NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2024

The Stars clinch the Central Division title, the first playoff matchup is decided, the Eastern Conference’s final wildcard remains up for grabs, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars clinched the Central Division title by downing the Seattle Kraken 3-1. Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists for the Stars (51-21-9), who sit one point behind the league-leading New York Rangers with 111 points. Kailer Yamamoto replied for the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, Kraken general manager Ron Francis said defenseman Vince Dunn isn’t expected to return before the end of the season. He’s still recovering from upper-body injuries.

The first matchup of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs has been set as the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets will face each other in the opening round after the Jets thumped the Avs 7-0. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for the shutout, Sean Monahan and Adam Lowry scored two goals and Josh Morrissey collected three points for the 50-24-6 Jets, who sit second in the Central with 106 points. The Avs (49-25-6) sit two points behind the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard left this game in the first period and was placed in concussion protocol.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored the winner in a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sonny Milano scored twice as the Capitals improved to 38-31-11 to hold the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen was stretchered from this game in the first period after a hard hit from Lightning forward Michael Eyssimont sent him crashing into the boards. The Capitals released a statement indicating Jensen was conscious, alert and has full use of his extremities. He will be monitored by the Capitals medical staff.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Dylan Larkin lifted the Detroit Red Wings over the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4. Alex DeBrincat tallied twice for the Red Wings (39-32-9) as they sit behind the Capitals with 87 points due to regulation wins. Auston Matthews tallied his 69th goal of the season and Mitch Marner had three points as the Maple Leafs (46-24-10) sit 10th overall with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs forward Bobby McMann left this game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced goaltender Matt Murray was assigned to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies on a conditioning stint.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson turned in a 20-save shutout to blank the New Jersey Devils 1-0. Travis Konecny scored his 400 career point for the 38-32-11 Flyers, who also have 87 points. They sit behind the Capitals and Red Wings, who have a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, former Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds signed a one-day contract with the club and formally retired as a Flyer. The club honored Simmonds during a pregame ceremony.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff hopes suffered a blow with a 6-4 loss to the Boston Bruins. David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle each collected two assists as the Bruins improved to 47-18-15 and sit fourth overall with 109 points. Evgeni Malkin, Michael Bunting and Drew O’Connor each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (37-31-12) as they sit one point behind the Capitals, Red Wings and Flyers.

A shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck gave the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Artemi Panarin scored his 48th goal of the season to tie the game for the Rangers, who set a franchise single-season record with their 54th win as they sit atop the overall standings with 112 points. Brock Nelson tallied twice for the Islanders (37-27-16) as they hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 90 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson missed this game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart scored in overtime to beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Reinhart has 55 goals this season as the Panthers (51-24-6) sit fifth overall with 108 points. Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen kicked out 39 shots.

The Vancouver Canucks rode a 32-save performance by Casey DeSmith to a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Sam Lafferty, Pius Suter and Dakota Joshua were the goalscorers for the 49-22-9 Canucks, who sit sixth overall with 107 points. Evander Kane scored for the Oilers (48-25-6) as they sit ninth overall with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers captain Connor McDavid missed his third straight game nursing a lower-body injury. He’s expected to be good to go when the playoffs begin next weekend and could return for a game before the end of the regular season.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi scored twice and collected two assists to lead his club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4. Tommy Novak scored two goals and picked up an assist for the 47-29-5 Predators, who improved to 99 points and hold a five-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the first Western wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators and Golden Knights clinched playoff berths last week. It’s now a question of where they finish in those wildcard spots.

The Los Angeles Kings downed the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. David Rittich turned aside 28 shots and Matt Roy scored what proved to be the game-winner for the Kings (43-26-11) as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 97 points.

A shootout goal by Drake Batherson gave the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Senators captain Brady Tkachuk scored twice to reach a career-best 37 goals while Canadiens winger Cole Caufield tallied two goals to reach 27 on the season. It’s the ninth straight win for the Senators over the Canadiens.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and set up another in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Wild rookie Liam Ohgren picked up his first NHL points with a goal and an assist. The loss ensures the Sharks finished 32nd overall, giving them the best odds of winning the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2024

The battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth continues as does the jockeying for first place in the overall standings. Get the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings got first-period goals from Lucas Raymond, Patrick Kane and Dylan Larkin to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. Tage Thompson replied for the Sabres. With a record of 38-31-8, the Wings vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals into the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 84 points. The Sabres slipped to 37-36-5 (79 points) and sit five points back of the Wings.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators. Jake Sanderson scored in overtime and Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist for the 34-39-4 Senators. Max Pacioretty and Aliaksei Protas scored for the Capitals (36-30-11) as they sit one point behind the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals also lost defenseman Rasmus Sandin to an upper-body injury following a hard hit by Senators forward Parker Kelly in the first period. After the game, Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery said Sandin will miss some time from the roster.

