NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 22, 2022

The Panthers claim the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Blues and Wild will meet in the first confirmed first-round series, Steven Stamkos, Matthew Tkachuk and Artemi Panarin reach scoring milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers picked up their 12th straight win and clinched first place in the Eastern Conference by clipping the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists to tie Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid atop the league scoring race with 113 points. With 118 points, the Panthers sit two ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for first overall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers also tallied their 320th non-shootout goal to set a new record for the most goals in a season in the salary-cap era.

The first opening-round series of the 2022 Stanley Cup players is confirmed following the Minnesota Wild’s 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Kevin Fiala scored twice and Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 44th goal of the season for Minnesota, who’ll meet the St. Louis Blues in the opening round. Both clubs are tied with 105 points but the Wild holds second place in the Central Division with a game in hand. Elias Pettersson scored two goals for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 87 points, Vancouver remains four points behind the Dallas Stars in the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Canucks, Stars and Vegas Golden Knights (89 points) all have four games remaining, setting the stage for what should be an exciting finish as those three teams jockey for that final postseason berth.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos set the franchise points record during an 8-1 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stamkos had a goal and two assists to surpass Martin St. Louis as Tampa Bay’s all-time points leader with 956. Alex Killorn and Ross Colton scored twice for the Lightning, who hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 102 points. The Leafs sit six points ahead of the Bolts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs playing with two key players missing from their respective lineups. Leafs superstar Auston Matthews missed his third straight game with an undisclosed minor injury while Lightning center Brayden Point is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk set a personal single-season best with his 40th goal and 100th point as his club doubled up the Dallas Stars 4-2. The Flames have clinched the Pacific Division with 106 points while the Stars cling to the final Western wild-card spot with 91 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau are the first Flames teammates to have 100 points in the same season since Al MacInnis and Theo Fleury in 1990-91.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin collected four assists and Andrew Copp tallied a hat trick in a 6-3 victory against the New York Islanders. Panarin set a single-season Rangers record for most assists by a forward with 74 and sits third among their single-season scorers. The Blueshirts are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes with 108 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and associate coaches Lane Lambert and Jim Hiller missed this game as they were placed in COVID-19 protocol. Winger Anthony Beauvillier was also sidelined by an upper-body injury.

Third-period goals by Jaccob Slavin, Seth Jarvis and Jordan Staal lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. With 108 points, the Hurricanes maintain their hold on first place in the Metropolitan Division with 44 regulation wins. Jets winger Kyle Connor scored his 44th goal of the season.

Jake Guentzel tallied a hat trick to reach his 40th goal of the season to match a career-high as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Boston Bruins 4-0. Casey DeSmith kicked out 52 shots for the shutout. The Penguins opened a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division with 99 points. The Bruins remain in fourth place in the Atlantic with 99 points.

The St. Louis Blues set a franchise-record 14-game points streak with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist while Robert Thomas netted his 20th goal of the season. Blues defenseman Torey Krug missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault extended his goal streak to five games to help his club drop the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Adrian Kempe collected two assists for the Kings (94 points), who opened a five-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division.

Buffalo Sabres rookie Owen Power scored his first NHL goal in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Victor Olofsson collected three assists and Craig Anderson stopped 29 shots.

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped a six-game losing skid by downing the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. James van Riemsdyk scored twice for the Flyers. The Canadiens have lost seven straight.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau takes over the scoring race, Matt Duchene sets a Predators record, the battle for the Western Conference wild-card berths continues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race as his club downed the New York Islanders 3-2. Huberdeau (111 points) sits one point ahead of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Aleksander Barkov tallied a hat trick for the Eastern Conference-leading Panthers, who’ve won 11 straight games. With 116 points, they’re tied with the Colorado Avalanche but the latter holds first place on the basis of regulation wins.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders honored their late Hall-of-Famer Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence. Bossy passed away last Thursday at age 65 of lung cancer.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Matt Duchene set a personal and franchise record with his 40th goal of the season while teammate Filip Forsberg tallied his 39th. The Predators sit in the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 93 points, two up on the Dallas Stars. Andrew Mangiapane tallied twice for the Flames (104 points) as they hold a 10-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Pacific Division.

A third-period goal by Phillip Danault lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the win as the Kings (93 points) sit two behind the second-place Oilers in the Pacific Division and five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Vancouver Canucks’ playoff hopes suffered a setback following a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Drake Batherson and Adam Gaudette scored in the shootout to give Ottawa the win. Alex Formenton tallied twice in regulation for the Senators as they ended Vancouver’s six-game win streak. The Canucks gained a point to move into a tie with the Golden Knights (87 points) and sit four behind the Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. He won’t be traveling with the club during its upcoming road trip.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell kicked out 37 shots to backstop his club over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev each had two points for the Leafs, who’ve won 11 of their last 13 and hold the second-best record in the Eastern Conference with 108 points. Leafs star Auston Matthews missed his second straight game dealing with what’s described as a minor injury but took part in practice yesterday with his other injured teammates.

An overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s nine-game win streak. Jake DeBrusk scored and had the assist on McAvoy’s game-winner as the Bruins (99 points) moved within one point of the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas scored for the Blues, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 103 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot made 26 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Kevin Fiala and Matt Boldy were the goal scorers as the Wild (103 points) hold second place in the Central with a game in hand. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 28 saves in his second game of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the club announced that forward Joel Armia has been granted a leave of absence to attend to a family matter in Finland.

Speaking of the Lightning, they were upset by the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on a third-period goal by Jakub Vrana. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos collected three assists to tie Martin St. Louis as the franchise career points leader with 953.

The New York Rangers picked up their third consecutive shutout and 50th win over the season by blanking the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 shots, Ryan Strome tallied twice and Artemi Panarin reached the 70 assist mark.

San Jose Sharks netminder Kaapo Kahkonen made 22 saves as his club held off the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 3-2 victory, snapping a 10-game losing skid. Scott Reedy scored twice for the Sharks while Jack Roslovic netted both Jackets’ goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Bob Boughner said sidelined winger Kevin Labanc won’t play in the club’s final seven games. He’s been sidelined by a shoulder injury since Dec. 11. Boughner also doubted goalie Adin Hill will return to action from the lower-body injury that’s kept him out of the lineup since March 12.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t ready to hang up his skates yet. The 37-year-old Minnesota Wild goaltender said he hopes to play “at least another season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Will he re-sign with the Wild if they can afford him? Is a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the cards? Let’s get the speculation started early.

TSN: Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the termination of his contract in January by the San Jose Sharks was held on Tuesday. He was in the fourth year of a seven-year deal with the Sharks and stands to lose over $22 million.

The Sharks placed him on unconditional waivers on Jan. 8 citing breach of contract over a violation of the AHL’s COVID-19 protocols. Kane was skating with the Sharks AHL affiliate at the time. In late January, he signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported this isn’t expected to end quickly. He points out there could be significant salary-cap ramifications for the Sharks. The outcome could take months before a settlement is reached.

THE ATHLETIC: Kane also settled a seven-year-old lawsuit filed against him by a Buffalo woman who accused him of assault while he was a member of the Sabres.

GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and forward Christian Fischer will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: The Canadiens issued a statement in full support of Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur during his ongoing battle with lung cancer. They asked fans to respect the privacy of Lafleur and his family and indicated they would not issue any further comment on the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur, who issued a statement last week mourning the passing of Mike Bossy.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6. 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6. 2022

The Avalanche reaches the 50-win milestone and clinches a playoff berth, Jonathan Huberdeau hits another Panthers milestone, Ryan Getzlaf to retire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche became the first team to cross the 50-win milestone as they downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4, becoming the second club to clinch a playoff berth. Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, Devon Toews collected three assists and Darcy Kuemper made 41 saves for the Avalanche, who hold a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers atop the overall standings with 106 points. Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 92 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowen Byram returned to the Avalanche lineup for the first time since Jan. 10 after suffering from concussion symptoms. Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin missed the game due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected three assists as the Florida Panthers overcame a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 in overtime. Huberdeau netted the winning goal and became the first player in Panthers’ history to reach 100 points in a season. Aleksander Barkov had four points, Sam Reinhart tallied twice and Spencer Knight got the win replacing Sergei Bobrovsky, who got the hook after giving up four goals on 14 shots. Mitch Marner scored two goals and added two assists for the Leafs, who remain in second place in the Atlantic Division with 96 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 102 points, Huberdeau moved into second place in the NHL scoring race, one point ahead of Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored in overtime to nip the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith stopped 31 shots and collected the assist on McDavid’s goal. With 87 points, the Oilers are four points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division and sit one point up on the third-place Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers center Leon Draisaitl missed this game with an undisclosed injury. He did participate in Tuesday’s optional skate.

