NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2024

The Bruins downed the Leafs and the Hurricanes beat the Islanders in the opening games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Get the details plus the latest on other postseason clubs in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk scored twice and collected an assist as his club rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman kicked out 35 shots as David Kampf was the only Leaf to score in this contest. Game 2 of this series goes Monday night in Boston.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs’ efforts to establish a physical presence against the Bruins backfired. They were undisciplined, took too many bad penalties and were sloppy defensively against savvy opponents who emerged victorious by sticking to their game plan.

Leafs forwards William Nylander and Bobby McMann missed this game due to injuries. We have no more details because the Leafs won’t have daily injury updates during the playoffs.

The Carolina Hurricanes drew first blood against the New York Islanders by beating them 3-1 to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series. Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 33 shots while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist. Kyle MacLean replied for the Islanders. Game 2 is Monday in Carolina.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders dominated large stretches of this game defensively, especially in the second period. However, they were unable to capitalize offensively. Andersen played a big part in that but the Isles best scorers didn’t get more quality scoring chances against him.

PLAYOFF NOTES

NHL.COM: Four other first-round series begin on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Florida Panthers (12:30 ET), the Washington Capitals meet the New York Rangers (3 PM ET), the Colorado Avalanche square off against the Winnipeg Jets (7 pm ET) and the Nashville Predators face the Vancouver Canucks (10 pm ET).

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche announced on Saturday that winger Jonathan Drouin will miss the series against the Jets with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Drouin and the Avalanche. The 29-year-old winger enjoyed a career-best 56-point performance this season.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (lacerated spleen) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (appendectomy) are good to go for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Dallas Stars on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon sought to address critics for his club placing Stone on long-term injury reserve for the second straight year. They used the salary cap savings to bring in Anthony Mantha, Noah Hanifin and Tomas Hertl before the trade deadline.

It was originally reported that Stone wouldn’t be ready to return until later in the playoffs if the Golden Knights advanced past the first round. His clearance for Game 1 of their opening-round series drew accusations of salary-cap circumvention from their critics.

McCrimmon said the NHL is “100 percent involved in any of these LTIR situations”, pointing out the league had access to all medical information on Stone’s condition.

The Golden Knights did nothing wrong. Per the collective bargaining agreement, every NHL team can use LTIR for salary-cap relief whenever their players are sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days of the regular season. Every club has at some point since LTIR was implemented in 2005.

Nevertheless, these instances have drawn grumbling in some corners that could lead to changes in LTIR rules, perhaps by making the salary cap count during the playoffs. Those changes, however, won’t occur until the next round of collective bargaining between the NHL and NHL Players Association in 2026.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks captain Logan Couture hopes that next season is better for him than the current one. The 35-year-old center missed all but six games due to a deep groin injury revealed to be Osteitis pubis.

Couture plans to resume skating in July. He said he’s drawn encouragement from other players around the league who suffered a similar condition. The Sharks medical staff are optimistic he’ll be ready for training camp in September.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard will suit up for Canada at next month’s IIHF World Championships in Czechia.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

The Islanders, Penguins and Sabres keep their playoff hopes alive, David Pastrnak reaches a Bruins’ scoring milestone, the three stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Bo Horvat and Simon Holmstrom gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The goal was Horvat’s 31st of the season for the 33-27-15 Islanders (81 points) as they moved to within one point of Washington Capitals for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for the 22-48-5 Blackhawks.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each tallied twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for five goals in the third period to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3. The Penguins improved to 34-30-11 (79 points) and sit three points behind the Capitals. Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt each scored their 25th goal of the season for the Devils as they fell to 36-35-4 and dropped six points back of the Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. JJ Peterka scored twice and collected an assist while Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who moved to 36-35-4 (77 points) and are five points behind Washington. Dylan Strome netted his 26th goal of the season for the 36-28-10 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres winger Jeff Skinner played his 1,000th NHL game. Teammate Jordan Greenway missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark turned in a 31-save shutout to blank the Nashville Predators 3-0. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (44-17-15), who sit third in the overall standings with 103 points. Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots for the 43-28-4 Predators, who hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot (90 points) but have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak became the first Bruin since Adam Oates in 1992-93 to have at least 35 multi-point games in a season. With 46 goals, he’s also on pace to become the third player in franchise history with multiple 50-goal seasons, joining Phil Esposito (five) and Cam Neely (three).