The New Jersey Devils’ wildcard hopes suffered a blow as they fell 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on a shootout goal by Ryan O’Reilly, who also had two assists in regulation. Jack Hughes and Chris Tierney scored for the 37-36-5 Devils, who are five points behind the Red Wings. The Predators (45-29-4) hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot with 94 points.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils defenseman John Marino missed this game with an undisclosed injury. The Devils also learned that forward Curtis Lazar could miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Senators.

Shifting to the top of the table, the league-leading New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Artemi Panarin extended his points streak to nine games with a goal and three assists for the 53-21-4 Rangers (110 points). Cayden Primeau stopped 41 shots and Mike Matheson collected two assists for the 29-36-12 Canadiens, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers tied their franchise record for the most wins in a season.

The Dallas Stars are three points behind the Rangers in the overall standings with a 7-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Roope Hintz reached the 30-goal plateau for the third straight season, Tyler Seguin scored twice and Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and two assists for the Stars (49-20-9) as they sit second overall with 107 points. Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists for the 48-24-6 Avalanche (102 points), who sit sixth overall but have won just twice in their last seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche were without winger Mikko Rantanen as he entered concussion protocol after being injured during Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. The early reports are positive as Rantanen worked out on Saturday and skated on his own on Sunday. He’s listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, MacKinnon (133 points) moved within three points of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the scoring race with 136 points. 

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (49-22-7) as they sit fourth overall with 105 points. Malcolm Subban stopped 32 shots for the 26-40-12 Blue Jackets.

A four-point performance by Robert Thomas powered the St. Louis Blues to a 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Jordan Kyrou scored the winner in the shootout and picked up three assists in regulation play as the Blues improved to 41-32-5 (87 points). Frank Vatrano and Leo Carlsson each scored two goals for the 25-48-5 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re five points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard.

The Minnesota Wild defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 as rookie Jesper Wallstedt turned aside 24 shots for his first NHL shutout. Kirill Kaprizov scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season for the 37-31-9 Wild. The Blackhawks dropped to 23-49-5.

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Keller extended his points streak to 11 games for the Coyotes (33-39-5). Henry Thrun had a goal and an assist for the 18-51-8 Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Tomas Hertl is expected to make his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights in Monday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Golden Knights acquired the 30-year-old forward from the San Jose Sharks at the March 8 trade deadline. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 27 after undergoing knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl is no playoff rental for the Golden Knights. He’s under contract until 2029-30.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The NHL department of player safety fined Oilers winger Evander Kane $5,000.00 for slashing Calgary Flames defenseman Dryden Hunt on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane didn’t have a good game against the Flames. Teammate Corey Perry lit into him on the bench at one point over a botched play. That stoked speculation Kane may have worn out his welcome in Edmonton.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2024

Should the Maple Leafs trade or re-sign Mitch Marner: Will Brock Faber get a big pay raise from the Wild? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WILL THE LEAFS TRADE OR RE-SIGN MARNER?

NHL.COM: A reader asked Dan Rosen if the Toronto Maple Leafs should part ways with Mitch Marner if they fail to reach the Eastern Conference Final this year.

The 26-year-old winger has a year left on his contract. Teammates Auston Matthews and William Nylander have already signed long-term extensions with the Leafs.

Rosen believes the Leafs must re-sign Marner because he’s too valuable. Along with his point production, he plays big minutes, handles tough matchups, and plays on the power play and the penalty kill. “He’s a Selke Trophy player,” wrote Rosen.

The Leafs won’t win a Marner trade unless they get back an elite No. 1 defenseman in his prime of the same age.

Rosen points out the salary cap will likely be north of $90 million when Marner’s new contract begins in 2025-26. By that point, John Tavares’ contract comes off their books. He believes the Leafs should sign Marner to a long-term contract extension before next season and project their cap out from there, assuming that Marner, Matthews and Nylander could account for $38 million of their payroll for ’25-’26.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of his current contract. Rosen is projecting that the annual average value of Marner’s next deal will be the same as Matthews’ $13.25 million. He might get a tad less than that but it will be a raise over his current $10.9 million.