The Dallas Stars regained the final Western Conference playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Radek Faksa potted the game-winner by snapping a 2-2 tie in the second period with a short-handed goal. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Islanders. The Stars have 83 points, one ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars winger Denis Gurianov was sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen picked up his first career NHL hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Philip Tomasino each collected three points for the Predators, who hold a one-point lead over the Stars for the first Western wild-card spot. Minnesota winger Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 40th goal of the season, putting him two behind Marian Gaborik and Eric Staal for the franchise record of 42. The Wild (91 points) hold a three-point lead over the third-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

The New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Chris Kreider tallied his 47th goal of the season as the Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Devils announced center Jack Hughes will miss the remainder of the season with a low-grade MCL sprain in his left knee. The 20-year-old center enjoyed a breakout performance in his third NHL season, sitting second among Devils scorers with 26 goals and 56 points in 49 games. Those numbers would’ve been much higher had he not missed 20 games earlier this season to a dislocated shoulder and COVID-19. Perhaps the Devils would’ve stayed in the playoff chase had Hughes enjoyed a healthier season.

Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 upset over the Carolina Hurricanes. Craig Anderson kicked out 32 shots as the Sabres picked up their sixth victory in their last 10 contests. The Hurricanes (98 points) hold a two-point lead over the Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Detroit Red Wings shocked the Boston Bruins 5-3. Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 47 shots and collected an assist on Sam Gagner’s insurance goal. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings while Boston forwards Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall each collected two points. The Bruins are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 93 points but the latter moved ahead into third place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand.

Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Carson Meyer picked up his first two career NHL points with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Elvis Merzlikins got the win with a 47-save performance.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk had a goal and two assists while Austin Watson tallied twice to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens.

HEADLINES

TSN: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf yesterday announced he will retire at the end of this season. He has spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Ducks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and to become one of the dominant teams in the Western Conference by finishing first in the Pacific Division for five straight seasons from 2012-13 to 2016-17. The Ducks captain also holds the club’s single-season assist record (66) and is the franchise leader with 1,150 career games, 731 assists and 1,013 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf will also be remembered as one of this generation’s greatest playmakers, becoming a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2013-14. He and Corey Perry were for many years the driving forces behind the Ducks’ offense. The 36-year-old center put up respectable numbers this season with 28 assists and 31 points in 49 games.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marian Hossa will sign a one-day contract with the Blackhawks on Thursday to officially retire as a member of their club. He hasn’t played since 2017 after being sidelined by a progressive skin condition. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser has been sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered during Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. . His condition is still being evaluated.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Kurtis MacDermid to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $987,500.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2022

Leon Draisaitl is this season’s first 50-goal, 100-point player, Jonathan Huberdeau sets a franchise record as his Panthers clinch a playoff berth, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist to become this season’s first 50-goal, 100-point player in a 6-1 thrashing of the Anaheim Ducks. Connor McDavid scored his 40th goal of the season and chipped in two assists as the Oilers (85 points) moved to within one point of the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. McDavid still leads the scoring race with 105 points while Draisaitl is second at 101. The latter is also second in goals with 50, one behind Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks winger Troy Terry missed this game due to facial injuries suffered when he received multiple punches from Arizona Coyotes center Jay Beagle on Friday. Beagle received no supplemental discipline for his actions.

The Florida Panthers are the first team to clinch a playoff berth after defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Jonathan Huberdeau scored to set a franchise record with his 97th point of the season while teammate Anthony Duclair tallied two goals for the Panthers, who sit atop the Eastern Conference with 102 points.

Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek scored two goals and set up another in a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Jordan Greenway collected three assists as the Wild extended their points streak to 10 games and sit in second place in the Central Division with 91 points. The Capitals hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 84 points, seven back of the Boston Bruins.

An overtime goal by Shea Theodore lifted the Vegas Golden Knights over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist while Robin Lehner returned to action with a 26-save performance after being sidelined 10 games with a lower-body injury. The Golden Knights vaulted ahead of the Dallas Stars into the second Western Conference wild-card berth with 82 points while the Canucks sit eight points back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have won just three of their last 10 games. With 12 games remaining in their schedule, they face long odds of clinching a wild-card spot.

The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 3-0 lead but managed to defeat the New York Rangers 4-3 on a shootout goal by Kevin Hayes. Martin Jones got the win with a 43-save performance. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (94 points), who hold a two-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Speaking of the Stars, they fell 4-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Chris Driedger made 29 saves while Alex Wennberg, Carson Soucy and Karson Kuhlman each had two points.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored in overtime in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Before the game, the Blackhawks honored captain Jonathan Toews for recently reaching the 1,000 career NHL game milestone.

Cory Schneider made 27 saves in his first start in over two seasons to backstop the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Jean-Gabriel Pageau tallied a hat trick while Kyle Palmieri and Adam Pelech each had three points. Devils center Jack Hughes left the game after suffering a leg injury from a hit by Isles forward Oliver Wahlstrom.

Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris scored his first career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Forward Mathieu Joseph collected three assists for the Senators in their first home game since the death of Eugene Melnyk, who was honored by the club in a pre-game ceremony.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators forward Tyler Ennis was playing in his 700th career game but left the contest in the first period with what has been diagnosed as a season-ending upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau sets a league record in Jonathan Toews’ 1,000th game, Auston Matthews is the first player this season to score 50 goals, potential investors are circling the Senators in the wake of Eugene Melnyk’s death, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau set a single-season assist record for left wingers (71) as his Florida Panthers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, spoiling the 1,000th career NHL game of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves for the shutout while Aleksander Barkov scored twice. With 98 points, the Panthers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but sit in first place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau really doesn’t get the attention he deserves for his playmaking skills. He’s fourth overall in total assists (271) since 2017-18, four behind the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and nine behind the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin. Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the overall leader during that period with 340.

Toews would’ve reached the 1,000 game mark much sooner had he not missed all of last season to illness. It’s been a difficult campaign for the Blackhawks captain, with 29 points in 57 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season in a 7-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. William Nylander scored twice while Mitch Marner and Ilya Mikheyev each collected three points as the Leafs (91 points) move one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division. With 76 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is the fourth player in Leafs history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Rick Vaive, Gary Leeman and Dave Andreychuk. With 15 games remaining in the season, he’s poised to overtake Vaive for the Leafs’ single-season record (54) and has a realistic shot of becoming the first NHL player to reach the 60-goal mark since Lightning captain Steven Stamkos did it in 2011-12.

Third-period goals by Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Nazem Kadri and Erik Johnson each had two assists for Colorado while teammate Nathan MacKinnon returned to the lineup after missing one game with an injured hand. With 102 points, the Avs hold a four-point lead over the Panthers and Hurricanes atop the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was originally reported that MacKinnon suffered a fractured bone in his hand following a recent fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. While he was declared “good to go” by the Avalanche, it’ll be interesting to see if that injury has any effect on his performance.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. Andrei Svechnikov tallied twice while Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens netminder Jake Allen stopped 40 shots in a losing cause.

Jamie Benn’s overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, extending the latter’s winless streak to 11 games. Jake Oettinger kicked out 21 shots for the win as the Stars (79 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wild-card spot.

A shootout goal by Lias Andersson lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Viktor Arvidsson tied the game with 4:22 remaining in the third period while Cal Petersen picked up the win with a 26-save effort. Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 shots for the Flames, who hold a five-point lead over the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 89 points.

Evgeni Malkin’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Minnesota Wild 4-3, ending the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Rickard Rakell scored two goals for the Penguins (92 points), who sit one point behind the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jason Zucker’s return to the Penguins lineup after missing the last 30 games to core-muscle surgery didn’t last long. He was helped from the ice in the second period after suffering what looked like a serious leg injury from crashing awkwardly into the boards. No update was provided on his status.

A six-goal second period powered the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Brad Marchand tallied twice while Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each collected three points as the Bruins (89 points) hold a five-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins honored recently-retired goalie Tuukka Rask in a ceremonial pre-game puck drop.

The New York Islanders defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves while Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN/THE ATHLETIC: Michael Traikos and Ian Mendes report that potential investors are already looking into purchasing the Senators only days after owner Eugene Melnyk passed away on Monday. Ownership of the team is expected to pass to Melnyk’s college-age daughters Anne and Olivia. Mendes confirmed there are “multiple groups” who’ve expressed interest in purchasing the Senators with the plan of keeping them in the Ottawa market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk isn’t even in the ground yet and already the vultures are circling hoping to pick up the Senators. One would think they’d at least allow his family time to grieve before making inquiries about buying the franchise. That’s the cold-blooded business world for you.

Nothing will happen until after Melnyk’s estate has been settled, which could take weeks. That’s when we’ll learn if his daughters will retain or sell the franchise. Based on the reports by Traikos and Mendes, they won’t lack potential bidders keen on keeping the club in Ottawa.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller’s season is over after undergoing surgery for a broken leg suffered during Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. His recovery period is expected to be between four to six months.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a groin injury.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is expected to miss two weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: The Buffalo Sabres will honor long-time broadcaster Rick Jeanneret with a banner prior to tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Hall-of-Fame play-by-play man has covered the Sabres since 1971 and will retire at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for the long-time voice of the Sabres.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2022

Game recaps, the salary cap will rise next season, possible LTIR changes to be discussed in the offseason, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the first team to reach 100 points this season by downing the Calgary Flames 2-1. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice, Darcy Kuemper made 44 saves and Cale Makar became the third defenseman in Avalanche history to reach 50 assists in a season. The Avs hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first overall. Tyler Toffoli scored for the Flames (88 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche got the win without Nathan MacKinnon, who is sidelined with what’s believed to be a fractured hand as the result of a fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba on Sunday.

