NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

Hat trick performances by the Bruins David Pastrnak, the Jets Mark Scheifele and the Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen highlight Tuesday’s action. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored one of three hat tricks in the league on Tuesday in a 6-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Rookie Justin Brazeau tallied twice for the Bruins (41-14-15) as they picked up their third straight win and remain atop the overall standings with 97 points. Brady Tkachuk scored his 31st goal of the season for the 28-35-4 Senators.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak has 44 goals on the season and sits fourth among this season’s goalscoring leaders. His 99 points rank fourth among the scoring leaders.

The Winnipeg Jets doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2 thanks to Mark Scheifele’s hat-trick performance. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 38 shots and Kyle Connor netted his 30th goal of the season for the 44-19-15 Jets as they remain in first place in the Central Division with 93 points and a game in hand over the Colorado Avalanche. Alexis Lafreniere netted his 20th of the season for the Rangers (45-20-4) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without head coach Rick Bowness as he’s on an indefinite leave of absence following a minor medical procedure in Winnipeg. Meanwhile, Lafreniere reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his young career.

Speaking of the Avalanche, Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick lifted them over the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his points streak to 16 games for the Avalanche (44-20-5) as they remain behind the Jets in second place in the Central with 93 points. Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist for the 36-30-3 Blues (75 points) to remain four points out of the final Western Conference wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche extended their win streak to seven games.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a two-goal performance from Seth Jarvis in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov collected an assist as the Hurricanes (43-20-6) have won seven of their last eight and sit two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metro Division. Kyle Palmieri scored for the 29-24-15 Islanders (73 points) as they’ve lost five straight and sit three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings got an overtime goal from Patrick Kane to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Kane also collected two assists while Lucas Raymond tallied twice for the 35-28-6 Red Wings (76 points) as they regained that Eastern wildcard berth from the Washington Capitals. Zach Werenski had a goal and two assists for the 23-34-12 Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brayden Point netted two third-period goals for the Lightning (37-25-6) as they hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 80 points. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 38th goal of the season for the 36-25-7 Golden Knights as they cling to the final Western wild-card berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov regained first place in the scoring race with 118 points, sitting one point up on the Avalanche’s MacKinnon.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fifth win in their last seven games by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another for the Canucks (43-18-8) as they hold a one-point lead over the Jets and Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference with 94 points. Rasmus Dahlin scored both goals for the 33-32-5 Sabres (71 points) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth.

An overtime power-play goal by Leon Draisaitl lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Connor McDavid and Adam Henrique also scored for the 41-21-4 Oilers as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 86 points. Nick Suzuki scored his career-high 27th goal of the season for the 25-31-12 Canadiens.

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 with Anze Kopitar scoring twice and collecting an assist. Adrian Kempe picked up two assists for the Kings (35-22-11), who sit third in the Pacific Division with 81 points. Philipp Kurashev had two assists for the 19-45-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks center Connor Bedard collected an assist as he tied Jonathan Toews’ franchise rookie record of 54 points.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and winger Filip Forsberg each had a goal and two assists as their club thumped the San Jose Sharks 8-2. Ryan McDonagh and Kiefer Sherwood each had three assists as the Predators improved to 40-25-4 and hold the first Western wildcard spot with 84 points. Mario Ferraro had a goal and an assist for the 16-45-7 Sharks.

The Philadelphia Flyers held off the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 4-3 victory. Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (35-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 78 points. John Tavares had a goal and two assists for the 38-20-9 Maple Leafs (85 points) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers captain Sean Couturier was a healthy scratch. This drew criticism from his agent citing a lack of communication between his client and head coach John Tortorella.

The Minnesota Wild got a 27-save shutout from Filip Gustavsson to blank the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Matt Boldy and Ryan Hartman each had two points and Kirill Kaprizov scored his 36th goal of the season for the 34-27-8 Wild (76 points) as they sit three points back of the Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard berth. John Gibson stopped 28 shots for the 23-43-3 Ducks.

