NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2023

by | May 8, 2023 | News, NHL | 24 comments

The Panthers take a stranglehold on their series with the Leafs while the Kraken and Devils get lopsided wins in their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Sam Reinhart gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 3-0 stranglehold lead in their best-of-seven second-round series. Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe scored while Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for the Panthers.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

Sam Lafferty and Erik Gustafsson tallied for the Leafs, who also lost goaltender Ilya Samsonov to an upper-body injury when Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn accidentally slid into him in the second period. Game 4 is Wednesday evening in Florida.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Now the Leafs’ season is truly on the brink as they try to become only the fifth team in Stanley Cup playoff history to overcome an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series. If they play in that game as they did in Game 3 they’ll be booking their tee times for the weekend.

The Leafs’ best players – Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander – came up small in this must-win game. Credit the Panthers for doing a great job in shutting down the Leafs’ high-scoring foursome. Maybe some of those guys are playing hurt which would also explain that poor effort in Game 3. Nevertheless, they need a better effort in Game 4 or this series is over.

It remains to be seen if they’ll have to do it without Samsonov as there’s no word yet regarding the seriousness of his injury or how long he’ll be sidelined. Joseph Woll did his best coming in cold to replace Samsonov but his teammates let him down with their poor defensive play on Reinhart’s goal. The Panthers forward was untouched as he gained the Leafs’ zone to create the play that led to his game-winning tally.

The Seattle Kraken are two games away from reaching the Western Conference Finals with a 7-2 drubbing of the Dallas Stars. They pulled away from the Stars with a five-goal second period. Matty Beniers, Justin Schultz, Eeli Tolvanen and Alex Wennberg each had a goal and an assist while Philipp Grubauer turned in a 24-save effort for the win. Stars goalie Jake Oettinger got the hook after giving up five goals on 17 shots.

Game 4 goes Tuesday night with the Kraken holding a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series. Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen left the game in the second period after being struck in the face by the puck seconds before Kraken winger Jordan Eberle opened the scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars seemed rattled by Heiskanen’s departure and the Kraken quickly capitalized to put the game out of reach before the period had ended. Stars coach Peter DeBoer said the defenseman suffered “a pretty bad cut” but there was talk that he might’ve returned to this game had the score been closer. That suggests he’ll be back in the lineup for Game 4.

New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes had two goals and two assists while brother Luke Hughes collected two assists in an 8-4 romp over the Carolina Hurricanes. Dawson Mercer had three assists for the Devils, who cut the Hurricanes’ series lead down to two games to one. Seth Jarvis and Jordan Martinook each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Game 4 is Tuesday night in New Jersey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes became the fourth team in NHL history to score three shorthanded goals in a playoff game. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome a Devils team motivated to avoid falling further behind in this series. Canes goalie Frederik Andersen was replaced by Pyotr Kochetkov after giving up four goals on 12 shots.


TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will skip the upcoming IIHF World Championships. He hasn’t fully recovered from a strained triceps that forced him to miss the Jackets’ final dozen games of the regular season.

HOCKEYSVERIGE.SE: Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg hopes to one day return to his hometown club of Brynäs IF in the Swedish Hockey League. The 32-year-old forward played for them prior to beginning his 12-year NHL career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Silfverberg has one season remaining on his contract with the Ducks. He could be eyeing a return to Brynäs IF when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July.


  1. Woohoo, Gotta hand it to the Cats, they are a TEAM! That game was poetry on ice!

    • Do you still think that picking the Cats to win this series was based only on hope Johnny ?

  2. Will there finally be a shakeup , as per the Leafs management and coaching staff after this season

    I have been sitting at Center ice seating in Florida witnessing these games .

    Florida’s 4 checking , dominance on the puck is obvious . Toronto seems at a standstill .

    Joseph Woll was more than fine , but hung out to dry .

    Time for another mindset , as per the Leafs , I just don’t know WHO that might be , but it’s coming !

    Paul Maurice has a game plan , obviously clicking on all cylinders
    Sure Bobrovsky has been outstanding , but the whole team has as well

    Golf has been great , the Americans have been great, as I let them know I am from Canada .

