NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2023
Sidney Crosby caps a five-goal comeback by the Penguins over the Blue Jackets, Cale Makar has a four-point night as the Avalanche shut out the Sharks, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied in overtime as his club overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. Crosby finished with three points on the night, Evgeni Malkin had three assists and Jason Zucker scored two goals for the Penguins, who improved to 32-22-9 and hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 73 points. The Blue Jackets fell to 20-37-7 as goaltender Elvis Merzlikins left the game following the first period with an illness and was replaced by Michael Hutchinson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby now sits second on the all-time list for regular-season overtime goals with 20, five behind Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Before the game, the Penguins recalled Alex Nylander and placed center Ryan Poehling (undisclosed) on long-term injury reserve.
The Colorado Avalanche blanked the San Jose Sharks 6-0 with Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin each scoring a goal and adding three assists. Alexandar Georgiev made 14 saves for the shutout as the Avalanche (35-21-6) hold third place in the Central Division with 76 points. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson received a 10-minute misconduct in the third period for throwing his helmet on the ice in reaction to being cut by a high stick by Alex Newhook that went uncalled by officials. The Sharks dropped to 19-34-12 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar reached the 50-point mark for the third time in his career and for the second straight season. He’s also the third active defenseman to reach 50 points in fewer than 50 games multiple times in their career, following Karlsson and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brent Burns. The Sharks, meanwhile, played without blueliner Radim Simek as he’s listed as week-to-week with recurring concussion symptoms.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, they nipped the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on a shootout goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Frederik Andersen (13 saves) got the win after Antti Raanta was sidelined in the first period by an undisclosed injury, lifting the Hurricanes to 42-12-8 as they sit second in the overall standings with 92 points. Jake Allen made 36 saves and Michael Pezzetta had a goal and an assist for the 26-33-5 Canadiens.
Third-period goals by Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the New Jersey Devils by a score of 4-3. Mitch Marner and William Nylander each had two points for the Leafs (39-17-8) while Erik Haula and Ondrej Palat each had three points for the 41-16-6 Devils. With 88 points, the Devils are four back of the Hurricanes for third place in the overall standings with the Leafs just two points behind them.
The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a five-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 33 shots while Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each had two goals and an assist for the Lightning (38-21-5) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 81 points. Philadelphia defenseman Tony DeAngelo received a five-minute major and game misconduct for spearing Lightning winger Corey Perry in the groin. The Flyers fell to 24-29-11.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without Victor Hedman as the veteran defenseman is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Third-period goals by Josh Bailey and Hudson Fasching lifted the New York Islanders over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Bailey, Fasching and Casey Cizikas each finished with a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 33-25-8 and hold a one-point lead over the Penguins for the first Eastern wild-card berth with 74 points. The Sabres (32-27-4) have dropped four of their last five games and sit five points back of the Penguins with 68 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres seemed poised to break through into a wild-card berth less than two weeks ago but their momentum has stalled. They and the Penguins have the same number of games remaining (19) but the Sabres hold three games in hand over the Isles, who are six points ahead of them. If they don’t snap out of their funk soon, the Sabres will miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.
The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, moved two points ahead of the Sabres and three back of the Penguins with a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 31-save performance while Ryan Lomberg and Aleksander Barkov scored for the 32-27-6 Panthers. Shea Theodore replied for the Golden Knights (38-20-6) as they remain in first place in the Western Conference with 82 points by holding one more win over the Dallas Stars.
Seattle Kraken forward Jared McCann extended his team-leading goal total to 31 as his club downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. McCanna and rookie center Matty Beniers each finished with two points as the Kraken (37-21-6) sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. Trevor Zegras and Max Comtois replied for the 21-35-8 Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCann, 26, has blossomed into a scorer since joining the Kraken in the 2021 expansion draft. He had 27 goals and 50 points in 74 games last season and now has 31 goals and 50 points in 61 games.
The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild. Tyler Toffoli netted the game-winner while Jacob Markstrom made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season. With 71 points, the 29-23-13 Flames are four back of the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Wild (36-21-7) are two points behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 79 points.
A 40-save performance by Karel Vejmelka carried the Arizona Coyotes over the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-2, snapping a three-game losing skid. Clayton Keller had a goal and two assists while Travis Boyd tallied two goals for the 22-32-10 Coyotes. Pavel Buchnevich scored both goals for the 27-31-5 Blues.