New Jersey Devils forwards Timo Meier and Dawson Mercer scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jake Allen stopped 36 shots for the Devils (33-32-4) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth. Tristan Jarry turned aside 33 shots for the 30-29-9 Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed this game, listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Six proposed rule changes have been proposed to the NHL’s competition committee following this week’s meetings of NHL general managers in Florida.

One rule change will go into effect immediately as players will be banned from hanging their legs over the boards when not on the ice. A team will be warned first before receiving a bench minor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should reduce the increasing number of “too many men on the ice” penalties resulting from line changes.

The proposed changes include goaltenders being called for delay of game for intentionally dislodging the net, coach’s challenge for puck over-the-glass calls, and reviews for high-sticking penalties if it’s believed an offense wasn’t committed by the penalized player.

SPORTSNET: Rick Nash was named the general manager of Team Canada at this year’s IIHF World Championships in May. Nash is currently the director of player development for the Columbus Blue Jackets and was assistant GM for Canada at the 2022 Worlds.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Terry Pegula named Pete Guelli as chief operating officer of both teams on Tuesday.

TSN: Former NHL player Chris Simon died Monday at age 52.

Simon played 15 NHL seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild from 1992-93 to 2007-08.

One of the league’s most feared enforcers, he collected 1,824 PIMs in 782 games and received eight suspensions totaling 65 games. He also collected 144 goals and 161 assists for 305 regular-season points along with 10 goals and 17 points in 75 playoff games. In 1999-2000, he led the Capitals with 29 goals.

Simon won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1995-96, helped the Washington Capitals reach the 1998 Stanley Cup Final and the Calgary Flames advance to the 2004 Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simon’s family indicated his death was by suicide. His agent indicated his former client struggled with CTE related to his playing career.

Simon’s role as an enforcer overshadowed his abilities as a player. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2024

Three hat-trick performances as the Wild defeat the Canucks, Leafs center Auston Matthews moves closer to the 50-goal plateau, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild overcame 4-1 and 5-2 deficits in a 10-7 upset of the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. Minnesota forwards Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov each scored three goals and three assists with the latter picking up his hat trick during his club’s seven-goal outburst in the third period. Matt Boldy and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and three assists as the Wild improved to 26-23-6 and sit two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

J.T. Miller collected a hat trick and added an assist for the 37-14-6 Canucks (80 points) as they hold a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins in the overall standings. Pius Suter had three assists while Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes each had two points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild also set a franchise record for most goals in a single game. They capitalized on three 5-on-3 man-advantage scenarios to turn the game in their favor. They nearly blew an 8-5 lead when the Canucks scored twice to move within a goal but two empty-netters sealed the deal. Canucks winger Conor Garland left the game in the second period after blocking a shot but returned to action in the third period.

A shootout goal by Charlie McAvoy lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Jeremy Swayman kicked out 43 shots while David Pastrnak tied the game with his 35th goal of the season late in the third period for the 33-12-11 Bruins, who regained sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 77 points. Wyatt Johnson, Ryan Suter and Esa Lindell replied for the Stars (34-14-8) as they hold first place in the Central Division with 76 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins honored captain Brad Marchand for recently reaching the 1,000-game milestone in a pregame ceremony. Meanwhile, the Stars played without center Matt Duchene due to a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 49th goal of the season as his club doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Mitch Marner collected three assists and William Nylander netted a shorthanded goal for the Maple Leafs (30-16-8) as they picked up their fourth straight victory and sit third in the Atlantic Division with 68 points. Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich scored for the 29-24-2 Blues as they cling to the final Western wild-card spot with 60 points.

A four-goal third period gave the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes, leaving the latter winless in their last 10 games (0-9-1). Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists, Evander Kane tallied twice and Evan Bouchard picked up three assists for the 33-18-1 Oilers as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 67 points. Nick Bjugstad scored two goals and Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes as they dropped to 23-28-4.

