NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2022

The Sabres defeat the Golden Knights on Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo, the Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau takes over the lead in the scoring race and much more from a busy night of action in the NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres spoiled Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Eichel was held scoreless while Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch (the two players he was traded for) each tallied a goal for the Sabres. It was a milestone game for Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson as he made 30 saves for his 300th career NHL victory. The loss leaves the Golden Knights in third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel fired a shot at Sabres fans following the game as he received a mixed reaction from the Buffalo crowd. “That’s about the loudest I’ve heard this place, ever,” he said. “It only took seven years and me leaving for them to get into the game.”

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad each collected four assists and Sam Reinhart netted a hat trick as the Florida Panthers dropped the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Huberdeau broke his own franchise single-season record by picking up his 64th assist and vaulted over the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid into first place in the scoring race with 82 points. With 85 points, the Panthers move into a tie with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first overall in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they got a 36-save shutout by Antti Raanta to blank the Colorado Avalanche 2-0. Ethan Bear and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers as the Hurricanes sit two points behind the first-place Avalanche in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog could face supplemental discipline from the league for criticizing the officiating during and following the game after receiving a misconduct penalty in the final minute.

Johnny Gaudreau tallied a hat trick to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rasmus Andersson collected two assists while Jacob Markstrom got the win by stopping 30 shots. The Flames sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 77 points, five up on the second-place Los Angeles Kings. The Lightning (80 points) sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau banked two of his goals in off the back of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s enjoying a fine performance in a contract year and is a big reason behind the Flames’ improvement this season.

The Leafs, meanwhile, dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Arizona Coyotes. The Leafs overcame 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to force the extra frame. Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored the winner but it was controversial as he got away with a blatant hold on the stick of Leafs center Auston Matthews moments before. Chychrun finished the night with two goals, Matthews tallied his league-leading 44th goal of the season while Leafs forward Alex Kerfoot had three points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek was terrible, getting the hook after giving up four goals on 12 shots, with three of those while he was out of position. Erik Kallgren made 10 saves but gave up the overtime goal. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced starter Jack Campbell will miss two weeks with a rib injury.

A late goal by David Pastrnak lifted the Boston Bruins over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Pastrnak had two goals on the night while Brandon Hagel tallied twice for Chicago. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane collected an assist to tie Bobby Hull for second place among the franchise’s all-time scoring leaders with 1,153 points. With 75 points, the Bruins hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas scored twice as his club downed the New York Rangers 6-2, chasing Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin after he gave up four goals on 17 shots. Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou each collected two points for the Blues (73 points) as they hold a two-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division. The Rangers remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points.

The Wild, meanwhile, got shootout goals by Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala in a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Matt Boldy scored twice for the Wild as did Red Wings rookie Lucas Raymond. The two clubs also engaged in a big brawl at the end of the second period.

Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist and Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Juuse Saros made 27 saves for the win as the Predators (70 points) opened a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the first Western Conference wild-card berth. With 63 points, the Ducks remain four behind the Stars.

Tomas Hertl’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings to snap a three-game losing skid. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up two assists in his return to the lineup after missing 15 games recovering from a forearm tendon surgery. Trevor Moore had three points for the Kings (72 points), who hold a four-point lead over Vegas for second place in the Pacific Division.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor’s 35th goal of the season was also the winner as his club squeaked past the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Eric Comrie made 33 saves as the Jets (62 points) are five points back of the Stars. The Devils honored Travis Zajac in a pregame ceremony for playing 1,000 games with the franchise, a feat he accomplished last February when there were no fans allowed at Prudential Center due to COVID restrictions. Zajac retired at the end of last season.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves to shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0. Anders Lee picked up the hat trick while Ryan Pulock collected three assists.

