NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2024

Two scoring milestones for Sidney Crosby as his Penguins regain the Eastern wildcard spot, the Kings clinch a postseason berth, the Golden Knights re-sign Noah Hanifin, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected his 1,000th career NHL assist as his club nipped the Detroit Red Wings 6-5 on an overtime goal by Erik Karlsson. Crosby and Bryan Rust each had a goal and an assist for the 37-30-12 Penguins, who regained the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 86 points. Lucas Raymond tallied a hat trick and Alex DeBrincat picked up three assists for the Red Wings (38-32-9) as they sit one point back of the Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby also took supplanted Phil Esposito for 10th overall with 1,591 points. He’s 50 points behind ninth-place Joe Sakic and 132 behind eighth-place Mario Lemieux. Meanwhile, the Penguins announced defenseman Ryan Graves (concussion) has been moved to injured reserve. He could return to action if the Penguins reach the first round of the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Kings clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Calgary Flames 4-1. Viktor Arvidsson tallied twice for the Kings, who improved to 42-26-11 and sit third in the Pacific Division with 95 points. Jonathan Huberdeau replied for the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The final wildcard berth is the only playoff spot available in the West. The Golden Knights (92 points) hold that spot with a three-point lead over the St. Louis Blues.

Returning to the Eastern wildcard race, the Washington Capitals dropped a 4-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. Connor McMichael and Tom Wilson scored for the Capitals (37-31-11) as they sit one point behind the Penguins. Alex Tuch netted his 22nd goal of the season for the Sabres.

An overtime goal by Kyle Palmieri lifted the New York Islanders over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Islanders (37-27-15) sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 89 points, three points up on the Penguins. Cole Caufield tallied his 25th goal of the season for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury. It’s unclear how long he might be sidelined.

The Philadelphia Flyers kept their playoff hopes alive by upsetting the New York Rangers 4-1, snapping an eight-game winless skid. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist and Samuel Ersson stopped 24 shots for the 37-32-11 Flyers, who sit one point behind the Penguins for that final wildcard berth. Artemi Panarin scored his 47th of the season for the 53-23-4 Rangers, who have lost two straight but remain first in the overall standings with 110 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Third place in the Metro and the final Eastern wildcard are the only playoff spots still up for grabs in the Eastern Conference. Four points separate the Islanders from the Flyers with the Penguins, Capitals and Red Wings between them.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit turned in a 24-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. Nikolaj Ehlers, David Gustafsson and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets (49-24-6), who’ve won five straight games and moved into seventh overall with 104 points. Jake Oettinger turned aside 21 shots for the 50-21-9 Stars as they remain one point behind the league-leading Rangers.

The New Jersey Devils upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5. Jesper Bratt snapped a 5-5 time with 1:14 remaining in the third period for the Devils. Bratt and Timo Meier finished each finished with two goals and an assist. Auston Matthews scored two goals to move with two of the 70-goal plateau for the Leafs (46-24-9), who sit tenth in the overall standings with 101 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also reached a notable milestone, becoming the first player to score 50 even-strength goals in a season since Teemu Selanne in 1992-93. As for the Devils, their elimination from playoff contention earlier this week means their 2024 second-round pick belongs to the San Jose Sharks. It was the remaining condition of their acquisition of Meier last year.

Florida Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots to shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Sam Reinhart scored his 54th goal of the season for the 50-24-6 Panthers, who sit fifth overall with 106 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau and defenseman Zach Werenski intend to suit up for Team USA at the 2024 World Championships in Czechia from May 10-26.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on a shootout goal by Brady Tkachuk, who also had a goal and an assist in regulation play. Nikita Kucherov collected two assists to extend his lead in the scoring race to 141 points as the Lightning (44-27-8) hold the first Eastern wildcard with 96 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov holds a four-point lead over Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. MacKinnon’s next game is Saturday against the Jets while Kucherov and his Lightning face off against the Capitals.

