NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2024

The Blackhawks’ Connor Bedard matches two franchise records, the Panthers and Rangers expand their leads in their respective divisions, and former player Anson Carter heads a group that wants to bring a franchise to Atlanta. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard had a goal and four assists in a 7-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks. Bedard matched the single-game franchise records for assists and points (five) by a rookie. Nick Foligno and Philipp Kurashev each had four points for the 18-43-5 Blackhawks. Brett Leason tallied twice for the 23-39-3 Ducks.

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard also became the fifth 18-year-old player in league history to have a five-point game, joining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Ilya Kovalchuk (2002), Dale Hawerchuk (1982) and Jack Hamilton (1943). The young Blackhawks star has eight points in his last two games and 10 in his last four. He leads this season’s rookie class with 51 points (13 more than Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber) and 20 goals (three more than the Wild’s Marco Rossi).

The league-leading Florida Panthers scored three unanswered third-period goals to nip the Dallas Stars 4-3, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Aleksander Barkov scored twice while Sam Reinhart tallied his 46th goal of the season for the 45-17-4 Panthers (94 points), who opened a three-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins atop the overall standings. Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and an assist for the Stars (40-18-9), who sit in first place in the Central Division with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers played without forward Evan Rodrigues due to a lower-body injury.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for his second straight shutout to blank the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0. Adam Fox scored for the 43-18-4 Rangers (90 points) to open a six-point lead over the second-place Hurricanes atop the Metropolitan Division. Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 23 shots for the 39-20-6 Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Rangers rookie center Matt Rempe received a four-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head on Monday.

The Colorado Avalanche moved closer to the Central-leading Stars with a 6-2 victory over the slumping Calgary Flames. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 13 games while Mikko Rantanen has two goals and two assists for the 41-20-5 Avalanche (87 points) as they’re two points back of the Stars. Dan Vladar made 29 saves for the 31-29-5 Flames, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon leads all scorers with a career-high 113 points. Three key Flames players were absent from this game. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, forward Andrei Kuzmenko was a late scratch with an upper-body injury, and winger Andrew Mangiapane was sidelined with an illness.

Speaking of slumping teams, the Detroit Red Wings suffered a 7-3 upset at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. Defenseman Bowen Byram scored twice and Zach Benson had a goal and two assists for the 31-30-5 Sabres (67 points), who moved to within five points of the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Lucas Raymond had a goal and an assist for the 33-26-3 Red Wings (72 points), who lost their sixth straight game and slipped out of that wildcard spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When this month started, the Wings held the first Eastern wildcard berth with 72 points with a seven-point lead over the ninth-overall Washington Capitals and the 10th-overall Islanders. The Isles now have the same number of points as the Wings but they hold that wildcard spot with a game in hand.

Jack Eichel’s 200th career goal came in overtime to lift the Vegas Golden Knights over the Seattle Kraken 5-4. Eichel also had two assists while Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice for the Golden Knights (35-23-7), who hold the final Western Conference wildcard spot with 77 points. Philipp Grubauer stopped 29 shots for the 28-24-12 Kraken.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Owen Tippett snapped a 2-2 tie as his club defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost each had two points for the Flyers (34-24-8), who hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 76 points. Filip Zadina scored both goals for the 16-41-7 Sharks.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau kicked out 41 shots for his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brendan Gallagher, Juraj Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy were the goalscorers for the 25-30-10 Canadiens. Elvis Merzlikins gave up three goals on four shots and was replaced by Daniil Tarasov as the Blue Jackets sank to 22-33-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

A two-goal performance by Kirill Kaprizov gave the Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Kaprizov also collected an assist for the 32-27-7 Wild. Nick Bjugstad replied for the 26-35-5 Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek left the game with an undisclosed injury in the third period. Meanwhile, the Coyotes played without forward Barrett Hayton as he could be out longer than day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a seven-game skid as they downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Drake Batherson. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves and Jake Sanderson also scored for the 26-33-4 Senators. Michael Bunting replied for the 28-27-9 Penguins.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player-turned-broadcaster Anson Carter is heading a group that made a formal request to the league to begin the process of adding an expansion franchise to Atlanta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three times the charm after two previous teams (Flames and Thrashers) were relocated from Atlanta. Meanwhile, potential ownership groups in Salt Lake City and Houston have also expressed interest in bringing NHL franchises to their cities.

While the league continues to play coy over the possibility of expanding into new markets, it seems inevitable that it will grow by at least another two teams before the end of this decade. One of those cities could become the next home of the Arizona Coyotes if their current owner’s efforts to build a new arena in the Phoenix area fall through.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He is expected to return before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin next month.

