NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2024

by | Apr 7, 2024 | News, NHL | 26 comments

The Leafs’ Auston Matthews continues his quest for 70 goals, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl reach the 40-goal plateau, and the battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot continues in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 64th goal of the season in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Matthews also reached the 100-point plateau as his Leafs improved to 44-23-9 and remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 97 points. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist for the 29-35-12 Canadiens.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews holds an 11-goal lead over Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart as this season’s leading goal scorer. He becomes the eighth player to reach 100 points this season. That’s the most in one season for NHL scorers since 1995-96 when 12 players did it. The Canadiens played without defensemen Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj, who are sidelined with upper-body injuries.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his 40th of the season as his club nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. Michael Bunting snapped a 4-4 tie in the third period after the Lightning overcame a 4-1 deficit. Bunting, Evgeni Malkin and Erik Karlsson each had three points for the Penguins (36-30-11) as they took possession of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Steven Stamkos scored twice and Nikita Kucherov had three assists for the 43-27-7 Lightning, who hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 93 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a scary moment in the third period when referee Steve Kozari was briefly knocked unconscious following an accidental collision with Lightning defenseman Hadyn Fleury. Kozari was stretchered from the game and is expected to make a full recovery. Fleury was shaken up and left the game under his own power. Lightning forwards Anthony Cirelli and Tanner Jeannot missed this game with upper-body injuries.

The Penguins have won four straight and six of their last 10 contests. Crosby has reached 40 goals in the season three times with the last being seven years ago. Meanwhile, Kucherov (136 points) holds a five-point lead over Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon for the lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

The Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Calgary Flames 4-2 in the final segment of this season’s “Battle of Alberta”. Leon Draisaitl scored his 40th goal of the season and Connor McDavid collected two assists to sit one shy of 100 as the Oilers (47-24-5) sit second in the Pacific Division with 99 points. Flames forward Yegor Sharangovich reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time as his club slipped to 34-37-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl also tallied 20 power-play goals for the third consecutive season. McDavid is one assist away from becoming the fourth player in NHL history to reach 100 assists in a season and the first to do so since Wayne Gretzky in 1990-91. He remains third in the scoring race with 130 points.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov kicked out 41 shots to shut out the Nashville Predators 2-0. Noah Dobson and Kyle Palmieri were the goal scorers for the 35-27-15 Islanders, who picked up their fourth straight win and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 85 points, two ahead of the Penguins. Kevin Lankinen made 28 saves for the Predators (44-29-4) as they slipped into the final Western Conference wildcard spot.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got six goals from defensemen in a 6-2 upset of the struggling Philadelphia Flyers. Zach Werenski and Damon Severson each tallied twice with Erik Gudbranson and Nick Blankenburg netting the others for the 26-39-12 Blue Jackets. Olle Lycksell and Adam Ginning scored their first career NHL goals as the 36-31-11 Flyers (83 points) slipped out of the final Eastern wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those six goals from defensemen matched the NHL record set by the 1992-93 Washington Capitals in a 10-4 win over the New York Rangers on Dec. 4, 1992.

New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Jesper Bratt collected two assists for the 37-36-4 Devils (78 points) as they sit five points behind the Penguins. Claude Giroux, Drake Batherson and Jake Sanderson each had two points for the 33-39-4 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators captain Brady Tkachuk set an NHL record for most hits in a single game with 16. His teammate Tim Stutzle missed this game (his bobblehead night) with a suspected shoulder injury and is considered day-to-day.

An overtime goal by Jesper Boqvist lifted the Boston Bruins over the Florida Panthers 3-2. The two Charlies (McAvoy and Coyle) scored for the Bruins (46-17-15), who sit second overall with 107 points. Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov replied for the 48-24-6 Panthers, who sit seventh overall with 102 points.

The Los Angeles got two goals from Adrian Kempe in a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kempe finished with three points and goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 39 shots for the Kings (41-25-11), who picked up their third straight victory and moved into third place in the Pacific Division with 93 points. Brock Boeser netted his 39th goal of the season for the 47-22-8 Canucks, who sit fifth in the overall standings with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phillip Danault recorded an assist in his return from a four-game absence recovering from an upper-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets forward Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and two assists as his team downed the Minnesota Wild 4-2. With a record of 47-24-6, the Jets sit eighth in the overall standings with 100 points. Kirill Kaprizov scored his 39th goal of the season for 36-31-9 Wild.

