NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2023
Connor McDavid reaches 50 goals and leads the three stars of the week, the Leafs acquire two players from the Blackhawks, an update on Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to reach the 50-goal plateau for the first time but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Boston Bruins from winning the game 3-2. Pavel Zacha snapped a 2-2 tie with 30 seconds remaining in the third period as the Bruins picked up their seventh straight win and improved to 46-8-5 to open a nine-point lead atop the overall standings with 97 points. The Oilers (32-21-8) remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 72 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is the first player to reach 50 goals this season and holds an eight-goal lead over Boston’s David Pastrnak. He also remains the points leader with 115, sitting well ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl, who sits in second place with 89 points.
Bruins winger and former Oiler Taylor Hall missed this game as he’s returned to Boston with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.
The Colorado Avalanche collected their sixth straight victory by blanking the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 with a 31-save shutout by Alexandar Georgiev. Mikko Rantanen scored twice to reach the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career as the Avalanche (34-19-5) sit in second place in the Central Division with 72 points, three back of the division-leading Dallas Stars. The Golden Knights (35-19-6) hold a two-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 76 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights goalie Laurent Brossoit missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said it’s too early to determine whether captain Mark Stone will return to action this season. He’s been sidelined indefinitely since undergoing back surgery on Jan. 31.
Speaking of the Stars, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on an overtime goal by Andrei Kuzmenko. The Stars (31-16-13) had rallied back from a 4-2 deficit to force the extra frame on goals by Roope Hintz and Nils Lundkvist. Anthony Beauvillier and Quinn Hughes each had three points for the 24-31-5 Canucks, who got a 34-save performance from Thatcher Demko in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Dec. 1.
Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux had a goal and three assists to lead his club to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Thomas Chabot had three points and Brady Tkachuk tallied his 25th goal of the season for the 29-26-5 Senators (62 points) as they sit five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Tyler Bertuzzi and David Perron replied for the Red Wings (28-23-8) as they remain three points behind the Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings activated winger Lucas Raymond off injured reserve for this game but placed defenseman Jordan Oesterle on IR.
The Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Troy Terry had a goal and an assist for the 20-34-7 Ducks as they stretched their win streak to three games. Max Domi and Tyler Johnson each had two points for the 21-33-5 Blackhawks.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 26.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Jake McCabe, forward Sam Lafferty, a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024 and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2025 from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2025 (top-10 protected), a second-round pick in 2026 and forwards Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev. The Blackhawks also retained 50 percent of McCabe’s $4 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas continues shoring up his roster with this move coming on the heels of his acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues. Unlike those two, McCabe has two years left on his contract while Lafferty is signed through next season.
Some observers have criticized Dubas for trading away too much of his club’s future in his recent moves. For the Leafs GM, however, the future is now. In the final year of his contract, he has to deliver if he hopes to garner an extension. He’ll be out of a job if the Leafs fail once again to get out of the first round. The further the Leafs go in this year’s postseason, the better his chances of staying in his job.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson acknowledged the recent trade of winger Timo Meier to New Jersey indicate there’s no quick turnaround coming for his club’s fortunes.
“I’ve been around the game long enough to understand what needs to be done from an organizational perspective, and it just sucks that it happened to be where I’m at in this stage of my career.”
Karlsson said he hasn’t been approached by management about waiving his no-movement clause. General manager Mike Grier admitted it would be difficult to move the 32-year-old defenseman’s hefty contract before the approaching trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s on pace for a career-high 105-point season. There’s plenty of interest in him, especially from the Edmonton Oilers. However, his $11.5 million annually through 2026-27 remains a significant obstacle in the path to a trade.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Travis Konecny will be out for an extended period of time with an upper-body injury.
TSN: Florida Panthers forwards Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett will be sidelined until this weekend with minor injuries.
TSN: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (lower body) on injured reserve.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks traded defenseman Riley Stillman to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for prospect forward Josh Bloom.