An overtime goal by Josh Norris gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken. It was Norris’ second goal of the game. Senators goalie Anton Forsberg picked up the win with a 30-save effort.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price continues to train at the club’s training facility and is reportedly aiming at returning to action in April. He’s encountered a couple of setbacks in his recovery from offseason knee surgery that has sidelined him all season thus far.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen is sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks placed forward Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg on injured reserve.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is sidelined by a lower-body injury and has returned to Denver for further evaluation.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to a five-year, $25.5 million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers value Ristolainen’s size and physical play. His new contract isn’t unreasonable in term or dollars as he’s completing a six-year deal worth $5.4 million annually.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Marco Scandella returned to action on Thursday after missing over a month with a lower-body injury. Forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Oskar Sundqvist missed Thursday’s game against the Rangers nursing injuries.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets granted forward Alexandre Texier a leave of absence for personal reasons stemming from the personal losses of people close to him.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed defenseman Markus Niemelainen to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $762K.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2022

The Panthers remain on course for a franchise-best season, the Hurricanes and Rangers gain points in tight Metropolitan Division, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists and Aaron Ekblad had a goal and an assist as the Panthers remain on track for their best record in franchise history. With 75 points, they lead the Eastern Conference and sit one point behind the league-leading Colorado Avalanche.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers look very much like a Stanley Cup contender. They’ve dominated throughout this season and could become an even tougher opponent if general manager Bill Zito’s rumored efforts to add a top-four defenseman prove successful.

The Carolina Hurricanes got third-period goals from Jesper Fast and Sebastian Aho to hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Antti Raanta picked up the win with a 31-save performance. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 70 points and sit three behind the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are another Eastern club that must be considered among this season’s Cup contenders. It’ll be interesting to see if GM Don Waddell makes a move or two before the March 21 trade deadline to bolster his roster for the postseason.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist to lead their club to a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 29 shots for the Rangers (69 points), who moved within one point of the second-place Penguins in the Metropolitan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of teams that could be busy at the trade deadline, the Rangers have plenty of deadline cap space and depth in prospects and promising players to swing a significant deal or two by March 21. It remains to be seen if GM Chris Drury will take advantage of it.

The Minnesota Wild thumped the Edmonton Oilers 7-3, handing the latter their first loss under interim coach Jay Woodcroft. Kevin Fiala scored two goals and added an assist as the Wild (65 points) moved one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues into second place in the Central Division. The Oilers remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 59 points. They’d won five straight under Woodcroft prior to this contest.

Jack Eichel tallied his first goal with the Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Logan Thompson got the win with a 35-save performance. Eichel and Max Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist. The Golden Knights (62 points) move two points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division while the Sharks (49 points) are 10 points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could soon become sellers in the trade market if they can’t gain ground in the standings over the next two or three weeks. That could stoke the trade speculation about Sharks center Tomas Hertl if he and the Sharks fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

The Dallas Stars fail to gain ground in the race for the final Western playoff spot after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Arizona Coyotes. Scott Wedgewood made 32 saves while Nick Schmaltz had a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. With 56 points, the Stars are three behind the Los Angeles Kings, who hold the final wild-card berth.

Goaltender J-F Berube made 33 saves in his first NHL start in four years to backstop the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Buffalo Sabres 7-3. Dean Kukan and Brendan Gaunce each had three-point performances while Patrik Laine picked up two assists.

Speaking of goalies getting wins in their first start in nearly four years, Andrew Hammond made 30 saves as the Montreal Canadiens nipped the New York Islanders 3-2. Cole Caufield and Rem Pitlick tallied in the shootout as the Canadiens have won two straight for the first time this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That loss may be the final nail in the coffin for the Islanders (43 points) as they sit 17 points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. They have four games in hand on the Bruins but this appears to be a bridge too far for the Isles, who are likely to become sellers by the March trade deadline.


LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf missed his last two games with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The league’s department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Markus Niemelainen $2,043.75 for cross-checking Winnipeg Jets forward Kristian Vesalainen on Saturday.

TSN: One day after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan Dzingel has been placed on waivers. If he clears, he’ll be sent to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.