I’ll be surprised if the Leafs don’t re-sign Marner this summer. They’ll want to avoid his contract status becoming an unnecessary distraction next season. As Rosen observed, he’s their “do-everything” forward. His overall contributions at times go unappreciated by some denizens of Leafs Nation.

The only question is how long that deal might be. He could take a page from Matthews’ book and ink a four-year deal that gives him another shot at free agency in his early 30s when he’ll still be in his playing prime.

What do you think, Leafs fans? Is Marner too valuable to trade away? Is he worth as much as Matthews? Let us know in the comments below.

BROCK FABER COULD GET A BIG RAISE FROM THE WILD

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Shayna Goldman believe Brock Faber could get the richest contract extension in Minnesota Wild history.

The 21-year-old defenseman is in the second year of his three-year entry-level contract. His performance this season could earn him the Calder Memorial Trophy as this season’s top NHL rookie.

Some observers compare Faber to Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who has an eight-year deal worth an average annual value of $9.5 million. The Dallas Stars’ Miro Heiskanen is earning $8.45 million annually for eight years.

A contract for Faber exceeding $9 million annually might make some wild fans nervous but the NHL is trending toward bigger second contracts for rising young talent.

Russo and Goldman point to the Wild signing Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49 million deal. They also noted that inking Faber to a bridge deal could mean a more expensive third contract.

When Faber’s next contract kicks in the salary cap could reach $92 million. By then, the Wild’s $14.7 million in dead cap space from buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will drop to just $1.66 million annually to 2029.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faber has done a remarkable job filling the role of No.1 defenseman for the Wild during his rookie season. He’s earned a significant raise, especially if he wins the Calder Trophy.

Faber will be a restricted free agent next summer and lacks arbitration rights. Wild general manager Bill Guerin doesn’t have to sign him this summer. He can see how the young blueliner performs during his sophomore campaign before getting down to serious discussions.

Guerin could be reluctant to invest in a big raise for Faber only to risk seeing him struggle to meet expectations. On the other hand, the cost of re-signing Faber will rise if the young blueliner exceeds this season’s performance.

I think Guerin will sign Faber this summer to an eight-year extension worth $9.5 million annually.

Too much? Not enough? Should Guerin sign Faber this summer or wait until next year? Let me know what you think in the comment section.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2024

The Islanders, Penguins and Sabres keep their playoff hopes alive, David Pastrnak reaches a Bruins’ scoring milestone, the three stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Bo Horvat and Simon Holmstrom gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The goal was Horvat’s 31st of the season for the 33-27-15 Islanders (81 points) as they moved to within one point of Washington Capitals for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for the 22-48-5 Blackhawks.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each tallied twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for five goals in the third period to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3. The Penguins improved to 34-30-11 (79 points) and sit three points behind the Capitals. Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt each scored their 25th goal of the season for the Devils as they fell to 36-35-4 and dropped six points back of the Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 6-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. JJ Peterka scored twice and collected an assist while Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who moved to 36-35-4 (77 points) and are five points behind Washington. Dylan Strome netted his 26th goal of the season for the 36-28-10 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres winger Jeff Skinner played his 1,000th NHL game. Teammate Jordan Greenway missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark turned in a 31-save shutout to blank the Nashville Predators 3-0. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins (44-17-15), who sit third in the overall standings with 103 points. Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots for the 43-28-4 Predators, who hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot (90 points) but have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak became the first Bruin since Adam Oates in 1992-93 to have at least 35 multi-point games in a season. With 46 goals, he’s also on pace to become the third player in franchise history with multiple 50-goal seasons, joining Phil Esposito (five) and Cam Neely (three).

The Vegas Golden Knights rode a four-goal first period to a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, extending their points streak to seven games. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 41st goal of the season and picked up two assists as the Golden Knights improved to 42-25-8. With 92 points, they’re third in the Pacific Division. Quinn Hughes scored two goals for the Canucks (46-21-8), who sit fifth overall with 100 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov was ejected from this game for boarding Vegas forward Brett Howden during the first period.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, trade deadline acquisition Tomas Hertl joined practice on Tuesday as a full participant. The 30-year-old center is recovering from knee surgery. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy hinted he might return to action for Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored twice to reach the 70-point plateau for the first time in a 5-3 upset of the Florida Panthers. Sam Montembeault kicked out 37 shots for the 29-33-12 Canadiens, who’ve won four of their last five games. Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist for the slumping Panthers (47-24-5), who’ve won two of their last 10 games and sit seventh overall with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad left this game with an undisclosed injury. The Panthers played without forwards Matthew Tkachuk (illness) and Carter Verhaeghe (upper-body injury). Verhaeghe is week-to-week and is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

The Minnesota Wild nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Vinni Lettieri snapped a 2-2 tie for the 36-29-9 Wild (81 points) as they’re six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western wildcard. Drake Batherson netted his 27th goal of the season for the 33-37-4 Senators.