Vegas Golden Knights rookie Mason Morelli had a goal and an assist in his season debut while Logan Thompson made 29 saves to shut out the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Alec Martinez collected three assists for the Golden Knights (32-17-6) as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 22 shots for the 15-35-5 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights activated defenseman Shea Theodore off injured reserve but he didn’t play in this game. He’s been sidelined since Nov. 22 with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, the Sharks activated Henry Thrun on injured reserve and placed captain Logan Couture on IR. The Sharks also made winger Alexander Barabanov a healthy scratch.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive with a 6-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Nazem Kadri scored twice and collected an assist while Jonathan Huberdeau and Andrew Mangiapane each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (26-25-5) as they overcame a 3-1 deficit. With 57 points, they’re three back of the Blues for the final Western wild-card berth. Sean Monahan tallied a natural hat trick for the 33-15-5 Jets as they remain in third place in the Central Division with 71 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets coach Rick Bowness was displeased by his club’s performance in this contest after they upset the league-leading Canucks in their previous game. “That’s as soft a five-on-five game as we’ve played all year,” he told reporters in a postgame interview. “That’s not us at all. That didn’t even look like the Winnipeg Jets out there.”

Carolina Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Seth Jarvis picked up two assists as the Hurricanes (33-17-5) sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points. Rookie Connor Bedard had a goal and two assists for the 15-38-3 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is showing no lingering effects from the fractured jaw that recently sidelined him for six weeks. He has six points in three games since returning to action on Feb. 15. Meanwhile, Hurricanes defenseman Jalen Chatfield missed this game with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Ben Chiarot gave the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken. Lucas Raymond had a goal and an assist while Alex Lyon made 38 saves for the 29-20-6 Red Wings, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points. Jared McCann tallied twice for the Kraken (23-21-11) as they sit three points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 57 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings forward Patrick Kane collected an assist to reach 800 for his career.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Mathieu Joseph scored two goals while Tim Stutzle had a goal and an assist for the 23-27-2 Senators. Brayden Point and Mitchell Chaffee replied for the Lightning (30-22-5) as they hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 65 points.

Anaheim Ducks winger Frank Vatrano scored twice as his club nipped the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 4-3. Troy Terry had a goal and two assists while John Gibson stopped 34 shots for the 20-33-2 Ducks. Dylan Cozens collected two assists for the 24-27-4 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sabres announced defenseman Owen Power (hand) was placed on injured reserve.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL COM: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Oilers captain Connor McDavid and Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk are the three stars for the week ending Feb. 18, 2024.

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: The Predators’ poor performance since the All-Star break prompted the club to cancel the team’s plans to journey to Las Vegas following Saturday’s game against St. Louis to watch U2 perform at Sphere. General manager Barry Trotz said the team’s recent standards were “below expectations”, especially during home games, pointing to their 9-2 loss to the Dallas Stars last Thursday. They face the Golden Knights tonight in Las Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, play well and be rewarded.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2023

The Canadiens defeat the Sabres, the three stars of the week are revealed, plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Patrik Laine and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAP

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen made 36 saves to backstop his club to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Brendan Gallagher and Tanner Pearson each had a goal and an assist and Justin Barron tallied his first of the season for the Canadiens as their record improved to 3-1-1. Jeff Skinner replied for the Sabres as they fell to 2-4-0.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman David Savard left the game in the third period following a solid penalty-killing effort when he blocked two hard shots by Tage Thompson. One of them broke one of Savard’s skate blades but the other struck the blueliner on the left hand. An update on his status could be announced on Tuesday.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart are the league’s three stars for the week ending October 22, 2023.

