NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2024

by | Apr 18, 2024 | News, NHL | 8 comments

The Coyotes win their final game in Arizona, Nikita Kucherov reaches 100 assists, the Stars clinch first in the Western Conference, the Canucks will face the Predators in the first round, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes won their final game before relocating to Salt Lake City by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Dylan Guenther had a goal and an assist and Connor Ingram made 28 saves as the Coyotes received a standing ovation at the end of the game from 4,600 fans at the sold-out Mullett Arena in Tempe. Warren Foegele tallied his 20th goal of the season for the Oilers, who are still waiting to find out who their opponent will be in the first round of the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a bittersweet game for the Coyotes and their fans as plans to relocate to Salt Lake City could be officially announced as early as today. Former Coyotes captain Shane Doan attended the game and received his retirement banner from a fan who recovered it from the club’s former arena, now called the Desert Diamond Arena.

The Oilers will face the Los Angeles Kings or the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Both teams are playoff bound with the Golden Knights (98 points) holding a one-point lead over the Kings. They’re playing their final games of the regular season on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov became the fifth player in NHL history to reach 100 assists in a season in a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kucherov also tallied his 44th goal of the season. Leafs center Auston Matthews was held off the score sheet and finished the season with 69 goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning will meet the Florida Panthers in the first round while the Leafs face the Boston Bruins.

With 144 points, Kucherov has practically sewn up the Art Ross Trophy as this season’s points leader. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is six points behind as he and his teammates face off against the Edmonton Oilers in their final game of the regular season.

Kucherov is also the second player this season to reach the 100-assist plateau, joining Oilers captain Connor McDavid. It’s the first time two players have collected that many assists in a season since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux each had 114 in 1988-89.

A shootout goal by Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Stars clinched first place in the Western Conference with a record of 52-21-9 (113 points). Their win also means the Vancouver Canucks will face the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Oilers, the Stars are waiting to find out if they’ll face the Golden Knights or Kings.

The New York Islanders won their final game of the season by holding off the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4. Ilya Sorokin kicked out 40 shots while Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected two assists to finish the season with 94 points. Following the game, Penguins forward Jeff Carter announced his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening round. Isles forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and didn’t return.

Carter, 39, played 19 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and the Penguins. In 1,321 regular season games, he tallied 442 goals and 409 assists for 851 points, including 11 seasons with at least 20 goals. Carter also had 47 goals and 84 points in 133 playoff games, helping the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.


NHL.COM: The schedule for the first games of the Eastern Conference clubs in the opening round of the 2024 playoffs was released on Wednesday.

The Islanders and Hurricanes face off on Saturday, Apr. 20 at 5 pm ET followed by the Maple Leafs and Bruins at 8 pm ET.

Sunday sees the Lightning and Florida Panthers face off at 12:30 pm ET. The Washington Capitals square off against the New York Rangers at 3 pm ET.

NHL.COM: The King Clancy Trophy nominees were released on Wednesday. The award honors the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.

The 32 nominees include Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Vancouver Canuck defenseman Quinn Hughes, Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, and Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the 32 nominees. You can see the complete list by following the link provided above.

SPORTSNET: The Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. It will be Fleury’s 21st NHL season and he confirmed it will be his last.

ROTOBALLER: New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier said he dealt with a double MCL injury in his knee early in the season. He also suffered an oblique injury later in the campaign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those injuries might explain why Meier’s production dropped from 68 points in 78 games in 2022-23 to 52 points in 69 games this season.

THE MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have exercised their two-year option on head coach Martin St. Louis’ contract. He has a season remaining on his current deal.


  1. Really classy scene at the end of the Isles-Pens game last night. The Islanders players all lined up to shake hands with Carter and congratulate him on a great career. The entire Pens team stayed around as he was announced as the third star and was given a rousing ovation. His family came down to the bench too.

    Hats off to a great player and good guy.

    • Agree

      He didn’t work out for Penguins but he had s great career and the support both bu Pens and Isle was absolutely great.

