Recaps of Sunday’s game and the Leafs Morgan Rielly faces an in-person hearing for cross-checking Ridly Greig. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: An overtime goal by J.T. Miller with 4.8 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. Thatcher Demko stopped 31 shots for the 35-12-6 Canucks (76 points) as they opened a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins for first place in the overall standings. Alex Ovechkin scored for the fifth straight game as his Capitals (23-20-8) sit six points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug (NHL Images).
St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug collected five assists as his club thumped the Montreal Canadiens 7-2. Robert Thomas had a goal and three assists while Jordan Kyrou tallied twice for the Blues (28-21-2) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 58 points. Nick Suzuki and Joel Armia scored for the 21-23-8 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug’s five assists were a single-game franchise record for a Blues defenseman.
Meanwhile, Canadiens blueliner Jordan Harris left the game with an upper-body injury (suspected concussion) after being boarded by Blues forward Sammy Blais, who received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. Before this contest, the Canadiens announced that forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard would be sidelined for four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly has an in-person meeting with the NHL’s department of player safety for cross-checking Ottawa Senators center Ridly Grieg during Saturday’s game between their two clubs. Rielly took exception over Greig firing a slap shot into the empty Leafs net during the dying seconds of the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rielly could be facing a suspension of five games for more. Meanwhile, Leafs and Senators fans lit up social media over the weekend arguing over the incident.
With the Senators assured of victory in that game, Greig may have been rubbing it in a bit with his slapshot empty-netter. Frustrated over the game’s result, Rielly took exception to it.
Rielly’s defenders argue that Greig violated an unwritten code or was guilty of poor sportsmanship. However, there is nothing in the rule book against the way that goal was scored. It was no excuse for Rielly deliberately attempting to injure Greig by cross-checking him in the head.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Washington Capitals winger Max Pacioretty on Saturday.
CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild forward Marcus Foligno will miss the club’s next two games with a lower-body injury.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice picked up his 850th career NHL coaching victory when his club shut out the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 on Saturday. He moved into sole possession of fifth place for the most coaching victories in league history.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: New Jersey Devils bench boss Lindy Ruff sits nine wins ahead of Maurice in fourth place with 859.
The Panthers gain ground on the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins, another milestone for Alex Ovechkin, and much more from a busy Saturday in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers moved to within three points of the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 4-0. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 35-save shutout performance, Sam Reinhart scored his 39th goal of the season, and team captain Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists for the 33-15-4 Panthers, who sit second in the conference with 70 points. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 39 shots for the Avalanche (32-17-4) as they’re winless in their last four games (0-3-1) and remain in second place in the Central Division with 68 points.
Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart sits second among NHL goal scorers this season and leads the league with 22 power-play goals. He also recently broke the club record for most power-play goals in a season (19) originally held by Scott Mellanby and Pavel Bure. Meanwhile, the Avalanche held a players-only meeting following this game to address their struggles and lack of preparedness since the All-Star break.
Speaking of the Bruins, they were shut out 3-0 by the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin scored for the fourth straight game with his 57th career empty-net goal, surpassing the record of 56 previously held by Wayne Gretzky. Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie each had two points while Charlie Lindgren made 18 saves for the 23-20-7 Capitals. Jeremy Swayman turned aside 25 shots for the 32-11-9 Bruins, who missed an opportunity to move ahead of the Vancouver Canucks in the overall standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has struggled to score in 2023-24 but is on a bit of a tear since the All-Star break. He now has 12 goals on the season and 834 for his career putting him 70 behind Gretzky’s record of 894.
The Canucks, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings. Jake Walman tallied the winner in overtime on a penalty shot as the Wings (27-18-6) overcame a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals by Daniel Sprong and Michael Rasmussen. They hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 60 points. Elias Pettersson and former Red Wing Filip Hronek each had a goal and two assists for the 34-12-6 Canucks as they hold first overall with 74 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Patrick Kane collected an assist in his return to the Wings lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Wings forward Lucas Raymond, who left the game for assessment but would return to action.
Calgary Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar scored his first career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 35 shots while Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (25-22-5) as they sit one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 55 points. Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau replied for the 22-18-12 Islanders (56 points) as they sit four points back of the Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar became the seventh defenseman in Flames history to score a hat trick. He also takes over the lead among NHL defensemen in goals this season with 15. Islanders blueliner Alexander Romanov missed this game with a lower-body injury.
The Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists while Nikita Zadorov collected two assists for the 28-20-5 Lightning as they vaulted over the Toronto Maple Leafs into third place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points. Boone Jenner netted both goals for the 16-25-10 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 89 points, Kucherov has opened a four-point lead in the NHL scoring race over Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon. Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game with an upper-body injury.
Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they fell 5-3 to the Ottawa Senators, who picked up their third straight win. Shane Pinto led the way with a goal and two assists while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 31 shots for the 21-25-2 Senators. Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 42nd goal of the season for the Leafs (26-16-8) as they dropped into the first Eastern wild-card berth with 60 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly could face supplemental discipline as he took exception with Ridley Grieg’s slapshot into an empty net in the dying seconds and cross-checked the young Senators forward in the head. Meanwhile, Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano and Senators blueliner Jake Sanderson missed this game with injuries. There’s no timetable yet for when either player will return to action.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s 35 saves backstopped his club to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mark Scheifele and Nino Niederreiter scored for the 31-14-5 Jets (67 points) as they snapped a five-game winless skid and sit one behind the second-place Avalanche in the Central Division. Bryan Rust replied for the Penguins (23-19-7).
The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 in their first game under interim head coach Jim Hiller. David Rittich turned in a 26-save shutout while Quinton Byfield scored two goals and picked up an assist for the 24-15-10 Kings, who hold the first Western wild-card berth with 58 points. Stuart Skinner stopped 22 shots for the Oilers (30-17-1) as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 61 points.
An overtime goal by Sebastian Aho gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Pyotr Kochetkov made 34 saves for the shutout as the Hurricanes improved to 30-16-5 and hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points. Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots for the 25-21-4 Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes welcomed back winger Andrei Svechnikov from his six-game absence with an upper-body injury. However, backup goaltender Antti Raanta missed this game with a lower-body injury and is expected to remain sidelined for the next two weeks.
Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin scored twice as his club nipped the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matt Duchene and Mason Marchment each collected two assists for the 32-14-6 Stars, who’ve won 10 of their last 14 and moved into first place in the Central Division with 70 points. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist while Sam Montembeault turned aside 35 shots for the 21-22-8 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard left this game early in the second period with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated over the next couple of days to determine the severity of the injury.
The St. Louis Blues got two goals by Jake Neighbours in a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, picking up their sixth victory in their last seven games. Joel Hofer made 33 saves for the 27-21-2 Blues as they hold the final Western wild-card berth with 56 points. Kyle Okposo replied for the 22-25-4 Sabres.
Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier snapped a 2-2 tie to defeat the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Cal Petersen made 17 saves in his first start since Nov. 11 for the Flyers (28-19-6) as they picked up t their third straight win and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points. Tomas Tatar and Jared McCann replied for the 21-20-10 Kraken (52 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken defenseman Justin Schultz missed this game for personal reasons but is expected to rejoin his teammates later this week.
An overtime goal by Ryan McDonagh lifted the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes. McDonagh, Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly, Filip Forsberg and Tommy Novak each had a goal and an assist for the 27-23-2 Predators (56 points) as they remain behind the Blues for the final Western wild-card berth with the latter holding two games in hand. Jason Zucker collected three assists for the Coyotes (23-23-4) as they’re winless in their last five games (0-4-1).
The Canucks’ Quinn Hughes ties a franchise single-game points record for defensemen, the Devils’ Jack Hughes remains atop the scoring race and the Golden Knights extend their season-opening points streak. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes had a goal and four assists in a 10-1 drubbing of the toothless San Jose Sharks. Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser each had three points and Anthony Beauvillier tallied twice for the 7-2-1 Canucks. Fabian Zetterlund scored the only goal for the Sharks as they remain at the bottom of the overall standings with a record of 0-9-1.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes’ five points tied a franchise record for defensemen. He leads all NHL blueliners with 16 points. The Sharks, meanwhile, suffered their worst home defeat in franchise history. They’ve got just 10 goals in as many games with just one multi-goal game. They have also been shut out twice during that stretch.
Meanwhile, Quinn’s brother Jack collected two assists to maintain his lead in the NHL scoring race (20 points) as his club tamed the Minnesota Wild by a score of 5-3. Jesper Bratt had a goal and three assists as the Devils improved to 6-2-1. Wild forwards Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy each had two points as their club dropped to 3-5-2.
