NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 19, 2023

Recaps of Tuesday’s playoff action feature the Kraken’s first-ever playoff win, Connor Bedard topping Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American prospects, plus the latest on Patrice Bergeron, Joe Pavelski and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken made franchise history with their first playoff game win by upsetting the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche 3-1 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Eeli Tolvanen opened the scoring with the Kraken’s first-ever postseason goal, Alex Wennberg tallied the game-winner and former Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 34 saves against his former club. Mikko Rantanen replied for the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Kraken and one that was well-deserved. They took the early lead, didn’t get rattled when the Avalanche tied it, gained confidence from Grubauer’s solid play and Wenneberg’s tie-breaker, and worked hard throughout this contest.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider (NHL Images).

The New York Rangers spanked the New Jersey Devils 5-1 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Chris Kreider scored twice to set a franchise record for most playoff goals with 36 while Adam Fox collected four assists to tie a franchise record for most assists in one playoff game. Devils forward Jack Hughes scored his first-ever playoff goal on a penalty shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The young Devils got schooled in this contest by the experienced Rangers. The Blueshirts neutralized their opponent’s power play, successfully killing off four penalties. Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was also sharp in this game, making several key saves.

Brayden Point scored twice, Nikita Kucherov collected three points and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Mitch Marner assisted on all three Leafs’ goals while goalie Ilya Samsonov got the hook after giving up six goals on 29 shots through two periods.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning got the win despite losing defensemen Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak and forward Michael Eyssimont to upper-body injuries. An update on their conditions could be announced today. Leafs winger Michael Bunting received a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head on Cernak and has a hearing with the league today which could result in a suspension for at least Game 2 on Thursday.

The Leafs crapped the bed in this contest. There’s no other way to put it. Yes, there were some questionable calls by the officiating (though the Bunting call was undeniably the correct one) but the Leafs were their own worst enemies once again. They have plenty of time to right the ship and win this series but another poor effort against the former champions in Game 2 could be devastating.

Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists in a 5-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of their first-round series. Adam Lowry scored twice while Connor Hellebuyck made 16 saves for the win. William Karlsson replied for the Golden Knights. Jets’ forward Morgan Barron received 75 stitches to his face after being accidentally sliced by the skate of Vegas goalie Laurent Brossoit but returned to finish the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ best players have to step up if they hope to win this series and they certainly did so in this game. Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois staked them to an early 2-0 lead, Wheeler led by example and Hellebucyk was solid even though he faced a lighter workload. They also drew inspiration from Barron’s return from that gruesome injury. The Golden Knights seemed nervous in this one, making too many mistakes that proved costly.


NHL.COM: Regina Pats center Connor Bedard topped Central Scouting’s final rankings of the 2023 North American skaters. He finished this WHL season with 143 points in 57 games.

Hobey Baker Award winner Adam Fantilli of the University of Michigan and center William Smith of the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (USNTDP) finished second and third among North American skaters

Center Leo Carlsson of Orebro in the Swedish Hockey League is ranked as the top international skater. Right wing Matvei Michkov of KHL club SKA St. Petersburg and center Dalibor Dvorsky of AIK in Sweden finished second and third.

The 2023 NHL Draft is scheduled for June 28-29 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is considered the top overall prospect and expected to be chosen first overall in this year’s draft by whichever team wins the NHL Draft Lottery scheduled for May 8.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (stomach flu, upper-body injury) remains questionable for Game 2 tonight against the Florida Panthers. The Bruins hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Peter DeBoer is uncertain if winger Joe Pavelski will be able to play in Game 2 tonight against the Minnesota Wild. Pavelski left Game 1 following a high hit by Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, who received a minor penalty and will not face supplemental discipline. The Wild lead the series 1-0.

CBS SPORTS: Los Angeles Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi declared himself good to go for Game 2 tonight against the Edmonton Oilers after missing the first game with an upper-body injury. The Kings hold a 1-0 lead in this series.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom turned down an invitation to play for Sweden in next month’s IIHF World Championships. He’s prioritizing his offseason training after missing half the season recovering from hip surgery.

