NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2022

The Rangers go up 2-0 over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, Carey Price wins the Masterton Trophy, Charlie McAvoy is among three Bruins defensemen to undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves as his New York Rangers held off the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Mika Zibanejad’s goal early in the third period proved to be the game winner though the Lightning cut the lead to 3-2 late in the period on a goal by Nicholas Paul. Adam Fox and Chris Kreider each had two assists for the Blueshirts while Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning.

With the win, the Rangers take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which moves to Tampa Bay for the next two games. Game 3 goes Sunday afternoon at 3 pm ET.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was closer than Game 1’s 6-2 blowout. Nevertheless, the Rangers still controlled the play for most of this game, out-hustling and out-chancing the Lightning while thwarting the latter’s scoring opportunities.

Shesterkin is winning the goaltending duel with the Bolts’ Andrei Vasilevskiy, who looks vulnerable high to the blocker side and is having difficulty at times controlling the puck. Shesterkin also acts as a third defenseman with his skillful stickhandling and accurate outlet passes to his teammates.

This is the first time since 2019 that the Lightning has lost consecutive postseason games. They face a big challenge bouncing back on home ice against the hungry Rangers. The ongoing absence of sidelined center Brayden Point is also becoming a factor in this series. The Bolts are missing his clutch scoring and reliable two-way presence.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is the 2022 winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. He underwent knee surgery last summer and voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in October to deal with substance-abuse issues. Price missed most of this season recovering from his knee surgery before returning for five games late in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price worked hard to recover from complications arising from his surgery while also seeking treatment for substance abuse. His future as an NHL player remains uncertain as he continues to encounter post-game swelling in his knee. Nevertheless, there’s no question he’s show perseverance in attempting to overcome the obstacles he’s faced this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins announced top defenseman Charlie McAvoy underwent surgery on his left shoulder with a recovery time of six months. Blueliner Matt Grzelcyk had a procedure on his right shoulder and is expected to require five months to recover. Rearguard Mike Reilly underwent right ankle tendon repair and removal of bone fragments and will require three months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will have a depleted roster to start next season. Reilly could be back in the Bruins’ lineup in October. McAvoy, however, won’t be back until January given his recovery timeline while Grzelcyk could be out until December, which is also when winger Brad Marchand is expected back from his recent hip surgeries. Factor in the possible retirement of captain Patrice Bergeron, and 2022-23 could be a grim season for the Bruins.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid must find a way to break through against the Colorado Avalanche’s defense with his club down 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals. Game 3 is tonight in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid had three points in Edmonton’s 8-6 loss in Game 1 but was shut down by the Avs in Game 2. The Oilers need more from all their scorers but McDavid remains their offensive linchpin. They’ll need him to find a way to break through if they’re to have a chance to come back in this series.

TSN: Speaking of the Oilers, winger Zack Kassian was fined $2,500.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct in Game 2 for ripping Bowen Byram’s helmet off his head after the Avalanche defenseman was checked over the boards.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche hope to extend their perfect road record in this postseason. They are 5-0 heading into Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs have given the Oilers fits with their speed, depth and puck possession. Should that trend continue, their road record could reach 7-0 and they’ll be heading to the Stanley Cup Final.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2022

The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes to force Game 7 of their second-round series, plus the latest on the Oilers, Avalanche, Lightning and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: There will be a seventh and deciding game between the Carolina Hurricane and New York Rangers.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves and collected two assists to backstop New York to a 5-2 victory over Carolina in Game 6 on Saturday night. Filip Chytil tallied twice and Adam Fox picked up two assists for the Rangers. Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta got the hook after giving up three goals on 13 shots. With the series tied at three games apiece, Game 7 goes Monday, May 30 at 8 pm ET.

The Rangers also got an unexpected boost as versatile checking-line forward Barclay Goodrow returned to the lineup. He’s missed the last 11 games with a suspected ankle fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shesterkin also received a minor penalty for interference. With the win and the assists, he had what one pundit called a “Tom Barrasso hat trick.” He’s been outstanding for the Rangers in this series, frustrating the Hurricanes’ leading scorers.

