NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2023
Hat tricks for the Golden Knights’ Jack Eichel, the Devils’ Jesper Bratt and the Wild’s Matt Boldy plus a franchise record performance by the Rangers’ K’Andre Miller in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel tallied a hat trick in a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex Pietrangelo collected four assists and Jiri Patera stopped 35 shots for the Golden Knights (43-21-6) as they sit on top of the Western Conference with 92 points. Patrik Laine and Kirill Marchenko each had two points for the 21-41-7 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen missed this game as he’s temporarily taken some time away from the team due to a death in the family. My condolences to Larsen and his family during this difficult time.
The New Jersey Devils overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Jesper Bratt scored his first career hat trick and his 100th career goal for the Devils (97 points), who improved to 45-18-7 and sit one point behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division. Nikita Kucherov scored to reach 100 points for the third time in his career as the Lightning (42-23-6) sit third in the Atlantic Division with 90 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils forward Curtis Lazar missed this game with an undisclosed injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers.
Speaking of hat tricks, Matt Boldy netted the second one of his young career in a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals. Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 33 shots for the 40-22-8 Wild as they regained second place in the Central Division with 88 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and collected an assist but his club sank to 33-31-7. With 73 points, they’re five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov left this game with an apparent shoulder injury following a high hit from Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. There was no penalty on the play. The Capitals were also playing without starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin returned to action after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury.
The New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller set a franchise record for most points by a defenseman in one period (four) with two goals and two assists as his club scored six first-period goals to thump the Nashville Predators 7-0. Artemi Panarin had three points and Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season for the 41-19-10 Rangers, who sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 92 points. The Predators fell to 34-26-8 and remain five points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 76 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those six first-period goals were also a Rangers record for most goals in one period. Meanwhile, the Predators played without captain Roman Josi as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman kicked out 26 shots for his second straight shutout in a 7-0 romp over the Buffalo Sabres. Jake DeBrusk had a goal and three assists, Patrice Bergeron had three points and David Pastrnak netted his 48th goal of the season for the league-leading Bruins as they improved to 53-11-5 and 111 points. The Sabres fell to 33-30-6 and sit six points away from the final Eastern wild-card berth with 72 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is just two goals away from becoming the first Bruin to reach 50 in a season since Cam Neely in 1993-94. As for the Sabres, WGR 550’s Paul Hamilton indicates that they have the league’s second-worst record over their last 11 games, sitting 28th in goal scoring during that stretch while allowing a league-high 53 goals.
St. Louis Blues rookie goalie Joel Hofer made 33 saves to shut out the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Kasperi Kapanen, Nathan Walker and Jakub Vrana scored for the 31-33-5 Blues. The Jets fell to 39-29-3 and cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 81 points.
The Anaheim Ducks were officially eliminated from playoff contention as they fell 2-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson scored for the 31-33-5 Canucks while Ryan Strome replied for the 23-37-10 Ducks.