San Jose Sharks goalie Devin Cooley kicked out 49 shots to down the Seattle Kraken 3-1.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights signed Noah Hanifin to an eight-year, $58.8 million contract extension. They acquired the 27-year-old defenseman from the Calgary Flames two days before the March 8 trade deadline. The average annual value is $7.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanifin is completing a six-year contract with an AAV of $4.95 million. His new deal is similar in term and dollars to what he was reportedly close to signing with the Flames last fall before their negotiations derailed. However, he’ll keep more of that because of the lower taxes in Nevada.

It’s a good move by the Golden Knights. Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden McNabb are in their mid-thirties and Alec Martinez isn’t expected to be re-signed. Hanifin has fit in well since joining them and will take on a greater role on their blueline in the coming years.

The signing also raises questions about Jonathan Marchessault’s future in Vegas. The 33-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. I’ll have more in today’s Rumors update.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny said the news of a possible relocation of his team to Salt Lake City is having a “huge impact” on his players because they love playing in Phoenix.

Tourigny also voiced concern for the club’s 31 staff members without contracts for next season. He noted the effect it could have on their families and personal lives.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL continues to work behind the scenes trying to find a solution for what deputy commissioner Bill Daly called a “difficult and challenging situation.”

In terms of a timeline of a possible sale of the Coyotes and a move to Salt Lake City, LeBrun noted the sale and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg in 2011 took place in late May. However, he cited a source suggesting it wouldn’t take that long but could require some time to get done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some reports suggest it could happen as early as April 18, the end of the regular season schedule. LeBrun doubted that it would take place that quickly. He also cautioned that this isn’t a fait accompli as the deal still might not take place. As he observed, this remains a delicate situation.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg announced his retirement from the NHL at the end of this season. Silfverberg, 33, began his 12-year NHL career with the Ottawa Senators but spent the past 11 seasons with the Ducks. He’s returning to his native Sweden where it’s believed he’ll finish his playing career where it began, with Brynas IF in his hometown of Gavle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Silfverberg currently sits fifth among Ducks players in games played (769) and goals (158), eighth in assists with 196 and seventh in points with 354. He also has 16 goals and 41 points in 57 career playoff games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2024

The Leafs’ Auston Matthews continues his quest for 70 goals, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl reach the 40-goal plateau, and the battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot continues in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 64th goal of the season in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Matthews also reached the 100-point plateau as his Leafs improved to 44-23-9 and remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 97 points. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist for the 29-35-12 Canadiens.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews holds an 11-goal lead over Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart as this season’s leading goal scorer. He becomes the eighth player to reach 100 points this season. That’s the most in one season for NHL scorers since 1995-96 when 12 players did it. The Canadiens played without defensemen Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj, who are sidelined with upper-body injuries.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his 40th of the season as his club nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. Michael Bunting snapped a 4-4 tie in the third period after the Lightning overcame a 4-1 deficit. Bunting, Evgeni Malkin and Erik Karlsson each had three points for the Penguins (36-30-11) as they took possession of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Steven Stamkos scored twice and Nikita Kucherov had three assists for the 43-27-7 Lightning, who hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 93 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a scary moment in the third period when referee Steve Kozari was briefly knocked unconscious following an accidental collision with Lightning defenseman Hadyn Fleury. Kozari was stretchered from the game and is expected to make a full recovery. Fleury was shaken up and left the game under his own power. Lightning forwards Anthony Cirelli and Tanner Jeannot missed this game with upper-body injuries.

The Penguins have won four straight and six of their last 10 contests. Crosby has reached 40 goals in the season three times with the last being seven years ago. Meanwhile, Kucherov (136 points) holds a five-point lead over Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon for the lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

The Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Calgary Flames 4-2 in the final segment of this season’s “Battle of Alberta”. Leon Draisaitl scored his 40th goal of the season and Connor McDavid collected two assists to sit one shy of 100 as the Oilers (47-24-5) sit second in the Pacific Division with 99 points. Flames forward Yegor Sharangovich reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time as his club slipped to 34-37-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl also tallied 20 power-play goals for the third consecutive season. McDavid is one assist away from becoming the fourth player in NHL history to reach 100 assists in a season and the first to do so since Wayne Gretzky in 1990-91. He remains third in the scoring race with 130 points.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov kicked out 41 shots to shut out the Nashville Predators 2-0. Noah Dobson and Kyle Palmieri were the goal scorers for the 35-27-15 Islanders, who picked up their fourth straight win and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 85 points, two ahead of the Penguins. Kevin Lankinen made 28 saves for the Predators (44-29-4) as they slipped into the final Western Conference wildcard spot.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got six goals from defensemen in a 6-2 upset of the struggling Philadelphia Flyers. Zach Werenski and Damon Severson each tallied twice with Erik Gudbranson and Nick Blankenburg netting the others for the 26-39-12 Blue Jackets. Olle Lycksell and Adam Ginning scored their first career NHL goals as the 36-31-11 Flyers (83 points) slipped out of the final Eastern wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those six goals from defensemen matched the NHL record set by the 1992-93 Washington Capitals in a 10-4 win over the New York Rangers on Dec. 4, 1992.

New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Jesper Bratt collected two assists for the 37-36-4 Devils (78 points) as they sit five points behind the Penguins. Claude Giroux, Drake Batherson and Jake Sanderson each had two points for the 33-39-4 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators captain Brady Tkachuk set an NHL record for most hits in a single game with 16. His teammate Tim Stutzle missed this game (his bobblehead night) with a suspected shoulder injury and is considered day-to-day.

An overtime goal by Jesper Boqvist lifted the Boston Bruins over the Florida Panthers 3-2. The two Charlies (McAvoy and Coyle) scored for the Bruins (46-17-15), who sit second overall with 107 points. Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov replied for the 48-24-6 Panthers, who sit seventh overall with 102 points.

The Los Angeles got two goals from Adrian Kempe in a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kempe finished with three points and goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 39 shots for the Kings (41-25-11), who picked up their third straight victory and moved into third place in the Pacific Division with 93 points. Brock Boeser netted his 39th goal of the season for the 47-22-8 Canucks, who sit fifth in the overall standings with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phillip Danault recorded an assist in his return from a four-game absence recovering from an upper-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets forward Vladislav Namestnikov had a goal and two assists as his team downed the Minnesota Wild 4-2. With a record of 47-24-6, the Jets sit eighth in the overall standings with 100 points. Kirill Kaprizov scored his 39th goal of the season for 36-31-9 Wild.

The Chicago Blackhawks upset the Dallas Stars 3-2, snapping the latter’s eight-game win streak. Petr Mrazek stopped 42 shots and Connor Bedard netted his 22nd goal of the season for the 23-48-5 Blackhawks. Roope Hintz scored his 29th and Jamie Benn his 20th for the Stars (48-20-9) as they slipped into third overall with 105 points.

San Jose Sharks forward William Eklund scored his first NHL hat trick, including the winner in overtime in a 3-2 against the St. Louis Blues. Devin Cooley made 34 saves to pick up his first career NHL victory for the 18-50-8 Sharks. Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn scored for the 40-32-5 Blues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2024

The Jets clinch a playoff berth, Bruins captain Brad Marchand reaches a scoring milestone, the battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard continues, and the latest on the Coyotes in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Calgary Flames 5-2 to clinch a playoff berth. Gabriel Vilardi tallied a hat trick and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the Jets (46-24-6), who sit third in the Central Division with 98 points. Dustin Wolf stopped 40 shots for the 34-36-5 Flames (73 points), who were officially eliminated from postseason contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames rookie Connor Zary was a healthy scratch from this game. His teammate Martin Pospisil could face supplemental discipline after being ejected in the second period for elbowing Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey in the face. Morrissey was not injured.

Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand scored his 400th career NHL regular-season goal in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. David Pastrnak and Danton Heinen each had a goal and an assist and Jeremy Swayman turned aside 28 shots for the 45-17-15 Bruins, who’ve won three straight and sit third in the overall standings with 105 points. Jake Guentzel replied for the Hurricanes (47-22-7) as they sit sixth overall with 101 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins forward Justin Brazeau missed this game with an upper-body injury suffered during Tuesday’s win against the Nashville Predators. He’s listed as week-to-week.

The New York Islanders moved into the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth after doubling up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Noah Dobson broke a 2-2 tie and Kyle Palmieri netted his 25th goal of the season for the Islanders, who’ve won three straight and improved to 34-27-15 (83 points). Kirill Marchenko had a goal and an assist for the 25-39-12.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets goaltender Daniil Tarasov left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury following a collision with teammate David Jiricek. There was no postgame update regarding his condition. Jackets winger Johnny Gaudreau missed this game due to illness.