Anaheim Ducks winger Alex Killorn scored twice in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Troy Terry and Olen Zellweger each had three points for the 25-47-4 Ducks. Andrei Kuzmenko potted two goals for the 34-35-5 Flames.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg are the league’s three stars for March 2024. Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard was named Rookie of the Month for March 2024.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues top prospect Jimmy Snuggerud will return to the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers for his junior year. The 19-year-old winger has scored 42 goals in 79 NCAA games. He had 21 goals and 13 assists this season for the Golden Gophers and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

SPORTSNET: The ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers franchise had its membership terminated by the league’s board of governors.

The Growlers were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate. Deacon Sports and Entertainment, the majority owners of the Growlers and ECHL club Trois Rivieres Lions, had proposed a sale of both teams but only the Lions were saved.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Saturday that there had been a lengthy battle behind the scenes over payments to cities and some NHL teams.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sports media insider Jonah Sigel reports Rogers Communications could sell TV rights to its Monday night games (including playoff games) to Amazon over the final two years of its contract.

Sigel believes Amazon’s interest in getting a foothold in NHL broadcasting suggests it could be part of a broader strategy.

Rogers Communications’ current broadcasting agreement with the NHL has two years to go. The league could prioritize streaming services in its next TV deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers wondered what effect the end of Rogers’ TV contract two years from now might have on the NHL’s hockey-related revenue (HRR). It could be a lucrative deal with Amazon or another streaming service. If so, there would be no negative impact on HRR.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2024

Four more teams clinch playoff berths, Oilers captain Connor McDavid narrows the gap in the scoring race, and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s home points streak is over. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Vancouver Canucks 3-1. Jamie Benn snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period and Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists for the Stars (46-19-9), who won their sixth straight game and sit second in the overall standings with 101 points. J.T. Miller replied for the 45-20-8 Canucks as they slipped to fifth overall with 98 points.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen turned in a 24-save shutout to blank the Detroit Red Wings 4-0 as his club also secured a playoff spot. Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis each had a goal and two assists for the 46-21-7 Hurricanes as they hold third place in the overall standings with 99 points. James Reimer stopped 29 shots for the Red Wings (36-30-7) as they remain two points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings forwards Patrick Kane and Austin Czarnik missed this game due to illness.

The Florida Panthers dropped a 3-2 decision to the New York Islanders but still clinched a postseason spot. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 26 shots while Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s tie-breaker in the second period was the game-winner. Vladimir Tarasenko and Aleksander Barkov scored for the 46-22-5 Panthers, who dropped to seventh overall with 97 points. The Islanders (31-26-15) kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re four points out of the final Eastern wildcard with 77 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers head coach Paul Maurice expressed displeasure with his team’s performance following this game. They’ve dropped six of their last seven contests. They did have some good news as defenseman Aaron Ekblad returned to action after being sidelined for the last six games.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Juraj Slafkovsky extended his points streak to nine games for the Canadiens (28-32-12) as they won three straight games for the first time this season. Owen Tippett matched his career high of 27 goals for the 36-28-10 Flyers, who cling to third place in the Metropolitan Division with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ win enabled the idle Boston Bruins (42-17-15) to clinch a playoff berth. The Bruins sit fourth in the overall standings with 99 points. Speaking of the Flyers, Ivan Fedotov had his KHL contract terminated, potentially opening the door for the 27-year-old goaltender to come to Philadelphia to begin his NHL career.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers downed the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the Rangers (49-20-4) as they lead the league with 102 points. Nathan MacKinnon’s home points streak ended at 35 games as the 46-21-6 Avalanche hold sixth place in the overall standings with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren returned to action after missing four games with a lower-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 4-1. Leon Draisaitl collected three assists as the Oilers improved to 44-23-4 and sit second in the Pacific Division with 92 points. Arthur Kaliyev scored for the Kings (38-23-11) as they tumbled into the final Western wildcard berth with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid reached the 120-point mark for the third straight season, becoming the seventh player in NHL history to achieve this milestone. With 122 points, he’s just two points behind league leader Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning and one behind MacKinnon.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals from Ivan Barbashev and a 39-save effort from Logan Thompson for a 4-1 victory over the slumping Winnipeg Jets. The Golden Knights (40-25-8) vaulted over the Kings into third place in the Pacific with 88 points. Sean Monahan scored for the 44-23-6 Jets, who are winless in their last five games (0-4-1) but still hold third place in the Central Division with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is starting to look like a rerun of last season where the Jets played well through most of the season only to stumble down the stretch. They’re not in danger of missing the playoffs (yet) but their recent struggles are becoming a concern for Jets followers, or at least for those in the Winnipeg media.

