NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2022

Leafs center Auston Matthews wins the Hart Trophy and Lindsay Award as the NHL hands out the remainder of its annual awards. Check out the list of winners and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

MATTHEWS, SHESTERKIN, MAKAR HONORED AT NHL AWARDS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the 2021-22 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews also won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goalscorer for the second straight year, becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in a decade. He’s the third player in Leafs’ history to win the Hart and the first to do so since Teeder Kennedy in 1955. He is also the first Leaf to win the Lindsay Award.

Matthews garnered praise from Leafs’ greats such as Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald and Wendel Clark. He’s now the most decorated player in franchise history, having also won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016-17.

The New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender for 2021-22. He led the league with a 2.07 goals against average and a .935 save percentage and was third in shutouts with five and sixth in wins with 36.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Shesterkin was clearly this season’s dominant netminder. He’s the sixth Ranger to win the Vezina and the first to do so since Henrik Lundqvist in 2012.

Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche took home the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to win the Norris. It was a close vote as he narrowly beat out Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider won the Calder Trophy. He’s the sixth player in franchise history to take home this honor and the first since Roger Crozier in 1965.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Seider. He led all rookies with 43 assists, 21 power-play points and 23:02 in time on ice per game. He’s already established himself as a core player with the rebuilding Red Wings and should continue playing a significant role in their future.

Matthews, Makar and Shesterkin were also named to the 2021-22 First All-Star Team along with Josi, Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom were named to the Second All-Star Team.

Seider was also named to the 2021-22 NHL All-Rookie team along with Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, Detroit Red Wings winger Lucas Raymond and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon’s inability to score in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final is raising some concern among Colorado Avalanche followers. However, MacKinnon isn’t troubled by that lack of production, having trust in himself that the goals will come. “No time for doubt,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one was worried about MacKinnon’s goal-scoring drought when Colorado was riding a 2-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are putting more focus on shutting him down because he’s the Avs’ biggest scoring threat. However, that also creates time and space for his teammates to garner more scoring chances.

MacKinnon’s limited offense isn’t an issue as long as the Avalanche are winning. It will become a greater concern if the Lightning rally back to tie the series or take over the lead.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri continues to make progress in his recovery from a thumb injury as he joined his teammates in an optional skate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, winger Andre Burakovsky remains in Denver receiving treatment for a suspected hand injury.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both forwards were banged up during the Lightning’s 6-2 victory in Game 3. Cooper also indicated center Brayden Point (lower body) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars officially announced Peter DeBoer has taken over as their new head coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially announced head coach Jay Woodcroft has signed a three-year deal.

TSN: Former NHL coach Dan Bylsma has been named the first-ever bench boss of the Coachella Valley Firebirds. They are the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken and will make their debut in 2022-23.

TORONTO STAR: Denis P. Gorman has a detailed account of former NHL agitator Sean Avery’s recent trial in New York in which he was found guilty last Thursday of one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The charge stemmed from an incident in Greenwich Village in 2019 regarding a collision involving the scooter he was driving and a minivan.

Avery called proceedings a “kangaroo court” and a “complete waste of resources”. However, he praised the judge for making the “right decision” by sentencing him to time served and ordering him to stay away from the minivan’s driver and his family for five years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 13, 2022

The Blues eliminate the Wild, the Lightning, Bruins and Oilers force Game 7 in their respective series, the Hart Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues advanced to the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 of the opening-round series. Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko were among the goal scorers while Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the win. The Blues go on to face the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ offensive depth made the difference in this series, particularly on the power play. They scored two goals with the man advantage in three of the six games and were held scoreless on the PP just once.

