NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 13, 2023

by | May 13, 2023 | News, NHL | 35 comments

The Panthers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Golden Knights push the Oilers to the brink of elimination and the Hart Trophy finalists are announced. Get the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1996 with a 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Nick Cousins tallied the game-winner after the Leafs overcame a 2-0 deficit on goals by Morgan Rielly and William Nylander. Aaron Ekblad and Carter Verhaeghe also scored for the Panthers.

Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals. The date has yet to be announced for Game 1 but it will likely be Wednesday at the earliest.

After upsetting the Boston Bruins in the first round, the Panthers suffered no letdown in this series. They outworked and out-hustled Toronto during the first three games while their best players were consistently at their best. While the Leafs improved in the final two games, the Panthers made the most of their opportunities. They also took home-ice advantage away from their opponent, winning three of their four games in Toronto.

Down 2-1 late in the second period, Rielly appeared to have tied the game for the Leafs but the NHL situation room claimed the referee deemed the play to be dead before the puck crossed the line. Nylander would tie the game in the third period but it might have been the game-winner had Rielly’s goal counted.

Despite winning their first playoff round in 19 years during this postseason, there’s a feeling of disappointment and heartbreak in Leafs Nation amid speculation that big changes are coming in this offseason. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumors update.

The Vegas Golden Knights are on the verge of advancing to the Western Conference Finals following a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of their second-round series. They overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits and held off the Oilers’ third-period push after Connor McDavid cut their lead by one goal. Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault each had three points while Adin Hill stopped 32 shots. McDavid scored twice for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel is thriving in his first-ever NHL playoffs. He leads the Golden Knights with 13 points and is tied for the club leads in goals (six) with Chandler Stephenson.

All of the Oilers’ goals in this game came on the power play but they also gave up two on the penalty kill. Their difficulties in scoring at even strength are becoming an issue for them in this series. There’s also concern about their goaltending as Stuart Skinner got pulled again after giving up four goals on 22 shots.

Both clubs were without their best defensemen for this contest as Vegas’ Alex Pietrangelo and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse were both serving one-game suspensions.

Speaking of Connor McDavid, he joins Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk as finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy as this season’s most valuable player on his team.


  1. IMHO,

    Matthews = Kessel

    An extremely talented goal scorer, but not one that can carry or lead a team.

    No extra gear when it comes playoff time, what you see in the regular season is what you get come playoff time.

    No push back, no interest in getting his nose even just a little bit dirty.

    It is far from all Austin’s fault that the Leafs are failing in the playoffs, but he has been touted a superstar in this league since he entered & superstars carry their teams to championships.

    At 25 yrs of age Matthews still has an opportunity for that fire to start in his belly, if you consider that Jack Eichel could be just blossoming into the star player he was projected to be when drafted, this playoff season.

    • Uwey

      Kessel has two Cups and is nearly a PPG player in the playoffs.

      If not for his reputation he should also have a Conn Smythe trophy too.

      One thing you’re right about Matthews is he’s no leader. No push back. In series deciding games he’s nowhere to be found on the score sheet.

      Rielly is the heart of this team. He was trying to will them to another victory. Where is Tavares in this series? Invisible. He’s not the leader of this team or definitely not the one they need.

      • Yes Daryl, Kessel won 2 Cups on teams lead by Sidney Crosby.

        Exactly my point, players like Kessel & Matthews have the complimentary talent required to win championships, but expecting them to be the players that takes the reigns & leads the team is not possible.

      • Oh my god, Uwey…are you saying that good players need other good players to win and that not everyone is a leader? That’s some awesome insight. Do you watch Leafs games? Most non fans don’t and I’m just amazed by your insight into a team you don’t follow.

    • Maybe the environment is the issue? You mentioned Jack Eichel. I think the environment in Buffalo was his issue, no?

    • Uwey, Tim Peel (retired NHL referee) on twitter

      “Never going to win with Austin Matthews. Doesn’t have the jam to play in the playoffs. Too soft.”

      Matches your comments to a tee (pun intended, Leafs stars will soon be playing some of GTA’s great private courses).

      Yes, Peel misspelled Auston’s name.

