NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2023
NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 21, 2023
Aleksander Barkov makes franchise history as the Panthers overtake the Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth, the three stars of the week are announced plus injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov collected an assist to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer (614 points) in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals and Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists for the Panthers, who improved to 36-27-7 and vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 79 points. Dylan Larkin scored his 26th goal of the season for the 30-30-9 Red Wings.
The Penguins, meanwhile, slipped to 34-26-10 (78 points) by dropping a 2-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators. Rookie goaltender Dylan Ferguson kicked out 48 shots for his first NHL win in just his second career game since 2017-18. Thomas Chabot and Drake Batherson scored for the 34-31-5 Senators, who sit six points behind the Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a tale of two teams going in different directions. The Panthers have been red-hot over the last 10 games (7-2-1) while the Penguins have dropped four straight and are 4-5-1 in their last 10. The Pens’ injury-depleted defense took another hit when Marcus Petterson was placed on long-term injury reserve.
The Senators, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive but their odds of gaining ground on the Panthers are shrinking with the end of the regular season (April 13) just over three weeks away.
Speaking of teams struggling to reach a wild-card spot, the Calgary Flames were thumped 8-2 by the Los Angeles Kings. Adrian Kempe and Carl Gundstrom each tallied twice for the 41-20-10 Kings as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 92 points. Tyler Toffoli and Noah Hanifin replied for the 31-25-15 Flames (77 points) as they remain four points behind the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ sputtering performance in recent weeks is the only reason the Flames remain in striking distance of that final Western wild-card spot. If the Jets can string a few wins together over the next week or two, the flickering Flames’ postseason hopes will be doused.
Turning to the Flames’ Alberta rival, the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win by nipping the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on an overtime goal by Darnell Nurse. Mattias Ekholm scored twice, including the game-tying goal late in the third period as the Oilers (40-23-8) sit four points back of the Kings in the Pacific Division with 88 points. Erik Karlsson tallied twice for the 19-37-15 Sharks.
Colorado Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev stopped 27 shots to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Denis Malgin scored twice and collected an assist as the Avalanche picked up their sixth straight win (41-22-6) to sit second in the Central Division with 88 points, one behind the Dallas Stars. The Blackhawks dropped to 24-40-6.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Georgiev is now tied for the league lead in shutouts with five. The Avalanche played without Cale Makar as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
NHL.COM: New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman are the three stars for the week ending March 19.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman John Carlson could be one step closer to returning to action after joining his teammates yesterday wearing a regular practice jersey, indicating he’s cleared for contact.
Carlson, 33, suffered a fractured skull and severed his temporal artery after being struck by a slapshot during a game against the Winnipeg Jets three months ago.
THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken could open their four-game road trip in Dallas tonight without starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer as he battles a non-COVID-related illness. The Kraken hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 83 points.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren is expected to be in the lineup for Tuesday’s games against the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s been sidelined since Feb. 25 by a shoulder injury.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs blueliner T.J. Brodie is listed as day-to-day after blocking a shot during Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, 46, will be running next month’s Boston Marathon for charity. It will be the first time Chara has run in a marathon.
USCHO.COM: Carson Briere has been charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct after a video emerged showing him pushing a double amputee’s empty wheelchair down a flight of stairs in a bar on March 11. Briere is the son of Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager Daniel Briere.