NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2019
Evgeni Malkin reaches a career milestone, Taylor Hall collects his first point as a Coyote, Ilya Kovalchuk becomes a free agent, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin tallied his 400th career goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1. He’s the fourth player in Penguins history to reach that milestone. Tristan Jarry made 33 saves as the Penguins picked up their third straight victory. Kris Letang and Bryan Rust also netted two points.
Taylor Hall picked up his first point with the Arizona Coyotes in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Hall picked up a well-earned assist on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s game-winning goal.
Anze Kopitar’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Boston Bruins 4-3. The Bruins have dropped six of their last seven games. Earlier in the day, Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk became an unrestricted free agent after clearing unconditional waivers, allowing the Kings to terminate his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kovalchuk’s struggles with the Kings, there’s plenty of speculation suggesting the 36-year-old winger could end up with another NHL club. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.
The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their second straight win by downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal each scored twice, Dougie Hamilton collected three assists, and Andrei Svechnikov tallied his second lacrosse-style goal of the season. Meanwhile, the estranged relationship between the Jets and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien took a step toward improvement as the blueliner is rehabbing his injured ankle in consultation with the club. He remains under suspension for failing to report to training camp.
Seven unanswered goals powered the Nashville Predators to an 8-3 drubbing of the New York Islanders. Calle Jarnkork and Craig Smith each had three-point performances for the Predators. Meanwhile, Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang will report to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after a two-month absence.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang was told not to report to Bridgeport by Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello as the latter attempted to honor the winger’s trade request. Ho-Sang needs to play to drum up any interest from rival clubs.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice as his club held off the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 17 games with a goal and an assist.
The Columbus Blue Jackets swept their back-to-back series against the Detroit Red Wings with a 5-3 victory. Former Wing Gustav Nyquist picked up two points. Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returned to action for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 30. Jackets blueliner Ryan Murray is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Red Wings rearguard Danny DeKeyser is expected to miss the remainder of the season following back surgery on Tuesday. Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (groin injury) was sent to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made 40 stops in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who got a boost from Travis Konecny’s return to the lineup following a three-game absence recovering from a concussion. Ducks winger Troy Terry left the game with a knee injury in the second period.
The Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 3-1 lead but went on to edge the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a brilliant overtime goal by Anthony Cirelli. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) on injured reserve.
Carey Price kicked out 38 shots backstopping the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Tomas Tatar and Shea Weber each scored power-play goals. The Habs have won four of their last five and sit one point behind the Sabres for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced winger Jason Zucker is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE SCORE: Former NHLer and Colorado Eagles player Akim Aliu has accepted “a heartfelt and emotional apology” from Eagles equipment manager Tony Deynzer, who attended a team Halloween party in 2011 in blackface dressed as Aliu. Deynzer will keep his job with the club.
TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL defenseman Scot Kleinendorst died yesterday of injuries he suffered while on the job at a paper mill in Grand Rapids. He was 59. Kleinendorst spent eight seasons in the NHL from 1982-83 to 1989-90 with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, and Washington Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kleinendorst’s family, friends, and former teammates.