THE PROVINCE: A broken foot suffered during last year’s World Championships hampered Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson this season, particularly his defensive game. It affected his offseason training, putting him behind schedule and limiting his mobility and agility. He’s looking forward to a healthier offseason and being in better shape for training camp in September.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL winger Nigel Dawes has announced his retirement at age 38. He spent five seasons with the New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens from 2006-07 to 2010-22, totaling 39 goals and 84 points in 212 NHL games.

Dawes went on to spend 10 seasons in the KHL, becoming one of the highest scorers in that league’s history, followed by two seasons with the Mannheim Eagles in Germany’s elite league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Dawes in his future endeavors.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2022

The schedule resumes with the Hurricanes extending their win streak to nine games, Connor McDavid stretching his points streak to 16 games and Jamie Benn reaching a Stars milestone. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their win streak to nine games by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots for the shutout while Martin Necas, Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook were the goal scorers as the Hurricanes (23-6-6, 52 points) hold a six-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Petr Mrazek made 46 saves for the Blackhawks (8-21-4) sitting in last place in the overall standings with 20 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid stretched his points streak to 16 games by scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. McDavid leads the league with 31 goals while Stuart Skinner kicked out 46 shots for the win as the Oilers improved to 19-15-2. Mikael Backlund scored for the Flames as they dropped to 16-13-7.

The Vancouver Canucks are over .500 for the first time this season (16-15-3) as they downed the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Bo Horvat and Ilya Mikheyev each had four points for the Canucks. Timo Meier scored twice and Erik Karlsson collected two assists to extend his points streak to a career-high 10 games for the 11-19-6 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s hoping sidelined starting goaltender Thatcher Demko can return in mid-January but remains uncertain if he’ll be back before February. Demko’s been out with a lower-body injury since Dec. 1.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored his 343rd career goal and Roope Hintz tallied twice in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Benn moved past Brian Bellows into second place on the Stars’ all-time goals list. With 48 points (21-9-6), Dallas moves to within one point of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Juuse Saros made 30 saves for the Predators as they slipped to 14-14-5. Predators forward Matt Duchene missed this game as his wife was giving birth to the couple’s baby daughter.

The Ottawa Senators (15-16-3) got a 49-save performance from Cam Talbot to upset the Boston Bruins 3-2 on a shootout goal by Alex DeBrincat, who also scored in regulation. Jake DeBrusk tallied his 14th goal of the season for the Bruins (27-4-3), who remain atop the overall standings with 57 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. There was no update as to his condition following the game.

An overtime goal by William Nylander lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs past the St. Louis Blues 5-4 after the Blues (16-16-3) overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits to force the extra frame. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and two assists for the Leafs (22-7-6) while Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou were among the Blues scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues played without defenseman Torey Krug as he was placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury. He’s expected to be re-evaluated in six weeks. The Leafs, meanwhile, placed forward Nick Robertson and defenseman Victor Mete on LTIR.

The Los Angeles Kings doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson each collecting a goal and two assists. The Kings (20-12-6, 46 points) move within three points of the Golden Knights (24-12-1), who sit atop the Western Conference with 49 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings forward Trevor Moore missed this game for undisclosed reasons. The Kings also placed Arthur Kaliyev (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 20. Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez departed in the second period with an injured leg after blocking a shot by Kings forward Alex Iafallo.

Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves to blank the New York Rangers 4-0. Marcus Johansson, Erik Gustafsson, Lars Eller and Conor Sheary were the goal scorers as the Capitals (20-13-4) picked up their fifth straight win and their 10th in their last 11 contests. Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 shots for the 19-12-5 Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen left the game in the final minutes after being struck in the face by the puck. Earlier in the day, they placed blueliner John Carlson (facial injury) on injured reserve.

