NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2023
The Bruins set the single-season points record, the Jets and Panthers clinch playoff berths while the Predators and Sabres are eliminated from contention, and two 2023 preseason games will be held in Australia. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins set the record for most single-season points with 133 by defeating the Washington Capitals 5-2. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists for the Bruins as they picked up their seventh straight win and improved to 64-12-5. Charlie Lindgren made 33 saves for the Capitals but left the game in the third period with an apparent lower-back injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark also left this game in the third period with a lower-body injury for precautionary reasons. Following the game, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said Ullmark was “just fine.”
Earlier in the day, the Bruins also confirmed center David Krejci was out for the remainder of the regular season with a lower-body injury. However, he’s optimistic he’ll be ready to go when the playoffs begin next week.
The Winnipeg Jets are heading to the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild to clinch the final Western Conference playoff berth with 95 points. Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves and Mark Scheifele scored his 41st goal of the season for the Jets. Kirill Kaprizov netted his 40th of the season for the Wild as they remain third in the Central Division with 102 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ win eliminated the Nashville Predators from postseason contention.
Speaking of the Jets, the Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen reports Jets co-owner Mark Chipman made a pitch to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for more help from local businesses. He indicated that the club has lost 3,000 season-ticket holders since the pandemic began three years ago. Only 15 percent of the club’s season-ticket base is from businesses, far less than the other Canadian clubs.
Friesen noted that the Jets average 93.6 percent of capacity, ranking 22nd among the 32 NHL franchises. While various factors such as inflation and the economy have contributed to the decline, Friesen believes the team’s lackluster performance over the past two seasons is the main issue.
New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes scored to set the single-season franchise scoring record of 97 points in a 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, eliminating the latter from playoff contention. Tomas Tatar scored twice and collected an assist for the Devils (110 points) as they sit one point behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. Jeff Skinner scored his 34th goal of the season for the Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Defenseman Luke Hughes, Jack’s younger brother, made his NHL debut with the Devils, seeing over 11 minutes of ice time.
The Pittsburgh Penguins playoff hopes suffered a blow when they were upset 5-2 by the Chicago Blackhawks. Petr Mrazek kicked out 38 shots and Buddy Robinson had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks. Jeff Petry had two assists for the 40-31-10 Penguins (90 points) as they remain one point behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Sabres and Penguins losing their games, the Florida Panthers clinched the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 92 points. It’s the fourth consecutive season that the Panthers have qualified for the postseason.
The Penguins and the Islanders each have one game remaining. To ensure they extend their consecutive playoff appearance streak to 17 seasons, the Pens need to win their final game and hope that the Islanders lose in regulation.
The Carolina Hurricanes clinched home-ice advantage for the opening round of the players by downing the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they maintain their hold on first place in the Metro Divison with 111 points. Robert Hagg replied for the Red Wings, who played without captain Dylan Larkin due to a lower-body injury.
An overtime goal by Evan Bouchard lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Mattias Ekholm also scored for the Oilers (107 points) as they sit two points behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Ben Meyers replied for the Avalanche as they moved one point ahead of the Dallas Stars into first place in the Central Division with 105 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Oilers activated forward Ryan McLeod off long-term injured reserve.
Speaking of the Golden Knights, they defeated the Seattle Kraken 4-1. Reilly Smith and Michael Amadio each had three points for Vegas as they hold first in the Pacific with 109 points. Yanni Gourde tallied the lone goal for the Kraken, who hold the first Western wild-card spot with 100 points.
In a preview of their upcoming first-round playoff matchup, the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-3. Goalie Joseph Woll stopped 46 shots and William Nylander had a goal and two assists for the Leafs, who hold second place in the Atlantic Divison with 109 points. Mikhail Sergachev had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who’ve lost four straight games and sit third in the Atlantic with 96 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Lightning honored captain Steven Stamkos for playing in his 1,000th career NHL game. The Leafs rested Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Mark Giordano from this contest.
The Leafs were finally able to call up Woll as Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov are sidelined by injuries. They were forced to rely on an emergency backup due to salary-cap constraints for the third straight game, this time signing Windsor Spitfires goalie Matt Onuska to a one-game amateur tryout contract.
Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson collected two assists to exceed 100 points (101) in a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. J.T. Miller broke a 2-2 tie in the third period for the Canucks. Trevor Zegras had two assists for the Ducks.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Owen Tippett scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk collected his 300th career goal in this contest. Michael Hutchinson made 35 saves for the Blue Jackets, who played without captain Boone Jenner as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NHL.COM: The league announced the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings will play two preseason games in Melbourne, Australia at the Rod Laver Arena on Sep. 23 and 24 as part of the NHL 2023 Global Series. It will be the first time the NHL has staged games in the Southern Hemisphere.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Long-time Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski will be retiring at the end of this season. He started his position in 1987 and had been the longest-tenured trainer in the league.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Speaking of the Blackhawks, they signed Jarred Tinordi to a one-year contract extension worth $1.25 million.