The Hurricanes’ road woes in this postseason continued in Game 6. While they’ve been unbeaten on home ice in these playoffs, there’s a good chance that streak could end on Monday if Raanta has another shaky performance and Shesterkin remains on top of his game.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: As Connor McDavid prepares for his first-ever Conference Finals, the Oilers’ captain acknowledged the need for everyone on his club to step up. “It takes everybody. Everybody up and down the lineup and all the people behind the scenes. The staff and everybody. It takes an absolute army. That’s the mentality we have,” said McDavid.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s roster depth was crucial to the club’s second-round victory over the St. Louis Blues. It could take a bigger role as they face off against the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series is being hyped as a showdown between McDavid and Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon. Roster depth, however, will make the difference here. The Avs certainly made the most of theirs to overcome the Blues. The Oilers also got contributions throughout their lineup thus far though they were overshadowed by the offensive exploits of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane.

Goaltending could determine the outcome of this series. The Oilers’ Mike Smith and the Avs’ Darcy Kuemper have given up questionable goals but also rose to the occasion with crucial saves. It’ll be interesting to see whether that trend carries over in this upcoming series.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point is said to be progressing in his recovery from a leg injury suffered in the opening round that sidelined him for the entire second-round series with the Florida Panthers. Head coach Jon Cooper believes Point is closer to playing in round three than he was in the previous round. However, Cooper could offer no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Point’s absence didn’t adversely affect the Lightning in their second-round sweep of the Panthers. However, they could use the proven postseason performer as they face what could be tougher competition in the Hurricanes or Rangers in the next round.

THE SCORE: Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev said he played Games 5 and 6 against the Oilers with a dislocated shoulder. He suffered the injury in Game 6 of their first-round series with the Dallas Stars. Tanev will undergo surgery this week and will require four-to-six months of recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what NHL players are prepared to physically endure to skate in the Stanley Cup playoffs boggles the mind.

SPORTSNET’s Eric Francis reported Flames winger Milan Lucic played with a sprained ACL. Nikita Zadorov had two broken ribs, Andrew Mangiapane had a bad wrist and Matthew Tkachuk had an injured hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another reminder that if an NHL player seems to be “underperforming”, it’s sometimes because they’re trying to play through a serious injury that’s hampering their efforts.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson suffered a fractured foot playing for Sweden on May 15 at the IIHF World Championships in Finland. He will require four-to-six weeks of recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson missed two games but returned to play against Canada in the quarterfinals. The Canadians eliminated the Swedes in that game.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

The Oilers eliminate the Flames, the Hurricanes push the Rangers to the brink of elimination, updates on the Avalanche and Blues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers are heading to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 16 years. Connor McDavid’s overtime goal gave the Oilers a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 5 to take their best-of-seven second-round series four games to one.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton overcame a 2-0 deficit and held a 3-2 lead before Calgary battled back to regain the lead 4-3. Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard tied the game 4-4 late in the second period. Flames forward Blake Coleman appeared to score the go-ahead goal late in the third but it was overruled on a controversial video review claiming he kicked the puck into the net.

Leon Drasaitl collected four assists while Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists for the Oilers. Coleman had two assists, Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Flames.

The Oilers await the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-St. Louis Blues series. Game 6 of that series is tonight with the Avalanche up three games to two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t have a dog in this fight but that didn’t look like a kicking motion on Coleman’s part. His skate made contact with the pick but there was incidental contact by an Oilers defenseman as Coleman was heading toward the net. Just my two cents. The league’s video review folks believed differently.

While that disallowed goal cost the Flames this game, their sloppy defensive play and uncharacteristic shaky goaltending from Jacob Markstrom throughout this series led to their postseason demise. They struggled to contain Edmonton’s offense, especially McDavid and Draisaitl. Had they won this game, I doubt they would’ve gone on to take the series.

The Carolina Hurricanes have the New York Rangers on the brink of elimination following a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of their second-round series. Teuvo Teravainen snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period while Andrei Svechnikov’s third-period goal put the game out of reach. The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win in Game 6 on Saturday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have yet to win a road game in this postseason but they’ve been dominating on home ice. They outshot the Rangers 34-17, controlled this game at even strength, scored on the power play and shorthanded, and apart from Mika Zibanejad’s goal overwhelmed the Rangers’ top line. If they can carry over that effort into Game 6, they’ll have a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning starting next week.