The Vegas Golden Knights extended their season-opening points streak to 11 games by beating the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Jonathan Marchessault scored a hat trick while Logan Thompson stopped 29 shots as the Golden Knights (10-0-1) have a league-leading 21 points. Kyle Connor and Alex Iafallo each had a goal and an assist for the 4-4-2 Jets.
Shootout goals by Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs to extend their points streak to 10 games (9-0-1) as they lead the Eastern Conference with 19 points. Pavel Zacha and DeBrusk scored in regulation while Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews replied for the 5-3-2 Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren left this game with a lower-body injury suffered late in the first period. Meanwhile, the Bruins were short three regular defensemen with Charlie McAvoy serving a four-game suspension (now under appeal) while Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort are sidelined by injuries.
New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin collected an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games in a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Rookie Will Cuylle broke a 1-1 tie and Chris Kreider also scored as the Rangers (8-2-0) lead the Metropolitan Division with 16 points. Seth Jarvis replied for the 6-5-0 Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly victory for the Rangers as Adam Fox and Filip Chytil left the game with injuries. Both will be reevaluated on Friday.
The Los Angeles Kings remain unbeaten on the road (5-0-0) as they held off the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Adrian Kempe collected two assists while Cam Talbot made 24 saves against his former club as the Kings sit at 6-2-2. Former Kings goalie Joonas Korpisalo stopped 35 shots while Dominik Kubalik and Josh Norris scored for the 4-5-0 Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators forwards Ridly Grieg and Mark Kastelic could be sidelined for the next several games as they both left this contest with lower-body injuries.
Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz tallied twice, including the game-winning goal, to nip the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Connor Ingram turned aside 28 shots as the Coyotes improved to 5-4-1. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist while Sean Monahan netted his team-leading sixth goal for the 5-3-2 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Rafael Harvey-Pinard left this game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, sidelined Coyotes winger Jason Zucker is expected to return to action on Nov. 11. He’s been out since Oct. 21 with a lower-body injury.
The Dallas Stars held on for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Roope Hintz had two goals and an assist, Joe Pavelski netted a goal and two assists while Scott Wedgewood kicked out 46 shots as the Stars (7-1-1) sit atop the Central Division with 15 points. Sam Gagner scored two goals in his first game with the Oilers this season but their record slipped to 2-6-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers forward Connor Brown left this contest in the second period with a lower-body injury.
Third-period goals by Boone Jenner, Erik Gudbranson and Johnny Gaudreau lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Elvis Merzlikins turned aside 27 shots as the Blue Jackets (4-4-2) snapped a four-game winless skid. Steven Stamkos and Conor Sheary tallied for the Lightning (4-3-3).
The New York Islanders got a 32-save shutout performance from Semyon Varlamov in a 3-0 blanking of the Washington Capitals. Ryan Pulock, Simon Holmstrom and Brock Nelson were the goal scorers as the Islanders boosted their record to 5-2-2. Darcy Kuemper made 18 saves for the 4-4-1 Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an injured leg. However, Adam Pelech left the game in the first period holding his side and didn’t return.
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Steven Lorentz and Anton Lundell scored for the Panthers (5-3-1) while James Reimer stopped 25 shots for the 6-4-1 Red Wings.
The Seattle Kraken doubled up the Nashville Predators 4-2. Jared McCann and Justin Schultz each had two points for the 4-5-2 Kraken while Tommy Novak and Roman Josi replied for the 4-6-0 Predators.
The Oilers and Lightning clinch playoff berths, the first 2023 playoff matchup is set, the Panthers overtake the Penguins in the Eastern wild-card race, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl tallied a hat trick to reach 50 goals for the third time in his career as his club clinched a playoff berth by blanking the Anaheim Ducks 6-0. Jack Campbell made 36 saves for his first shutout with the Oilers while Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and Mattias Ekholm each had a goal and an assist. With a record of 45-23-9, the Oilers hold second place in the Pacific Division with 99 points. Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game with a lower-body injury as his club fell to 23-42-10 on the season.
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a big day for the Oilers. McDavid and Draisaitl were named the first and second stars of the month for March (Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller was the third star) while goaltender Stuart Skinner was named rookie of the month.
