NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2023
The Panthers take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series with the Leafs, the Stars tie their series with the Kraken and the finalists for the Norris Trophy are revealed. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in Game 2 of their second-round series. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 35 shots while Anton Lundell, Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling tallied three unanswered goals for the Panthers, who hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as it shifts to Florida for Game 3 on Sunday. Alexander Kerfoot and Ryan O’Reilly scored for the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also lost rookie forward Matthews Knies with an undisclosed injury after he was wrestled to the ice by Panthers center Sam Bennett. No penalty was called and it remains to be seen if Bennett will face supplemental discipline.
The Leafs dominated large stretches of this game but costly defensive breakdowns saw them squander their early lead. Bobrovsky’s solid goaltending and physical shot-blocking by the Panthers stymied the Leafs’ offensive attack.
Some Toronto pundits are already declaring the Leafs’ season to be “on the brink”. The last time I checked, this was a best-of-seven series, not a best-of-five. A win in Game 3 by the Leafs could change the direction of this second-round saga. Of course, if the Leafs lose that game, then the “season on the brink” headlines will be justified.
The Dallas Stars doubled up the Seattle Kraken 4-2 to tie their second-round series at a game apiece. Joe Pavelski scored his fifth goal of this series, Tyler Seguin and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and an assist and Jake Oettinger stopped 25 shots for the Stars. Tye Kartye and Jordan Eberle replied for the Kraken. This series heads to Seattle for Game 3 on Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pavelski continues to show no lingering after-effects from the concussion that sidelined him for all but one game in their first-round series with the Minnesota Wild. He had four games in Game 1 against the Kraken.
The Kraken seemed somewhat sluggish in this game compared to their performance in the opening contest. Meanwhile, the Stars played with more energy and determination to avoid a 2-0 series deficit.
NHL.COM: Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks, and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are the finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as this season’s top NHL defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise that Karlsson is a nominee as he’s considered the front-runner after becoming the first defenseman in 31 years to reach 100 points in a season. I’m surprised that Winnipeg Jets blueliner Josh Morrissey or Vancouver Canucks rearguard Quinn Hughes didn’t get a nod here.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger David Pastrnak revealed he suffered a shoulder injury during his first shift of Game 1 of their first-round series against the Florida Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak faced some criticism from Boston fans and pundits over his performance in that series. Despite his injury, he was tied for the team lead in goals with five, including a game-winner.
I’ve noticed some readers calling on the Bruins to trade Pastrnak before his new contract kicks in on July 1 to free up salary cap space in order to improve the club’s overall depth. Management will likely shed some salary this summer but he’s not going anywhere.
Pastrnak is a genuine superstar. With Brad Marchand aging and Patrice Bergeron mulling retirement, he’s now the Bruins’ franchise player. That’s why they signed him to that expensive new deal in the first place. Like it or not, every move they make starting this offseason is to build around Pastrnak. That’s what you do when you have a superstar on your roster.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen will not be playing in the upcoming IIHF World Hockey Championships in Finland. He suffered a broken toe during the Avs’ series against the Kraken. His recovery is four-to-six weeks.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Matt Boldy knows that he’ll need to improve his playoff performance. He has just one goal and three points in 12 career postseason games stretching back to last season.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center Dmitri Voronkov to a two-year entry-level contract. Chosen by the Blue Jackets in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL draft, the 22-year-old has spent five seasons with the KHL’s Ak-Bars Kazan.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The province of Quebec renamed its Highway 50 to Autoroute Guy Lafleur in honor of the late Canadiens legend. The highway passes through his hometown of Thurso, Quebec. Lafleur died last April at age 70 from lung cancer.
NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Petr Klima passed away in his native Czechia at age 58. The cause of death is unknown.
Emigrating from communist Czechoslovakia in 1985, Klima spent 13 seasons in the NHL from 1985-86 to 1998-99 with the Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Klima scored 313 goals and 573 points in 786 regular-season games. He also tallied 28 goals and 52 points in 95 playoff games. His most famous goal came in triple overtime in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final for the Oilers, who went on to win the Cup in five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Klima’s family, friends and former teammates.