HEADLINE

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche hope to avoid a Game 7 when they face off against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their second-round series tonight. Head coach Jared Bednar believes his club will put their blown lead in Game 5 behind them and play with confidence in tonight’s contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche dominated the first 40 minutes of Game 5 but took their foot off the gas and tried to protect their lead in the third period. That enabled the Blues to rally back twice, setting the stage for their dramatic overtime victory.

TSN: Don’t expect St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug to return to action in tonight’s game. He’s been sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 3 of their first-round series with the Minnesota Wild. Blues coach Craig Berube indicated Krug would also be out for Game 7 if this series goes that far.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin has changed agents, hiring Pat Brisson to negotiate his next contract. Larkin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. The Wings can sign him to a contract extension on July 13.

SPORTSNET: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi underwent successful shoulder surgery. He’s expected to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The Geneve-Servette Hockey Club signed former NHL defenseman Sami Vatanen to a two-year contract and former NHL forward Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect either guy to be signing with NHL teams this summer as free agents.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2022

The Lightning, Oilers and Hurricanes advance to the second round. Check out the recaps of Saturday’s action in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series. Nick Paul tallied both goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for the Lightning as they took the series four games to three. Morgan Rielly replied for the Maple Leafs.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a well-earned victory for the Lightning as they continue their quest to become the first team to win three consecutive Stanley Cups since the 1982 New York Islanders. Vasilevskiy seemed ordinary through most of this series but he stepped up in Game 7. With their best scorers neutralized, the Bolts got timely goals from Paul, a depth player acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline.

It was a costly win for the Lightning, however, as Braydon Point suffered a leg injury late in the first period and spent the remainder of the game on the bench. No word yet as to whether he’ll be sidelined for their upcoming series against the Florida Panthers but it would be a significant loss for the Bolts if he is.

As for the Leafs, their postseason series drought is now at 18 years. This disappointing loss, however, is unlike this current group’s previous ones. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, they were a young team on the rise going up against better, more experienced opponents in the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. They underachieved against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2020 playoff bubble while overconfidence cost them last year against the Montreal Canadiens.

This time, the Leafs pushed the defending Stanley Cup champions to the limit with their best players performing well. It was a very entertaining series but the Leafs failed to put the Lightning away in this contest and in Game 6 when they held a 3-2 series lead.

There were calls last year from fans and pundits for the Leafs to make big changes following their stunning collapse against the Canadiens. The front office ignored those cries and focused instead on building up around the core. It’ll be interesting to see what they do this time. I’ll have more in the Sunday NHL rumor mill.

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist while Mike Smith kicked out 29 shots to shut out the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in Game 7 of their first-round series. Cody Ceci also scored for the Oilers, who will face off against the Calgary Flames or Dallas Stars in the second round. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 39 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could’ve won this 6-0 if not for Quick’s outstanding goaltending. They dominated the Kings with McDavid leading the way as they advance to the second round for the first time since 2017. There were concerns before this game whether Leon Draisaitl would play following a leg injury in Game 6 but he was in the lineup and picked up an assist on the Ceci goal.

The Kings exceeded expectations in this series, pushing the favored Oilers to the limit. Their performance in this series can be used as a building block going forward. However, it marks the end of Dustin Brown’s 18-season NHL career, all of them spent with the Kings. He announced last month that he would retire following the postseason. The former Kings captain leaves as one of the best players in franchise history after leading them to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014.

The Carolina Hurricanes are marching on to the second round after holding off the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 7 of their opening-round series. Max Domi scored twice and Antti Raanta made 27 saves in his first Game 7 appearance. Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak replied for the Bruins. Having taken this series four games to three, the Hurricanes await the winner of the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The home team won each game in this series. Raanta was the series MVP for the Hurricanes, filling in for sidelined starter Frederik Andersen and shaking off an injury suffered in Game 2. The Hurricanes got clutch scoring from a trade deadline acquisition in Domi, who finished this contest with three points in what was perhaps his best performance as an NHL player.

Among the questions facing the Bruins heading into the offseason is the future of captain Patrice Bergeron. The long-time Bruins star is an unrestricted free agent this summer and remains among the league’s best two-way forwards. However, there’s speculation the 36-year-old center could retire or perhaps sign elsewhere if he and the Bruins fail to reach an agreement on a new contract. I’ll have more about that in today’s rumor mill.










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 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.