THE SCORE: Chicago Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall is once again listed as week-to-week after aggravating a shoulder injury suffered on Oct. 11 against the Boston Bruins. He only missed one game at that time.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed forward Patrik Laine (upper body) on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 20. He suffered the injury after being elbowed in the head by Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson, who is appealing a four-game suspension for the infraction.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Arizona Coyotes announced winger Jason Zucker is week-to-week with a lower-body injury that he suffered during Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

CAP FRIENDLY: Speaking of the Ducks, they placed defenseman Jamie Drysdale (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 15.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils recalled defenseman Cal Foote from their AHL affiliate in Utica and placed forward Tomas Nosek (lower body) on IR.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Rick Bowness has taken a leave of absence after his wife Judy suffered a seizure on Sunday. She was taken to a hospital where she is undergoing further testing.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins rookie center Matthew Poitras is making the case to stick with the club for the entire 2023-24 season. A second-round pick by the Bruins in the 2022 draft, the 19-year-old Poitras has two goals and an assist in his five games thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins can keep Poitras on the roster for four more games after which they must decide whether to retain him for the entire season or return him to the OHL’s Guelph Storm. If they keep him, his entry-level contract begins on his 10th game of the season.

It makes sense from a salary-cap perspective to return Poitras to the OHL. However, he’s made that decision difficult to justify given his on-ice performance thus far.

TSN: NHL veteran forward Sam Gagner signed a one-year AHL contract with the Bakersfield Condors, who are the minor-league affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. The 34-year-old has played 1, 015 NHL games with seven NHL clubs including the Oilers. He’s also done previous stints in the AHL with Lehigh Valley, Toronto and Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated that Gagner is trying to resume his playing career after undergoing season-ending double hip surgery in March. He signed a PTO with the Oilers but didn’t appear in any preseason games as he continues to rehab.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Hitchcock and Ed Belfour were inducted Sunday into the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame. Hitchcock coached the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999 when Belfour was their starting goaltender. Hitchcock will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Belfour was inducted in 2011.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2023

The Panthers upset the Bruins and the Kraken stun the Avalanche to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers shocked the hockey world by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-3 to win Game 7 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Carter Verhaeghe tallied the winning goal in overtime, Brandon Montour scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots as the Panthers advanced to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round with Game 1 starting Tuesday night in Toronto. David Krejci had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who had won the Presidents’ Trophy with a record-setting 65 wins and 135 points in the regular season.

Florida Panthers winger Carter Verhaeghe (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Sportsnet, the 43-point difference between the first-overall Bruins and the Panthers in the regular-season standings marks the biggest upset in Stanley Cup Playoffs history in a best-of-seven format.

The Bruins appeared to have this series locked up after taking a 3-1 lead in games. The Panthers, however, never gave up.

Switching to Bobrovsky following Game 4 helped to change the course of the series. “Bob” doesn’t have the best career playoff record but he was the goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019 so he’s had some experience facing a heavily-favored Presidents’ Trophy winner.

This was a team effort by the Panthers but Montour and Matthew Tkachuk stood out for me in this series. Their timely production made the difference in this series as the Bruins struggled to contain them.

Tkachuk called this a legacy win for the Panthers. It’s certainly something to build on after struggling to reach the playoffs following a franchise-best regular season performance in 2021-22.

The Bruins, meanwhile, were in shock over the reversal of fortune in this series. Despite a stacked roster coming off a record-setting season, they failed to close the deal and seemed helpless to halt the change of momentum in the series.

This may have been the final NHL season for centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Bergeron skated with a herniated disc in his back suffered during the end of the regular season which caused him to miss the first four games of this series. He said he’ll take some time before deciding whether he’ll return next season.

Krejci, meanwhile, missed three games in this series with an upper-body injury. He skated last season in Czechia and could return there for good following this season.

Speaking of stunning upsets, there will be a new Stanley Cup champion this year after the Seattle Kraken beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in Game 7 of their first-round series. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves as the Kraken picked up their first playoff series win in franchise history. Mikko Rantanen replied for the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a major upset as most observers (including myself) gave the Kraken little chance of beating the Avalanche. Their hard work paid off with a well-earned series victory. They pulled it off with a steady defensive system, solid goaltending by Grubauer, and spreading their scoring throughout their lineup.

Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen stepped up and did everything they could to carry their team over the finish line in this series. However, top defenseman Cale Makar appeared hampered by injury while other Avs struggled with consistency and possible injuries of their own.

