NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2018
Rangers edged Sabres in 2018 Winter Classic, three stars of the week and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves while J.T. Miller scored in overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field yesterday. Miller also collected an assist while teammate Jesper Fast returned from a strained quad that sidelined him since Dec. 21. Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner made 39 saves as Buffalo overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame, while teammate Kyle Okposo had two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist now has more victories in outdoor games (four) than any other NHL goaltender. He also has a combined 1.98 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in those contests.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson and Boston Bruins right wing David Backes are the three stars for the week ending Dec. 31.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a worthy honor for Hellebuyck. At this point in the season, he can be considered among the candidates for the Vezina Trophy. His record thus far this season stands at 21-4-5, with a 2.37 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber remains sidelined with a foot injury. He didn’t suffer a fracture but it’s uncertain when he’ll return to action.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Without Weber the Habs are suffering at both ends of the ice. The longer he’s on the shelf, the more their playoff hopes fade.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Florida Panthers. He was sidelined by back surgery for nearly three months.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The struggling Penguins could have defensemen Kris Letang and Justin Schultz back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Both were on injured reserve with lower-body ailments.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders demoted forwards Steve Bernier and Anthony Beauvillier to Bridgeport.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beauvillier had a promising rookie performance last season (24 points in 66 games) but he’s struggled in this sophomore campaign after being relegated to bottom-six forward duties, netting just seven points in 31 contests.
THE ATHLETIC: Former NHL player Bryan Bickell has begun a second career as a multiple sclerosis spokesperson. The disease forced Bickell into premature retirement at the end of last season.
USA TODAY: Former NHL winger Brian Gionta will be the captain of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. Other former NHLers joining Gionta include James Wisniewski, Matt Gilroy and Mark Arcobello,