NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2023
A milestone game for the Bruins’ David Pastrnak, the Kings set a franchise record, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season in a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes overcame a 3-1 deficit to tie the game but the Bruins took it in a shootout on goals by Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk. The Bruins tied a franchise record with their 57th win of the season and sit first overall with 119 points. Sebastian Aho tallied his 33rd goal of the season for the Hurricanes (47-16-9) as they sit second overall with 103 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first time Pastrnak has reached the 50-goal plateau. He’s the first Bruin to do so since Cam Neely in 1993-94 and the first player drafted and developed by the club to reach the milestone. Pastrnak also reached 600 career points.
The Los Angeles Kings extended their points streak to a franchise-record 12 games (10-0-2) with a five-goal first period to hold off the St. Louis Blues 7-6. Viktor Arvidsson and Adrian Kempe each scored twice while Drew Doughty netted a franchise record for defensemen with his 30th career game-winning goal for the Kings (43-20-10), who sit two points behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights with 96 points. Jordan Kyrou tallied twice for the 33-34-6 Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings forward Blake Lizotte missed this game as he received a one-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for cross-checking Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey in the face on Saturday. Morrissey received multiple stitches to his chin and lip.
Bruins forward A.J. Greer received a similar suspension for a similar infraction involving Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman, who also required stitches to close a gruesome cut on his chin.
One would assume the suspension in both incidents would’ve landed the offender more than one game for such a dangerous play. After all, hits to the head are supposed to be forbidden in today’s NHL, especially using the stick. It makes one wonder how seriously the NHL regards player safety when it hands down the equivalent of a slap on the wrist in these two cases.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares scored two goals in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Joseph Woll made 23 saves for the win as the 44-20-9 Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 97 points. Tyson Barrie had a goal and an assist for the Predators (36-28-8) as they remain five points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 80 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators forward Matt Duchene left this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as week-to-week. This comes at a bad time for Nashville as they’ve dropped five of their last seven games. They’re already missing captain Roman Josi, who’s been sidelined for the past five games.
The Colorado Avalanche blew 2-0 and 3-2 leads before defeating the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on a shootout goal by Valeri Nichushkin. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the 43-23-6 Avalanche (92 points) as they sit one point behind the first-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division. Clayton Keller scored the tying goal for the 27-34-13 Coyotes.
Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson scored two third-period goals to double up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Brock Boeser had a goal and an assist for the 34-34-5 Canucks, who’ve won 10 of their last 12 games. Lukas Reichel and Connor Murphy replied for the 24-43-6 Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has resumed skating after being sidelined since Jan. 28 battling long-COVID symptoms. He could rejoin his teammates in practice soon with an eye on getting in some games before the end of the season. Meanwhile, Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi left this game with a hip injury that’s been nagging him for most of this season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed Harvard University winger Sean Farrell to a three-year entry-level contract. Chosen in the fourth round of the 2020 draft by the Canadiens, he’ll be joining the club for the remainder of this season.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed Harvard University winger Matt Coronato to a three-year entry-level deal. He’ll be joining the Flames for the rest of this season. They chose Coronato 13th overall in the 2021 draft by the Flames.
DAILY FACEOFF: Another Harvard University forward is making the leap to the NHL as Alex Laferriere is expected to sign an entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings and skate with them for the rest of this season. The Kings chose him in the third round of the 2020 draft.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Henry Thrun is another Harvard player heading to the big league as the defenseman signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Sharks. Chosen in the fourth round of the 2019 draft by the Anaheim Ducks, the Sharks acquired Thrun’s rights on Feb. 28 for a third-round pick in 2024.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you’re wondering why so many Harvard University players are joining their NHL teams so quickly, it’s because their season ended when they were eliminated in the NCAA tournament on Friday.
Those players joined several others US college players who’ve recently joined their NHL teams. The Hockey News’ Tony Ferrari has a list of 10 intriguing entry-level signings.