Despite a franchise-best regular season with 53 wins and 113 points and Kirill Kaprizov setting single-season franchise scoring records, the Wild once again came up short in postseason play. They haven’t won a playoff round since 2015 and haven’t advanced past the second round since 2003.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin faces a challenging offseason. He’s got over $12 million in dead cap space from last summer’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter biting deeply into his salary-cap payroll for next season. Winger Kevin Fiala is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in line for a substantial raise while trade deadline acquisition Marc-Andre Fleury is an unrestricted free agent.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

There will be a seventh and deciding game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. Brayden Point’s overtime goal lifted the Lightning to a 4-3 victory in Game 6 to tie their first-round series at 3 games apiece. John Tavares tallied twice and Auston Matthews also scored for the Leafs, who overcame a 2-0 deficit for the second straight game. However, they couldn’t hold the lead this time as Nikita Kucherov’s third-period power-play goal tied the contest and forced the extra period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, Toronto fans, here you are again, with your club extending their inability to win in a series-clinching contest to nine straight games dating back to 2013. With the series returning to Toronto for Game 7 on Saturday, it’s gut-check time for the Maple Leafs.

We already know what the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning are made of because they’ve proven it over the past two years and in this series. They rise to the occasion under playoff pressure. The Leafs must finally get this monkey off their backs or endure a miserable postseason that could lead to changes on the roster, behind the bench and in the front office.

Speaking of rising to the occasion, the Boston Bruins did that with a convincing 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to force Game 7 in their series on Saturday. Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle and Tomas Nosek each had a goal and an assist while Jeremy Swayman kicked out 23 shots for the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston coach Bruce Cassidy made a key adjustment for this game by shifting David Pastrnak down to the second line and moving Jake DeBrusk onto the first line. The adjustment worked as the Bruins jumped to an early 2-0 lead and controlled the game after that. The Hurricanes made it interesting when Andrei Svechnikov cut the lead to 2-1 in the third period but the Bruins replied with three straight goals to put this one out of reach.

Each team has won their games in this series on home ice. That’s a trend the Hurricanes will hope to continue on Saturday.

The Edmonton Oilers got three-point performances from Connor McDavid and Evander Kane to double up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Mike Smith turned aside 30 shots for the win to send this series back to Edmonton for Game 7 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of clubs needing to shake off a recent reputation for postseason failure, the Oilers have an opportunity to win their first series since 2017. Momentum seems to be on their side following Game 6 but the Kings have proven quite resilient, pushing this series further than most observers expected. I’d say the pressure remains on the Oilers.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player deemed most valuable to his team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is a two-time Hart winner who led the league in points with 123. Matthews, however, could be the favorite after becoming the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau since Steven Stamkos in 2012. However, I think a solid case can be made for Shesterkin, whose outstanding goaltending this season was crucial to the Rangers’ reaching the playoffs. My guess is Matthews ends up winning it.

THE ATHLETIC: A source claims Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is being evaluated for a concussion suffered during Game 5 against the New York Rangers. He left that contest in the second period after being elbowed in the head by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are saying Crosby suffered an “upper-body injury” but everyone is well aware of his concussion history. It’s questionable if he’ll be available for Game 6 tonight in Pittsburgh. The Pens have recalled forward Radim Zohorna from their AHL affiliate to fill in for Crosby if he’s unavailable.

CBS SPORTS: Florida Panthers forward Mason Marchment remains sidelined by a lower-body injury and won’t play in tonight’s Game 7 against the Washington Capitals. Marchment’s been out of action for the past two games.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper has been declared “good to go” for Game 1 of his club’s upcoming second-round series against the St. Louis Blues. Kuemper suffered an eye injury in Game 3 of the first-round series against the Nashville Predators.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2022

The opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs saw the Leafs shut out the Lightning, the Kings upset the Oilers, the Blues blank the Wild & the Hurricanes tame the Bruins. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthew scored twice in a three-point performance and Jack Campbell made 24 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs shut out the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Mitch Marner scored to snap an 18-game playoff goal drought and collected two assists. Leafs forward Kyle Clifford was ejected from the game in the first period for boarding Lightning forward Ross Colton.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was total domination by the Leafs. They out-skated and outworked the Lightning, who were stymied on the power play and gave up too many odd-man rushes. This lopsided defeat could spark a better effort from the Lightning in Game 2, but the Leafs deserve full marks for their strong effort in this series-opening contest.