A 30-save performance by Alex Nedeljkovic (including 16 in the first period) backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Kris Letang and Reilly Smith each collected two assists for the Penguins (35-30-11), who extended their points streak to seven games and sit two points behind the Islanders. Alex Ovechkin scored for the 36-29-10 Capitals as they slipped one point back of the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie (undisclosed) missed this game and has been ruled out for Friday’s contest with the Hurricanes.

Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each collected three assists to beat the Montreal Canadiens 7-4 and eliminate the latter from playoff contention. Stamkos and Nick Paul each tallied twice as the Lightning improved to 43-26-7 (93 points) as they hold the first Eastern wildcard and sit two points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Joel Armia scored two goals and Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist for the 29-34-12 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury following a hit from behind by Kucherov. No penalty was called on the play and no postgame update was provided about Guhle’s condition. Kucherov sits atop the points race with 133 and reached the 90-assist plateau for the first time. Meanwhile, his teammate Tanner Jeannot missed this contest with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Justus Annunen kicked out 44 shots in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin collected three points each for the Avalanche (48-22-6), who sit fifth overall with 102 points. Filip Gustavsson stopped 31 shots for the 36-30-9 Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon (130 points) remains in second place in the points race.

The Florida Panthers got a 30-save shutout from Sergei Bobrovsky to blank the Ottawa Senators 6-0. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists and Sam Reinhart tallied his 53rd goal of the season for the Panthers (48-24-5) as they sit seventh in the overall standings with 101 points. The Senators dropped to 33-38-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers announced before this game that defenseman Aaron Ekblad will likely miss the remainder of the regular season with an undisclosed injury. The club is confident Ekblad will be ready to go for the start of the playoffs.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg scored two goals and picked up an assist in a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Juuse Saros made 44 saves for the 44-28-4 Predators, who hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot with 92 points. Brandon Saad, Jake Neighbours and Jordan Kyrou replied for the 40-32-4 Blues.

Rookie Akil Thomas’ first NHL goal was the game-winner as the Los Angeles Kings nipped the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Adrian Kempe scored his 25th of the season for the Kings (40-25-11) as they hold the final Western wildcard with 91 points. Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for the 17-50-8 Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has reportedly spoken to multiple potential buyers within and outside Arizona to gauge their interest in purchasing the franchise from him.

Meruelo reportedly seeks USD 1 billion for the franchise he purchased in July 2019. He is believed to have recently met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman regarding the Coyotes’ future.

On Thursday, the club told Arizona Sports that Meruelo and the team are “solely focused on the land auction (for a new arena) and winning the bid. And to keep the Coyotes in Arizona.”

Speaking of the land auction, the date is set for June 27.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any attempt to sell the team to new owners willing to keep the franchise in Arizona will depend on whether Meruelo and the Coyotes win that land auction. If they fail, relocation is the next step. Whether he’ll get $1 billion for the franchise could depend on the location of the bidders and the size of their fortunes.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers captain Sean Couturier (upper-body injury) will miss the club’s back-to-back games with the Buffalo Sabres on Friday and the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flyers, they’re working on a “longer-term contract” for goaltender Ivan Fedotov. The 27-year-old Fedotov can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2024

