NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2018
Game recaps, stars of the week, Penguins to re-sign Patric Hornqvist, update on John Tavares and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their winning streak to four games by edging the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in a shootout, snapping the Leafs’ five-game win streak. Brayden Point tallied the game winner for the Lightning, who lost leading scorer Nikita Kucherov in the first period to an upper-body injury. Kucherov isn’t expected to be sidelined for long and could return to action on Wednesday. The Lightning (89 points) extended their lead over the Leafs to five points.
One day after being acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mark Letestu scored as his club rolled to a 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and two assists for the Jackets, who erupted for four tallies in the first period. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin scored his 39th of the season and now sits three shy of 600 career NHL goals.
Anze Kopitar’s game-tying goal in the dying seconds of the third period set the stage for Dustin Brown’s overtime winner as the Los Angeles Kings rallied to nip the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2.
Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and set up another while Semyon Varlamov turned aside 31 shots to give the Colorado Avalanche a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Sean Couturier’s shootout goal lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for his first shutout win with the Flyers.
Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne and Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 25, 2018.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins are expected to announce the re-signing of forward Patric Hornqvist to a five-year contract extension. Sources suggest the annual average value could be $5.3 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant pay bump for the 31-year-old Hornqvist from his current annual salary-cap hit of $4.25 million. It’s understandable why the Penguins want to keep him. Hornqvist is an energetic, gritty forward who played a key role in their consecutive Stanley Cup championships. He’s also on pace to reach 20 goals and 40 points for the eighth straight season.
The problem, however, is this deal covers him through age 36. Over that period of time, his performance will inevitably decline, especially as his physical style of play catches up with home. In the short term, this deal should help the Penguins remain a Cup contender, but that cap hit could come back to haunt them in the latter years of the deal.
NEWSDAY: John Tavares isn’t ruling out re-signing with the New York Islanders before the end of the regular season. He said his decision doesn’t hinge on the club reaching the playoffs this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Tavares will re-sign with the Islanders. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he reaches an agreement on a new contract in the coming weeks.
MLIVE.COM: Defenseman Mike Green’s neck injury prevented the Detroit Red Wings from moving him by yesterday’s trade deadline.