The Vegas Golden Knights rode a four-goal first period to a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, extending their points streak to seven games. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 41st goal of the season and picked up two assists as the Golden Knights improved to 42-25-8. With 92 points, they’re third in the Pacific Division. Quinn Hughes scored two goals for the Canucks (46-21-8), who sit fifth overall with 100 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov was ejected from this game for boarding Vegas forward Brett Howden during the first period.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, trade deadline acquisition Tomas Hertl joined practice on Tuesday as a full participant. The 30-year-old center is recovering from knee surgery. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy hinted he might return to action for Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored twice to reach the 70-point plateau for the first time in a 5-3 upset of the Florida Panthers. Sam Montembeault kicked out 37 shots for the 29-33-12 Canadiens, who’ve won four of their last five games. Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist for the slumping Panthers (47-24-5), who’ve won two of their last 10 games and sit seventh overall with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad left this game with an undisclosed injury. The Panthers played without forwards Matthew Tkachuk (illness) and Carter Verhaeghe (upper-body injury). Verhaeghe is week-to-week and is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

The Minnesota Wild nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Vinni Lettieri snapped a 2-2 tie for the 36-29-9 Wild (81 points) as they’re six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western wildcard. Drake Batherson netted his 27th goal of the season for the 33-37-4 Senators.

Anaheim Ducks winger Alex Killorn scored twice in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Troy Terry and Olen Zellweger each had three points for the 25-47-4 Ducks. Andrei Kuzmenko potted two goals for the 34-35-5 Flames.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg are the league’s three stars for March 2024. Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard was named Rookie of the Month for March 2024.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues top prospect Jimmy Snuggerud will return to the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers for his junior year. The 19-year-old winger has scored 42 goals in 79 NCAA games. He had 21 goals and 13 assists this season for the Golden Gophers and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

SPORTSNET: The ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers franchise had its membership terminated by the league’s board of governors.

The Growlers were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate. Deacon Sports and Entertainment, the majority owners of the Growlers and ECHL club Trois Rivieres Lions, had proposed a sale of both teams but only the Lions were saved.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Saturday that there had been a lengthy battle behind the scenes over payments to cities and some NHL teams.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sports media insider Jonah Sigel reports Rogers Communications could sell TV rights to its Monday night games (including playoff games) to Amazon over the final two years of its contract.

Sigel believes Amazon’s interest in getting a foothold in NHL broadcasting suggests it could be part of a broader strategy.

Rogers Communications’ current broadcasting agreement with the NHL has two years to go. The league could prioritize streaming services in its next TV deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers wondered what effect the end of Rogers’ TV contract two years from now might have on the NHL’s hockey-related revenue (HRR). It could be a lucrative deal with Amazon or another streaming service. If so, there would be no negative impact on HRR.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2024

The Blackhawks’ Connor Bedard matches two franchise records, the Panthers and Rangers expand their leads in their respective divisions, and former player Anson Carter heads a group that wants to bring a franchise to Atlanta. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard had a goal and four assists in a 7-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks. Bedard matched the single-game franchise records for assists and points (five) by a rookie. Nick Foligno and Philipp Kurashev each had four points for the 18-43-5 Blackhawks. Brett Leason tallied twice for the 23-39-3 Ducks.

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard also became the fifth 18-year-old player in league history to have a five-point game, joining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Ilya Kovalchuk (2002), Dale Hawerchuk (1982) and Jack Hamilton (1943). The young Blackhawks star has eight points in his last two games and 10 in his last four. He leads this season’s rookie class with 51 points (13 more than Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber) and 20 goals (three more than the Wild’s Marco Rossi).

