NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2024

by | Apr 2, 2024 | News, NHL | 10 comments

The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby ties a scoring record with Wayne Gretzky, Auston Matthews sets the Leafs single-season goal record, the Red Wings and Islanders remain in the Eastern Conference wildcard chase, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored two goals and collected an assist to tie Wayne Gretzky with 19 seasons averaging a point-per-game in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. Bryan Rust also tallied twice for the 33-30-11 Penguins (77 points) as they move to within five points of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. The Rangers (50-21-4) remain in first place in the overall standings with 104 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A point-per-game in 19 straight seasons is a phenomenal achievement for the 36-year-old Crosby. He has 82 points this season in 74 games. Crosby also needs just three assists to reach the 1,000-assist milestone. He’s 13 goals from the 600 career goal milestone and 16 points from the 1,600-point plateau. Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry and defenseman John Ludvig were late scratches from this game due to illness.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews broke his franchise single-season goals record with his 61st and 62nd goals as his club downed the Florida Panthers 6-4. Matthews also collected an assist to finish with three points for the Leafs (43-22-9), who won their third straight game and sit third in the Atlantic Division with 95 points. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists and Sam Reinhart tallied his 52nd goal for the 47-23-5 Panthers, who sit seventh in the overall standings with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With eight games remaining in the Leafs schedule, Matthews has a chance to become the first player to score 70 goals in a season since Teemu Selanne and Alex Mogilny in 1992-93. He holds a 10-goal lead over Reinhart and the Edmonton Oilers’ Zach Hyman in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy. Meanwhile, Panthers winger Carter Verhaeghe left this game early in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Panthers coach Paul Maurice considers him day-to-day.

The Detroit Red Wings remain in the Eastern wildcard race with a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. David Perron snapped a 2-2 tie, Lucas Raymond netted his 25th goal of the season and Alex Lyon stopped 34 shots for the 37-30-8 Red Wings, who sit behind the Washington Capitals with 82 points. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected an assist to tie Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon for the points lead with 127. The Bolts (41-26-7) hold the first Eastern wildcard with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings and Capitals have the same points total but the latter holds that wildcard with two games in hand.

An overtime goal by Brock Nelson lifted the New York Islanders over the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots for the 32-27-15 Islanders as they sit three points behind the Red Wings and Capitals. Morgan Frost scored in the final 10 seconds to force overtime for the Flyers (36-29-11), who picked up a point to regain third place in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nelson and teammate Bo Horvat each scored their 30th goal of the season in this game. Meanwhile, Flyers goalie Ivan Fedotov made his NHL debut (stopping 19 of 21 shots) as he replaced Samuel Ersson, who gave up two goals on six shots. Flyers defenseman Jamie Drysdale returned to action after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury. However, team captain Sean Couturier left the game with an apparent upper-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche failed to gain ground in the overall standings as they fell 4-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexander Nylander tallied twice and Kirill Marchenkov picked up his 20th goal of the season for the 25-38-12 Blue Jackets. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was held scoreless as his club sits sixth overall with 100 points (47-22-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins missed this game with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Cole Perfetti scored twice and collected an assist as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 to snap their six-game losing skid. Kyle Connor collected three assists for the Jets, who improved to 45-24-6 to sit third in the Central Division with 96 points. Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar replied for the Kings (38-25-11) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets forward Tyler Toffoli missed this game due to illness. Kings center Phillip Danault did not dress due to an upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad scored in overtime to give his club a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Brayden Schenn tallied twice for the Blues, who improved to 40-31-4 and sit three points behind the Kings for that final Western wildcard. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the 45-23-5 Oilers as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 95 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected an assist for his 126th point of the season, sitting one behind Kucherov and MacKinnon in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. He’s also just three assists away from reaching the 100-point mark in a single season. The last player to do that was Wayne Gretzky with 122 in 1990-91.

The Seattle Kraken doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Shane Wright scored what proved to be the winning goal in his first game since being called up from the minors while Oliver Bjorkstrand netted his 20th of the season for the 31-30-13 Kraken. Fabian Zetterlund tallied his 21st of the season for the 17-49-8 Sharks.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson and New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere were the league’s three stars for the week ending March 31.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman received a three-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct. He hurled his stick toward the on-ice officials following the Wild’s 2-1 loss to the Golden Knights on Saturday.


  1. Things just are not right when you see Sidney Crosby not in the playoffs! Ovi might not make them also!Washington and Philly are doing a great job with rosters that Don t match up with most playoff teams!

    • Looks like at least one of Caps or Flyers will play hockey while Penguins golf.

      Very sad for all Penguins fans

      Big (and many) changes needed

      • Re; The Pen’s…
        Its Re-build time for the Pen’s 😳 +6-7 years

        They are going into a Re-Build for the next season 2024-2025… But when they are missing the playoffs a in march 2025 they will go into a Full Re-build and 
Sid will go to a contender…
        Like The Avs or the Oilers to play with one of his buddies #29 or #97

        There Goaltending has not been Great,
 There Back up Alex Nedeljkovic has been just as good at Jarry there Starter who has not been that good, and he is signed for 4 more years, most of these player are signed up for 1 to 4 more years…
        The D is Very Very Old & not very good and

        Nobody is Taking
 34 yr old Erik Karlsson at $10.M for 3 more years in this Cash straped league❗️
 anyways the pens have nothing to intice a team to take that on…
        Ottawa is Not taking him back….Why would they?