Like the Panthers, the Kraken will have little time to savor this victory. They face off against the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their second-round series on Tuesday in Dallas.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league released its schedule for Games 1 and 2 of the second round. As previously mentioned, the series between the Leafs and Panthers as well as the Kraken and Stars begin on Tuesday, May 2. The Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights will square off starting on Wednesday, May 3 as will the Carolina Hurricanes and the winner of the New Jersey Devils/New York Rangers series.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Devils-Rangers series, New Jersey head coach Lindy Ruff won’t reveal whether it’ll be Akira Schmid or Vitek Vanecek starting in goal for tonight’s series-deciding Game 7. Schmid took over from Vanecek after Game 2 and won three straight but was lit up in a 5-2 loss in Game 6.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff confirmed Rick Bowness will return as head coach next season. Bowness’ scathing remarks about his players’ performance following their first-round elimination by the Golden Knights prompted speculation about his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowness’ status is no longer a topic of conjecture but that won’t allay rumors of potential lineup changes this summer.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings captain Anze Kopitar hopes to spend the remainder of his NHL career with Los Angeles. He will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Kings general manager Rob Blake is quite keen to discuss a contract extension for Kopitar.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins recently signed forward Alex Nylander to a one-year, one-way contract extension worth $775K.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 28, 2023

The Golden Knights eliminate the Jets, the Lightning stay alive against the Leafs while the Devils are on the verge of eliminating the Rangers. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are the first team to advance to the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series. Mark Stone had a goal and two assists, Chandler Stephenson scored two goals and former Jets backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit made 29 saves for the win. The Golden Knights await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings series.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved series win for the Golden Knights, especially over the last two games after defeating the Jets with an overtime victory in Game 3. Vegas forward Phil Kessel was scratched to make room for returning winger William Carrier. It’s the first game Kessel’s missed since 2009 but doesn’t affect his NHL Ironman record as that involves consecutive regular-season games.

Jets head coach Rick Bowness was furious with his club’s performance in this series and during the season. He vented his displeasure during a short press conference following the game, criticizing his players for a lack of pushback and pride. “I’m so disappointed and disgusted right now,” said Bowness.

Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers made his series debut in this contest after being sidelined since Apr. 11 with an upper-body injury but was held scoreless.

Changes could be coming for the Jets roster this summer. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

The Tampa Bay Lightning stayed alive in their series with the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 4-2 win in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots, Anthony Cirelli and Michael Eyssimont each had a goal and an assist and Nick Paul scored the game-winner for the Lightning. Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews tallied for the Maple Leafs, who hold a 3-2 lead in the series as it returns to Tampa Bay for Game 6 on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eyssimont replaced Tanner Jeannot, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

Leafs fans can be forgiven if a feeling of dread is creeping in right now. After all, their club was in a similar position two years ago against the Montreal Canadiens but went on to lose that series in seven games. I still believe the Leafs will win this one but if they lose Game 6 they could be in big trouble given their recent history.

The Lightning lacks the depth that carried them to three straight Stanley Cup Finals but they served up a reminder in this contest that they still have enough talent and heart to battle back. They’re not going to go quietly and they don’t want to be eliminated on home ice. Game 6 should be a dandy.

New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Akira Schmid turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the New York Rangers 4-0 in Game 5 of their first-round series. Erik Haula netted two goals and an assist while Dawson Mercer had a goal and an assist as the Devils hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up in New York on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are in trouble as the Devils have seized the momentum by overcoming an 0-2 series deficit to find themselves on the verge of advancing to the second round.

They’ve done it by effectively neutralizing the Rangers’ star-studded offense, especially their power play. Schmid has played a big role in that since taking over as the Devils’ starter in Game 3, allowing just two goals on 82 shots to pick up three straight wins.

PLAYOFF HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: A Seattle police department report revealed a woman was found so intoxicated in Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin’s hotel room on Saturday that a team doctor called an ambulance to take her to a hospital.

Nichushkin didn’t play Game 3 of the Avs’ first-round series with the Seattle Kraken later that day and hasn’t been with the team since the incident. A club spokesman declined to comment on whether Nichushkin’s absence to connected to the incident but said the winger is currently not with the team.