    The nightlife and food above and beyond , the female talent is pretty abundant as well , Lol

    • @Johhny Z

      Your above comment absolutely NAILED IT !!!!

  3. Whoof! NOW the Leafs are “on the brink.”

    While watching the game from a purely objective standpoint, and already down 0-2 in the series, I fully expected the Leafs to come out in the OT like gangbusters – especially the “core 4” who have yet to score a goal in this series.

    So, what do they do? Nothing … while icing the puck 3 times in a minute and a half and skating like they were prancing around on egg-shells.

    WTF? This wasn’t the time to play “not to lose” style … instead, go for broke.

    • My brother, brother-in-law, and I stay in contact via text while watching games, and my last text after the game yesterday was exactly the same as your comment…Toronto was playing “not to lose” hockey inthe third person and OT.

  4. Ouch!!!!

    Just had flashbacks of being squared by a rocket slap shot of a hard (plastic orange ) street hockey ball

    I recovered a couple of days later when Henderson scored with 34 seconds left

    Are there 3 more Henderson type goals out there to subdue my pain?

    • Pengy, look at it this way. After the game 2 loss at home, I posted that, should the Leafs come back from that deficit and win the series, look for them to use that momentum to go all the way to the Cup.

      That goes double now.

      However, that won’t happen scoring 2 goals per game and when your goal scorers are named Lafferty, Gustafsson, Knies, Bunting, Kerfoot and O’Reilly.

      Yes, goals from that group would be fantastic if the $40 million Core Four were doing what they’re paid to do … but it’s becoming evident that the opposition game plan is to make sure the chances of those 4 are limited. And it’s working.

      I read where Matt Murray, healthy enough to play but a scratch so far, could possibly be in goal for game 4. Now that’s desperation. But watch, with the weird way the unexpected always seems to crop up in the NHL playoffs, he’ll play and stand on his head to give the Leafs their first win.

      • Agree George

        Had Leafs won in OT…. Huge momentum swing; then inly down 2-1

        Down 3-0….. yes; comeback has happened 4 times in history…. I’m not holding my breath

        Woll; Samsonov; Murray; eBUG in net…. Irrelevant if team doesn’t hit twine at the other end

        Will take a couple of days for the pain to ebb

      • I doubt that George, like it’s been said, they are more concerned about not wanting to lose than wanting to win. This passive team play is baffling considering what’s at risk.

        It would make some great folklore if the Leafs where to somehow get things going and end up winning this series but there’s no amount of rosiness you can have on your glasses that can convince you of that realistically happen. I guess a major shake up will have to be in order since they (the core – the players they build around year after year) are not strong enough to carry the team through adversity. I can’t tell you if it’s coaching or player personnel but both are on the hook for what seems to be evident about the make up of this team. Time hasn’t cured it now it’s hard decision time, the time when the wrong decisions will set you back a few years. Too bad, I was really hoping for an all Canadian final, it would of been funny to see Bettman’s head pop.

      • Looked like the core 4 were trying to play all defense instead of the run and gun that got them there.

  5. Interesting note from yesterday’s Canes-Devils game. According to the play-by-play guy, all four teams to score three SHGs in a playoff game have lost the game.

    • Getting 3 shorties in one game …. Very rare

      In a playoff game…. Even more rare

      Add to that…. 3 shorties AND losing….. WTF

      4 times it’s happened like that now….. Holy S#%t

  6. It’s working Paul. 🙂

    • George, I guess Lyle decided my post was offensive since he deleted it. So, I’ll synopsize. I think Toronto is suffering an emotional let down after getting past the first round, breaking the curse or hoodoo. Since there is very little difference between the 1st and 16th teams in the playoffs, that emotional slump is enough to lose a round.

      • Paul, the post I deleted simply had your name in it. Nothing more.

      • It did? I wonder how that happened.

  7. I was listening to Dave Nonis on the NHL radio. He was asked about Toronto who were up in the Tampa series.

    His point was the top players have to elevate their game in every series. Great their doing it against Florida and in the next series it starts from scratch and they have to elevate it again, and then the next etc.

