NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2019

Latest on the Senators, Wild, Bruins, Rangers, Blackhawks, Sharks, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are believed to have tabled five- and six-year offers to right wing Mark Stone with more money than was offered last summer on multi-year offers before the two sides agreed to a one-year, $7.35-million deal. If Stone hits the trade block, the Winnipeg Jets are considered the leading contender, while the resurgent St. Louis Blues could also get into the bidding. 

As the Ottawa Senators attempt to re-sign Mark Stone, he’s generating plenty of interest in the trade market (Photo via NHL Images).

The Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets are considered the front-runners for Matt Duchene, who isn’t expected to play tonight against New Jersey as the Senators attempt to trade him. The New York Islanders have also been linked to Duchene. As for Ryan Dzingel, sources say the Senators want to sign him for around $4 million annually but he’s apparently seeking a five-year deal worth $5-million annually. 

Garrioch also reports former Senator Mike Hoffman is being mentioned in trade speculation. There’s talk the Florida Panthers could package him with another former Senator, center Derick Brassard. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on NBCSN on Wednesday, TSN insider Bob McKenzie believes the Jets and Boston Bruins could be in on Stone. The Bruins last night acquired center Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild. Regarding Duchene, McKenzie speculates he might be interested in joining the Predators on a longer term and suggested the Blue Jackets could also pursue the center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most general managers who are considered buyers are waiting to see what the Senators do with Duchene and Stone. There’s a lot of interest in both players and where they go will certainly have an effect upon the rest of the market. Maybe the Blues are kicking tires on Stone but I suspect St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong may be leery about tinkering too much with his club’s recent successful chemistry. The Jets’ 7-1 humiliation last night at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche could push them even closer toward Stone or Duchene.

As for Hoffman, there’s been some talk he could be bundled by the Panthers in a big package offer to the Blue Jackets for Panarin. Perhaps that could be tied to the Jackets’ rumored interest in Duchene. I’m not saying they’ll flip Hoffman to the Senators but perhaps if they can land the Panthers’ first-round pick in this year’s draft perhaps they’ll package that with a young player and a prospect for Duchene. 


STARTRIBUNE.COM/TWINCITIES.COM: In the wake of the Minnesota Wild last night shipping center Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins, Sarah McLellan and John Shipley speculate the Wild aren’t done dealing before Monday’s trade deadline.

McLellan suggests pending free-agent forwards Eric Staal and Eric Fehr are possibilities, though Staal has expressed his wish to remain in Minnesota even though he and his agent haven’t had contract talks yet with management.

Shipley wonders if core players such as Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund or Devan Dubnyk might be next, though he feels some of them will have to stay if the Wild hope for a quick turnaround. He doubts veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who still have six-years on their expensive contracts with full no-movement clauses, are going anywhere. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty expects the Bruins to employ Coyle as their third-line center. He feels they’re still in need of a second-line winger. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t surprise me if more moves are coming for both clubs. There’s talk the Sharks could be looking at bringing back Fehr. As we’ve seen, speculation suggests the Bruins could be in on Ottawa’s Mark Stone. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports contract length and not money is why the Rangers are expected to move pending free-agent forwards Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello. Hayes is believed seeking six- or seven-years while Zuccarello apparently wants five years. The Bruins and Jets have been linked to Hayes and Zuccarello while the Blue Jackets are tied to Hayes and the Predators to Zuccarello. 

The Bruins, Predators, and Toronto Maple Leafs are said to be interested in Chris Kreider but it’ll take an offer too good to refuse to pry him away from the Rangers. So far, they haven’t received one. Defenseman Adam McQuaid and center Vladislav Namestnikov have drawn interest and Brooks thinks either guy would be a good fit with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on NBCSN: TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculates Hayes could fetch the Rangers a first-round pick and a prospect, Zuccarello a second-round pick and McQuaid, potentially, a third-rounder. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brooks points out, the fates of Hayes and Zuccarello are tied to whatever happens to Senators forwards Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. The clubs that lose out on the bidding for those two will come calling on Hayes and Zuccarello. I don’t expect Kreider to be going anywhere at the deadline. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus speculated over what the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks will do at the trade deadline. They’re reportedly shopping John Hayden and Gustav Forsling and they suggest they could consider moving defenseman Erik Gustafsson for the right price. Powers cites a source claiming Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marcus Kruger, Artem Anisimov, and Chris Kunitz aren’t interested in waiving their no-trade clauses. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on NBCSN, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the word out of Chicago is the Blackhawks have no desire to part with futures for rental players. It’s either a hockey trade or bust for them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they want a player-for-player swap, with the return being someone whose rights the Blackhawks will own beyond this season. 