The Avalanche previously said Nichushkin was away from the club for “personal reasons.” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said his ongoing absence isn’t disciplinary and not related to legal issues, adding the team has been in contact with him. Bednar offered no timeline as to when Nichushkin might return to the lineup.

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson said there is no criminal investigation stemming from this incident. A Denver Police Department lieutenant who travels with the Avalanche told Seattle police that there were “no reports of any criminal interactions.”

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov is confident he’ll break out of his four-game scoring slump against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 tonight in Minnesota. The Stars lead the series 3-2.

TSN: There’s a chance that Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen could make his debut in this postseason tonight against the New York Islanders. He’d been sidelined from the first five games due to illness and an undisclosed injury. The Hurricanes hold a 3-2 series lead over the Islanders and could wrap things up with a win tonight.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins center David Krejci traveled with his team to Florida and hasn’t been ruled out of playing in Game 6 against the Panthers tonight. The Bruins hold a 3-2 series lead.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Kings forward Blake Lizotte could be ready to return to the lineup for Game 6 of their first-round series with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. He’s been sidelined since Game 2 with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2022

The Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin shut out the Rangers, Brad Marchand could return to the Bruins sooner than expected and the Senators’ Josh Norris could be sidelined for the season. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin turned in a 41-save shutout to blank the New York Rangers 3-0. Kyle Palmieri scored two goals and Josh Bailey also tallied for the Islanders, who raise their record to 3-4-0. The Rangers (3-3-2) are winless in their last four games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Islanders placed forward Kieffer Bellows on waivers.

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tallied his 200th career goal and Stuart Skinner turned aside 37 shots in a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist for the Oilers as their record improves to 4-3-0. Ryan O’Reilly netted the only goal for the Blues (3-2-0), who’ve lost two straight games.

Tampa Bay Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev each had two points as their club doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Nick Paul also had two points for the Bolts as they improve to 4-4-0. Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry replied for the Ducks, who fall to 1-5-1.

HEADLINES

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins could have Brad Marchand back in the lineup sooner than expected. Originally projected to return from double hip surgery by the American Thanksgiving weekend in late November, the 34-year-old winger has been skating regularly in practice with his teammates over the past two weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand requires medical clearance from team doctors before he can return to action. Given he’s already ahead of schedule in his recovery, he could be back before mid-November.

OTTAWA SUN: Bad news for Senators center Josh Norris as he’s sidelined long-term with an injured left shoulder that could require surgery. It’s possible he could miss the rest of this season but the club will learn more about his condition over the next four or five days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Norris for a significant period is a big blow for the Senators but not necessarily a fatal one for their season. With Tim Stutzle having moved up to center the first line, veterans Claude Giroux and Derrick Brassard in the lineup and rookie Shane Pinto off to a promising start, they have the depth to offset Norris’ absence.

General manager Pierre Dorion also has the cap space and young assets to draw up if necessary to acquire a center in the trade market. For now, I expect he’ll see how well his club adjusts before going that route.

THE PROVINCE: The bad news keeps coming for the struggling Vancouver Canucks as forwards Brock Boeser and Curtis Lazar head to the injured reserve list, joining Quinn Hughes and Travis Dermott. Tucker Poolman was recently placed on long-term injury reserve.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens rookie winger Juraj Slafkovsky (upper-body injury) still hasn’t been given the green light to resume play but will travel with the club for their upcoming road trip.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they acquired minor-league defenseman Nicolas Beaudin from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for minor-league forward Cam Hillis. Beaudin has 22 games of NHL experience since 2019-20.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets placed defenseman Adam Boqvist on injured reserve and called up 18-year-old David Jiricek, who was their first-round pick (sixth overall) in this year’s NHL Draft. Boqvist will be sidelined for six weeks with a broken foot.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Rick Bowness will not be accompanying the team on their three-game road trip. He suffered dizzy spells on Monday that could be related to his recent bout with COVID-19.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, 36, is trying his hand at broadcasting. He’s working as an analyst with NHL Network.