TSN: The Canucks also placed winger Dakota Joshua (injured hand) on long-term injury reserve.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro is out for two to three weeks with an upper-body injury.

THE SCORE: The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils will open the 2024-25 season on Oct. 4 and 5 in Prague, Czechia. The following month, the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers will face off in Tampere, Finland on Nov. 1 and 2. These games are part of the NHL’s 2024 Global Series.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2024

The Leafs’ Auston Matthews set a record as he reached 50 goals, Houston Rocket owner interested in an NHL franchise, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Matthews became the fastest American-born player to reach 50 goals in a season (54 games) and the fastest NHL player to do so since Mario Lemieux tallied 50 in 50 games in 1995-96.

William Nylander scored twice while Mitch Marner collected three assists for the 31-16-8 Leafs as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points. Mattias Maccelli, Barrett Hayton and Dylan Guenther replied for the Coyotes (23-29-4), who’ve dropped six in a row and are winless in their last 11 games (0-10-1).

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is well on his way to winning his third Richard Trophy in four years as the NHL’s top goal scorer. His league-leading 51 goals puts him 12 ahead of Florida’s Sam Reinhart, who sits second with 39 goals.

This is the second time Matthews has reached the 50-goal plateau and he’s within range of reaching 60 goals for the second time in three years. At his current pace, he could become the first player to score 70 goals in a season since Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne in 1992-93.

The Boston Bruins blew a 4-1 lead but recovered to nip the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 on an overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy. Mason Lohrei collected three assists while McAvoy, David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (34-12-11) as they reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference with 79 points, one behind the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. Warren Foegele scored two goals while Connor McDavid extended his home points streak to 20 games with two assists for the 33-18-2 Oilers, who sit third in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The Bruins were already down a blueliner as Hampus Lindholm is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed this contest due to illness.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny scored to extend his points streak to seven games in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Sanheim and Garnet Hathaway also scored for the 30-20-7 Flyers as they continue to hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 67 points. Colin Blackwell replied for the 15-39-3 Blackhawks.

A shorthanded goal by Alex Tuch late in the second period held up as the winner as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 29 shots for the Sabres (25-27-4). Arber Xhekaj and Jayden Struble replied for the Canadiens (22-26-8) as Nick Suzuki’s 10-game points streak and Juraj Slafkovsky’s seven-game points streak came to an end.

Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner each had a goal and two assists in a 7-4 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Zach Werenkski and Sean Kuraly each tallied twice for the 18-27-10 Blue Jackets while Mason McTavish scored two goals for the 20-34-2 Ducks.

HEADLINES

BLOOMBERG: Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is said to be in talks with the NHL about bringing a franchise to the Texas city. He’s been looking into it since 2017 but discussions have recently ramped up. He sees a professional hockey franchise being the next building block for the economy of downtown Houston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ferttita’s increased interest in an NHL team comes weeks after the ownership group of the Utah Jazz requested the league initiate an expansion process to bring a team to Salt Lake City.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the league had no formal plans to expand from its current 32 teams but was willing to talk to cities interested in adding NHL clubs. With the expansion fee for a team said to be $2 billion, which is split among the existing NHL team owners and is not considered hockey-related revenue, don’t be surprised if there are two new NHL teams within the next 10 years.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said team captain Mark Stone is expected to be sidelined “for a while” with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, he said that Jack Eichel is doing well with his rehab and should return “in the not-too-distant future.” Eichel (knee) is currently on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Stone is placed on LTIR and is out for the rest of the regular season it will allow the Golden Knights to exceed the salary cap if necessary to add a player or two by the March 8 trade deadline.

DAILY FACEOFF: New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Jimmy Vesey are listed as day-to-day with lower-body injuries as they missed practice yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, they signed forward Jonny Brodzinski to a two-year, one-way contract extension worth an average annual value of $785, 500.

ESPN: Kevin Weekes reports Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson could be sidelined week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg was fined $2,083.33 by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun during Tuesday’s game between the two clubs.

CBS SPORTS: The Vancouver Canucks placed forward Dakota Joshua (upper body) on injured reserve.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins placed forward Colin White on waivers.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Gerry James passed away at age 89. James spent five seasons with the Leafs from 1954-55 to 1959-60. At the same time, he had a 13-year career as a running back in the Canadian Football League and holds the distinction of being the only person to appear in a Stanley Cup Final and a Grey Cup Final in the same season (1959-60). He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to James’ family, friends and former teammates in both sports.