The Chicago Blackhawks upset the Dallas Stars 3-2, snapping the latter’s eight-game win streak. Petr Mrazek stopped 42 shots and Connor Bedard netted his 22nd goal of the season for the 23-48-5 Blackhawks. Roope Hintz scored his 29th and Jamie Benn his 20th for the Stars (48-20-9) as they slipped into third overall with 105 points.

San Jose Sharks forward William Eklund scored his first NHL hat trick, including the winner in overtime in a 3-2 against the St. Louis Blues. Devin Cooley made 34 saves to pick up his first career NHL victory for the 18-50-8 Sharks. Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn scored for the 40-32-5 Blues.


  1. Brady Tkachuk freaked out at the end of the game when Nico Hischier slippedthe puck into the empty net after the final horn which would be a joke if it wasn’t so stupid.

    Hischier could easily have shot it into the net with seconds winding down but didn’t even try to score, just let the puck slide off his stick.

    He chased him down the ice trying to jump him, officials barely able to keep him off, a stupid temper tantrum by an overgrown baby.

    Be happy Hischier didn’t pad the score with a shot.

    • That Senators bug up your butt must be festering.

      • Can a bug fester?

      • If it’s wounded, yes.

    • Hb30 what’s funny about it, when Brady was asked about the Ridly goal, he answer that he was laughing on the bench and he thought it was funny.

      Then he acts like in immature baby. Too funny

      • Yep. You’d think Tkachuck had a whole lot more important things to be concerned about.

        There was a lot of chatter over the reaction to the Gregg goal on the site. Some of us here said, if you don’t like how a goal is scored, then don’t let them score. That’s still my position.

    • Wait what!? George you forgot how terrible Rielly’s reaction was after a Sen thought it was smart to do that. One set of rosey glasses for your team and another for other teams eh?

      Hischier acted like a pro whereas…

      • That has absolutely nothing to do with my comment.

      • Well, George, that’s how I read it.

        Tkachuk reacted like a jerk. Yes, he’s a competitive guy, yes it’s been a long miserable season for the Sens. But he needs to put his frustration where it belongs. And not a word from Garrioch in the Citizen about it either.

  2. 10 guys at or over 100 pts? Wow! The game is shifting again.

    Matt Tkachuk is very aggravating to listen to.

  3. A defense pairing of Peeke and Wotherspoon with lots of playing time against Florida Tkachuk, Bennett and Cousin.

    One play caught my attention, Cousin crosschecked Wotherspoon, who in return skated back at Cousin and returned the favor with a little more force.

    What caught me attention was the look of disbelief on Cousin face.

    I like how the Bruins are playing, still to many long shifts in their own zone, as they like to box out and patiently wait as I impatiently holler at the TV.

  4. Cousins is strange player, when he was in Montreal, he didn’t play that way, he was a pest but not seen as dirty nd wasn’t penalized much.

    I wonder how much of his “game” is a function of Paul Maurice coaching after all Paul Maurice said Scheifele’s hit on Evans was heavy but clean despite the 4 game suspension…..that was the charging headshot on Evans empty net goal.

    Coaches implant a style on their players.

    • Everyone on Fla runs around because Sam Bennett insulates them. That kid is probably the best pound for pound fighter in the pros (next to Jeannot) and he makes them all stand 6″ taller and 30lbs heavier.
      He’d make a fine Bruin.

      • Jeannot that left the game thanks to Revo? Interesting evaluation of a ex-B

      • Whole different weight class. Props to both him and Pezzetta for trying the big fella. That punch to Jeannots ear was devastating.

  5. Now just 3 points back with a game in hand and a looming Saturday night battle next Saturday.
    Remaining schedule
    Canucks Oilers
    Vs vegas Vs vegas
    Vs Arizona Vs Arizona
    @ Edmonton Vs Canucks
    Vs flames Vs sharks
    @ jets @ Arizona
    Who ya got to take first in the pacific? Looking like it’s all going to come down to Saturday night in Edmonton, I’ll take edmonton @ home and to climb all the way back.

    • That extra game vs Colorado should be in Edmonton column

  6. First, hope all will be well with Kozari. Just a fluke/freaky collision

    Great 40 Gd for Crosby, great win by Penguins. Love the win

    Hate the “limbo” land they are in . Hate it.

