NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2022

by | Dec 16, 2022 | News, NHL | 21 comments

Recaps of Thursday’s games, the league could consider changing its schedule next season to encourage more rivalries and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to upset the Boston Bruins 3-2 on a shootout goal by Trevor Moore. Adrian Kempe scored twice in the third period and Pheonix Copley made 33 saves for the Kings, who improved their record to 16-12-5. Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand tallied for the Bruins (23-4-2), who remain first overall with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Kings announced Moore signed a five-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.2 million. The 27-year-old winger was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent and is earning $1.875 million on his current deal. He’s turned into a reliable second-line winger for the Kings with 18 points in 33 games this season.

A two-goal performance by Reilly Smith carried the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Logan Thompson made 24 saves for the win as the Golden Knights (22-9-1) moved one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils into second place in the overall standings with 45 points. Blackhawks winger Tyler Johnson reaggravated his left ankle and didn’t play in the third period as his club fell into last overall with a record of 7-17-4 (18 points).

The Devils, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Travis Konecny broke a 1-1 tie in the third period while Carter Hart stopped 48 shots as they improved to 10-14-7. Jack Hughes scored for the 21-7-2 Devils. The Flyers played without Tony DeAngelo as he was placed on non-roster status for personal reasons due to the death of his grandmother.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to DeAngelo and his family.

New York Rangers winger Jimmy Vesey scored twice to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Vincent Trocheck had two assists while Igor Shesterkin stopped 22 shots to boost the Rangers’ record to 16-10-5. The Leafs (19-6-6) lost in regulation for the first time in 16 games while Mitch Marner’s points streak ended at 23 games.

The Dallas Stars rode a 45-save performance by Jake Oettinger to a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Jamie Benn and Colin Miller scored in the third period as the Stars improved to 18-8-5 on the season. Connor Sheary tallied for the Capitals (15-13-4) while Alex Ovechkin remains at 800 career goals, one back of Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel scored two goals while Kris Letang had a goal and an assist to double up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Sidney Crosby collected two assists for the 18-8-4 Penguins. The Panthers (14-13-4) played without Matthew Tkachuk as the winger was sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.

St. Louis Blues winger Jordan Kyrou (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored but left the game because the puck deflected in off his right knee, leaving him in considerable pain. However, he’s expected to be okay. Following the game, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said the preliminary prognosis is positive.

A shootout goal by Jordan Kyrou lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 comeback win over the Edmonton Oilers. Kyrou scored and collected two assists in regulation as Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko scored two unanswered goals in the third period for the 14-15-1 Blues. Connor McDavid scored his league-leading 27th goal and become the first NHL player this season to reach 60 points but his Oilers dropped to 17-13-1.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel scored twice and added an assist in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nikita Kucherov had three assists for the 19-9-1 Lightning while the Jackets fall to 10-17-2.

An overtime goal by Kyle Connor lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Nashville Predators 2-1. Dylan DeMelo also scored for the Jets as they improved to 19-9-1. Filip Forsberg replied for the Predators (12-12-4) while teammate Juuse Saros stopped 39 shots. Jets defenseman Nate Schmidt left this game with an upper-body injury.

A 39-save performance by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen gave the Buffalo Sabres a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres (14-14-2). Valeri Nichushkin collected two assists for the Avalanche (15-11-2). Colorado winger Evan Rodrigues returned to action for the first time since suffering a leg injury on Nov. 23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thompson sits second to McDavid with 24 goals on the season. Meanwhile, Sabres defenseman Owen Power missed this game after suffering a lower-body injury during the pregame warm-up.

The Carolina Hurricanes extended their points streak to nine games as they held off the Seattle Kraken by a score of 3-2. Andrei Svechnikov netted his team-leading 16th goal of the season for the Hurricanes (17-6-6). Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer kicked out 36 shots but his club dropped to 16-10-3.

