NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 14, 2022

The Sabres down Leafs at Heritage Classic, a big night for Blue Jackets rookie Cole Sillinger, the Avs regain first place in the overall standings, the Wild honored former captain Mikko Koivu, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at the 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic before over 26,000 fans at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Peyton Krebs and Vinnie Hinostroza each scored twice and Craig Anderson made 29 saves for the win. Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 45th goal of the season for the Leafs (79 points), who sit three points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews will face a hearing for cross-checking Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during the final five minutes of the third period.

Speaking of the Lightning, they snapped a three-game losing skid by holding off the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves while Victor Hedman and Ross Colton scored for the Lightning. J.T. Miller replied for Vancouver (65 points), who remain three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Canucks center Elias Pettersson missed the game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi (NHL Images).

Roman Josi scored twice and added two assists to lead the Nashville Predators over the Minnesota Wild 6-2. Filip Forsberg scored two goals and chipped in an assist while David Rittich got the win with a 26-save performance. With the win, the Predators (72 points) opened a three-point lead over the Golden Knights for the first Western Conference wild-card spot. The Wild (72 points) sit four points back of the St. Louis Blues in third place in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Wild honored former captain Mikko Koivu by making him the first player in franchise history to have his number retired. He’s their all-time leader in games played (1,028), assists (504) and points (709).

An overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists for the Jets as they sit four points behind the Golden Knights. Jets forward Andrew Copp left the game after taking a hard open-ice hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.

Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Cole Sillinger tallied his first NHL hat trick in a 6-4 victory over the Golden Knights. Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and three assists while Max Domi had a goal and an assist for the Jackets. The Golden Knights have dropped four straight games.

Shootout goals by Adrian Kempe and Trevor Moore gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots in regulation and overtime in his 700th career NHL game. With 74 points, the Kings hold a six-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division. The Panthers (86 points) are one back of the Eastern Conference-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings played without Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown as both were placed on injured reserve yesterday.

The Colorado Avalanche (89 points) regained first place in the overall standings by blanking the Calgary Flames 3-0. Darcy Kuemper made 46 saves for the shutout while Nathan MacKinnon scored twice for the Avs. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 79 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to nine games to lead his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Tristan Jarry kicked out 41 shots for the win while Brian Boyle had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who opened a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 81 points. With 87 points, the Hurricanes sit two back of the Avalanche in the overall standings.

The New York Islanders got their third win in a row by holding off the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Kyle Palmieri scored twice and Ilya Sorokin stopped 39 shots for the win. Anaheim remains four points back of the Golden Knights. Ducks winger Rickard Rakell missed the game with an upper-body injury.

Montreal Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Rem Pitlick scored with 43 seconds left in regulation to set the stage for Caufield’s winner. Nick Suzuki scored twice for Montreal, who played without Artturi Lehkonen (upper body) and lost center Ryan Poehling with an upper-body injury. Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored his 900th career point in his 999th career NHL game.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2021

Game recaps, three stars of the week, the latest on the Canadiens’ search for a new GM and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on a shootout goal by Mikael Backlund. Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves as the Flames have won six of their last eight games. Penguins winger Jake Guentzel scored to extend his points streak to 10 games.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka kicked out 46 shots for his first career shutout to blank the Winnipeg Jets 1-0. Antoine Roussel scored the only goal as the Coyotes handed the Jets their sixth loss in their last seven contests.

Conor Garland’s second-period goal proved the game-winner as the Vancouver Canucks snapped a four-game losing skid by nipping the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Elias Pettersson also scored for the Canucks. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 40 saves in a losing cause.

The Seattle Kraken picked up their fourth win in their last five games by thumping the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. Jared McCann and Mason Appleton each scored twice for the Kraken while Jeff Skinner also tallied two goals for the Sabres.


TSN/MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens president, CEO and co-owner Geoff Molson held a press conference yesterday to talk about his front office shakeup that saw general manager Marc Bergevin and head scout Trevor Timmins relieved of their duties.

Montreal Canadiens president, CEO and co-owner Geoff Molson (NHL.com).

Molson confirmed former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton signed a long-term contract to become the club’s executive vice president of hockey operations. He said Gorton will work in tandem with Bergevin’s eventual replacement. The duo will also handle all decisions regarding the coaching staff.

I strongly believe that this organization needs a fresh start,” said Molson, who said he waited until Bergevin had recovered from a recent bout of COVID-19 to replace him. He added Bergevin understood Molson’s reasons behind the decision.

Molson also explained why the Canadiens want a bilingual general manager and head coach because they’re located in a province and society that mostly speaks French. He pointed out the importance of respecting the two languages and communicating to their fans in their market.

The Canadiens co-owner also said the final hockey decisions will be made by the new general manager but indicated Gorton will help guide the new GM as they grow accustomed to the role. He didn’t rule out the possibility of a rebuild if that’s what Gorton and the new GM believe will be best.

Molson also revealed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was one of the people who recommended hiring Gorton. He said he has “a great relationship” with Bettman so he spoke with the commissioner before hiring the former Blueshirts GM. Molson indicated Bettman knew Gorton because he worked for the NHL and also had experience in the New York market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s safe to say that Gorton will still hold considerable influence over management decisions. The question is finding someone who can work well in tandem with their new executive VP of hockey ops. Whoever gets that role will need assurances that they won’t become Gorton’s “yes man”.

Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports former NHL forward Daniel Briere is very high up on the list of potential candidates. He runs the day-to-day operations of the ECHL’s Maine Mariners. TVA Sports reports former NHL defenseman Philippe Boucher expressed interest in the job. He’s the general manager of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Former Canadiens star Vincent Damphousse was mentioned by some pundits as a potential candidate. However, he told RDS it’s not something he wants to do for a living.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 28, 2021.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Brad Marchand received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for slew-footing Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Sunday.

TSN: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane cleared waivers yesterday and is expected to be assigned to the AHL’s San Jose Barracudas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there given Kane’s well-documented off-ice issues and his hefty $7 million annual average value. However, there are reports the Sharks are attempting to trade him. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Roundup.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo joined fellow blueliner Ethan Bear on the COVID protocol list.

THE ATHLETIC’s Jesse Granger reports Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson is now in COVID protocol.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Ryan Murray is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: St. Louis Blues winger David Perron remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild will retire Mikko Koivu’s No. 9 jersey on March 13 at the Xcel Energy Center. He will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired. Koivu spent 15 seasons with the Wild, scoring 205 goals and 504 assists for 709 points and was their first permanent captain. He played briefly last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets before retiring.