A turnover by Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith led to Phillip Danault’s game-winning goal as the Los Angeles Kings got a 4-3 upset win in Game 1 of their opening-round series. The Kings jumped to an early 2-0 lead but the Oilers bounced back on goals by Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto. Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 37 saves for the win while Trevor Moore had a goal and two assists. Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson (undisclosed) missed this game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t know what Smith was thinking but attempting to pass the puck up the middle from behind his own net rather than chipping it up along the boards was a big mistake. Quick was outstanding for the Kings, showing the form that backstopped his club to two Stanley Cups.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron tallied a hat trick while Ville Husso had a 37-save shutout to blank the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in the first game of their opening-round series. Perron finished with four points while Torey Krug collected three assists. It was reported the league will review a nasty downward cross-check by Wild captain Jared Spurgeon across the ankle of Blues winger Pavel Buchenich.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild controlled the play for most of this game, out-shooting and out-chancing the Blues. Husso, however, proved up to the challenge in his first-ever NHL playoff game while his teammates capitalized on their chances, including two power-play goals.

Third-period goals by Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Andrei Svechnikov carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a series-opening 5-1 victory in Game 1 against the Boston Bruins. Backup Antti Raanta kicked out 35 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta was superb between the pipes as this game went along, shaking off what appeared to be a nervous start with several big saves as the Bruins pressed to open the scoring. The Hurricanes will need more of that from him as starter Frederik Andersen could remain sidelined for Game 2 with a sprained knee.

HEADLINES

DAILY FACEOFF: The Philadelphia Flyers will be moving on from interim head coach Mike Yeo as they’ll search for a new bench boss. Yeo took over from Alain Vigneault when the latter was fired in December.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are also searching for a new head coach, though interim Dave Lowry will have the opportunity to interview for the job. Lowry replaced Paul Maurice when the latter resigned in December. Associate coach Jamie Kompon and assistant coach Charlie Huddy face uncertain futures.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Flyers and Jets will be seeking new coaches given their disappointing performances this season.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Bruce Boudreau is confident he’ll be returning next season as the Canucks’ head coach. The club missed the playoffs but made significant improvement after he took over behind the bench in December. Boudreau said he’s spoken with Canucks management and is hopeful a contract can be worked out.

TSN: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (left leg injury) will miss the first two games of his club’s opening-round series with the Colorado Avalanche.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker has been cleared to play in Game 1 of his club’s first-round series with the New York Rangers. Zucker was sidelined on April 26 with an undisclosed injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond will no longer be participating in the upcoming World Championships for his native Sweden as originally planned. His father, Jean Raymond, and his agent, Peter Werner, explained the rigors of his first NHL season took more physical and mental energy than expected. “My advice to Lucas was to listen to his mind and body,” said Werner. “He needs this time to during the summer to recharge the batteries.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2022

Connor McDavid wins the Art Ross Trophy, Auston Matthews takes home the Richard Trophy, and the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight. Check out the latest in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader while Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews won the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer in 2021-22.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid finished the season with a career-high 123 points in 80 games, marking the fourth time he’s taken home the Art Ross Trophy and the fifth time he’s netted 100-or-more points in a season.