    The Toronto media who were glowing over the core four during and after the Tampa series have just flipped and throwing the core 4 under the bus 0g 2a and a -10

    One suggested trading Marner before his nmc contract kicks in next season. (Geez sound like a Boston fan wanting Pastrnak traded before his contract kicks in)

    Florida is a good hockey team and has consistently played the same style from game one. Sometimes you have to give other teams credit.

    Me i’m still bitter because of the constant mistakes and poor coaching decisions, yes it’s been over a week and time to move on. Florida success against Toronto has done nothing to make the loss feel any differently. The Bruins still choked and gave away what could’ve been a great season.

    I know there nothing in Lyle write up about Boston. Sorry still bitter, this is my therapy.

    • Caper “ The Bruins still choked and gave away what could’ve been a great season.” now live through that 4-5 more times and you get an honorary Leafs nation passport. LOL.

      It’s a lot harder to figure out what went wrong or why when the team and management doesn’t suck. Was it luck, a player or two not bringing it when they needed to, coaching or a combination of things? Then, how do you fix it without completely braking it?

  8. As a Blues fan, I have followed the Leaf’s and pulled for the Leaf’s for the first time in my life, as I would have loved to have seen ROR get another Cup. But its painfully obvious that the the guys who are willing to play hard nose, gritty, playoff hockey, are not named Marner, Mattews, or Nylander. Watching the game last night, I cant remember hearing Marner being mentioned once.
    As to who Toronto should start at Goalie, that seems like a ridiculous question, the defense and goalie hasnt been the issue, its one line, 3 players who seem to think they dont have to get their hands dirty in the playoffs.

    • The “who to start in goal” question is related only to the fact that, at this time, no one knows if Samsonov will be ready to go.

      So, along Leafs decision-makers, what it boils down to if he is NOT ready is, do we go with a rookie in an elimination game, or do we start the veteran we dealt for who, at the moment, is in one of his rare healthy stages?

      As for galvanizing Matthews, Marner, Nylander and, yes, Tavares to greater heights, short of a cattle prod up the butt I can’t think of a rational way to do that since the mere fact that they are in the 2nd round of the playoffs has failed to get them going.

      • Well I’ve watched both Canadian series so far in 2nd RD.
        Here’s a couple plays you see from the Oil that stand out as being different from the Leafs and kind of sum it up IMO.

        Big Klim Kostin blocks a shot on the side of his foot. Bites him hard and he’s in pain, gets up, doesn’t hobble to the bench, he hobbles back to the shooting lane and blocks another one. Bites him again, hard. Oiler bench explodes.

        Dying seconds, same guy Kostin finishes his check, pretty hard on Whitecloud. Whitecloud chops Kostin on the side of his head. Another Vegas guy gives Kostin both hands to his face. Might have been Petro.

        Scrum ensues, Vegas looks to get physical on the Oil. Big Bjugstad puts Petro on his back, Big Kane puts Kolesar on his back, and feeds him a few body shots. Kostin tosses Whitecloud around. Oiler bench explodes.

        Not fighters, good players who are big, and as Woody said aren’t bluffer’s. Leafs doin’ any of that?

        Nice work Mr Holland.

  9. That OT goal was awful but before that happened there was the first goal.
    Allowing the breakaway pass from the behind the Panther’s net to a guy on blue line who sneaked behind the defense is unacceptable.

    This is a total breakdown by the Leafs, the defense has been subpar with repetitive mental mistakes (I give the panthers credit for being part responsible and taking advantage). The offense has dried up from the top guys, credit Florida here too.

    Obviously a fan I have some hope….barely but its up to the coaching staff to correct these mistakes that keep popping up every single game.
    So is there change needed after a 4, 5 or 6 game exit in the second round, absolutely. Keefe is going to be on the hot seat come the summer, he’s been outcoached in both series thus far.

    • How about Goalie Bob reverting to his mean?
      That would solve a lot of other problems.