New York Islanders forwards Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal each tallied twice in a 5-1 romp over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders improved to 20-14-2 but lost winger Oliver Wahlstrom to injury after he was cross-checked in the first period by Pittsburgh defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph. The Penguins slide to 19-10-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins recalled defenseman Mark Friedman from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Minnesota Wild (20-12-2) picked up their seventh victory in their last eight games by dropping the Winnipeg Jets 4-1, handing the latter their third straight defeat. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist while Filip Gustavsson made 36 saves for the Wild. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied for the Jets (21-13-1).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without rookie forward Cole Perfetti as he’s out for at least a week with an injured shoulder. Wild defenseman Jake Middleton missed this game with a non-COVID illness.

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz each had a goal and an assist for the 12-16-5 Coyotes. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche as they dropped to 19-12-2.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers got some good news as goaltender Carter Hart skated with his teammates in practice on Tuesday. He suffered what appeared to be an upper-body injury during Friday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes following a collision with Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings assigned forward Jakub Vrana to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. Vrana hasn’t played since Oct. 15 before entering the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens recalled defenseman Justin Barron from their AHL affiliate in Laval.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2022

The Kraken keep rising in the standings, the Canucks are clawing their way back into playoff contention, plus the latest on Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Daniel Sprong lifted the Seattle Kraken to a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Matty Beniers had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (13-5-3) as they pick up their fifth straight win. Mason McTavish and Adam Henrique scored in the third period for Anaheim to force overtime as their record falls to 6-15-1). Ducks forward Trevor Zegras collected three assists.

Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Kraken moves one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for second place in the Western Conference standings with 29 points. Beniers leads all NHL rookies this season with 18 points. Meanwhile, Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.

Vancouver Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko scored in overtime to nip the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Kuzmenko, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each collected two points as the Canucks (9-10-3) have won five of their last six games. Luke Kunin scored twice and Erik Karlsson picked up two assists for the 7-13-4 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have overcome a poor start to this season. With 21 points, they’re one point out of a wildcard berth in the Western Conference. Kuzmenko’s been a key part of that improvement. After netting just two points in his first seven NHL games, he now has 19 points in his last 14 contests, including two game-winning goals.

The Winnipeg Jets thumped the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Saku Maenalanen each scored twice while Kyle Connor and Josh Morrissey each had three-point performances as the Jets improved to 13-6-1. Taylor Raddysh and Jujhar Khaira replied for the Blackhawks (6-11-4) as their winless skid reached seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since their 4-2-0 start, the Blackhawks have won only twice in their last 15 games. Jets forward Morgan Barron collected an assist as he returned to action for the first time since being sidelined by an injury on Oct. 30. With 27 points, the Jets are fourth in the Western Conference.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-3. Joel Eriksson Ek collected two assists for the Wild (10-9-2) while Matias Macelli also picked up two assists as the Coyotes slid to 7-10-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macelli sits second among this season’s rookie scorers with 13 points but he’s their leader in assists with 12.

The Ottawa Senators downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime by Claude Giroux. Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot each had two points as the Senators boosted their record to 8-12-1. Arthur Kaliyev scored both goals for the Kings (12-9-3) as they’ve dropped four of their last five contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big win for the struggling Senators as they salvage four points from this four-game western road trip.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov will be sidelined for the next two games with a non-COVID-related illness.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod on injured reserve.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed forward Riley Sheahan on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract after he declined to report to their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former Canucks coaching staff member Rachel Doerrie filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal last week. She alleges she was discriminated against by the team and assistant general manager Emilie Castonguay for her mental and physical disabilities.

Doerrie, who has PTSD and a heart condition, was hired by the Canucks in January as an analyst and promoted to the coaching staff on Aug. 1. She indicated she had revealed her medical conditions to Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford during the hiring process. She was terminated from her position in September.

The Canucks issued two statements saying they “strongly disagreed” with Doerrie’s allegations.