NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2020
Oilers captain Connor McDavid dazzles against the Maple Leafs, the Predators fired head coach Peter Laviolette, the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied a highlight-reel goal to lead his Edmonton Oilers over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4. McDavid also collected three assists while teammate Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This looks like a goal of the year candidate.
WHAT A MOVE. WHAT A GOAL. 🤯
New year, same Connor McDavid. 💁♂️ pic.twitter.com/mwNERgAx0X
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2020
Ilya Kovalchuk picked up an assist in his first game with the Montreal Canadiens, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Habs from suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had two points for the Jets, while former Jet Ben Chiarot tallied both Montreal goals. The Canadiens are winless in their last six games (0-5-1).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick a fork in the Habs, their playoff hopes are done like dinner. They’re six points out of a wild-card spot and struggling to score with four of their top forwards (including Jonathan Drouin and Brendan Gallagher) on the shelf. Die-hards will point to the St. Louis Blues rallying from dead-last in the league at this stage last season to win the Stanley Cup, but that was an anomaly. The Canadiens lack the Blues’ depth of talent to reach the playoffs, let alone win the Cup.
Former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 32-save shutout against his old club backstopping the New York Islanders to a 1-0 victory. Anders Lee tallied the game’s only goal.
Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 35 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois each collected two points for the Jackets, who are 9-1-4 in their last 14 contests.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday fired head coach Peter Laviolette and associate coach Kevin McCarthy. During his 5 1/2 seasons with the Predators, he guided them to a 248-143-60 record. They also marched to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators were hoping to contend for the Cup this season, but they’re sitting second-last in the Central Division and in danger of missing the playoffs. This move is being interpreted as general manager David Poile not giving up on the season, but it might not be his only move if the club fails to respond. Laviolette’s replacement is expected to be announced later today.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele, and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 5.
AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are seeing a significant increase in attendance and local TV ratings since acquiring winger Taylor Hall last month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes are jockeying with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. Barring a total collapse in the second half, they have the look of a playoff club.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.