NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2023
The Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl reaches 100 points on the season, the Penguins’Jake Guentzel reaches a career milestone, plus the latest on the Leafs’ Auston Matthews, the Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored twice to become the second player this season to reach 100 points in a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers improved to 37-23-8 to vault over the Seattle Kraken into third place in the Pacific Division with 82 points. Tim Stutzle tallied twice for the 33-30-4 Senators (70 points), who’ve dropped three straight and remain six points behind the New York Islanders (76 points) for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid now leads all active players for most points in a season with 129. Meanwhile, Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot and winger Mathieu Joseph missed this game due to injuries.
The Montreal Canadiens (27-35-6) snapped a seven-game winless skid by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 on third-period goals by Anthony Richard and Josh Anderson. Jake Guentzel scored twice and collected an assist to reach 400 career points for the 34-23-10 Penguins (78 points) as they remain two points over the Islanders for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. They played without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov as he’s week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.
Speaking of the Islanders, they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings, who blew the game open with a four-goal second period. Joonas Korpisalo made 28 saves and Vladislav Gavrikov collected two assists for the Kings (39-20-9) as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 87 points. Ryan Pulock had two assists for the 34-27-8 Islanders.
The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 5-3. Mika Zibanejad scored twice and Patrick Kane scored his first goal on home ice as a Ranger. With a record of 38-19-10, the Rangers sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 86 points. Injuries sidelined Alex Ovechkin and Sonny Milano for this game as the Capitals (32-29-7) remain five points behind the Islanders in the chase for the final Eastern wild-card spot.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, who lost their grip on first place in the Metropolitan Division. Despite the absence of sidelined captain Steven Stamkos, the Lightning (40-22-6) moved within two points of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 86 points. Damon Severson replied for the 44-17-6 Devils (94 points) as they fell two points behind the Carolina Hurricanes.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, they got two goals and an assist by Jesperi Kotkaniemi as they downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. With a record of 44-14-8, the Hurricanes sit in second place in the overall standings with 96 points. The Jets (38-27-3) hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 79 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Hurricanes announced winger Andrei Svechnikov will undergo season-ending surgery on his right ACL on Thursday. His absence will be keenly felt among their top-six scorers over the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey remains sidelined by an injury.
The Nashville Predators improved to 34-28-9 and moved within four points of the Jets by holding off the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Juuse Saros made 28 saves while Kiefer Sherwood and Tommy Novak scored for the Predators, who played without sidelined defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Alex Chiasson replied for the 30-28-9 Red Wings.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick (27 saves) picked up his fourth straight win since joining the club in a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and two assists while Ivan Barbashev tallied twice for the Golden Knights (42-20-6) as they hold first place in the Western Conference with 90 points. The Flyers sank to 24-32-11.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined Flyers Sean Couturier took part in his first morning skate with the club this season after being sidelined by his second back surgery. His plan is to return to action for a handful of games before the end of the season.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh scored his first career hat trick to lead his club to a 6-3 upset of the Boston Bruins. Boris Katchouk had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks as they improved to 23-38-6, though they lost goalie Petr Mrazek in the second period with his third groin injury of the season. Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (50-11-5) as they remain comfortably atop the overall standings with 105 points.
The Vancouver Canucks collected their fifth straight win by upsetting the Dallas Stars 5-2. Brock Boeser had three assists for the 29-32-5 Canucks while Jamie Benn and Miro Heiskanen each had two points for the 37-18-13 Stars, who played without sidelined winger Mason Marchment in this game. The Stars are in first place in the Central Division with 87 points.
An overtime goal by Travis Boyd gave the Arizona Coyotes a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Clayton Keller scored twice, including his 31st goal of the season for the 25-31-11 Coyotes. Jonathan Huberdeau scored the tying goal for the 30-24-14 Flames (74 points) as they sit five points out of the final Western wild-card spot.
Columbus Blue Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau scored twice (including the winner in overtime) and collected three assists in a 6-5 victory over the San Jose Sharks to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention. The Blue Jackets sit at 21-38-7 on the season and sit last in the overall standings. Logan Couture had a goal and two assists for the 19-36-13 Sharks.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE ATHLETIC: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews revealed he’s been nursing a hand injury that has hampered his performance this season. However, he claims it’s feeling a lot better now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for the Leafs as they head down the stretch toward what will be a crucial postseason for this team.
SPORTSNET: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he’s expecting Ryan O’Reilly to return before the playoffs. He’s been sidelined with a broken finger since March 4 and underwent surgery on March 7 with a recovery timeline of four weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would mean returning by April 7 but it’s possible O’Reilly might not be good to go until the first game of the playoffs.
TSN: Speaking of broken fingers, Colorado Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big loss for the Avalanche. Lehkonen is fourth among Avalanche scorers with a career-best performance of 20 goals and 49 points in 62 games.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Diamond Sports Group, which owns the Bally Sports regional network in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday. The company released a statement indicating it expects to continue operations during the bankruptcy process and that the coverage of games would not be affected. That coverage includes 12 NHL teams.