The league-leading Florida Panthers scored three unanswered third-period goals to nip the Dallas Stars 4-3, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Aleksander Barkov scored twice while Sam Reinhart tallied his 46th goal of the season for the 45-17-4 Panthers (94 points), who opened a three-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins atop the overall standings. Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and an assist for the Stars (40-18-9), who sit in first place in the Central Division with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers played without forward Evan Rodrigues due to a lower-body injury.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for his second straight shutout to blank the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0. Adam Fox scored for the 43-18-4 Rangers (90 points) to open a six-point lead over the second-place Hurricanes atop the Metropolitan Division. Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 23 shots for the 39-20-6 Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Rangers rookie center Matt Rempe received a four-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head on Monday.

The Colorado Avalanche moved closer to the Central-leading Stars with a 6-2 victory over the slumping Calgary Flames. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 13 games while Mikko Rantanen has two goals and two assists for the 41-20-5 Avalanche (87 points) as they’re two points back of the Stars. Dan Vladar made 29 saves for the 31-29-5 Flames, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon leads all scorers with a career-high 113 points. Three key Flames players were absent from this game. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, forward Andrei Kuzmenko was a late scratch with an upper-body injury, and winger Andrew Mangiapane was sidelined with an illness.

Speaking of slumping teams, the Detroit Red Wings suffered a 7-3 upset at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. Defenseman Bowen Byram scored twice and Zach Benson had a goal and two assists for the 31-30-5 Sabres (67 points), who moved to within five points of the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Lucas Raymond had a goal and an assist for the 33-26-3 Red Wings (72 points), who lost their sixth straight game and slipped out of that wildcard spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When this month started, the Wings held the first Eastern wildcard berth with 72 points with a seven-point lead over the ninth-overall Washington Capitals and the 10th-overall Islanders. The Isles now have the same number of points as the Wings but they hold that wildcard spot with a game in hand.

Jack Eichel’s 200th career goal came in overtime to lift the Vegas Golden Knights over the Seattle Kraken 5-4. Eichel also had two assists while Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice for the Golden Knights (35-23-7), who hold the final Western Conference wildcard spot with 77 points. Philipp Grubauer stopped 29 shots for the 28-24-12 Kraken.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Owen Tippett snapped a 2-2 tie as his club defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost each had two points for the Flyers (34-24-8), who hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 76 points. Filip Zadina scored both goals for the 16-41-7 Sharks.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau kicked out 41 shots for his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brendan Gallagher, Juraj Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy were the goalscorers for the 25-30-10 Canadiens. Elvis Merzlikins gave up three goals on four shots and was replaced by Daniil Tarasov as the Blue Jackets sank to 22-33-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

A two-goal performance by Kirill Kaprizov gave the Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Kaprizov also collected an assist for the 32-27-7 Wild. Nick Bjugstad replied for the 26-35-5 Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek left the game with an undisclosed injury in the third period. Meanwhile, the Coyotes played without forward Barrett Hayton as he could be out longer than day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a seven-game skid as they downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Drake Batherson. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves and Jake Sanderson also scored for the 26-33-4 Senators. Michael Bunting replied for the 28-27-9 Penguins.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player-turned-broadcaster Anson Carter is heading a group that made a formal request to the league to begin the process of adding an expansion franchise to Atlanta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three times the charm after two previous teams (Flames and Thrashers) were relocated from Atlanta. Meanwhile, potential ownership groups in Salt Lake City and Houston have also expressed interest in bringing NHL franchises to their cities.

While the league continues to play coy over the possibility of expanding into new markets, it seems inevitable that it will grow by at least another two teams before the end of this decade. One of those cities could become the next home of the Arizona Coyotes if their current owner’s efforts to build a new arena in the Phoenix area fall through.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He is expected to return before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin next month.