        The Forwards are ALL Old Age at the start of the season, Most of them have all started to slow down even the younger ones like Rickard Rakell, he only has 10G & 18A
        at 36 Crosby
 and playing Great but you look who is helping him….39 Jeff Carter
 38 Malkin’
 32 Matt Nieto
32 Noel Acciari’
34 Lars Eller
33 Reilly Smith
32 Bryan Rust
31 Rickard Rakell’

        Regarding the Pen’s AHL farm team they have Nothing coming up to help them…
No 1st & 3rd & 5th picks this year in the 2024 draft
        it looks very Sad for the Pen’s & Sid….❗️❓🤔

        NJ, Buffalo,Hab’s Ottawa, Detoit, All of these team will be sitting abouve the Pen’s trying for a playoff position…..
        The bottom dwellers for the future will be the old boy clubs
        Cap’s, Pen’s, NYI & CBJ

  2. Congrats to Crosby tying Gretzky with 19 straight seasons of at least a PPG production. Noe just 6 points out of 10th overall; and if it weren’t for bonehead Steckell; Crosby would have already passed Mario for 8th overall.

    Scoring lead still uber tight, one point separating 1st-3rd. Final regular season game (of McDavid vs MacKinnon ) will be a doozie.

    Penguins in the absolute worst situation…. They will end up just a few points (perhaps as little as 1) out of a playoff spot; and no 1st round pick.

    Had they played the last week like they did most of the season; they’d still miss the playoffs but have a shot at Celebrini; but more likely picking in the 7th-9th spot (Lindstrom!!!)

    How can they get 5 of 6 points (including a reg win last night in MSG) against the top teams (Avs, Canes, Rangers) and still lose badly to lower teams

    Twenty (20) 1 goal loss games….

    And another way to look at it …. Two losses past regulation to Flyers and a 1 goal reg loss to Caps so far this season; means just 3 goals (more for the Pens; or less for their opponents ) in regulation (1 in each of those 3 games (2 Flyer games; 1 Cap game)…. And Pens would be in playoffs and at worst tied for 3rd (Metro) right now

    This push to the end with “close but no cigar” results; unfortunately has Dubas thinking…. Ahh , it was just the loss of Guentzel that cost us a playoff spot…. Just need a tweak


    Absolutely NO!

    Pens are out and without a 1st this year because of very bad Dubas moves. Very bad moves.

    A must for off season…. Age and smaller size replaced by younger, bigger, stronger; grittier

    No more 60% raises and additional term for declining (3 years in a row) performance players (Accairi)

    No more all in moves (and huge over pay) for an older player with huge Cap hit and term because they had their career year(Karllsson)

    No more trades lost (and very badly lost…. While taking on a declining top 6 forward because “you know him” [Bunting] ) on key players lost (Guntzel). That trade return was sickening. Just sickening.

    No more loading up tons of 4th liners and depth/AHL forwards and forgetting that every team needs a 3rd line

    Start firing coaches what have absolutely failed at what they are hired to do (Rierdon/power play)

    Karllsson is definitely marketable at 50% retained; make sure Accairi is paired in the deal

    Crosby, Letang, Malkin are staying

    Under no circumstances should the Dragon be moved

    Because of term, Cap hit and/or NMC/NTC Rust, Graves, Rakell are staying

    Youth (very reasonable contracts) that Pens Must keep and/or resign : P-OJ, Poulin, Bemstrom, O’Connor, Puuljarvi; Puustenen;

    Must go: Accairi, Nietto, Karllsson; Eller; Smith

    Use retention on above and some of Gruden, Ludwig, Rathbone , maybe Johnstone; to acquire 24-27 year old 3rd liners with size; grit; and proven ability

    Don’t sign a single UFA older than 28; or under 6’1” or under 205

    Maybe time to move on from Sullivan (roster choices have been so very very bad)

    The bottom has dropped out

    The valley begins. How long and how deep is that Valley?

    • Would the Pens ever have thoughts of trading Crosby this offseason ?

  3. What Perfetti will be remembered for by Jets fans for is not that he was a last minute roster add when Toffoli went down with illness, or that he had an assist and scored 2 goals including a late game winner… he will be remembered for the look on his face after he dropped an f-bomb live in an interview. In an earlier interview he revealed that Hartman had told him he was going to intentionally injure him before he was ‘high sticked ‘ on the jaw.

    Keep on talking to the kid, his interviews have been honest and not the dull canned interviews that most turn out to be. hopefully that lasts.

    • Reminds me of Andew Copp when he got his 100th goal earlier this year. The reporter asked him how he felt about his 100th goal Copp said “It doesn’t mean $hit!”

  4. The last few moves the Bruins have made is bringing in bigger forwards to play in minors and pros … see if this develops into something…newest player is Jaxon Nelson.. 6’4” 220 lb

    • The Bruins addressed the size issue this year! Jvr,Geekie,
      Beecher,Lohrei,Peeke,Lucic, to name a few!Now they need to do the same on D! Follow the lead of Vegas,heavy but skilled in the right areas!Realities of last years playoff loss! Bergeron and Krecji,to small,slow and old!

  5. Yeah, Elvis missed the game what’s new? The Bigger story is Tarasov made 46 saves against the Av’s