NBC SPORTS: cites a report by Kings blogger and insider John Hoven indicating the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks are involved in trade discussions regarding Ducks backup goaltender Ryan Miller. Hoven indicates the return would be a third-round pick. Miller has a limited no-trade clause but would apparently okay a trade to San Jose. There’s also a chance Miller could return to the Ducks this summer as a free agent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks and Sharks are reportedly denying this but, as NHL Network’s Jonathan Davis points out, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Davis suggests there could be some last-minute details to iron out. The Sharks’ goaltending tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell has been shaky of late. Miller could be a good backup stopgap who could push Jones to elevate his game. 


CALGARY SUN: Daniel Austin reports the Flames have been linked to Ottawa Senators’ Mark Stone and the New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello. He believes GM Brad Treliving will make a move by the deadline if there’s someone available who can improve their chances for a Stanley Cup run.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Curtis Zupke reports Los Angeles Kings forward Carl Hagelin, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford are being mentioned in recent trade speculation. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford doesn’t want to trade his first-round pick and doesn’t have much salary-cap space to worth with. Under the right conditions, however, he might get into the bidding for one of the appealing names in the trade market. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2019

Game recaps, Ducks re-sign Jakob Silfverberg, Flyers Radko Gudas receives a two-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for my reaction to the Minnesota Wild trading Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. 


NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead his club to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kane’s point streak now sits at 19 games, the second-longest by an American-born player in NHL history. He also owns the record for the longest streak by an American player (26 games). Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou each scored twice for the Wings, who overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

With the win, the Blackhawks are tied with the Colorado Avalanche in points (61), but the Avs hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot because they hold a game in hand. 

Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has extended his points streak to 19 games (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of the Avalanche, they vaulted into the final wild-card spot by crushing the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Carl Soderberg and Tyson Jost each had a goal and two assists while Nathan MacKinnon tallied his 30th of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets (76 points) hold a one-point lead over the Nashville Predators for first in the Central Divison but they’ve won only four of their last 10 games. Last night’s humiliation could push general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff into swinging a big trade before Monday’s deadline. 

The Calgary Flames blew a 2-0 lead but third-period goals 29 seconds apart by Austin Czarnik and Johnny Gaudreau lifted them to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. The Flames sit atop the Western Conference with 81 points. 

Shootout goals by Jake DeBrusk and David Backes gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, extending their winning streak to seven games. With 80 points, the Bruins hold a four-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller was a healthy scratch but coach Gerard Gallant said the move was related to Miller’s poor play in his previous game and tied to any potential trade. 


ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have reached an agreement with winger Jakob Silfverberg on a five-year contract extension. The deal cannot be officially announced until after Monday’s NHL trade deadline due to salary-cap “tagging” rules. The deal is expected to be worth an annual average value of $5.25 million, a considerable raise over his current $3.75 million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Elliott Teaford, the Ducks are currently sitting over $1 million above the $79 million salary cap. GM Bob Murray must either shed salary by the deadline or wait until March 1 to formally announce the deal, as that’s when teams get a 10 percent “tagging bump”. The “tagging rule” means a team cannot spend more on next season’s payroll than they’re spending on their current one.

As for Silfverberg, he’s a good two-way winger and a streaky scorer, who reached the 40-point plateau in each of the last two seasons. The raise seems a tad high but evidently, Murray values his skills and experience. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals have placed forward Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers. Initial reports had Dmitrij Jaskin’s hitting the waiver wire but management soon changed that to Smith-Pelly. It’s assumed the switch was made because a possible trade could be in the works. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Capitals tipped their hand with his move, speculating they could be working on a possible deal to acquire winger Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings. We’ll find out for certain later today. 

**UPDATE** The Capitals acquired Hagelin from the Kings in exchange for a third-round pick in 2019 and a conditional 2020 draft pick. Smith-Pelly, meanwhile, cleared waivers today, making room for Hagelin, who’ll provide speed and experience to the Capitals’ fourth line. 

