NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 22, 2023
Alex Ovechkin passed Wayne Gretzky to claim a scoring record, the Hurricanes and Stars remain on top of their respective divisions, Jonathan Quick reaches a goaltending milestone and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin surpassed Wayne Gretzky for the most 40-goal seasons in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ovechkin has now reached the 40-goal plateau a record 13 times in his NHL career but his Capitals dropped to 33-31-8 (74 points) and sit five points behind the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Jack Roslovic scored twice, including the game-winner, for the 22-41-7 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 10 games left in the Capitals’ schedule, Ovechkin has a shot at reaching 50 goals for a record 10th season.
A three-goal third period lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the New York Rangers 3-2 with Teuvo Teravainen tallying the winning goal late in the third period. The Hurricanes (46-15-8) became the second team this season to reach 100 points and sit two ahead of the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The 41-20-10 Rangers got a 36-save performance by Igor Shesterkin but remain in third place in the Metro with 92 points.
The Dallas Stars dropped a 5-4 decision to the Seattle Kraken as Adam Larsson scored the game-winner in overtime. Brandon Tanev tallied twice and collected an assist for the Kraken (39-24-7) as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 85 points. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists as his club rose to 38-19-14 to maintain their hold on first place in the Central Division with 90 points.
An overtime goal by Matt Boldy carried the Minnesota Wild over the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Filip Gustavsson kicked out a career-high 47 shots as the Wild (41-22-8) sit second in the Central with 90 points on the basis of regulation wins. Timo Meier netted his 35th goal of the season for the 45-18-8 Devils (98 points), who sit two points back of the first-place Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.
The league-leading Boston Bruins nipped the Ottawa Senators 2-1 with Linus Ullmark stopping 40 shots for the win. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk scored for the 54-11-5 Bruins (113 points) while Dylan Gambrell scored for the 34-32-5 Senators (73 points) as they sit six points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Bruins announced defenseman Derek Forbort will be sidelined by a lower-body injury for the remainder of the regular season.
Speaking of the final Eastern wild-card spot, the Florida Panthers (36-28-7) failed to widen the gap between them and the teams chasing them after dropping a 6-3 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Travis Sanheim tallied two goals and Carter Hart made 41 saves for the 26-32-12 Flyers. Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour each had two points for the Panthers (79 points), who remain one up on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The New York Islanders improved to 37-27-8 by thumping the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2 to widen their lead over the Panthers for the first Eastern wild-card berth with 82 points. Cal Clutterbuck scored twice and chipped in an assist for the Islanders. Mitch Marner tallied his 27th goal of the season for the Leafs (42-19-9) as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 93 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders center Brock Nelson left the game in the first period following a hit by Leafs forward Noel Acciari. There was no immediate update on his condition.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick (31 saves) took over second place for most wins among American-born goaltenders (375) by backstopping his club over the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. The Golden Knights (44-21-6) hold first place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. J.T. Miller scored twice and added an assist while Quinn Hughes set a franchise single-season assist record for defensemen (61) as they fell to 31-34-5 on the season.
Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 29 shots in a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry scored for the Jets (40-29-3) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 83 points. Barrett Hayton tallied for the 27-33-11 Coyotes.
The Calgary Flames kept pace with the Jets by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Tyler Toffoli had three assists for the 32-25-11 Flames (79 points) as they remain four back of the Jets. Frank Vatrano scored for the 23-38-10 Ducks. Flames defenseman Chris Tanev missed this game with an upper-body injury.
Montreal Canadiens netminder Sam Montembeault stopped 31 shots as his club upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Nick Suzuki had two assists and Kirby Dach scored in his return to action for the 28-37-6 Canadiens after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury. Brayden Point netted his 44th goal of the season for the Lightning (42-24-6) as they remain three points back of the Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 90 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news for the depleted Canadiens is Dach and Brendan Gallagher returning to the lineup following lengthy injuries. The bad news is winger Josh Anderson left the game with an ankle injury and is expected to miss their next game while defenseman Kaiden Guhle is done for the season with a high-ankle sprain suffered last week against the Panthers.
The Nashville Predators snapped a three-game skid with a 7-3 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Luke Evangelista scored twice and added two assists while Matt Duchene scored twice for the Predators (35-26-8) as they are five points behind the Jets with 78 points. Tage Thompson scored his 43rd of the season while Jeff Skinner netted his 30th for the 33-31-6 Sabres (72 points) as they remain seven points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.
A shootout goal by Lucas Raymond gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Filip Zadina and Alex Chiasson scored for the 31-30-9 Wings, who sit eight points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Marco Scandella and Robert Bortuzzo replied for the 31-33-6 Blues.
IN OTHER NEWS…
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed head coach Jared Bednar to a three-year contract extension. He’s led the Avs to five straight playoff appearances, two consecutive division titles and the 2022 Stanley Cup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a well-deserved extension for Bednar, who took over this club during the lowest period in its history after Patrick Roy quit as head coach before the 2016-17 season. Their rise among the league’s elite over the past five seasons is in part due to his coaching.
TSN: The NHL announced Fanatics will take over as its’ on-ice jersey provider beginning in 2024-25, taking over from Adidas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move reportedly isn’t sitting well with hockey fans familiar with Fanatics products.