TSN: The Canucks also placed winger Dakota Joshua (injured hand) on long-term injury reserve.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro is out for two to three weeks with an upper-body injury.

THE SCORE: The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils will open the 2024-25 season on Oct. 4 and 5 in Prague, Czechia. The following month, the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers will face off in Tampere, Finland on Nov. 1 and 2. These games are part of the NHL’s 2024 Global Series.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2024

The Islanders move back into a playoff berth, the Oilers’ Connor McDavid continues to gain ground in the scoring race, and Flyers coach John Tortorella was fined and suspended. Check out the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: For the first time since Jan. 13, the New York Islanders hold a playoff berth following a 6-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Kyle Palmieri tallied his 20th goal of the season while Bo Horvat and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist for the 29-20-14 Islanders, who picked up their sixth straight win and hold the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 72 points. Alex Killorn scored for the 23-38-3 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That six-game streak enabled the Islanders to overtake the slumping Detroit Red Wings, who’ve dropped five straight games. Both clubs have the same points but the Isles hold that wildcard spot with one game in hand.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists as his club blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. Calvin Pickard turned in a 41-save shutout and Darnell Nurse tallied twice for the Oilers (39-21-3) as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 81 points. Tristan Jarry stopped 38 shots for the fading Penguins (28-27-8) as they’ve lost three games in a row and six of their last seven.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is gaining ground in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. With 103 points, he’s just four behind Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and eight back of the current leader, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon.

An overtime goal by Matt Boldy lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Boldy also collected two assists while Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist for the 31-27-7 Wild, who sit six points out of the final Western Conference wildcard spot. Ryan O’Reilly tallied his 24th goal of the season for the 37-25-4 Predators as they hold the first wildcard berth with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild head coach John Hynes made a bold move in overtime by pulling goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to create a 4-on-3 advantage, setting the stage for Boldy’s game-winner. Had the move backfired and the Predators scored into the empty net, the Wild would’ve forfeited the extra point received after regulation.

The Carolina Hurricanes gained ground on the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers by crushing the Calgary Flames 7-2. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and two assists for the 39-19-6 Hurricanes (84 points) as they moved within two points of the Rangers. Yegor Sharangovich scored his 27th goal of the season for the 31-28-5 Flames.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell tallied a hat trick in a 7-4 romp over the Arizona Coyotes. Rookie star Connor Bedard scored twice and collected an assist while Seth Jones had four assists for the 17-43-5 Blackhawks. Clayton Keller netted two goals and Nick Schmaltz had a goal and two assists for the 26-34-5 Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard leads all rookie scorers with 19 goals and 46 points. He’s also the Blackhawks leading scorer despite missing 14 games with a fractured jaw. With 17 games remaining in the Blackhawks’ season, he’s within range of 25 goals and 55 points.

HEADLINES

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The NHL fined Flyers head coach John Tortorella $50K and suspended him for two games for unprofessional conduct toward officials after refusing to leave the bench after being assessed a game misconduct. The incident occurred on Saturday during the first period of the Flyers’ 7-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella won’t have to worry about the fine. Flyers CEO Dan Hilferty said he would cover that hit to his coach’s wallet.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche winger Logan O’Connor’s season is over. He’ll be undergoing hip surgery and won’t return regardless of how far the Avalanche advance in the playoffs.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: An update regarding the status of Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen could be made on Monday. He left Saturday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights with an undisclosed injury.

TSN: The New York Rangers signed goaltender Louis Domingue to a one-year contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates the salary cap hit is $775K.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes forward Dylan Guenther and his roommate and teammate Jack McBain recently had their water shut off when they failed to pay their utility bill.

