NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2016

by | Dec 18, 2016 | News, NHL | 11 comments

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner celebrates his overtime goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Jake Gardiner scored in overtime and Nikita Zaitsev netted his first NHL goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Earlier in the game, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a cut on his neck but returned to action after receiving five stitches and finished with 43 saves.

Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed defenseman Kris Letang (lower-body) on injured reserve and announced blueliner Trevor Daley is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

After being pulled in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday, Carey Price rebounded with a 20-save performance to collect his 250th career victory as the Montreal Canadiens nipped the Washington Capitals 2-1. 

Connor McDavid tallied the first shootout goal of his NHL career to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning, who’ve now dropped five of their last six games. 

Tomas Tatar netted his first career NHL hat trick to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks, ending the Wings’ four-game losing streak. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Among the reasons for the Wings’ struggles this season is a lack of consistent production from young forwards such as Tatar. Not expecting Tatar to tally hat tricks every night, but if the Wings hope to extend their playoff appearance streak to 26 years, they need him to start producing on a consistent basis. 

Patrick Kane snapped a 10-game goalless drought, Artemin Panarin had a three-point night and Vinnie Hinostraza scored the winner as the Chicago Blackhawks picked up their fourth straight win with a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov left the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Patrik Berglund scored twice for the Blues. 

Jimmy Vesey and Mats Zuccarello scored in the shootout to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Vesey, who was drafted by the Preds but declined to sign with them, received a heavy chorus of boos from the Nashville faithful. The Predators skated without defenseman P.K. Subban, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury

The Philadelphia Flyers 10-game winning streak came to an end, falling 3-1 to the Dallas Stars. Antti Niemi turned in a 31-save performance for the Stars. 

The Minnesota Wild picked up their seventh straight victory as Darcy Kuemper’s 27-save effort gave them a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. 

Mike Condon turned in a 29-save effort as the Ottawa Senators snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. 

Lee Stempniak and Sebastian Aho scored in a shootout to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. 

CSNNE.COM:  Boston Bruins winger and leading scorer David Pastrnak will miss at least the next two games due to surgery on his right elbow. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hope he returns soon, I traded for him in my fantasy league last week!

NBC SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson could be facing wrist surgery that might sidelined him for a lengthy period. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH:  The Blue Jackets placed forward Gregory Campbell on unconditional waivers yesterday. If he clears today, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.  

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t pleased with his club’s slipping attendance numbers, but he’s hopeful a winning team can bring back the fans. The Sens, who were 17th in attendance in 2015-16, have slipped to 23rd this season. Melnyk doesn’t consider ticket prices the issue, noting his club’s prices are among the league’s lowest. “Melnyk noted the troubled Phoenix pay system, which has seen many federal government employees go lengthy periods without getting paid, has had to have some sort of effect.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Missed this story yesterday. I think it’s a combination of the club’s performance, the difficulty some federal employees (Ottawa is a government town) have had with their pay system and the location of the Sens’ current arena in Kanata are to blame. Even the lower ticket costs could also be a factor. A better performance by the Sens, however, will boost their ticket sales. 


  1. Another, so far unstated reason by any journalist and certainly no one in ownership/management, is that more and more fans are tired of the endless end-of-season rhetoric from that same ownership/management about how “we’re going to do whatever it takes to improve this club for next season” – only to see them shove their thumbs up their butt during UFA signings and refuse to spend beyond their internal “cap.” If they want the fans to start flocking back they need to show they are serious about improving on a D (AND some F) that regularly give up well over 35 shots a game.

    • Talking about the Sens here of course.

    • You are so right George!
      Bets of luck to Melnyk for winning the cup when he ties one arm behind the back of this team.

  2. The Maple Leafs were full value for their win last night. Nothing quite like hard work and a little luck going your way

    • What luck, if Toronto would have had just a little luck, they might have won the game by 4 or 5 goals. A terrible call by the ref could have cost them game. To give Toronto a 4 min high sticking penalty, that they never saw is brutal and then to put them down 2 men for the full 2 min. Crazy how the refs can screw a team so bad with a bad call. Ya just lucky I guess

      • @Yogi…Ya I get they got hosed on the penalty call but they had luck with the bounces as both their goals were scored under unusual circumstances. They worked hard for the win as they had to beat both the refs and the Penguins. Ya, hard work and a bit of luck

      • Don’t forget about the missed call in ot when marner set a pick on the pens player the refs missed calls both ways

      • The refs miss call in every game on a nightly basis. It’s part of the game

  3. Sure is fun watching Mitch Marner play – he brings joy back to the game.

    • Him and McDavid can those two ever skate, handle the puck. You`d almost think they were Gretzky`s kids. Imagine the two of them playing together. I can see a lot of new Oiler fans now and I can`t even imagine how many leaf fans are gonna come out of the closet in the next year or so. Toss in Winnipeg, going to be a lot of excellent hockey for the next few years. Gotta love it

  4. I don’t care what Melnyk says, he can’t keep making excuses forever. Sure the Pheonix system is likely causing some problems, but that is temporary. I completely do not buy the fact that the rink being in Kanata is the problem – it’s been here 20 years! Or has he forgotten the sellouts of the 00’s. Frankly this is another opportunity for him to crap talk Kanata and show off how downtown is the best place in the world for this team to be and how he should be the one to put an arena there. What he doesn’t factor is how attendance will be downtown – where parking is going to stink, mass transit will mean changing from a bus to streetcars at Tunney’s (when it’s finished mind you) and where the downtown is a ghost town on weekends or after 6pm during the week (it IS a government town remember). Living in Kanata, I probably couldn’t be bothered going downtown to watch games and all of the people who go regularly now and live in the valley have told me the same thing.
    But looking past all that – why is this season so different from previous ones where the team has been in Kanata? Make no mistake, the 00’s had exciting and powerful teams culminating in the cup run of 07 and that’s a draw onto itself. But the team is ok still today (it’s not a cup contender no matter what Melnyk seems to believe). He mentions his surprise as to how they didn’t even sell out against the Leafs – there lies your problem. Unlike previous years where you would only be gouged for “premium games”, this year your gouged AND forced to buy the games in a package. So for those who want to see a “premium” team, you have to buy a minimum of 3 games in a package in order to get Leafs tickets. And until late October when attendance started to slip it was a minimum of 5 games! I know for myself being a Pens fan, I won’t buy tickets this year because I can’t afford and won’t buy a 3 or 5 game package. I usually will be 1st level tickets to the one game they come each year and working out the math, for a 5 game package it would be the same as getting tickets in Pittsburgh and flying or driving down for a weekend. Melnyk has been long trying to deter other team’s fans from coming in at the expense of his own sales, only now he is starting to be successful as we can see this season. Frankly with him in charge, I don’t know why anyone would become a Sens fan – they won’t spend to the cap with everyone else to get the best players, they seem to think they are contending every year even when they clearly aren’t capable of it and when things go bad, Melnyk loves a witch hunt (Matt Cooke, Leaf fans, the Mayor, the Feds now with the outdoor game, etc.) and when attendance drops due to their own stupidity, they blame the fans for it.