NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2023
The Golden Knights defeat the Oilers despite Leon Draisaitl’s four-goal performance, the Hurricanes cruise to an easy win over the Devils, and the Calder Trophy finalists are announced. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored all four of his club’s goals but it wasn’t enough to prevent his team from falling 6-4 to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Ivan Barbashev scored twice while Mark Stone and Jack Eichel each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights. Game 2 goes Saturday evening in Las Vegas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second time in this second round that a player scored four goals for the losing side in the opening game of their series. Dallas Stars winger Joe Pavelski set an NHL record as the oldest player to tally four times in a playoff game as his club dropped a 5-4 decision to the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday.
Edmonton opened the scoring but spent the rest of the game playing catch-up with Vegas. Their vaunted power-play went two-for-three on the night but Vegas did a good job limiting their trips to the penalty box. The Golden Knights outperformed the Oilers at 5-on-5 play, using an aggressive forecheck to create scoring opportunities.
The Oilers also lost forward Mattias Janmark in the first period after he fell awkwardly and struck his head against the boards.
The Carolina Hurricanes cruised to a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of their second-round series. Seth Jarvis scored what proved to be the winning goal, Frederik Andersen stopped 17 shots while Jordan Staal and Jordan Martinook each collected two assists. Nate Bastian replied for the Devils while first-round hero Akira Schmid was pulled early in the second period after giving up three goals on 11 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmid wasn’t solely to blame for the Devils’ loss. By the end of the first period, Carolina led 2-0 and outshot the Devils 10-1. Schmid and his teammates were dominated by the Hurricanes’ suffocating defensive game and did little to contain their offense.
NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power, and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner as the finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as this season’s rookie of the year. The winner will be announced during the 2023 NHL Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on June 26.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant wasn’t pleased over recent speculation suggesting he could lose his job following his club’s first-round exit from the 2023 playoffs.
“I can’t believe I have to answer some of these questions about me getting fired,” he said during his end-of-season press conference. “If I can’t stand by my record and what I’ve done, I think there’s something wrong.”
Gallant said he hasn’t talked to Rangers general manager Chris Drury about his future. He’s the first coach in club history to have back-to-back 100-point seasons in his first two years with the franchise.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers media seems to be seeking a scapegoat for the Rangers’ disappointing end to their season. It’s possible that Gallant’s bosses decide to go in a different direction but I think he’s earned the right to return behind their bench next season. He’s not going anywhere unless the players are unhappy with his coaching and express their concerns to Drury.
Patrick Kane’s short tenure with the Rangers is likely over. The pending unrestricted free-agent winger was acquired from Chicago before the trade deadline. He’s mulling surgery for an injury that’s nagged him for the last two years and clearly affected his performance this season. Kane indicated he’d love to return but acknowledged their limited cap space and younger players they need to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane has thus far declined to provide details about his health but it’s been rumored for months that he’s been hampered by a hip injury. That will affect his value in this summer’s free-agent market, especially if he requires surgery that could sideline him for the start of next season.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has a year remaining on his contract but he hopes to finish his career in Tampa Bay. “This is the only jersey I ever want to wear,” said Stamkos, who was drafted first overall by the Lightning in 2008. He’s hopeful they’ll begin contract extension talks this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos is completing the seventh season of an eight-year, $68 million contract with an average annual value of $8.5 million. The Lightning captain was once again among his club’s leading scorers with 84 points in 81 games. He’s undoubtedly aware of the Bolts’ limited cap space in 2024-25 as they currently have a projected $26.9 million available with just nine players under contract for that season.
Because Florida doesn’t have a state tax, I can see Stamkos accepting a bit of a pay cut to finish his career in Tampa Bay. How much he’ll accept and whether the Lightning can afford him remains to be seen.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Bo Horvat admitted the trade from the Vancouver Canucks to the New York Islanders took a mental toll on him this season. However, he credited the Islanders’ efforts to relieve that pressure when it came to relocating his family from Vancouver to Long Island.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild seemed to lose confidence in young players Marco Rossi and Calen Addison this season. While that’s led to questions about their future, the Wild’s cap constraints could give them no choice but to give them another opportunity next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Addison recently surfaced as a trade candidate after becoming a healthy scratch once the Wild acquired John Klingberg at the trade deadline.
TSN: The Washington Capitals intend to interview Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern for their vacant head-coaching position. The Capitals recently parted ways with bench boss Peter Laviolette. Halpern spent seven of his 14-season NHL playing career with the Capitals.
OTTAWA SUN: NHL defenseman Mark Borowiecki announced his retirement after 12 NHL seasons spent with the Senators and Nashville Predators. A rugged blueliner, the 33-year-old Borowiecki missed all but four games this season to concussion symptoms. In 458 games, he tallied 15 goals and 56 points along with 848 PIMs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Borowiecki in his recovery and his future endeavors.