Guenther explained they thought the water and electric bills were a “two-in-one” when they were separate. “I think we’re kind of the laughingstock of the team as far as our living situation goes,” joked Guenther. He said they’ve paid what they owed and the water was turned back on.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2024

Hat trick performances by the Leafs’ Auston Matthews and the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, the Canucks expand their lead in the overall standings, Connor Bedard returns to action for the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his fifth hat trick of the season as his club nipped the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on an overtime goal by William Nylander. Mitch Marner collected three assists for the Leafs (28-16-8) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 64 points. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist for the 29-19-7 Flyers (65 points) as they hold third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews now has a league-leading 45 goals on the season, six more than Florida’s Sam Reinhart in second place. The Leafs center also set a franchise record with his 72nd multi-goal game.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider’s hat trick led his club over the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 7-4. Adam Fox collected four assists while Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each had three points for the 35-16-3 Rangers, who picked up their sixth straight win as they lead the Metropolitan Division with 73 points. Cole Caufield scored twice while Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist for the 22-24-8 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Rangers as winger Blake Wheeler left the game in the first period with an injured leg following a hit by Montreal defenseman Jayden Struble. He was helped off the ice by teammates before heading down the tunnel on a stretcher. There was no postgame update on his condition. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Slafkovsky set a franchise record for the longest Canadiens points streak by a teenager.

Elias Lindholm scored two goals as the Vancouver Canucks became the first team to reach 80 points this season with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Elias Pettersson picked up three assists and Thatcher Demko stopped 27 shots for the 37-12-6 Canucks as they’ve won three straight games. J.T. Compher scored for the Red Wings (27-20-6), who hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points but have dropped three of their last four games (1-2-1).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Red Wings announced that goaltender Ville Husso is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard collected an assist in his return to action but his club fell 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bedard missed 14 games with a fractured jaw. Sidney Crosby tallied twice for the Penguins (24-20-7) as they moved to within five points of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 55 points. Philipp Kurashev scored for the 14-37-3 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced that winger Jake Guentzel will be sidelined for three to four weeks with an upper-body injury. I’ll have more about Guentzel in today’s Rumor Mill.

The Florida Panthers took over first place in the Eastern Conference by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Anthony Stolarz kicked out 45 shots for his first shutout of the season while Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals for the 35-15-4 Panthers (74 points) as they picked up their fourth straight win and their 10th straight road victory. Eric Comrie turned aside 27 shots for the 23-26-4 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers and Boston Bruins each have the same amount of points but Florida has more wins. Meanwhile, Comrie got the start for the Sabres as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Seattle Kraken. Matty Beniers had a goal and two assists while Joey Daccord stopped 36 shots for the Kraken (23-21-10) as they moved to within four points of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 56 points. David Pastrnak netted his 34th goal of the season for the 32-12-10 Bruins, who are winless in their last three games (0-2-1).

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored twice and collected an assist as his club defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. Kucherov leads the league with 94 points while his Lightning (30-20-5) picked up their third straight win. They hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 65 points. Bowen Byram scored two goals while Nathan MacKinnon had two assists to sit four points behind Kucherov in the scoring race. The Avalanche (33-18-4) hold second place in the Central Division with 70 points.

The Dallas Stars (34-14-6) have a four-point lead over the Avalanche with 74 points after crushing the Nashville Predators 9-2. Wyatt Johnston scored twice and collected two assists, Matt Duchene tallied twice against his former club while Tyler Seguin and Ty Dellandrea each had three points. Cole Smith and Tommy Novak replied for the 27-25-2 Predators (56 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have won just three of their last 10 games and are in danger of falling further out of the playoff race. That’s stoked recent trade speculation regarding goaltender Juuse Saros, which I’ll feature in today’s Rumor Mill. Meanwhile, Stars defenseman Nils Lundkvist left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues forwards Jake Neighbours and Robert Thomas each had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Jordan Binnington made 35 saves for the Blues (29-22-2), who’ve won eight of their last 10 games and hold the final Western wild-card berth with 60 points. Connor McDavid picked up three assists for the 31-18-1 Oilers as they remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 63 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is in third place in the scoring race, sitting nine points back of MacKinnon and 13 behind Kucherov. He’s tallied three or more points in five of his last seven games.

