NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2022
Marc-Andre Fleury picks up a win in his return to Vegas, the Stars snap the Penguins’ 10-game win streak, the Sharks waive Evander Kane for the purpose of terminating his contract, the latest COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves in a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights as he faced his former team for the first time since being traded to Chicago last summer. Riley Stillman scored the game-winner in the second period. Fleury was greeted with a video tribute by the Golden Knights and a standing ovation from the Vegas crowd.
Third-period goals by Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz lifted the Dallas Stars over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2, snapping the latter’s 10-game winning streak. With 36 points, the Stars are three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
Tomas Hertl tallied a natural hat trick, including the winner in overtime, to rally the San Jose Sharks over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. James van Riemsdyk tallied both goals for the Flyers. With the win, the Sharks (39) are tied with the Los Angeles Kings but the latter holds the final Western Conference wild-card spot with a game in hand.
Speaking of the Kings, they got a 21-save shutout from Cal Petersen to blank the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Dustin Brown collected two assists for the Kings while the Red Wings (35 points) are three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
And speaking of the Bruins, David Pastrnak’s two first-period goals powered the Boston Bruins over the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Brad Marchand also scored twice for the Bruins. The Lightning (51 points) are tied with the Panthers but the latter holds first place in the overall standings due to two games in hand. Bruins forward Nick Foligno left the game with an injury in the first period and won’t play Monday against the Washington Capitals.
Meanwhile, the Panthers regained first place in the overall standings with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Anthony Duclair netted the game-winning goal, Carter Verhaeghe scored twice and Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (50 points) sit in third place.
A three-goal third-period outburst (including two by Ryan Lindgren) carried the New York Rangers over the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. With 50 points, the Rangers are tied with the Hurricanes in the overall standings but the latter has three games in hand.
The Colorado Avalanche overcame 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on an overtime goal by Devon Toews. Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen finished the night with four assists. Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice and Alex Kerfoot had a three-point game against his former club.
Shootout goals by Kevin Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau cemented a 3-2 comeback victory by the Minnesota Wild over the Washington Capitals. At one point, the Wild were down 2-0 but an errant pass by Carl Hagelin on a delayed penalty wound up in the Capitals’ empty net proved to be the turning point. Capitals goalie Zach Fucale set an NHL record for the longest sequence (138:31) without allowing a goal to start an NHL career. The Wild entered the game with Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin sidelined by injuries and Alex Goligoski in COVID protocol.
The Nashville Predators picked up their fourth straight win by doubling up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Juuse Saros picked up the win with 38 saves while Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each collected two points. The Predators (48 points) hold first place in the Central Division.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Jakub Voracek collected two assists for the Jackets.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks placed Evander Kane on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract over a breach of contract and violation of AHL COVID-19 protocols. Kane reportedly traveled to Vancouver while COVID positive.
Kane’s agent and the NHLPA intend to file a grievance on the winger’s behalf if he clears waivers today.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is satisfied the Sharks have sufficient grounds to terminate Kane’s contract. Peng also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting there’s a dispute over whether Kane had medical clearance to travel to Vancouver as well as his return to the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. The Sharks allege he was supposed to return on Dec. 31 but didn’t do so until Jan. 6.
CAP FRIENDLY: Kane will become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any other NHL club if the Sharks successfully terminate his contract. If he signs before the March 21 trade deadline he will also be allowed to participate in the NHL playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether Kane can find another NHL club willing to take a chance on him should his contract with the Sharks be terminated is another matter.
There have been rumors in recent weeks linking him to several teams. However, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak and Kevin Kurz cited two NHL executives suggesting Kane’s personal baggage and reputation could have an adverse effect upon his efforts to find another NHL home.
If the Sharks’ efforts are successful, Kane’s $7 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 will come off their books, It will free up valuable salary-cap space that they can put toward bolstering their roster or perhaps re-signing center Tomas Hertl.
SPORTSNET: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, New York Rangers winger Ryan Reaves, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust and San Jose Sharks center Nick Bonino were among the latest players placed on the COVID-19 protocol list.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Bob Edmundson, father of Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson, passed away on Friday at age 61 after battling lung cancer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Edmundson family.