NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2024
The Rangers move within one game of tying a franchise-record win streak, the Bruins rise while the Canucks slump and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Rangers extended their win streak to nine games by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-1. Igor Shesterkin made 39 saves while Alexis Lafreniere scored two goals and Artemi Panarin collected three assists for the 38-16-3 Rangers (79 points), who lead the Metropolitan Division and sit one point behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. Jack Hughes scored for the 28-24-4 Devils (60 points) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are within one game of their franchise-record win streak of 10 games held by the 1939-40 Blueshirts and the 1972-73 edition. Rangers forward Matthew Rempe received a match penalty for an illegal hit on Devils forward Nate Bastian.
Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Calgary Flames on an overtime goal by Nazem Kadri. Jacob Markstrom stopped 32 shots for the 27-25-2 Flames (59 points) as they sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Charlie Coyle tallied both goals for the Bruins (34-12-12) as they gained a point and moved into first place in the overall standings with 80 points, holding a game in hand over the slumping Vancouver Canucks.
As for the Canucks, they dropped their fourth straight game by falling to the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Jared McCann led the way with a goal and three assists while Jordan Eberle scored twice and collected an assist as the Kraken improved to 24-21-11 (59 points) and sit three points out of the final Western wild-card berth. J.T. Miller and Sam Lafferty replied for the 37-16-6 Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first significant losing skid for the Canucks this season. They’re not in any danger of tumbling out of a playoff berth but two of their four losses came against teams like Seattle and Minnesota that are trying to get into postseason contention. This could be merely a bump in the road in what’s been a successful regular season thus far for the Canucks. Nevertheless, it’s making some of their fans nervous given the club’s inconsistency in recent years.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 52nd goal of the season in a 7-3 rout of the Vegas Golden Knights. Max Domi scored two goals and Mitch Marner picked up two assists for the Leafs (32-16-8) as they sit third in the Atlantic Division with 72 points. Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore each had two points for the 32-19-6 Golden Knights (70 points), who sit in second place in the Pacific Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews has scored 10 goals in the last five games and has widened his league in the goal-scoring race over Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart, who sits in second place with 39 goals…Before this game, the Golden Knights announced captain Mark Stone is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov kicked out 44 shots to shut out the Florida Panthers 1-0. Sebastian Aho scored with 19 seconds remaining in regulation for the Hurricanes as they improved to 34-17-5 and sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves for the Panthers (37-16-4) as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk and defenseman Gustav Forsling left this game with injuries during the first period. They’re considered day-to-day as they undergo further evaluation.
The St. Louis Blues scored three goals within 32 seconds to blank the New York Islanders 4-0. Pavel Buchnevich tallied a natural hat trick, Robert Thomas had three assists and Jordan Binnington turned in a 38-save shutout performance for the 30-24-2 Blues (62 points) as they hold the final Western wild-card berth. Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots as the Islanders dropped to 23-19-14 (60 points) and sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.
Speaking of that wild-card berth, the Washington Capitals (26-21-8) also moved to within five points of it with a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (30-23-5) as they hold that spot with 65 points. Connor McMichael scored twice and Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov collected an assist as he sits atop the scoring race with 95 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left this game in the third period following a non-contact injury. He will be evaluated on Friday.
An overtime goal by Patrick Kane lifted the Detroit Red Wings over the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 2-1. Dylan Larkin also scored while Alex Lyon turned aside 30 shots for the 30-20-6 Red Wings as they hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 66 points. Nathan MacKinnon replied for Colorado to move within two points of Kucherov in the scoring race. The 35-18-5 Avs, meanwhile, gained a point (75) and sit one point behind the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars.
The Stars, meanwhile, suffered a 4-1 upset loss to the Ottawa Senators. Josh Norris scored two goals and Drake Batherson collected two assists for the 24-27-3 Senators. Joe Pavelski scored for the 34-18-8 Stars.
Nashville Predators forward Colton Sissons had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Juuse Saros stopped 27 shots for the 30-25-2 Predators, who won their third straight and are tied with the Blues with 60 points. Kevin Fiala scored for the Kings (28-17-10) as their four-game winning streak came to an end. They hold the first Western wild-card spot with 66 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues maintain their hold on that final wild-card spot with a game in hand over the Predators.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Kris Letang tallied twice and Tristan Jarry made 30 saves for the 25-21-8 Penguins. Mike Matheson replied for the 22-27-8 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Canadiens claimed center Colin White off waivers from the Penguins.