The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby ties a scoring record with Wayne Gretzky, Auston Matthews sets the Leafs single-season goal record, the Red Wings and Islanders remain in the Eastern Conference wildcard chase, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored two goals and collected an assist to tie Wayne Gretzky with 19 seasons averaging a point-per-game in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. Bryan Rust also tallied twice for the 33-30-11 Penguins (77 points) as they move to within five points of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. The Rangers (50-21-4) remain in first place in the overall standings with 104 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A point-per-game in 19 straight seasons is a phenomenal achievement for the 36-year-old Crosby. He has 82 points this season in 74 games. Crosby also needs just three assists to reach the 1,000-assist milestone. He’s 13 goals from the 600 career goal milestone and 16 points from the 1,600-point plateau. Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry and defenseman John Ludvig were late scratches from this game due to illness.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews broke his franchise single-season goals record with his 61st and 62nd goals as his club downed the Florida Panthers 6-4. Matthews also collected an assist to finish with three points for the Leafs (43-22-9), who won their third straight game and sit third in the Atlantic Division with 95 points. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists and Sam Reinhart tallied his 52nd goal for the 47-23-5 Panthers, who sit seventh in the overall standings with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With eight games remaining in the Leafs schedule, Matthews has a chance to become the first player to score 70 goals in a season since Teemu Selanne and Alex Mogilny in 1992-93. He holds a 10-goal lead over Reinhart and the Edmonton Oilers’ Zach Hyman in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy. Meanwhile, Panthers winger Carter Verhaeghe left this game early in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Panthers coach Paul Maurice considers him day-to-day.

The Detroit Red Wings remain in the Eastern wildcard race with a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. David Perron snapped a 2-2 tie, Lucas Raymond netted his 25th goal of the season and Alex Lyon stopped 34 shots for the 37-30-8 Red Wings, who sit behind the Washington Capitals with 82 points. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected an assist to tie Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon for the points lead with 127. The Bolts (41-26-7) hold the first Eastern wildcard with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings and Capitals have the same points total but the latter holds that wildcard with two games in hand.

An overtime goal by Brock Nelson lifted the New York Islanders over the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots for the 32-27-15 Islanders as they sit three points behind the Red Wings and Capitals. Morgan Frost scored in the final 10 seconds to force overtime for the Flyers (36-29-11), who picked up a point to regain third place in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nelson and teammate Bo Horvat each scored their 30th goal of the season in this game. Meanwhile, Flyers goalie Ivan Fedotov made his NHL debut (stopping 19 of 21 shots) as he replaced Samuel Ersson, who gave up two goals on six shots. Flyers defenseman Jamie Drysdale returned to action after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury. However, team captain Sean Couturier left the game with an apparent upper-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche failed to gain ground in the overall standings as they fell 4-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexander Nylander tallied twice and Kirill Marchenkov picked up his 20th goal of the season for the 25-38-12 Blue Jackets. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was held scoreless as his club sits sixth overall with 100 points (47-22-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins missed this game with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Cole Perfetti scored twice and collected an assist as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 to snap their six-game losing skid. Kyle Connor collected three assists for the Jets, who improved to 45-24-6 to sit third in the Central Division with 96 points. Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar replied for the Kings (38-25-11) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets forward Tyler Toffoli missed this game due to illness. Kings center Phillip Danault did not dress due to an upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad scored in overtime to give his club a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Brayden Schenn tallied twice for the Blues, who improved to 40-31-4 and sit three points behind the Kings for that final Western wildcard. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the 45-23-5 Oilers as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 95 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected an assist for his 126th point of the season, sitting one behind Kucherov and MacKinnon in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. He’s also just three assists away from reaching the 100-point mark in a single season. The last player to do that was Wayne Gretzky with 122 in 1990-91.

The Seattle Kraken doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Shane Wright scored what proved to be the winning goal in his first game since being called up from the minors while Oliver Bjorkstrand netted his 20th of the season for the 31-30-13 Kraken. Fabian Zetterlund tallied his 21st of the season for the 17-49-8 Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson and New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere were the league’s three stars for the week ending March 31.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman received a three-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct. He hurled his stick toward the on-ice officials following the Wild’s 2-1 loss to the Golden Knights on Saturday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

Hat trick performances by the Bruins David Pastrnak, the Jets Mark Scheifele and the Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen highlight Tuesday’s action. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored one of three hat tricks in the league on Tuesday in a 6-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Rookie Justin Brazeau tallied twice for the Bruins (41-14-15) as they picked up their third straight win and remain atop the overall standings with 97 points. Brady Tkachuk scored his 31st goal of the season for the 28-35-4 Senators.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak has 44 goals on the season and sits fourth among this season’s goalscoring leaders. His 99 points rank fourth among the scoring leaders.