  2. @uwey

    A lot is to be said on your above blog
    Nice to see Morgan Reilly perform to a player of significance …
    Nylander played well
    In the end it’s very Sad
    I am lost for words …

  3. So…a ref walks into a bar…

  4. .
    Re; Last night
    An other Brutal Missed Call on the Leaf Goal❗️

    The NHL situation room claimed the referee deemed the play to be dead before the puck crossed the line.

    Now the ref that called it was coming in from the Blue line….

    Really how could the Ref see 👀 it from where he was skating in from❗️

    The Ref that was behind the goal post about 10-12 ft away Did Not Call it as he was still watching the play develope….🤔

    The Re-play clearly shows the puck going over the line and it was a Goal⁉️

    I feel band for the Leafs last night, Its just like the Oilers Game Very Poor Officiating at both games
    and back call on AP for the 2 handed Tomahawk Slash on Leon….

    NHL Officiating is now the worst i have see it🙈🙈

    • I knew this would be a thing this morning. The review of the play was what, 9 minutes long? How many camera angles did we see? The play got more scrutiny than the Kennedy assassination, and the only time one could see the puck clearly was when Bob stood up when the play was over.

      The standard for a goal is the puck being clearly over the goal line while the game is in play. The standard applies to every team, and given the live broadcast of the angles the NHL control room were looking at the complaints about a “disallowed” goal are just Leaf frustration.

      It’s not why the Leafs lost the series.

      • Hi Lyle,

        Thats Right that Not why they lost the Series,
        But it Clearly showed the puck was over the line
        and should have been a goal…⁉️

        Now no one seams to know when the Ref blew the Whistle… He had it in his month coming over the Blue line,
        The Closest Ref to the play was 10-12 ft away from the goal line and he did Not blow his whistle from the replays i seen last night……🤔

    • Watch Leafs games much? It like watching the Habs but calls going against you.

  5. I would think Toronto fans are quite disappointed. You look at getting past Florida and you see a clear path to a potential Stanley Cup.

    This is no slight to Carolina, who is playing without 2 of thier best players.

    For teams like Toronto and Boston this is a should of, season.

    Someone forgot to tell Florida.

  6. Cue Toronto fans whining. So far, I’m 2 of 4 in my 2nd round predictions. It’s looking like I’ll be completely wrong in the West.

    • I had Toronto in 6 – lost that one … picked Carolina, have Dallas and Vegas in the West.

      • I had FL winning this one, but had NJ over Carolina…and have Dallas and Edmonton in the West.

      • Your Dallas and Vegas picks are looking better than my Kraken and Oilers picks. The Oil may have the experience and veteran leadership to come back and beat Vegas, but it’s not likely.

    • No one cares PB, get a grip !

      • If no one cares, why did George reply to me? Why don’t you be honest and say that YOU don’t care?

      • Paul wasn’t it you all season long telling us how much better the Jackets! would be if not for all the injuries? Hey pot says hi, kettle.

      • I’m not the only one, Ron. Many experts agreed with me. Only Montreal lost more man-games and Montreal didn’t lose their #1 defenseman for the season.
        Now, explain how what you said has anything to do with me slapping down FD.

      • No one asked you to slap anyone down, I think a lot of us look to have some constructive dialogues here even if it’s in disagreement, I don’t think slapping one down opens a door to anything positive.

        Perhaps it’s over your head Paul, especially when you start your comment, “cue Toronto fans whining… FD is correct, no one cares so get a grip. 😂

  7. Seven straight playoff games with 2 goals per is a sure formula for early golf.

    Among the Core 4, only the one everyone feels would be the “easiest” to trade found the net. And he is the cheapest cost of the 4. By a wide margin.

    A veteran goalie who continues to be “unreliable” – a career back-up type who did OK as long as he wasn’t expected to carry the load. And a rookie who did everything expected of him and gave his team a chance to win.

    And not once were they blown away in any of the games played.

    There are the makings of a championship team in that bunch … but it’ll take a a GM with real savvy and a different approach to make the right moves this summer to get them there.

    • George, unless you reverted to satire half way through your post this is charity not analysis.

      I did not want to get into poking at the Leafs today but do tell where you see the makings of a championship team in the current Leafs?