A hat trick by Logan Cooley carried the Arizona Coyotes to an 8-4 upset of the Nashville Predators, snapping the latter’s 18-game points streak. Clayton Keller had a goal and three assists and rookie Josh Doan collected two assists for the 31-37-5 Coyotes. Jason Zucker tallied twice for the Predators (43-26-4) as they hold the first Western wildcard with 90 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doan joined Brian Mullen and Dale Hawerchuk as the third player in franchise history with at least four points in their first two games. His father, Shane, had three points.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice to beat the Washington Capitals 5-1. Mark Giordano scored in his return to the Leafs lineup since being sidelined by a concussion on Feb. 29. The Leafs (41-22-9) hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 91 points. Nic Dowd scored for the 36-27-9 Capitals (81 points) as they still hold the final Eastern wildcard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the 40-year-old Giordano dedicated his goal to his father, who passed away on Feb. 15th. He’s also the second-oldest defenseman in Leafs history to score a goal. Speaking of Leafs defenseman, Timothy Liljegren missed this game with an upper-body injury and is expected to be sidelined for several more games.

The St. Louis Blues remain in the Western playoff chase with a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Pavel Buchnevich scored two goals while Jordan Binnington made 25 saves and picked up two assists for the 39-30-4 Blues (82 points) as they sit five points behind the Kings. Andrei Kuzmenko tallied twice for the Flames (33-34-5).

Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek scored his 30th goal of the season and Matt Boldy had two points to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. The win kept the Wild’s fading playoff hopes alive as they improved to 35-28-9 but sit eight points behind the Kings with 79 points. The 16-48-8 Sharks have won just once in their last 10 games. They played without winger Alexander Barabanov, who is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin scored twice and Sidney Crosby had two assists to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The Penguins (32-30-10) have won two straight. Cole Sillinger had a goal and an assist for the 23-38-12 Blue Jackets.

The Ottawa Senators got a 19-save shutout from Anton Forsberg in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Claude Giroux and Parker Kelly were the goalscorers for the 32-36-4 Senators. Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots for the 21-47-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot missed this game with a lower-body injury but he’s not expected to be sidelined for long.

Three straight third-period goals lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Jared McCann picked up three assists for the 30-29-13 Kraken. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist for the 24-45-4 Ducks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2024

Hat trick performances by the Bruins David Pastrnak, the Jets Mark Scheifele and the Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen highlight Tuesday’s action. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored one of three hat tricks in the league on Tuesday in a 6-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Rookie Justin Brazeau tallied twice for the Bruins (41-14-15) as they picked up their third straight win and remain atop the overall standings with 97 points. Brady Tkachuk scored his 31st goal of the season for the 28-35-4 Senators.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak has 44 goals on the season and sits fourth among this season’s goalscoring leaders. His 99 points rank fourth among the scoring leaders.

The Winnipeg Jets doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2 thanks to Mark Scheifele’s hat-trick performance. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 38 shots and Kyle Connor netted his 30th goal of the season for the 44-19-15 Jets as they remain in first place in the Central Division with 93 points and a game in hand over the Colorado Avalanche. Alexis Lafreniere netted his 20th of the season for the Rangers (45-20-4) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without head coach Rick Bowness as he’s on an indefinite leave of absence following a minor medical procedure in Winnipeg. Meanwhile, Lafreniere reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his young career.