The Winnipeg Jets doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2 thanks to Mark Scheifele’s hat-trick performance. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 38 shots and Kyle Connor netted his 30th goal of the season for the 44-19-15 Jets as they remain in first place in the Central Division with 93 points and a game in hand over the Colorado Avalanche. Alexis Lafreniere netted his 20th of the season for the Rangers (45-20-4) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without head coach Rick Bowness as he’s on an indefinite leave of absence following a minor medical procedure in Winnipeg. Meanwhile, Lafreniere reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his young career.

Speaking of the Avalanche, Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick lifted them over the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his points streak to 16 games for the Avalanche (44-20-5) as they remain behind the Jets in second place in the Central with 93 points. Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist for the 36-30-3 Blues (75 points) to remain four points out of the final Western Conference wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche extended their win streak to seven games.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a two-goal performance from Seth Jarvis in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov collected an assist as the Hurricanes (43-20-6) have won seven of their last eight and sit two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metro Division. Kyle Palmieri scored for the 29-24-15 Islanders (73 points) as they’ve lost five straight and sit three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings got an overtime goal from Patrick Kane to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Kane also collected two assists while Lucas Raymond tallied twice for the 35-28-6 Red Wings (76 points) as they regained that Eastern wildcard berth from the Washington Capitals. Zach Werenski had a goal and two assists for the 23-34-12 Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brayden Point netted two third-period goals for the Lightning (37-25-6) as they hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 80 points. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 38th goal of the season for the 36-25-7 Golden Knights as they cling to the final Western wild-card berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov regained first place in the scoring race with 118 points, sitting one point up on the Avalanche’s MacKinnon.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fifth win in their last seven games by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another for the Canucks (43-18-8) as they hold a one-point lead over the Jets and Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference with 94 points. Rasmus Dahlin scored both goals for the 33-32-5 Sabres (71 points) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth.

An overtime power-play goal by Leon Draisaitl lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Connor McDavid and Adam Henrique also scored for the 41-21-4 Oilers as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 86 points. Nick Suzuki scored his career-high 27th goal of the season for the 25-31-12 Canadiens.

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 with Anze Kopitar scoring twice and collecting an assist. Adrian Kempe picked up two assists for the Kings (35-22-11), who sit third in the Pacific Division with 81 points. Philipp Kurashev had two assists for the 19-45-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks center Connor Bedard collected an assist as he tied Jonathan Toews’ franchise rookie record of 54 points.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and winger Filip Forsberg each had a goal and two assists as their club thumped the San Jose Sharks 8-2. Ryan McDonagh and Kiefer Sherwood each had three assists as the Predators improved to 40-25-4 and hold the first Western wildcard spot with 84 points. Mario Ferraro had a goal and an assist for the 16-45-7 Sharks.

The Philadelphia Flyers held off the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 4-3 victory. Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (35-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 78 points. John Tavares had a goal and two assists for the 38-20-9 Maple Leafs (85 points) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers captain Sean Couturier was a healthy scratch. This drew criticism from his agent citing a lack of communication between his client and head coach John Tortorella.

The Minnesota Wild got a 27-save shutout from Filip Gustavsson to blank the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Matt Boldy and Ryan Hartman each had two points and Kirill Kaprizov scored his 36th goal of the season for the 34-27-8 Wild (76 points) as they sit three points back of the Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard berth. John Gibson stopped 28 shots for the 23-43-3 Ducks.

New Jersey Devils forwards Timo Meier and Dawson Mercer scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jake Allen stopped 36 shots for the Devils (33-32-4) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth. Tristan Jarry turned aside 33 shots for the 30-29-9 Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed this game, listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Six proposed rule changes have been proposed to the NHL’s competition committee following this week’s meetings of NHL general managers in Florida.

One rule change will go into effect immediately as players will be banned from hanging their legs over the boards when not on the ice. A team will be warned first before receiving a bench minor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should reduce the increasing number of “too many men on the ice” penalties resulting from line changes.

The proposed changes include goaltenders being called for delay of game for intentionally dislodging the net, coach’s challenge for puck over-the-glass calls, and reviews for high-sticking penalties if it’s believed an offense wasn’t committed by the penalized player.