Matthews won the Richard Trophy after scoring a career-high 60 goals. It’s the second straight year the Leafs center has led the league in goals.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight with the puck dropping on four of the eight first-round, best-of-seven series. The Boston Bruins face off against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Toronto to meet the Maple Leafs, the St. Louis Blues square off against the Minnesota Wild, and the Los Angeles Kings are in Edmonton to face the Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: All signs point to Alex Ovechkin being in the Washington Capitals lineup for Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Capitals captain missed the final three regular-season games nursing a shoulder injury but took part in regular practices with his teammates over the weekend.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Panthers, sidelined defenseman Aaron Ekblad is practicing with his teammates and could be ready for Game 1 against the Capitals. Ekblad’s been out of the lineup since March 18 with a lower-body injury.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Hurricanes will be without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen for Game 1 against the Bruins tonight. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Andersen’s taken part in off-ice workouts but has yet to take part in full on-ice drills.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen was the Hurricanes MVP this season and a potential contender for the Vezina Trophy. His absence could be a critical factor in this series with the Bruins.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche got some good news as team captain Gabriel Landeskog has been medically cleared for Game 1 against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The 29-year-old winger has been sidelined since March 10 by knee surgery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie Tristan Jarry (foot injury) and winger Jason Zucker (undisclosed) are listed as day-to-day and won’t be part of the lineup in their upcoming series with the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers, meanwhile, will get sidelined forwards Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp back in the lineup for Game 1 against the Penguins tomorrow night. Both of them missed the final two games of the regular season for precautionary reasons nursing minor injuries.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was back on the ice with his teammates for practice on Sunday after missing the final four games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. His status remains unconfirmed for Game 1 tonight against the Kings but it’s assumed he could be in the lineup.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars expect to have John Klingberg and Vladislav Namestnikov in the lineup for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Klingberg missed the final game of the regular season with a lower-body injury while Namestnikov missed the final five games.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting (undisclosed injury) is doubtful for Game 1 tonight against the Lightning.

THE PROVINCE: Brock Boeser revealed his father’s battle with dementia during an emotional season-ending press conference yesterday. He revealed it took a toll on him throughout this season. “He’s not doing well. He has pretty bad dementia right now. It got pretty bad this year,” said a tearful Boeser. “It has really hit me hard.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser was overcome with emotion and understandably left the press conference soon after. The Province’s Ben Kuzma reported his teammates praised the winger’s perseverance as he attempted to remain a difference-maker for the Canucks.

Fans and pundits sometimes forget the players have to deal with personal issues just like everybody else. Sometimes, it can affect their performance despite their best efforts. My sympathies go out to Boeser and his family during this difficult time.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to a three-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the speculation suggesting Cheveldayoff was in danger of losing his job following this disappointing season. He’ll have his work cut out for him this offseason. The Jets have been declining since reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2018. One of his priorities will be determining Mark Scheifele’s future with the franchise. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have parted ways with assistant coach Phil Housley, who was in the final season of a three-year contract.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks parted ways with associate coach Marc Crawford and assistant coach Rob Cookson. Crawford had a year remaining on his contract. Derek Kings remains the interim head coach but a decision on his future is expected soon.

NHL.COM: The 2022 Draft Lottery odds were released yesterday, with the Montreal Canadiens leading the 16 eligible teams with 18.5 percent, followed by the Arizona Coyotes (13.5) and the Seattle Kraken (11.5). The lottery will be held on May 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the complete list by clicking the link above.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Thousands of Canadiens fans lined up yesterday outside the Bell Centre to pay their respects to the late Guy Lafleur as he lies in state through today. His funeral will be held in Montreal on Tuesday. Lafleur succumbed to lung cancer on April 22 at age 70.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

Auston Matthews tallies his 60th goal of the season, Steven Stamkos reached 100 points, the Hurricanes clinch the Metropolitan Division, the Predators and Kings secure playoff berths, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice to reach the 60-goal plateau as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Matthews is the first player to score 60 goals in a season since Steven Stamkos in 2011-12. He’s also the first American-born player to reach that mark. John Tavares also scored and Jack Campbell made 20 saves for the shutout. Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the lineup after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. With the win, the Leafs (113 points) secure second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage for the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Speaking of Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career in a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stamkos scored twice and collected two assists while Nikita Kucherov also had a four-point performance. The Lightning have won four straight games and sit in third place in the Atlantic with 108 points. Before the game, the Blue Jackets confirmed Boone Jenner and Sean Kuraly will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the season ended today, the Leafs and Lightning would face each other in the first round. We’ll find out for sure by week’s end.