NBC PHILADELPHIA: The NHL department of player safety handed a two-game suspension to Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas for a high-sticking infraction to the head of Tampa Bay Lighting winger Nikita Kucherov on Tuesday. Flyers blueliner Robert Hagg also received a $3,091 fine for interference on Lightning center Cedric Paquette. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league agreed with Gudas’ contention that the slash wasn’t excessively forceful or violent. To critics of the department of player safety, it’s another example of the league’s unwillingness to crack down forcefully on repeat offenders. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill shot down rumors Sabres coach Phil Housley might be fired because of the club’s recent collapse in the standings. Botterill said there won’t be a coaching change. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed defenseman Jordan Oesterle to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $1.4 million. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks claimed forward Micheal Haley off waivers from the Florida Panthers. 

CBS SPORTS: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two-year, two-way contract extension. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Former NHL winger Scott Hartnell has become a studio analyst for the NHL Network. 

Wild Trade Charlie Coyle to Bruins

The Minnesota Wild have reportedly traded forward Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Wild will receive forward Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick. 

Minnesota Wild trade Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, the deal won’t be officially announced until 10 PM ET, presumably because of the Wild’s flight delay. No word yet on what year that draft pick will be in but presumably it’s this year. 

This is likely the first of what could be several moves by Wild general manager Paul Fenton over the next several months. He’s received permission from ownership to do whatever he deems necessary to shake up his roster for the short- and long-term, even if it jeopardizes their playoff hopes. With the Wild currently clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Fenton has evidently seen enough and isn’t wasting time retooling his roster. 

Coyle, 26, is a native of Weymouth, Massachusetts so this move to Boston will be like coming home after spending his entire NHL career with the Wild. He’s a versatile forward who can play center or wing, possesses good size (6’3″, 220 lbs) and decent scoring touch, reaching 56 points in 2016-17. He could fill that second-line winger role or third-line center spot for the Bruins. Perhaps this move turns Coyle into the 35-goal scorer he was projected to become when he joined the Wild. 

Donato, 22, can also skate at center or on the wing. While smaller than Coyle (6′,193 lbs), he has offensive potential but found it difficult cracking the Bruins’ roster. He’s earning $900K this season and should be an affordable re-signing for the Wild, who also clear Coyle’s $3.2 million salary-cap hit through 2019-20 from their books. Donato recently said he believes he can become a full-time NHL player. He’ll get his opportunity with the Wild. 

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 20, 2019

Latest on Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, Jesse Puljujarvi, Marcus Johansson, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

For the latest rumors on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, and Cody Ceci, check out the Senators Trade Watch


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers have the best shot at signing Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin to a long-term contract. He feels the Islanders make the most sense to take a shot at him as a rental. The Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars could also pursue him as a playoff rental. 

Friedman also believes the Blue Jackets recently attempted to re-sign goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a contract extension but things don’t sound optimistic. Bobrovsky sounds willing to consider certain trade destinations but hasn’t committed those to write them down as that would make them binding.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The asking price for Panarin will have to include a player who can offset his departure to keep the Jackets in playoff contention this season plus a first-round pick and a high-end prospect. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone’s willing to pony up that much or more by deadline day.

As for Bobrovsky, I’m not expecting him to be traded unless the Florida Panthers are willing to make a pitch. Rumor has it they looked into it but found the Jackets’ price too high. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Rick Carpiniello wonders if we’ve seen the last of Kevin Hayes, Adam McQuaid, and Mats Zuccarello in Rangers uniforms. The Rangers have three games leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline and those three could become healthy scratches in case the Blueshirts decide to move either guy.

The recent improvement in Mats Zuccarello’s play could improve his trade value (Photo via NHL Images)

Carpiniello links Zuccarello to the Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and perhaps the Calgary Flames, while the Dallas Stars are said to be very interested in the winger. The Jets, Bruins, Nashville Predators, and Columbus Blue Jackets could be looking at Hayes. Carpiniello suggests McQuaid could help a playoff contender like the Tampa Bay Lightning or Toronto Maple Leafs. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Dallas Stars may have looked at Zuccarello. He suggested Hayes could be a fallback for the Columbus Blue Jackets if they don’t land Ottawa’s Matt Duchene. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect all three could be on the move before Monday’s trade deadline.  It’s assumed Zuccarello could fetch the Rangers a second-round pick, though his improved play of late could have Blueshirts GM Jeff Gorton seeking a prospect as well.