SPORTSNET: Rick Nash was named the general manager of Team Canada at this year’s IIHF World Championships in May. Nash is currently the director of player development for the Columbus Blue Jackets and was assistant GM for Canada at the 2022 Worlds.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Terry Pegula named Pete Guelli as chief operating officer of both teams on Tuesday.

TSN: Former NHL player Chris Simon died Monday at age 52.

Simon played 15 NHL seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild from 1992-93 to 2007-08.

One of the league’s most feared enforcers, he collected 1,824 PIMs in 782 games and received eight suspensions totaling 65 games. He also collected 144 goals and 161 assists for 305 regular-season points along with 10 goals and 17 points in 75 playoff games. In 1999-2000, he led the Capitals with 29 goals.

Simon won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1995-96, helped the Washington Capitals reach the 1998 Stanley Cup Final and the Calgary Flames advance to the 2004 Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simon’s family indicated his death was by suicide. His agent indicated his former client struggled with CTE related to his playing career.

Simon’s role as an enforcer overshadowed his abilities as a player. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2024

The race for the Presidents’ Trophy intensifies as the battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth continues. Check out the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers picked up their fifth win in their last six games by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves and Jonny Brodzinski scored the game-winning goal for the 45-19-4 Rangers (94 points), who moved into second place in the overall standings and are one point behind the Boston Bruins. Bo Horvat scored twice for the 29-23-15 Islanders (73 points) as they sit one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren left this game in the second period with an injured left leg. An update on his status could come on Monday. Meanwhile, the Islanders are winless in their last four games (0-3-1).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Red Wings, they missed an opportunity to put distance between themselves and the Islanders and Washington Capitals (73 points) by dropping a 6-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby snapped a 12-game goalless drought as he was among four Penguins forwards with a goal and an assist. Lucas Raymond scored twice for the Red Wings (34-28-6) as they lost for the eighth time in nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Detroit still clings to that final Eastern wild-card berth only because the Islanders have just one point in their last four games. If the Red Wings don’t get their act together soon, they’ll be overtaken by the Isles or Capitals. Meanwhile, the Penguins (30-28-6) kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re five points back of the Wings.

A four-goal second period lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1. Tyler Toffoli scored twice and collected an assist and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 shots as the Jets (43-19-5) moved into first place in the Central Division with 91 points. Brendan Gaunce scored for the 23-34-11 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are tied in points with the Colorado Avalanche but hold first place in the Central with a game in hand. They’ve also moved into fifth place in the overall standings, just four points behind the league-leading Bruins.

Jake Guentzel scored his first goal with the Carolina Hurricanes in a 7-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Dmitry Orlov scored twice and had two assists and Sebastian Aho picked up three assists for the 42-20-6 Hurricanes (90 points), who remain four points behind the first-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Thomas Chabot had a goal and an assist for the 28-34-4 Senators.

Third-period goals by William Carrier, Jack Eichel and William Karlsson powered the Vegas Golden Knights over the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Noah Hanifin picked up two assists for the 36-24-7 Golden Knights, who hold the final Western Conference wildcard spot with 79 points. Nico Hischier replied for the 32-32-4 Devils.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth straight win by doubling up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Robert Thomas netted two power-play goals for the Blues (36-29-3) as they remain four points behind the Golden Knights. Troy Terry scored both goals for the 23-42-3 Ducks.

Three goals by Ryan Donato, Kevin Korchinski and Joey Anderson within 1:23 in the third period gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Connor Bedard and Philipp Kurashev had a goal and an assist for the 19-44-5 Blackhawks. Devin Cooley made 26 saves for the 16-44-7 Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers general manager Daniel Briere admitted he and his club were surprised to learn Ryan Johansen was injured when they acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche before the recent trade deadline.

The Flyers intended to send Johansen to their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley. However, that was overturned because an injured player cannot be demoted to the minors. He remains with the Flyers as he continues rehab on his injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansen played in all 63 Avalanche games before the trade. Maybe he suffered the injury in his final game before the trade. Perhaps he was nursing an injury for several weeks that worsened after the trade.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov faces a disciplinary hearing on Monday with the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Conor Sheary on Saturday.

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais suffered a broken finger during his fight with Colorado Avalanche blueliner Josh Manson on Saturday.