NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2018
Game recaps, the top three stars and top rookie for January 2018 and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights set the record for most wins by an NHL team in its inaugural season with a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The game had a measure of controversy. A slash to the mask of Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck by Vegas winger James Neal, leading to a goal by Erik Haula, was somehow not considered goaltender interference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: First, congratulations to the Golden Knights for their record-setting victory. Second, this puzzling decision by league officials is yet another example of the growing confusion this season over what constitutes goaltender interference. It’s an ongoing embarrassment for the league, whose recent directive to address the problem was telling its officials not to “overthink” the issue. In this instance, it doesn’t appear as though they put much thought into it at all.
Alex Killorn scored twice and set up two others to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 7-4 thumping of the Calgary Flames, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. Cory Conacher also scored two goals and Matthew Peca had a three-point night for the Lightning.
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 32 saves as his club defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-1. Rask extended his personal points streak to 17-0-2 in his last 19 starts. Earlier in the day, the Bruins announced rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy was cleared to return to practice. McAvoy recently underwent a procedure to address an abnormal heart rhythm.
Playing in his 600th career NHL game, Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson tallied the game winner in overtime to give his club a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their second straight shutout win by blanking the New York Rangers 4-0. Justin Holl became the first defenseman in Leafs history to score a goal in each of his first two games. Curtis McElhinney made 25 saves for the win. Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich left the game and is listed as day-to-day after taking an uncalled elbow to the jaw from Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner.
After being sidelined for 11 games, Filip Forsberg returned to score a goal and add an assist as the Nashville Predators blanked the Los Angeles Kings 5-0. It was the second straight shutout for Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
J.T. Compher’s overtime tally gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, who had overcome a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. Earlier in the day, the Avalanche announced center Nathan MacKinnon will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with an upper-body injury.
Nico Hischier potted the game winner latest in the third period as the New Jersey Devils edged the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas drew attention to himself with a leaping high hit on Devils winger Kyle Palmieri. No word if he’ll received supplemental discipline for the incident. Palmieri would return to the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Gudas history of questionable hits, he’ll be fortunate if the league passes on this one. It looked like he was imitating Stone Cold Steve Austin doing a Lou Thesz press.
Brendan Gaunce scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks picked up their fifth win in eight games with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Dallas Stars tallied four unanswered goals to beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Stars forward Devin Shore had a goal and an assist. Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta was a late scratch as he was involved in a car accident on route to the game. Raanta was shaken up but otherwise unhurt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this week, Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis become the 106th defenseman in NHL history to play 1,000 games.
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward turned in a 27-save shutout effort to carry his club to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Canes defenseman Brett Pesce tallied his first goal of the season.
Keith Yandle scored a goal and added two assists as the Florida Panthers doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonathan Bernier were the NHL’s three stars for the month of January 2018. New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal was named rookie of the month.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins winger Conor Sheary is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.