NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2017

by | Dec 5, 2017 | News, NHL

Game recaps, stars of the week plus updates on Alex Ovechkin, Roberto Luongo and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 20th goal of the season as the Washington Capitals defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1. He became just the 11th player in NHL history to tally 20-plus goals in his first 13 seasons. It was also Ovechkin’s 578th career goal, taking over sole possession of 20th overall on the league’s all-time goal-scoring list. However, it was a costly win for the Capitals, as winger T.J. Oshie left the game in the second period following a hit to the head by Sharks center Joe Thornton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oshie is expected to be reevaluated today. No word if Thornton will receive supplemental discipline. 

Mathew Barzal scored the only goal in a shootout to give the New York Islanders a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers, who also lost goaltender Roberto Luongo to an apparent right-leg injury in the second period. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Luongo suffered the injury making what seemed a routine right-pad save. He had to be helped off the ice and it’s feared he could be sidelined for a lengthy period. 

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 43 saves against his former club and Scott Laughton scored two goals. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic was ejected from the game for an illegal hit to the head of Flyers forward Dale Weise.

Earlier in the day, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall maintained his embattled head coach Dave Hakstol would remain in his job for the rest of the season and beyond. “Dave Hakstol is our coach and he will remain our coach. Period,” Hextall said, forcefully. “I’ve said it over and over, and I’m not going to say it again.”

Craig Smith netted two goals and set up another while Pekka Rinne made 37 saves to give the Nashville Predators a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins. The Preds were playing without center Ryan Johansen, who’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Nashville Predators forward Kevin Fiala are the NHL stars for the week ending Dec. 3, 2017.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is on a roll of late. Since snapping an 11-game goalless drought against Buffalo on Nov. 14, he’s been the league’s leading scorer over the last nine games with seven goals and nine assists. He’s also netted at least a goal and an assist in each of his last five games, marking the first time in his career he’s had a streak like that, and the first Penguin since Jaromir Jagr in 1999 to accomplish that feat. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres were busy yesterday. They acquired forward Scott Wilson from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft and placed veteran winger Matt Moulson on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the minors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Sabres floundering at the bottom of the standings, GM Jason Botterill has seen enough. Consider these moves the first of what could be an ongoing roster shakeup that could continue up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline and into the offseason. Wilson, who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins when Botterill was their assistant GM, will be a depth addition to the Sabres roster.

Moulson, a former 30-goal scorer, was a frequent healthy scratch who was held pointless in 14 games this season. He has a year remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million. It’s unlikely he’ll be claimed by noon ET today by another club. If he’s demoted as expected the Sabres will get less than $1 million in salary cap relief. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed Charlottetown Islanders defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a three-year entry-level contract. Joseph was their first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. 

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle City Council voted 7-1 to approve “a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group (OVG)” for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena that could attract NHL and NBA franchises to that city. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Katie Strang reports there’s nothing imminent regarding any NHL plans to bring a franchise to Seattle and the league made no promises to the city to do so. However, the vote is considered a significant first step toward Seattle perhaps landing an expansion team. The league board of governors are meeting later this week in Florida. While expansion isn’t on the agenda, Strang said it would be shocking if the subject wasn’t discussed.