The Carolina Hurricanes (114 points) clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division by holding off the New York Rangers 4-3. Sebastian Aho scored to reach his 400th career point, Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei each collected two points and rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov got the win with a 31-save performance. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied his 52nd goal of the season. His teammate, Andrew Copp, returned to action from a lower-body injury but left the game in the second period. So did winger Artemi Panarin but it appears both were held out of this contest for precautionary reasons. The Rangers sit second in the Metro with 108 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes were hopeful that sidelined starting goalie Frederik Andersen would be ready to return to action for the opening game of the playoffs next week. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports the current expectation is he’ll miss the Hurricanes’ first few games of the first round.

An overtime goal by Elias Lindholm gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators, but the latter still secured a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 95 points. Matthew Tkachuk scored in the final second of regulation to tie the game and set the stage for Lindholm’s winner. Both players have 41 goals on the season. Filip Forsberg scored twice for the Predators to reach 42 goals while teammates Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund each had three points. The Flames (110 points) recently clinched first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators goaltender Juuse Saros left the game in the third period with what appeared to be an injured left leg. An update on his condition could come on Wednesday.

The Dallas Stars moved closer to clinching the final playoff berth in the Western Conference after downing the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on a shootout goal by Miro Heiskanen. Jason Robertson scored twice to reach 40 goals on the season while Jake Oettinger kicked out 33 shots. The Stars hold the final wild-card spot with 95 points. With 91 points, the Golden Knights’ playoff hopes now hang by a thread while the Stars’ victory means the idle Los Angeles Kings have clinched a postseason berth with 96 points. They will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have a slim chance if they win their final two games and the Stars lose their last two in regulation, thus ensuring they’d take the wild-card berth on the basis of regulation wins. The Stars, however, need just one to qualify for the postseason.

Speaking of the Oilers, they secured second place in the Pacific Division with 100 points by dropping the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to reach a career-high 122, widening his lead in the scoring race by seven points over the Florida Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau. Mike Smith kicked out 33 shots for his 10th straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins winger Jason Zucker left the game in the first period with an undisclosed ailment. The Penguins (101 points) have already secured a playoff berth but hold a one-point lead over the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Capitals, they failed to overtake the Penguins after falling 4-1 to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 32 stops for the Islanders. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche gained ground on the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s 16-game points streak. Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves for the win while Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (118 points) moved within two points of the Panthers. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected an assist. The Blues remain in third place in the Central Division with 109 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews returned to the lineup after sitting out the last four games dealing with undisclosed minor injuries. Sidelined teammates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen are both expected to return in time for the playoffs next week.

Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand, Tayler Hall and David Pastrnak each collected two points as the Bruins (105 points) sit three points behind the Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers sit first overall with 120 points.

The Minnesota Wild remains tied with the Blues with 109 points following a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka got the win with a 35-save performance while Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists. Kirill Kaprizov had two assists for Minnesota, who holds second place in the Central over the Blues with a game in hand. Wild forward Marcus Foligno returned to the lineup after missing the past four games due to a bout of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and Blues will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs. The outcome of their final games will decide which one gets home-ice advantage in their upcoming series.

Quinn Hughes set a single-season record for Vancouver Canucks defensemen by reaching 66 with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks were officially eliminated from playoff contention by the Stars’ win over the Golden Knights. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an unspecified injury.

Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to down the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Tim Stutzle had two goals and two assists and Brady Tkachuk picked up three helpers for the Senators. Nolan Foote tallied twice for the Devils.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Max Comtois and Sonny Milano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is traveling with his teammates to New York, where he has a medical appointment concerning his surgically repaired knee. He’s listed as day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s sparked speculation in Montreal over whether Price will play in the Canadiens’ final game of the season on Friday against the Panthers as well as concerns about whether he can continue his playing career. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Price still plans on being in net for Friday’s game and he wants to play next season. Nevertheless, we can expect questions about Price’s future to carry over into the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau takes over the scoring race, Matt Duchene sets a Predators record, the battle for the Western Conference wild-card berths continues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race as his club downed the New York Islanders 3-2. Huberdeau (111 points) sits one point ahead of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Aleksander Barkov tallied a hat trick for the Eastern Conference-leading Panthers, who’ve won 11 straight games. With 116 points, they’re tied with the Colorado Avalanche but the latter holds first place on the basis of regulation wins.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders honored their late Hall-of-Famer Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence. Bossy passed away last Thursday at age 65 of lung cancer.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Matt Duchene set a personal and franchise record with his 40th goal of the season while teammate Filip Forsberg tallied his 39th. The Predators sit in the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 93 points, two up on the Dallas Stars. Andrew Mangiapane tallied twice for the Flames (104 points) as they hold a 10-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Pacific Division.