I expect Gorton will try to acquire a first-round pick or a promising young player for Hayes. McQuaid will probably land a fourth-round pick, though a desperate club might be willing to part with a third. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on the NHL Network, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated over the possibility of the Minnesota Wild becoming sellers at the trade deadline. He thinks Jason Zucker could start getting mentioned more frequently in the coming days and believes the Bruins and Lightning are among the teams showing interest in Charlie Coyle. Veteran center Eric Staal is a free agent this summer but he controls his fate with a 10-team no-trade list and won’t make it easy to be moved. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Michael Russo reports Staal’s agent Rick Curran said his client wants to stay in Minnesota and finish his career with the Wild. However, he acknowledged that’s up to the Wild front office and GM Paul Fenton. If Fenton approaches them about a move to a team on Staal’s no-trade list, Curran said he’ll talk to his client about it but if Staal had his way that doesn’t happen. 

SPORTSNET: With the Wild in free-fall, Elliotte Friedman wonders if the San Jose Sharks might attempt to bring back forward Eric Fehr, who fit in well for them during the 2018 playoffs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound like Staal is very keen to become a playoff rental player again. Maybe Fenton attempts to force the issue by telling the center he has no intention of re-signing him. 


THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQ’D): Pierre LeBrun believes New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson could be a sneaky trade-deadline acquisition. He’s healthy and producing well of late. LeBrun said his five-team no-trade list won’t be an issue if the Devils wish to move him. However, GM Ray Shero could retain Johansson and attempt to re-sign him this summer if no one meets his asking price. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman lists the Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and possibly the Washington Capitals among those who may have checked in on Johansson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on what Shero’s asking price might be. Perhaps he’ll seek a second-rounder and a young roster player or prospect. Johansson’s injury history, however, will affect his value in the trade market.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks looked into the availability of Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger said the Montreal Canadiens had some discussions a while back with the Capitals regarding Burakovsky. However, things fell through when the Capitals asked for Artturi Lehkonen. Still, Dreger doesn’t rule out the possibility of the two clubs reconnecting regarding Burakovsky. 


In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman said the Edmonton Oilers are rejecting low-ball offers for winger Jesse Puljujarvi. They know they’ve got an unhappy player on their hands. 

The Buffalo Sabres looked into Los Angeles Kings winger Carl Hagelin. 

The Colorado Avalanche are looking to move winger Sven Andrighetto. He also suggested defenseman Patrik Nemeth could be a good depth acquisition for the Flames. 

Senators Trade Watch – February 20, 2019

Get the latest on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, and Cody Ceci.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports center Matt Duchene has probably played his final game for the Senators. With the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaching and no contract extension in sight, the Senators have decided to sit him pending a trade. Five teams, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and Winnipeg Jets, have expressed interest in Duchene. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman isn’t convinced the Jets are in on Duchene and wonders if the Calgary Flames or New York Islanders will become stealth suitors for the 28-year-old pending UFA center. If the Predators land him, there’s talk they could attempt to re-sign him to a long-term contract. He also feels the Blues Jackets’ interest in Duchene could include center Alex Wennberg, who could use a fresh start. However, his $4.9-million annual average value through 2022-23 could be more than the Senators want to take on. 

The Ottawa Senators are sitting center Matt Duchene as they attempt to trade him before the Feb. 25 deadline (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene’s a goner, it’s just a matter of when and where. The Jets’ depth in prospects could give them the edge in the Duchene sweepstakes but their focus could be on another Senator (see below).

Wennberg could benefit from moving to another team but, as Friedman suggests, his contract could be a sticking point if the Jackets try to dangle him to the Senators. The reason the Jackets are interested in Duchene is they see him as a possible replacement for Artemi Panarin if they end up trading him to another club before the deadline. 


Garrioch also reports the Senators are believed to have offered right wing Mark Stone a deal in the five- or six-year range with “a strong annual average value”. They’re not shopping Stone but are listening to trade offers. Garrioch expects the Flames and Vegas Golden Knights could be among the suitors. 

Friedman reports rumors of a five-year offer worth $10.5-million AAV have been denied. He expects the Jets and Flames are among those kicking tires on Stone but the Golden Knights aren’t interested in him as a rental player. Appearing on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, Friedman believes the Jets are going all-in on Stone. Jets center Jack Roslovic and prospect Kristian Vesalainen could tempt the Senators. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites a report by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks claiming the Boston Bruins are also all in on Stone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Jets could probably benefit from bringing in Duchene and making him their second-line center, they’re reportedly content with Bryan Little in that role. Stone is said to be their main target.

