NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2021
A hat-trick performance for Mark Scheifele, Igor Shesterkin injury clouds Rangers win, Canadiens’ hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton meets the Montreal media and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Mark Scheifele tallied a hat track to lead the Winnipeg Jets over the New Jersey Devils 8-4. The Devils overcame a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead before the Jets put them away with five unanswered goals. Nikolaj Ehlers also scored twice for the Jets to hand the Devils their third straight loss.
The New York Rangers’ 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks was overshadowed by Igor Shesterkin’s lower-body injury that forced the Blueshirts goaltender from the game in the third period. Ryan Strome netted the only goal. Alexandar Georgiev made nine saves to preserve the shutout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shesterkin has been stellar this season for the Rangers, ranking among the early favorites for the Vezina Trophy. Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said the training staff indicated his injury wasn’t as serious as it looked when he had to be helped from the ice. He’s listed as day-to-day but there’s concern among some observers that this could be a prolonged absence.
Max Pacioretty scored two goals as the Vegas Golden Knights trounced the Arizona Coyotes 7-1. Shea Theodore and Reilly Smith each collected two points and Laurent Brossoit kicked out 29 shots.
The Seattle Kraken picked up their third straight home victory by holding off the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Alex Wennberg’s second-period goal proved to be the game-winner while teammate Adam Larsson scored against his former club. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. The Kraken played without Jaden Schwartz, Jordan Eberle and Calle Jarnkrok as all three are listed as day-to-day.
Shootout goals by Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist while Dan Vladar made 31 saves in regulation and overtime. Earlier in the day, the Ducks learned captain Ryan Getzlaf is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf was having a strong start to this season. With 20 points in 23 games, he already exceeded the 17 points he had in 48 contests last season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jeff Gorton, the Canadiens’ new executive VP of hockey operations, had his first press conference with the Montreal media yesterday. He said he’s looking at all options for the club’s next general manager and acknowledged former Canadiens star Patrick Roy’s interest in the job. However, Stu Cowan believes two other former Habs – Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere – are the leading candidates for the job.
Gorton indicated head coach Dominique Ducharme will remain in his job for the rest of the season. He also said he intends to improve the club’s player development and analytics departments.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gorton made it very clear he and whoever becomes the next GM will be looking at everything with regards to improving the team and its direction. That also includes examining where several players on long-term contracts might fit into their plans. His intention to improve player development is long overdue given how poorly the Canadiens have drafted and developed talent in recent years.
Speaking of the Canadiens, defenseman Jeff Petry is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson will be sidelined for three months following neck surgery. He underwent artificial disc-replacement surgery, the same procedure Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel had last month. The Blackhawks also placed defenseman Connor Murphy on concussion protocol. There is no timetable for his return.