      • LJ you don’t know how much your comment shows the lack of knowledge you have….or does your disdain of the Leafs is what makes you look like that?

        There are ways of criticizing a team without ragging on them every chance you get. I guess it’s easier to do that than it is to come up with anything worth reading.

      • Ron. Maybe you ought to take a social media break in the days after your team loses out of the playoffs. Not a one of your posts today is doing you and favors.

      • Ron, where am I ragging on the Leafs? As a Habs fan I was hoping they would beat Florida so my team got the # 17th draft pick. And I dislike no one on the Leafs like I dislike Tkachuk.

        If you or George see the makings of a championship team, tell us more.

      • Chris, sure you’re one to give pointers. You’re Mr nice guy!

        LJ if you honestly think teams that are consistently one of the best regular season teams not considered a potential cup winning team, than you tell us what constitutes one. I’d bet there’s a lot of people who like me, love to hear it.

    • I think a big part of the Leafs failing is the emotional let down after breaking the “always bow out in the first round” hoodoo. The Leafs do have the ability to get to the SCF, but they need a reliable goalie and one of the Core Four will have to go in order for the Leafs to get the depth they need, especially on the blue line.

  8. Thankfully I don’t have to listen to the ultimate homers, Cuthbert and Simpson, fawn over the Leafs anymore. Their one sided announcing of each game was embarrassing.

  9. Maurice has Florida on a roll, peaking at the right time. It reminds me of the 2001-2002 Hurricanes team he took to the Stanley Cup finals. except this time he has the best goalie.

  10. Does either Pasta or Tkachuck think they have an actual shot at getting Hart?

    Sad re loss last night.,.. I actually thought they might pull it out. After down 3-0 in series…. I had very little expectation of winning the series. Re goal call back… would have been great to have it go our way; but in retrospect… correct call; only time it crossed line was after play was “deemed” dead (not whistle blown); and it was deemed dead by the closest ref (one right at goal)…. So…. Sad, buy correct call

    Silver lining…. The result (lose 2nd round 4-1; only got to second round v a “tired” (3 straight seasons to SC) and weaker (Cap constraints had players moving on)…. Means changes absolutely MUST happen now…. Fire Dubas; Shanny…. Roster moves to get away from 1/2 Cap spent on 4 forwards; maybe coaching staff changes

    If no changes in management or with big 4…. history, very very likely to repeat itself

    Had they lost in 6 or 7….. Dubas /Shanny could argue…. “almost”…. maybe save their jobs…. If they stay…. Same old same old…. Then its on Tannenbaum

    • Same old, Pengy, please stick with the Penguins and let the poor old Leafs go. We’ve suffered enough.

  11. As a bummed out, Leaf fan, I have to give props to Florida. They forecheck great, they play very physical, almost on the edge, but they didn’t take very many penalties. They clearly were the better team and deserved to win.
    It seems to me that the team that instigates borderline illegal physical contact generally gets the benefit of the doubt from the referees. In other words, they get away with more. The teams that try to play a clean game, like the leafs, generally get called for about the same number of penalties. So the play by Gudas on the series winning goal doesn’t get called against Florida because the refs are habituated to this kind of play from the Panthers. In other words, it’s a normal play for Florida. So to me, the path is clear – in order to succeed in this league, you have to push the limits of what’s acceptable play and you should always instigate because it rarely gets punished. Having a reputation as a physical nasty team in the playoffs is what you want because you get away with more, and maybe you can injure a few of your opponents along the way. Gudas’ unpenalized after whistle hit on Kampf is a classic example. So like Tampa, Boston and now Florida, the Leafs need to get their nasty on and play on the edge as a team, not just the odd player like Acciari or the hated/beloved Kadri. That’s how you win in the playoffs. Unfortunately I have no idea which NHL coach could get Nylander, Marner, Matthews and Tavares to play this way. That’s all I got…

    • Well clean play is different than soft play as a jets fan even if they Finished high in the standings they did not have a physical team it showed ! The leafs were probably sore from the first round and Florida hit their stride at the right time ! Same as the crackheads they are playing a physical no let up and they are still in it !