NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2021
Recaps of Saturday’s action, Tom Wilson receives a seven-game suspension, Wayne Gretzky eulogizes his father Walter, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Rangers got two goals from Ryan Strome to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Adam Fox opened the scoring for the Rangers with a beautiful end-to-end goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils (16 points) looked like they could contend for a playoff berth several weeks ago. Their recent skid sent them tumbling toward the bottom of the MassMutual East Division standings, one point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. They could be joining the list of potential sellers at the April 12 trade deadline.
Speaking of the Sabres, they dropped their sixth straight in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Mathew Barzal’s between-the-legs game-tying goal launched was the start of a four-goal outburst in the second period for the Islanders as they extended their points streak to seven games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Islanders (32 points) sit atop the East Division.
Evgeni Malkin scored and collected an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Flyers winger Travis Konecny also had a goal and assist as his club is tied with the Penguins (27 points) but holds fourth place in the East on win percentage (.643) with two games in hand.
A hat trick by Noel Acciari powered the Florida Panthers over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (34 points), who are tied with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Discover Central Division. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Matt Duchene on injured reserve. He will be sidelined three-to-five weeks with a lower-body injury.
Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 to sweep their two-game set. Canucks goaltender Thatcher kicked out 37 shots for the win.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko’s play has improved since mid-February. He’ll likely get the bulk of the starts in the coming weeks as the Canucks (24 points) sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Scotia North Division.
The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves while Lance Pitlick tallied twice for the Coyotes. The win puts Arizona (25 points) just two behind the Wild for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division.
Carey Price turned aside 28 shots, Brendan Gallagher notched two goals and Tomas Tatar collected three assists as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Josh Anderson scored in his first game with the Habs after being sidelined for three games by a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the most convincing Canadiens win since their 6-2 victory over the Canucks on Feb. 1. They’re now 2-1-2 in their first five games under interim coach Dominique Ducharme.
The Anaheim Ducks snapped a nine-game winless skid with a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks blew a 2-0 lead but overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Troy Terry and Kevin Shattenkirk to set the stage for Ryan Getzlaf’s game-winner in the extra frame. Terry scored twice and Rickard Rakell had a three-point night. Mikko Rantanen replied with two of his own for the Avalanche.
Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 21 saves for his first career NHL shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist for the Stars to snap their four-game losing skid.
Vladimir Tarasenko’s season debut following offseason shoulder surgery couldn’t help the St. Louis Blues from dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Adrian Kempe tallied the game-winner while Anze Kopitar scored twice for the Kings. Tarasenko was held scoreless while teammate David Perron had a goal and an assist. With 25 points, the Kings sit two back of the fourth-place Wild in the West Division.
Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-leading fourth shutout in a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Alex Tuch scored twice to extend his goal streak to four games. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Vegas sits atop the West Division with 33 points.
The Edmonton Oilers got goals by Kailer Yamamoto and Connor McDavid to edge the Calgary Flames 3-2. McDavid also had two assists on the night. The Oilers (30 points) sit two up on the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division and two back of the Jets.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The NHL suspended Capitals winger Tom Wilson for seven games for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo on Friday. Carlo was taken to the hospital for treatment overnight but was released yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Wilson’s history of reckless hits resulting in four fines and three suspensions it’s not surprising the league handed down this judgement. He’s now been suspended for a total of 30 games in the NHL career.
SPORTING NEWS: Wayne Gretzky eulogized his father Walter during the latter’s funeral yesterday in Brantford, Ontario. “He was a remarkable man who loved life, loved family,” said Wayne. “We’d be a way better world if there were so many more people like my dad.” He also pointed out COVID-19 played no part in Walter’s passing, indicating he’d suffered a bad hip injury several weeks ago. He passed away last week at age 82.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Walter. Your legacy will live as long as your son’s.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights were left scrambling for new accommodations after the San Jose hotel they were staying in abruptly closed due to bankruptcy.
THE SCORE: A small number of NHL players in the United States have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Some received it because of the city where they lived where the vaccine became available.