The Los Angeles Kings (25-16-10) maintained their hold on the first Western wild-card spot (60 points) by nipping the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Quinton Byfield broke a 1-1 tie in the third period while David Rittich stopped 26 shots for the Kings. Tyler Toffoli replied for the 27-22-4 Devils (58 points) as they remain two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings welcomed back winger Viktor Arvidsson as he made his season debut following his recovery from an injured back.

San Jose Sharks forward Filip Zadina scored twice and collected two assists to lead his club to a 6-3 upset of the Calgary Flames. Luke Kunin tallied two goals and Justin Bailey had a goal and two assists for the 15-33-5 Sharks. Chris Tanev had two assists for the Flames (25-24-5) as they remain five points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 55 points.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler and winger Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Mason McTavish scored twice for the 19-32-2 Ducks while Claude Giroux replied for the 22-26-2 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game after the second period with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2024

Recaps of Monday’s games include a milestone game for the Golden Knights’ Alex Pietrangelo, the three stars of the week are revealed, Sharks stars Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl are sidelined, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild upset the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3. Matt Boldy had a goal and two assists while Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice for the 24-23-5 Wild (53 points) as they moved to within five points of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Alex Pietrangelo collected two assists for the Golden Knights (31-16-6) as they remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Golden Knights honored Pietrangelo for playing in his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game. He also became the sixth defenseman in league history to collect multiple assists in his 1,000th game, joining Ryan Suter, Sergei Zubov, Kevin Hatcher, Brad Park and Tim Horton.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, goaltender Logan Thompson missed this game due to an illness.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin turned in a 30-save shutout performance in a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames. Will Cuylle and Jimmy Vesey scored for the Rangers (34-16-3) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points and moved into second place in the Eastern Conference standings. Jacob Markstrom stopped 29 shots for the 25-23-5 Flames (55 points) as they remain three points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have won five games in a row. Meanwhile, Flames forward Jakob Pelletier left this game favoring his left shoulder in the first period following a hit from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Pelletier missed October, November and December recovering from surgery on that shoulder. There was no postgame update on his status.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their fourth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Travis Konecny had a goal and two assists while Scott Laughton had a goal and an assist for the 29-19-6 Flyers, who hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 64 points. J.J. Moser had two assists for the 23-24-4 Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger Tyson Foerster and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen missed this game due to injuries.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Seattle Kraken. Nico Daws turned aside 27 shots for the Devils (26-21-4) as they moved to within four points of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 56 points. Joey Daccord made 34 saves for the 21-21-10 Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek missed this game due to an illness and a lower-body injury. Kraken defenseman Brian Dumoulin left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki are the league’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 12, 2024.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks captain Logan Couture is listed as week-to-week as he continues to battle Osteitis pubis, which is a significant groin, abdomen and hip issue. Couture, 34, returned to action three weeks ago after being sidelined since the summer by this condition.

The Sharks also announced center Tomas Hertl will be sidelined for several weeks following surgery to clean out loose cartilage in his left knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a significant setback for the Sharks as they will be without their top two centers at a time when they are showing some improvement. They’re near the bottom of the Western Conference standings but had won four of their last six games (4-1-1).

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Sidelined Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard (fractured jaw) could return to action sometime next week. The 18-year-old center has been sidelined since Jan. 5 and the Blackhawks’ offense has suffered without their leading scorer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard remains the Blackhawks leading scorer with 33 points in 39 games. Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber’s two assists last night moved him into a tie with Bedard for the rookie scoring lead.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri will miss the start of his club’s four-game road trip as he is away briefly on personal leave.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins winger Jansen Harkins has been diagnosed with a concussion and has been placed on injured reserve.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Ottawa Senators placed forward Zack MacEwen on waivers to free up salary cap space to activate goaltender Anton Forsberg off long-term injury reserve. If MacEwen clears, he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate in Belleville.