NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2018

by | Dec 16, 2018 | News, NHL | 7 comments

Game recaps, injury updates, Sabres suspend Berglund, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:  Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each scored twice and linemate Nathan MacKinnon had a four-point game as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 6-4. Rantanen’s personal point streak has reached 14 games. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There seems no stopping the Avalanche’s top line. Rantanen (56 points) and MacKinnon (52 points) sit one-two in the NHL scoring race while MacKinnon and Landeskog (21 goals apiece) sit among the league’s leading goal scorers. 

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov’s first career hat trick powered his club to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo via NHL Images)

Aleksander Barkov’s first career hat trick, including the game-winner in overtime, lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs, who overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force the extra frame. The Leafs have dropped four of their last five games, including two overtime defeats.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal in his last three games to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Ovechkin now has a league-leading 29 goals. Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored twice in a losing cause. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced forward Patrik Berglund was suspended indefinitely for failing to report to the teams. It’s unknown when or if he’ll return and the reason behind the suspension is unclear.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berglund joined the Sabres this summer from St. Louis as part of the deal that sent Ryan O’Reilly to the Blues. He has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.85 million. Berglund spent most of this season on the checking lines and was a healthy scratch for a couple of games. It remains to be seen if he’ll return to the club later this season or if we’ll find out the reason behind his suspension. 

The Calgary Flames picked up their seventh win in their last eight games by downing the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in a fight-filled contest. Matthew Tkachuk tallied the winner in the third period. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. An update on his status is expected later today.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a two-goal lead but Phil Kessel’s overtime tally gave them a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 38 saves in his first start since Nov. 17. Penguins winger Tanner Pearson commemorated his first game against his former club with a goal. Earlier in the day, the Penguins revealed defenseman Kris Letang (left-leg injury) is listed as day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news on Letang comes as a relief for the Penguins, as there were fears his injury would sideline him for a lengthy period. With Justin Schultz out of the lineup until March, they cannot afford to lose their best defenseman. 

Four unanswered third-period goals gave the Montreal Canadiens a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators and head coach Claude Julien his 600th career NHL victory. Habs captain Shea Weber potted the game-winning goal after Artturi Lehkonen’s goal was overturned on a questionable diving call.

A three-goal first period enabled the Vancouver Canucks to cruise to a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Canucks winger Brock Boeser had a goal and an assist. Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The loss is stoking speculation over head coach Dave Hakstol’s future with the struggling club.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal scored the only goal in a shootout to give his club a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Barzal also had a goal and an assist in regulation play. Red Wings winger Thomas Vanek had a three-point night, including the game-tying goal.

Daniel Sprong scored twice to give the Anaheim Ducks a 2-1 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling to crack the Pittsburgh Penguins roster, Sprong seems rejuvenated with the Ducks, netting three goals in five games. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Jusse Saros kicked out 33 shots in regulation and overtime and Ryan Johansen potted the game-winner in a shootout to defeat the New Jersey Devils 2-1.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom will miss six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair an injured finger. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1.375 million. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a slight pay bump from the $1.15-million AAV of his current contract. This should also put to rest any speculation suggesting he could be a trade candidate. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center Erik Haula underwent knee surgery last month and is unlikely to return this season. 

THE SCORE: A fan at the United Center got into a scrap with Chicago Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk following the club’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Police were notified and the team is looking into the incident. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tommy Hawk gave a good account of himself in this slobber knocker. You know the Blackhawks season is going poorly when a fan starts taking out his frustrations on the mascot. 



  1. So glad Leafs got at least one point but to be fair we did get to OT with the benefit of two missed calls that allowed us to score 2 if the 3 third period goals…. we need “unplug” the arrogant over-confidence going into games like last night

    Kudos to Loooooo ; I thought he played well

    Can I announce the apparent injury to JJ of the Pens. He must have been deletions with fever as he never could decide which side of the Ice he should play D on . Me-thinks the fever manifested colour-blindness as well as he seemed to cover his own players much much better than his opponents. Perhaps Sully had a fever and accidentally played JJ over 22 minutes and on key Penalty Kills where it cost Pens a goal.

    Me thinks I woke up surly 😡 today …. LOL 😂

    Would love to see a new NHL award trophy for best line ….. hands down this goes to Mac K, Rantanen, and Landeskog

    Wow …. what a line …. they are fantastically entertaining !!!!

  2. Mike Sullivan had the worst 4th line in the NHL out with less than a minute left to play in a tied game last night. Everyone and their mother knew Sprong could contribute on the score sheet but Sullivan played him with scrubs and bums and then punished him for no reason. I’m happy for Danny and I’m disgusted that the Pens keep trotting our Derek Grant and Garret Wilson and the ghost of Matt Cullen but they couldn’t even give Sprong a proper opportunity?

    • Deee


      2G for Sprong last night 👍. He was not worthy of the treatment he rec’d.

      I do like Petterson but I’m still peeved they moved on from Sprong.

      Fully with you re: Wilson and Cullen … give young (and big) Anthony Angello a shot…. at least a couple of games

      I don’t have any issue with Grant …. not a huge offensive contributor but has been fine defensively for what they’ve asked of him; is almost a 60 % face-off guy; has more PPG and PP60 than Sheahan (the two are absolutely equal in size at 6’3″ 215; only 1 year apart in age) and is a plus player ( Sheahan is a minus) …. and the big kicker … he costs less than 1/3rd of what Sheahan costs

      I expect a tweak move by GMJR ….

      Would he have the guts to part with Cullen …. would be nice but I fear he doesn’t and who would be GMJR’s dance oartner on that deal?

      Who would take on Sheahan and what is the return?

      When Shultz returns … Pens have an extra D …. there is no way (much to my dismay and deepest concerns and continuous begging and pleading) that he rids Pens of the anchor JJ. Letang and Dumo are untouchable as far as I’m concerned . Oleksiak at his cap hit should not be considered for trade … no way. Petterson was just acquired and is playing very well (how many times has he bailed out JJ already). Riikola has not been given a fair try as far as I’m concerned and great value for the cap hit. Ruhweedel will absolutely get nothing in return.

      …. so if it’s a D…. Maata …. who would need/want him? What’s the return.

      If they are not moving Cullen or Sheahan and knowing return on Wilson is in the neighbourhood of a 7th rounder in 2028…. who’s left for a “tweak” move ….

      Guentzel…. do not move please

      Simone …. maybe … trade partner? Return?

      Pearson …. difficult to re-flip now

      ZAR …. I’ve not given up on him yet

      ….. so Rust??? Again … who is the taker and what is the return?

      Could GMJR pull off a sneaky steal …. Rust + Maata + Cullen + ZAR + 2nd (’20)

      For Muzzin + Tiffoli + Clifford

      ….. ummmm …. no he can’t … LOL

  3. is there any coincidence that the Blues sent down Sanford to the AHL on the same day that Bortuzzo’s extension was announced (did they fight in practice the other day?)

  4. Have to feel sorry for chuck fletcher, hextall left that team in a mess the jvr contract is already an anchor and he didn’t improve the weak defense or the weaker goaltending

  5. The Sabres should be better off without Berglund, his contract that over pays and his play that under plays. Buffalo must have REALLY wanted those 2 #1 picks to take the bad contracts of Berglund and Sobotka. Wonder where the Sabres would be now with the Blues best player this year – ROR?
    Chicago fans better get used to their team being on the short end of the stick. They had a few good years but have regressed to the Chicago team I knew in the past.

  6. Good game from Matt! Keep it up kiddo!