      I’m sure he’ll continue in a hockey capacity somewhere.

      He was one if the very few still playing from that super-draft class of ‘03

  2. Unless NacKinnon somehow miraculously has a 6point night; Kucherov has now locked up Ross and Hart trophies

    Good move for Habs re St. Louis. Congrats Martin.

    Surprised by the Flower already getting extended. Statistically he will never catch Brodeur on Ws or SOs; but likely will move past Liingo for 2nd in GP; and up a couple of spots for shutouts. I expect at Career end he signs a 1 day contract with Pens. Congrats Marc-Andre. Looking out for more super-prank news

    Congrats to Jeff Csrter on his retirement. Things didn’t go so well in Pittsburgh but he had a long career (one of the few remaining from that Stellar ‘03 draft class)

    Yes it was a sad day for about 4,000 (at arena) and maybe 15,000 (at home) true Yotes fans; but the absolute right move for NHL, NHLPA, hockey as a whole, hockey fans everywhere (as a whole).

    This will flip (by a substantial margin) HRR; will create a huge number of new hockey fans

    I’m sure Gary’s face was Scarlett this morning. That said, Gary’s ego will claim that “his” negotiations have benefitted owners to the tune of $200 M and mote coming in future HRR increases. What he’ll never admit is the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars he has cost everybody by keeping them in Phoenix for close to 2 decades past when they should have been relocated.

    This IS a good day for hockey.

    This franchise will now thrive in SLC. In addition to a young team; and so many upcoming (next 3 years) first 3 round picks; they will now not have to overpay UFAs who had no desire to play in front of only 4,600 (max) for at least the next 4 years; as well as a tiny hockey broadcast market.

    You also have a draft class that no longer fears being drafted by this franchise.

    Do not be surprised if SLC has a deep play-off run 3 years from now.

    Uncertainty now for SLC franchise pretty well lies with name , colors, Jersey. Mascot

    I’m pulling for The SLC Tabernacles. They will have all of Eastern Quebec chanting “Tabernac” “Tabernac” “Tabernac”

    • That’s a bit of stereo-typing over-the-top Pengy

      • Agree that my verbiage is hyperbolic

        Saying that Eastern Quebecers swear by saying Tabernac is not stereotyping . Francophones in Eastern Quebec do say Tabernac

        Will Eastern Quebecers as a whole be happy that another NHL franchise opportunity has passed them by. Not a chance.

        Basically new state of the art arena ready to go; built in want for a team in Quebec; built in automatic rivalry just 2 hours west!

        Why wouldn’t they be upset bring passed over again

      • “Francophones in Eastern Quebec do say Tabernac”

        In the ’50s maybe but no more than Anglophones in Scarborough say “*&ck” each time the Leafs bow out of the playoffs.

      • Not sure where Scarborough is but from context I guess it’s where the Leafs play

        I’m sure Leaf fans are (have) using/(used) the F-bomb re poor playoff performances for many years

        Re “Tabernac” and 50’s; I was in Quebec last summer for a few days and heard it quite a bit; albeit mostly “kids” in their 20’s

        Again, hyperbole and just linking the joke “Tabernacles” re renowned SLC icon and ” Tabernac” francaphone swear word; and Quebec’s collective grief in having another NHL franchise opportunity pass them by

        Just a joke

  3. Going into this season there was 3 players in the history of the Nhl with 100 assist season, now we add 2 more.

    Lemieux and Gretzky also done it in the same season 1988-1989 season

    Lemieux 76gp 85 goals 114 assist 199pts 23yrs old
    Gretzky 78gp 54 goals 114 assist 168pts 28yrs old

    Gretzky done it 11 times the last season being 1990-1991 78gp 41 goals 122 assist 163pts 30yrs old

    If my math is correct Nikita Kucherov birthdate June 17th 1993 is the oldest player in the history of the Nhl to record a 100 assist season

    Gretzky was born January 26 1961