Speaking of the Avalanche, Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick lifted them over the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his points streak to 16 games for the Avalanche (44-20-5) as they remain behind the Jets in second place in the Central with 93 points. Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist for the 36-30-3 Blues (75 points) to remain four points out of the final Western Conference wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche extended their win streak to seven games.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a two-goal performance from Seth Jarvis in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov collected an assist as the Hurricanes (43-20-6) have won seven of their last eight and sit two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metro Division. Kyle Palmieri scored for the 29-24-15 Islanders (73 points) as they’ve lost five straight and sit three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings got an overtime goal from Patrick Kane to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Kane also collected two assists while Lucas Raymond tallied twice for the 35-28-6 Red Wings (76 points) as they regained that Eastern wildcard berth from the Washington Capitals. Zach Werenski had a goal and two assists for the 23-34-12 Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brayden Point netted two third-period goals for the Lightning (37-25-6) as they hold the first Eastern wildcard spot with 80 points. Jonathan Marchessault tallied his 38th goal of the season for the 36-25-7 Golden Knights as they cling to the final Western wild-card berth with 79 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov regained first place in the scoring race with 118 points, sitting one point up on the Avalanche’s MacKinnon.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fifth win in their last seven games by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another for the Canucks (43-18-8) as they hold a one-point lead over the Jets and Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference with 94 points. Rasmus Dahlin scored both goals for the 33-32-5 Sabres (71 points) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth.

An overtime power-play goal by Leon Draisaitl lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Connor McDavid and Adam Henrique also scored for the 41-21-4 Oilers as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 86 points. Nick Suzuki scored his career-high 27th goal of the season for the 25-31-12 Canadiens.

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 with Anze Kopitar scoring twice and collecting an assist. Adrian Kempe picked up two assists for the Kings (35-22-11), who sit third in the Pacific Division with 81 points. Philipp Kurashev had two assists for the 19-45-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks center Connor Bedard collected an assist as he tied Jonathan Toews’ franchise rookie record of 54 points.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and winger Filip Forsberg each had a goal and two assists as their club thumped the San Jose Sharks 8-2. Ryan McDonagh and Kiefer Sherwood each had three assists as the Predators improved to 40-25-4 and hold the first Western wildcard spot with 84 points. Mario Ferraro had a goal and an assist for the 16-45-7 Sharks.

The Philadelphia Flyers held off the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 4-3 victory. Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (35-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 78 points. John Tavares had a goal and two assists for the 38-20-9 Maple Leafs (85 points) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers captain Sean Couturier was a healthy scratch. This drew criticism from his agent citing a lack of communication between his client and head coach John Tortorella.

The Minnesota Wild got a 27-save shutout from Filip Gustavsson to blank the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Matt Boldy and Ryan Hartman each had two points and Kirill Kaprizov scored his 36th goal of the season for the 34-27-8 Wild (76 points) as they sit three points back of the Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard berth. John Gibson stopped 28 shots for the 23-43-3 Ducks.

New Jersey Devils forwards Timo Meier and Dawson Mercer scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jake Allen stopped 36 shots for the Devils (33-32-4) as they sit five points behind the Red Wings for that final Eastern wildcard berth. Tristan Jarry turned aside 33 shots for the 30-29-9 Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed this game, listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Six proposed rule changes have been proposed to the NHL’s competition committee following this week’s meetings of NHL general managers in Florida.

One rule change will go into effect immediately as players will be banned from hanging their legs over the boards when not on the ice. A team will be warned first before receiving a bench minor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should reduce the increasing number of “too many men on the ice” penalties resulting from line changes.

The proposed changes include goaltenders being called for delay of game for intentionally dislodging the net, coach’s challenge for puck over-the-glass calls, and reviews for high-sticking penalties if it’s believed an offense wasn’t committed by the penalized player.

SPORTSNET: Rick Nash was named the general manager of Team Canada at this year’s IIHF World Championships in May. Nash is currently the director of player development for the Columbus Blue Jackets and was assistant GM for Canada at the 2022 Worlds.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Terry Pegula named Pete Guelli as chief operating officer of both teams on Tuesday.

TSN: Former NHL player Chris Simon died Monday at age 52.

Simon played 15 NHL seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild from 1992-93 to 2007-08.

One of the league’s most feared enforcers, he collected 1,824 PIMs in 782 games and received eight suspensions totaling 65 games. He also collected 144 goals and 161 assists for 305 regular-season points along with 10 goals and 17 points in 75 playoff games. In 1999-2000, he led the Capitals with 29 goals.

Simon won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1995-96, helped the Washington Capitals reach the 1998 Stanley Cup Final and the Calgary Flames advance to the 2004 Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simon’s family indicated his death was by suicide. His agent indicated his former client struggled with CTE related to his playing career.

Simon’s role as an enforcer overshadowed his abilities as a player. My condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.