While the Jets’ first-round pick is in play, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff reportedly doesn’t want to mortgage his future on a rental player. Unless he can re-sign Stone or Duchene, he could be reluctant to give up Roslovic or Vesalainen. As for the Bruins, they’re also reportedly watching another Senator (see below). 


Garrioch reports it’s believed an offer was recently tabled to Dzingel but he may be holding off in the belief he’ll get a better offer from the Senators if Duchene and Stone are traded. Garrioch believes they have enough prospects in the system to replace Dzingel, who is being closely watched by the Boston Bruins. The Sens asking price is a first-round pick. 

Friedman believes Dzingel’s fate is tied to Stone’s decision. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe noted the recent speculation tying the Jets to Duchene, Stone or Dzingel. He said the Senators covet Roslovic, who’d be a likely ask for Duchene or Stone.  Vesalainen, Mason Appleton, Brendan Lemieux, Nic Petan, Sami Niku, Logan Stanley, Dylan Samberg, Declan Chisholm, and Eric Comrie could also be on the Senators’ wish list. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dzingel would be a much more affordable acquisition than Duchene or Stone but he won’t have the same impact as those two. Still, he could become a decent consolation prize for clubs that fail to land Duchene or Stone. If the Senators trade away both guys, maybe they’ll try to re-sign Dzingel but not if he seeks considerably more than they wish to pay. 


Friedman suggested a decision on defenseman Cody Ceci could come closer to the deadline. Appearing on the NHL Network, Friedman wondered if the Tampa Bay Lightning would have some interest in the right-handed blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ceci is a restricted free agent so the Senators aren’t under pressure to move him now, though they’ll consider it if there’s suitable interest. He’s also got arbitration rights again this summer, which could also factor into the Sens’ trade plans. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: After blowing a 2-0 lead, the St. Louis Blues picked up their 11th straight win by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Ryan O’Reilly. Former Leafs center Tyler Bozak picked up two assists for the Blues. Leafs center Nazem Kadri left the game after the first period with a concussion

Ryan O’Reilly’s overtime goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 33 saves as his club held on for a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to eight games while Sidney Crosby extended his streak to six games. The Penguins (71 points) moved ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets into third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 31 saves as his team nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 to snap a four-game winless skid. Tomas Tatar tallied the game-winner after the Habs blew a 2-0 lead. With the win, the Canadiens (71 points) move ahead of the Blue Jackets into the first wild-card spot.

The Jackets were playing without leading scorer Artemi Panarin, who was sidelined with the flu and not, as head coach John Tortorella insisted, being held out of the game pending a trade. “He shit his pants, he was puking, he did everything, so enough,” said Tortorella. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So you’re saying he’s really sick, Torts? 

Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 43 shots as the New York Rangers nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. The Hurricanes (68 points) remain one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their seventh straight victory by rolling over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Lightning winger Alex Killorn picked up his 100th career goal while NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov (99 points) was held pointless. The Flyers (69 points) remain six points out of a playoff spot.  Lightning goal-scoring leader Brayden Point was scratched from this game for missing a team meeting. The Bolts also called up Jan Rutta to replace sidelined blueliner Victor Hedman, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

A three-goal third-period outburst carried the Florida Panthers past the Buffalo Sabres 4-2, handing the latter their fourth defeat in their last five games. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov led the way with three-point performances. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced winger Kyle Okposo is sidelined with a concussion and there’s no timetable for his return. The Sabres (63 points) remain six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller turned in a 31-save shutout performance backstopping his club to a 4-0 blanking of the Minnesota Wild, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. The Wild (60 points) are barely clinging to the final Western Conference wild-card spot while the Ducks are three points behind them. Earlier in the day, the Ducks placed winger Patrick Eaves on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in San Diego. 

Shootout goals by Alex Galchenyuk and Vinnie Hinostroza gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, who were playing without captain Connor McDavid (flu). The Coyotes are now one point behind the Wild in the Western Conference playoff chase while the Oilers are six points back. 

Roman Josi scored two goals and Pekka Rinne made 36 saves as the Nashville Predators beat the Dallas Stars 5-3. 

TSN: The New York Islanders have recalled forward Andrew Ladd and defenseman Thomas Hickey from their AHL conditioning stints. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Dan Robson looks at the life and death of former NHL goaltender Ray Emery, who drowned while swimming last summer in Hamilton.