NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2021
The Canucks remain unbeaten since their coaching change, the Flyers’ Claude Giroux reaches a milestone, changes made to COVID protocol rules, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to seven games with a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on an overtime goal by J.T. Miller. Ducks Sam Carrick opened the scoring but Tanner Pearson tied it for the Canucks. It was a costly loss for the Ducks as defenseman Cam Fowler suffered an upper-body injury in the first period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An impressive turnaround by the Canucks since hiring Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. With 32 points, they’re just four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Claude Giroux collected his 600th career assist as his Philadelphia Flyers picked up a 3-2 overtime victory against the Seattle Kraken. Giroux now sits second all-time among Flyers scorers with 884 career points. James van Riemsdyk scored twice including the game-tying goal that set the stage for Ivan Provorov’s game-winner. Martin Jones made 34 saves for the win.
The Washington Capitals blew a 3-0 lead but rallied to down the Nashville Predators 5-3 on third-period goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carl Hagelin. Washington defenseman John Carlson finished the night with a goal and three assists. With 45 points, the Capitals moved to within one point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.
Third-period goals by MacKenzie Weegar, Carter Verhaeghe and Anthony Duclair carried the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 30 shots for the Panthers as they picked up their league-leading 15th home win. Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist.
The St. Louis Blues extended their home points streak to 10 games by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Jordan Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal and two assists for the Blues. With 41 points, they’re one back of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Oilers goalie Mike Smith made 29 saves in his first game since being sidelined by an ankle injury on Oct. 19.
New Jersey Devils forwards Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. The win snaps a six-game losing skid for the Devils. Sabres forward Tage Thompson scored twice.
NHL.COM: The NHL and NHL Players Association agreed to reduce the isolation period for a positive COVID test from 10 days to five for fully vaccinated players and hockey operations staff, including coaches. That’s in line with new guidelines announced earlier this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. However, the 10-day isolation period remains in effect in Canada based on federal and provincial guidelines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication yet if the federal and respective provincial governments in Canada will also lower their isolation guidelines or provide exemptions for the NHL.
SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser and Pittsburgh Penguins Kasperi Kapanen were among a handful of players added to the COVID protocol yesterday.
NHL.COM: The International Ice Hockey Federation yesterday canceled the remainder of the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship after the United States, Czechia and Russia forfeited games when players tested positive for COVID-19.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: IIHF president Luc Tardiff said the federation hopes to continue the WJC in the summer of 2022 in Canada.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of NHL draft picks were participating in this tournament. It was also an opportunity for fans to catch their first glimpse of notable prospects such as the Kingston Frontenac’s Shane Wright, considered the favorite to be the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
There’s also talk that players in this tournament who turn 20 before next summer will be allowed to participate in the IIHF’s plans for a summer event. There are also said to be plans afoot to stage other canceled tournaments this summer, including the recently canceled Women’s Under-18 Championship.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anze Kopitar recently picked up his 673rd career NHL assist to move past Wayne Gretzky into second place among the Kings’ all-time scorers in that category. The milestone came during the Kings’ 6-3 loss on Tuesday to the Vegas Golden Knights.