The Tampa Bay Lightning secured a playoff spot thanks to Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 38-save shutout of the New York Islanders. Brayden Point had a goal and two assists for the Lightning (45-26-6) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 96 points. The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped to 39-29-9 and hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 87 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Point now has 48 goals on the season. Before the game, the Islanders announced that winger Oliver Wahlstrom is officially out for the season with a lower-body injury suffered on Dec. 27.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov kicked out 31 shots to shut out the Ottawa Senators 3-0. Michael Bunting, William Nylander and Radim Zohorna scored for the 45-20-10 Leafs as they sit in second place in the Atlantic with 100 points. With a record of 37-34-5, the Senators (79 points) are six points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Before the game, they announced center Derick Brassard is out for the season following surgery for a broken fibula.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Lightning and Leafs winning last night, they have officially become the first confirmed playoff match-up in the opening round of the 2023 playoffs, which begins on April 17. They faced each other in the first round last season with the Lightning winning the best-of-seven series in seven games.
A four-goal performance by Carter Verhaeghe powered the Florida Panthers to a 7-0 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex Lyon got the shutout with 21 saves while Sam Reinhart and Anthony Duclair each had three points for the 39-31-17 Panthers, who vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins into the final Eastern wild-card berth with 85 points. The Blue Jackets dropped to 23-44-8 on the season.
Speaking of the Penguins, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the league-leading Boston Bruins. David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to reach 102 points on the season while Pavel Zacha had three assists for the 59-12-5 Bruins (123 points). Bryan Rust scored twice for the Penguins (37-29-10) as they sit one point behind the Panthers.
The Vegas Golden Knights became the first Western Conference team to reach 100 points this season (101) by taming the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Jack Eichel and Chandler Stephenson each had two points as the conference-leading Golden Knights (47-22-7) sit two points ahead of the Oilers in the Western standings. Matt Boldy tallied his 29th goal of the season for the 44-23-9 Wild as they sit atop the Central Division with 97 points.
Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen scored and added three assists in a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Nathan MacKinnon tallied two goals for the 45-24-6 Avalanche as they sit one point behind the Wild in second place in the Central with 96 points. Tyler Seguin and Joe Pavelski replied for the Stars (41-21-14), who also have 96 points but sit third in the Central as the Avs have a game in hand and four more wins.
The Nashville Predators thumped the St. Louis Blues 6-1 to remain in the race for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Tommy Novak had a goal and three assists and Luke Evangelista had three points for the Predators (38-29-8) as they sit three points behind the Winnipeg Jets with 84 points. Calle Rosen replied for the 35-35-6 Blues, who also lost defenseman Marco Scandella in the second period with a lower-body injury.
A hat trick by Alex Tuch carried the Buffalo Sabres to a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Casey Mittelstadt collected three assists while Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 39 shots for the Sabres (37-31-7) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 81 points. Morgan Frost scored twice and Travis Konecny scored in his first game since being sidelined for 16 games by an upper-body injury as the Flyers fell to 29-33-13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Flyers head coach John Tortorella said center Sean Couturier (back) won’t return this season.
The Carolina Hurricanes maintained their lead in the Metropolitan Division by blanking the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. Antti Raanta had a 14-save shutout while Brady Skjei, Paul Stastny and Sebastian Aho scored for the 48-18-9 Hurricanes (105 points) to hold a one-point lead over the New Jersey Devils. Sam Montembeault made 47 saves for the 30-41-6 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens announced defenseman David Savard is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury while winger Rafael Harvey-Pinard (day-to-day) was being rested due to minor injuries.
Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Hamilton, Timo Meier, Erik Haula and Jesper Boqvist each had a goal and an assist for the 48-20-8 Devils. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews collected an assist in his first game since being sidelined by long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome on Jan. 28 as his club fell to 24-46-6.
Los Angeles Kings winger Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist as his club held off the Seattle Kraken 3-1. Alex Iafallo collected two assists and Pheonix Copley made 25 saves as the Kings (44-22-10) sit one point behind the Oilers in third place in the Pacific Division with 98 points. Oliver Bjorkstand replied for the 41-26-8 Kraken as they remain three points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets in the first Western wild-card position with 90 points.
The San Jose Sharks crushed the Arizona Coyotes 7-2. Noah Gregor scored his first career NHL hat trick while Erik Karlsson had four assists for the 22-39-15 Sharks while the Coyotes dropped to 27-37-13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 95 points in 76 games, Karlsson could become the first NHL defenseman to score 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.