and Toronto benefited from injuries to key opponents in round 1. And Colorado’s 2022 cup received a boost from injuries to Binnington, Nurse, Draisaitl, and Point.

    I am looking forward to watching some good hockey for the rest of the playoffs.

    • This is what makes the playoffs so exciting. If there weren’t upsets then things would be boring and it wouldn’t be worth watching.
      There is something said about a team that had fought and scratched its way to the playoffs going up against a team that just coasted. One is playoff ready and the other is not so much.
      The Leafs better be ready. These Panthers look more like the team from last season than the 92-point team they were this season. It will also be interesting to see how Matthews and Tavares deal with Tkachuk.
      TSN 1260 makes goal songs for individual players and plays them the day after that player scores. They did a special one for Tkachuk called “I’m a Turtle” that does along with the Denise Leary song “I’m an ***hole. I found all the goal songs, but that song isn’t included there. I will see if I can find it for all of you Leafs fans.
      Oilers goal songs link. https://www.nielsonmedia.ca/goalsongs

  6. The biggest choke in the history of the NHL.

    Out played, out worked and out coached.

    The one team i said i didn’t want Boston to play was the Florida Panthers. They are a good hockey team who won the President trophy last season.

    This one man opinions, all the regular seasons accomplishments, all the hype, all the expectations and the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

    Was too much pressure for the players.

    How many unforced turn overs. Last night a two on one and the one trying to catch up, Boston player in the slot alone and he f up the pass, fan on it, didn’t even make contract with the puck.

    Turn over after turn over, players not in positions. I couldn’t believe how many times they couldn’t make a simple pass.

    Charlie Coyle dominates one game and disappears for two.

    McAvoy suppose to be the stud on defense, terrible passes and some real questionable plays. Hampus Lindholm did you all of sudden forget how to play defense.

    Boston best defenseman in the series was Brandon Carlo, wasn’t close.

    Jim Montgomery also got caught up in the pressure of expectations.

    Breaking up Bergeron and Marchand, Putting Bertuzzi out with Bergeron and Marchand.

    Not knowing who to put out on defense or unwilling to take out Forbort who struggled

    I would’ve started Swayman in game 6 or at the very least in the third period of game 6.

    Since you went that far i would’ve started Ullmark in game 7.

    Ullmark played well but lost his focus after getting involved with Tkachuck.

    Florida may have won in 7 games but don’t kid yourselves they out played Boston for most of the series and it was a deserving win. They forecheck, not once did they pass up on the opportunity to hit or rub out a bruin. They were better prepare and definitely the hungrier team.

    In summary Florida played to win; Boston played not to lose.

    It could potentially now be an all Canada Stanley Cup final.

    Not to discount Florida, Rangers, Dallas and Vegas.

    • Caper, the one thing that surprised me the most in the Boston/Florida series was how loose Boston was in their own zone. I thought Boston’s strength on the back end would give them a real advantage, but that really turned into a liability. And I agree, McAvoy looked especially lost and flustered, and Lindholm wasn’t much better.

      Who woulddathunkit ?

    • A lot of questions for the Bruins next year. Who stays and who goes? How much cap space will they lose to the overages on the bonuses they have to pay?
      Tough to figure out because it’s not like they got swept and totally choked and being a 110+ point team isn’t something that needs to be “fixed”. Good team to watch in the coming off season.

      Is their first round pick in the top 20 now?

      • Ron, Boston pick should be #28.
        Bonus payments to be deducted from 2023-24 cap total $4.5 million.
        Also, Pastrnak’s salary increases by $4.5 million.
        Bergeron base salary was $2.5 million (plus bonus of $2.5)
        Krejci base was $1 million Cap (plus bonus of $2).

        Bruins need to cut approx $12 million from current roster.

      • Wouldn’t Boston’s pick be #24? 9th from the bottom?

    • People forget that as far as playoff caliber… Florida severely UPGRADED by trading Huberdeau for Tkachuk.

      The Tkachuks play hardnosed hockey. I cannot wait to see what Brady does when he is finally in the postseason.