Speaking of the Panthers, they blew a 4-1 lead over the Montreal Canadiens before rolling to a 7-4 victory with three unanswered third-period goals. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected an assist, tying the record for most assists (70) in a season by a left wing. Ryan Lomberg also had two goals and an assist while Sam Bennett had a goal and two assists. Laurent Dauphin had a goal and an assist.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 49th goal of the season while Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly each had two points as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Boston Bruins 6-4. It was a costly win for Toronto with goaltender Petr Mrazek and defensemen Justin Holl and Ilya Lyubushkin leaving the game with injuries. The Leafs (89 points) sit one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while Boston sits two points behind the Leafs. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 with Steven Stamkos tallying his 30th goal of the season in overtime. Stamkos and winger Nikita Kucherov finished the game with three points each as the Lightning sits six points behind the first-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division. Seth Jarvis had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (96 points), who hold a five-point lead over the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Rangers, they held on for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chris Kreider scored his 45th goal of the season as the Rangers hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for second place in the Metro Division. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored to reach 70 points for the 12th time in his career.

The Dallas Stars regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on third-period goals by Roope Hintz and Jacob Peterson. The Stars (77 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights. Miro Heiskanen returned to the Dallas lineup after being sidelined since March 2 by mononucleosis. The Ducks have lost 10 straight games.

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 32 shots to backstop the Minnesota Wild to their seventh straight win by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Kirill Kaprizov’s 37th goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Wild hold second place in the Central Division with 86 points.

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros made 36 stops in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Michael McCarron tallied twice and Mattias Ekholm had three assists for the Predators, who sit four points behind the Wild in third place in the Central. Before the game, the Predators held a moment of silence to honor Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away on Monday.

The New York Islanders held on for a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brock Nelson netted his 32nd goal of the season while Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee each had two assists. Vladislav Gavrikov tallied twice for the Blue Jackets, who played without head coach Brad Larsen and assistant coach Steve McCarthy as they entered COVID protocol yesterday.

HEADLINES

TSN: NHL general managers were officially informed by the league the salary cap will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million during the second day of their meetings in Florida. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league’s revenues are expected to top $5 billion this season.

Pierre LeBrun reports discussions on potential changes to long-term injury reserve rules (such as a playoff salary cap) didn’t lead to any rule changes. However, there is expected to be a further talk on this subject during the NHL Draft in Montreal in July. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he’s already spoken with the NHL Players Association about this issue.

LeBrun mentioned there’s been lots of “white noise” over how the Vegas Golden Knights are handling their LTIR this season. Bettman and Daly, however, said there are no issues with how Vegas is handling their LTIR business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darren Dreger said the league doesn’t consider this to be a major problem but rather a perception one where the media and fans are concerned. Nevertheless, they intend to discuss addressing that impression with the NHLPA. Whether it results in any immediate change remains to be seen. Because this is a collective bargaining agreement issue, it might not be addressed until the next round of CBA talks in 2026.

Chris Johnston reported the league is finalizing an agreement with the NHLPA regarding how no-trade and limited no-trade clauses are submitted by players. The plan would see a player’s no-trade lists sent to NHL Central Registry and the PA to eventually compile a database. This comes on the heels of the NHL overturning the Vegas Golden Knights’ recent attempt to trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks because the league was not aware of his no-trade clause when they initially approved the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised it took this long for a snafu like the attempted Dadonov trade to surface.

LeBrun reports there won’t be a Team North America or Team Europe in the 2024 World Cup of Hockey. It will instead return to a traditional format of countries.

SPORTSNET: Bettman also said he’ll be speaking with the daughters of the late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk as well as the executor of Melnyk’s estate. He said an ownership structure has been in place and it’s expected the franchise will continue to operate as it always has.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Senators fans were concerned over whether the team would be sold to a prospective owner who might have designs on relocating the franchise. That is not going to happen.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is hoping to retain interim head coach Martin St. Louis after this season. The club is 10-8-4 since St. Louis took over behind the bench on Feb. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The job is St. Louis’ if he wants it. Judging by how much fun he’s having and the Canadiens’ improvement despite an ongoing rash of injuries and the recent trades involving four key players, I’ll be surprised if he turns down the opportunity.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Minnesota Wild have reportedly signed defenseman Alex Goligoski to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2 million.

CBS SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse’s season could be over after suffering a broken bone in his hand.