NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2017

by | Dec 15, 2017 | News, NHL

Game recaps plus updates on Devan Dubnyk, Ryan Callahan, Matt Beleskey and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Facing his former team for the first time, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jon Merrill tallied the game winner in the third period. 

Alex Chiasson scored twice and Alex Ovechkin tallied his 22nd goal of the season as the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. Patrice Bergeron had two goals in a losing effort for the Bruins, who placed struggling winger Matt Beleskey on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Beleskey’s play (no points in 14 games) and his $3.8 million annual salary-cap hit through 2019-20 makes it unlikely he’ll be claimed by another NHL club. If demoted as expected later today, the Bruins will get $1.025 million in prorated cap relief. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their sixth straight victory with a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for his league-leading 23rd win of the season while league scoring leader Nikita Kucherov picked up his 22nd goal and 44th point. Lightning winger Ryan Callahan left the game in the third period with an injured right arm and could be sidelined for an extended period.

Oliver Bjorkstrand collected a career-high three assists as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 6-4 win over the New York Islanders. The Jackets blew a 3-0 lead but surged ahead on goals by Seth Jones and Nick Foligno. Josh Bailey potted a hat trick for the Isles. 

Juuse Saros turned in a 46-save shutout performance backstopping the Nashville Predators to a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Kyle Turris and Mattias Ekholm each had two points in this contest. 

The Minnesota Wild extended their winning streak to four games with a 2-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tyler Ennis and Mikael Granlund were the goal scorers while Alex Stalock got a measure of revenge over this former team by turning aside 28 shots for the shutout. Stalock was subbing for starter Devan Dubnyk, who’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a good start for Stalock, who will be expected to carry the goaltending duties until Dubnyk’s return, which might not be until perhaps the end of December. 

Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz each collected a goal and an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. Corey Crawford made 27 saves for his 15th win of the season. 

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves as the Colorado Avalanche edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. 

Tomas Plekanec scored in overtime as the Montreal Canadiens squeezed past the New Jersey Devils 2-1. It was Plekanec’s first goal in 18 games. Earlier in the day, the Devils made a minor trade by shipping forward Ryan Kujawinski to the Arizona Coyotes for forward Michael Latta.

Joonas Donskoi’s goal late in the third period lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Donskoi, Timo Meier and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist against the Flames. 

Kevin Roy scored twice and John Gibson made 29 saves to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. 

The Philadelphia Flyers collected their fifth straight win by edging the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Travis Sanheim and Valtteri Filppula were the goalscorers for the Flyers. 

OTTAWA SUN: After 15 NHL seasons, all of them spent with the Senators, rugged winger Chris Neil announced his retirement yesterday. In 1,026 games, Neil collected 112 goals and 138 assists for 250 points, along with 2,522 PIMs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Neil and his family in their future endeavors. 

TSN: NHL Alumni Association executive director Glenn Healy met yesterday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss improving the medical benefits for retired players. The NHL Players Association was not scheduled to attend the meeting.