    To Penguins fans

    Would you rather get in ; lose 4 straight to Rangers;

    and hand Sharks a 17th to 19th overall pick and Sharks end up getting a future Vazelevski OR Getzlaf OR Terevainen OR Hertl OR Parise OR Krieder OR Primeau

    AND (worst still; because of getting in) reaffirming for Dubas that he made the right moves and all is good in Penguinville; and he keeps has beens like Accairi and again signs older UFAs with term


    have a small chance at 5th to 7th overall pick (or more chance at handing Sharks a future Dud [in the 12th-16th] spots ….. like Jessiman (2 NHL games; selected 12th in the best draft class ever); but with the added bonus of forcing Dubas to make real (and numerous) prudent changes to get team younger; bigger; stronger; grittier

    I actually felt better (for the long term ) two weeks ago when their chance at playoffs was 2% and their lottery odds were climbing daily

    Now, that said. If they continue on a run , keeping red hot; and somehow Bruins or Panthers finish first in East but experience multiple multiple key injuries last game of season….. and Penguins beat them in 7….well then!!

    Which of the above situations is most likely to happen???? I have to believe the last scenario is close to as remotely happening as a Wild/Flyers Stanley Cup Final

    • How’s about the option where pens sneak in then go on a run and win their 6th cup? I like that one.

      • Well I like that too

        My heart says yes yes yes

        My logic/pragmatic side says; waaaaay too remote a chance

        Hope you are right and I am wrong

        No matter what; Reirdon must go. How do you have that much talent on the PP and do so poorly?

        Also Accairi must go; and hopefully they can move Smith and some others

        No UFA signings OVER 28; OR under 205 or under 6’1” for forwards; OR under 215 or under 6’2” for D. No “grit-less” signings.

        Must get a top 6 Fwd; must have a 3rd line.

        I’d retain 50% on Karllsson and insist that Accairi goes in move.


        Karllsson (50% retained) + Accairi, plus Gruden plus 2nd for

        Batherson and Joseph

      • Yep. and the eclipse tomorrow will melt the green cheese on the moon and it’ll rain down on Bettman.

      • Remember Pengy kept saying the Penguins should trade or cut Accari.

      • George

        Although I’d love to see Bettman covered in Green Cheese; make us an offer that has Sens taking Karllsson at 43% of his Cap hit ($5 M of $11.5) and Accairi , and has at least Batherson going to Penguins

        Don’t just say it won’t happen; make a reasonable offer.

      • Hi Speed Kills

        I can’t remember if Pengy said to cut Accairi but I think he did say to trade him. We’re are in synch there.

        My contention was (and remains so) that Accairi absolutely should not have been signed for a 60% raise and with a 3 year contract (was coming off a 1 year $1.25 M) as he was in his 3rd year of successive decline. Rewarding and overpaying for proven decline is just waiting for a disaster

        Accairi for 1 year at League Minimum; maybe as much as $1.15 M for 1 year (@ $1.15 M can be buried with no Cap hit to Penguins) ; then I’d not have had a problem with the signing

        $2M for 3 years (reminder, after declining 3 straight years); was a ridiculous signing.

        Not a chance any other GM was giving him anywhere near that deal. He had a 1 year show me deal with Toronto; and he certainly didn’t show!!!

        55 games this year; only 7 points; and second worst +/- on entire team. Only Ludwig is worse than Accairi

        Dubas failed miserably last summer…. Signed (and overpaid several aging depth/4th liners; made team older and weaker; did not acquire a true 3rd line Center (was their most important need); signed but 1 (barely) 3rd liner (Eller); massively overpaid for Karllsson; spent to the cap, nullifying flex;

        Then Dubas got absolutely throttled in the Guentzel trade ; absolutely annihilated; AND has refused to send Reirdon packing

        If he had just acquired a better 3rd line Center and not overpaid for Accairi; plus had fired Reirdon say in January; then Penguins would have likely already locked a playoff spot

        Sadness abounds

  7. Not mentioned above is that the house-cleaning in Ottawa continues under the new ownership/management with the sacking of chief pro scout Rob Murphy and pro scout Jim Clark. This follows the dumping of GM Dorion, coach D. J. Smith, assistant coach Davis Payne and the re-assignment of goalie coach Zach Beirk.

    Among the players I fully expect we have seen the last of Kubalik, Kastelik, Brannstrom, Hamonic, Forsberg, (hopefully) Chabot and (possibly ) Korpisalo, although I still think the latter will be back.

    One can only hope that Staios can prove the faith Andlauer has in him by making the right moves, including especially the hiring of a new head coach.

  8. Actually. Reeves and Jeanott are pretty evenly matched as far as size goes. I stand corrected.