  7. Wow who would have thought Boston and Colorado Both out in the first round….

    Re; Avs
    had to many injuries to key players…and it was the first time goaltender Alexandar Georgiev played a full playoff series, he did ok,
    7 Games, GAA 2.60 SV% 0.914

    Re; Boston.
    Bergeron & Krejci.. Retirement looming for these two old Guys…🤔
    If Bergeron and its a big IF….❓ The Bruins Captain Patrice Bergeron comes back for one more year.. he will look for $4M PA,….with 27 Goals and 31 ast
    the way the NHL throughs money around that would be a good deal…But he looked Very Tired also @ 38 yrs old i think he maybe done too…..🤔
    I think @ 37 yrs old, David Krejci is done he looked Very Tired the last number of games played in regular season
    He will go back home to the Czech Republic, he did play well oin the playoffs 4 pts in 4 games
    Boston has 9 UFA players on the Roster to Replace,

    They Have 4 RFA players on the Roster to Replace and only $10.M in Cap Space.❗️🤔
    A number of changes coming in Boston for next season…

    PS. I really think young 24 yr old Goaltender Swayman get an offer sheet from an EAST Coast Team……❓🤔

  8. Bobrovsky is a record killer!
    Tampa, now Boston.

    • If Bobrovsky is experiencing a flashback to his Columbus days … look out Leafs.

      Caper, I doubt the Boston D structure experienced … over a continuous span – the relentless fore-checking applied by all 4 Panther lines. That … and a seemingly rejuvenated Bobrovsky who stopped their best chances.

      • Bob lost the series after beating tampa that year.
        I’m cool with that

      • This series went 7 only because, with time winding down … actually, seconds … in regulation in game 5 with the score tied, Brad Marchand broke in alone on Bobrovsky.

        You couldn’t have asked for a better situation if you were a Boston fan – Mr. Clutch in alone on a much-maligned goalie (usually related to his cap hit) … who denied him, and the Panthers go on to win in OT. And never lost again.

  9. So word has it somewhere in America, in a small greasy spoon diner Brisebois, Sweeney and Sakic met for breakfast only to hear the Jukebox relentlessly repeat the Fortunes’ You’ve Got Your Troubles, I’ve Got Mine

    • Well, for Leafs fans just as long as the next selection isn’t their “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again”

      • Too right George.

  10. Shock and awe

    Tons o’$ wagered, lost last night

    Cats win is great news for Leafs…. I think a Bruins win coupled with the scare of going to 7 first round; would have brought out the true 65 Win Bruins…. And Leafs would go down

    Leafs better chances v Cats

    Avs…. Beat by Krakken…. Wow…. The already “open” west; is now truly wide open

    Oil v Stars????

    Re PB…. I think this may be it for him…. And m to HHOF

    Looked like he kept it together until he hugged March …. Then both lost it

    Paul B above posted…”Toronto has never won more than 2 post-season series.”

    I literally had never thought of that before…. But 100% true…. ‘67…. Only two rounds…. Inly other time….. Kerry Fraser shut that down

    I am not saying Leafs get by Canes (or winner of Blueshirts/Devils) ; but Leafs have a reasonable shot of besting Cats

    • Wait wasn’t it you that all but crowned the Bruins cup champs? Like what was the point of stockpiling good players in trades only to eventually lose to Boston?

      Maybe you need to clean your magic 8-ball since it’s making you look rather silly, in retrospect.

      No team has a better chance and quite honestly I’d rather watch the Leafs go up against the Bruins not because it would be easier but more entertaining for us fans.

      Personally I’d love to have the Oil and Leafs (or any two Canadian based teams) in the final. Our buddy Bettman would die if that happened. And we get it, you believe you’re a “Leafs fan” that thinks every team is better than them, the moves they make aren’t the ones you would, a trope and just generally wrong. A lot.

    • Ignorance is bliss! “ Paul B above posted…”Toronto has never won more than 2 post-season series.”
      I literally had never thought of that before…. But 100% true…. ‘67…. Only two rounds…. Inly other time….. Kerry Fraser shut that down”
      Yeah those teams that Sundin captained never won in the playoffs! Didn’t one (it happened unfortunately twice) of those teams lose in the conference final as well as the ‘94 Leafs team? Anyway not going to educate here or really care much but one can see how laziness and alternative facts aka, BS, gets spread. As a Leafs fan, you should know better and real Leafs fans certainly do.

      • Ron, Leafs lost in the conference finals 4 times
        1993 (LA 4-3)
        1994 (Vancouver 4-1)
        1999 (Buffalo 4-1)
        2002 (Carolina 4-2, 0-3 in OT )

        All conference winners lost in the Stanley Cup Finals – Mtl, NYR, Dallas, Detroit

      • Ron

        I’ll answer you just this once

        Your opening statement reads “ignorance is bliss”.

        You didn’t read what Paul had said…. “More than” is the key

        Those teams that made it to conference finals ….and ….lost… had won two series those years; but not MORE than two series (as Paul has stated)

        ‘67 and before…. Only two rounds

        Kerry Fraser stopped the Leafs chance at winning greater than two …. that was worse than the “Little Joe” phantom call on Knights

        Leafs have never won more than two series in any season… ever

        This year, hopefully they will