A third-period goal by Phillip Danault lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the win as the Kings (93 points) sit two behind the second-place Oilers in the Pacific Division and five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Vancouver Canucks’ playoff hopes suffered a setback following a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Drake Batherson and Adam Gaudette scored in the shootout to give Ottawa the win. Alex Formenton tallied twice in regulation for the Senators as they ended Vancouver’s six-game win streak. The Canucks gained a point to move into a tie with the Golden Knights (87 points) and sit four behind the Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. He won’t be traveling with the club during its upcoming road trip.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell kicked out 37 shots to backstop his club over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev each had two points for the Leafs, who’ve won 11 of their last 13 and hold the second-best record in the Eastern Conference with 108 points. Leafs star Auston Matthews missed his second straight game dealing with what’s described as a minor injury but took part in practice yesterday with his other injured teammates.

An overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s nine-game win streak. Jake DeBrusk scored and had the assist on McAvoy’s game-winner as the Bruins (99 points) moved within one point of the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas scored for the Blues, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 103 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot made 26 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Kevin Fiala and Matt Boldy were the goal scorers as the Wild (103 points) hold second place in the Central with a game in hand. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 28 saves in his second game of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the club announced that forward Joel Armia has been granted a leave of absence to attend to a family matter in Finland.

Speaking of the Lightning, they were upset by the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on a third-period goal by Jakub Vrana. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos collected three assists to tie Martin St. Louis as the franchise career points leader with 953.

The New York Rangers picked up their third consecutive shutout and 50th win over the season by blanking the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 shots, Ryan Strome tallied twice and Artemi Panarin reached the 70 assist mark.

San Jose Sharks netminder Kaapo Kahkonen made 22 saves as his club held off the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 3-2 victory, snapping a 10-game losing skid. Scott Reedy scored twice for the Sharks while Jack Roslovic netted both Jackets’ goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Bob Boughner said sidelined winger Kevin Labanc won’t play in the club’s final seven games. He’s been sidelined by a shoulder injury since Dec. 11. Boughner also doubted goalie Adin Hill will return to action from the lower-body injury that’s kept him out of the lineup since March 12.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t ready to hang up his skates yet. The 37-year-old Minnesota Wild goaltender said he hopes to play “at least another season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Will he re-sign with the Wild if they can afford him? Is a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the cards? Let’s get the speculation started early.

TSN: Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the termination of his contract in January by the San Jose Sharks was held on Tuesday. He was in the fourth year of a seven-year deal with the Sharks and stands to lose over $22 million.

The Sharks placed him on unconditional waivers on Jan. 8 citing breach of contract over a violation of the AHL’s COVID-19 protocols. Kane was skating with the Sharks AHL affiliate at the time. In late January, he signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported this isn’t expected to end quickly. He points out there could be significant salary-cap ramifications for the Sharks. The outcome could take months before a settlement is reached.

THE ATHLETIC: Kane also settled a seven-year-old lawsuit filed against him by a Buffalo woman who accused him of assault while he was a member of the Sabres.

GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and forward Christian Fischer will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: The Canadiens issued a statement in full support of Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur during his ongoing battle with lung cancer. They asked fans to respect the privacy of Lafleur and his family and indicated they would not issue any further comment on the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur, who issued a statement last week mourning the passing of Mike Bossy.