NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2023
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.
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.
IN OTHER NEWS…
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.