The Anaheim Ducks blew a 2-0 lead but netted three unanswered third-period goals to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. John Klingberg tallied twice for the Ducks (8-20-3) as they snapped a nine-game road losing streak. Cole Caufield tallied both goals for the 14-14-2 Canadiens.


SPORTICO: The NHL is said to be considering overhauling its schedule for next season to create more games between geographical rivals in the hope of generating more revenue. It could result in those rivals playing as many as eight times in a season.

TSN: Chris Johnston reports he’s told it’s “not accurate” that teams will meet as much as eight games in a season. While some teams would like to face rivals more often, Johnston said there’s only so much that can be done if teams are going to play in all 32 arenas in a season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league has increased games among rivals with mixed results.

While some rivalries are long-standing and popular among their supporters, it comes at the cost of seeing stars from other clubs less often. For example, increasing the number of regular-season meetings between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers would mean fans in other NHL cities would see less of a superstar like Connor McDavid, who can be a good box-office draw for struggling clubs.

Another problem with staging more games against rivals is when one of the teams is among the league’s top clubs while the other is rebuilding. Fans want intense, evenly-matched games in those series. It takes the shine off those match-ups if one of the teams is dominating the other.

The New York Islanders have placed sidelined defenseman Adam Pelech (upper body) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 6.


  1. From a fan’s perspective I, for one, could not possibly care less about “geographic rivalries.”

    • I’m with George on this one. It seems to be a solution looking for a problem.

      There are a bunch of teams with no ‘natural’ rival, so then they’re going to force a rival upon them. Carolina, Nashville, Arizona, Columbus, for example.

      Also, many teams whose ‘rival’ is not reciprocated. Thinking Buffalo, for starters. Their rival, I guess, would be Toronto. But Buffalo is not Toronto’s rival.

      And nobody wants to see any team 8 times.

      • Toronto or Buffalo? I’d rather see Buffalo with their young stars.

      • I agree it would be like brining back the COVID divisions when it was a wash rinse repeat with the same teams…Hated it!

  2. i for one would rather see more divisional games rather than vs other divisions. it’s ridiculous to see the Devils play the Rangers and Flyers only 3 times so they can play the Coyotes 2x a year

    team should play other division team at most 2x (maybe even just 1x a year) and increase the divisional games, which usually get better crowds anyway

    • I agree with you. I for one am tired of every Oilers game in Florida starting at 1 pm and every game at MSG starting at 11 am. So, I’m for leaving those two games off of the Oilers schedule and replacing them with more Flames and Canucks.

    • The problem with that formula mikeP, is when one division becomes significantly stronger up and down the 8 teams, while another of the 4 divisions has several bottom dwellers – a scenario that does crop up fairly frequently. So, while teams in the strong division hammer one another more frequently, the stronger teams in the division with several bottom dwellers have a much easier schedule.

      • Current examples would be the Atlantic where 7 of the 8 teams are playing .500 or better while the 8th team – Ottawa – is on a ,483 pace and closing the gap on .500 by going 7-2-1 in their past 10.

        The Central, meanwhile, has Chicago struggling at a .321 pace, Arizona not much better at .407, and St. Louis at .483.

      • In the last few seasons, the Atlantic did have two or three of the stronger teams in it, but the division also had two or three of the weakest teams in Ottawa, Detroit, Buffalo, and Montreal. It all evens out and rarely affects the playoff matchups.

      • Don’t the owners drive it as well? Original 6 teams on the road often draw better, low-attendance teams like having Montreal come through for an easy sellout. Does the NHL have any deadweight teams that can’t support themselves?

  3. SOP, nice Marner/Leaf jinx yesterday. Well played.

    • Hahaha! I was thinking the same thing last night.

  4. So, not blaming the refs for the Oil loss last night, they blew a 2 goal lead with 10 minutes left.
    But the off side ruling in the situation room doesn’t jive with the language of the rule IMO.

    So yes, some clarity is required as per McDavid’s point.

    • This is super frustrating. Dustin Nielson tweeded a video of a play very similar play to McDavid’s that was reviewed and the goal stood. IMO the NHL needs to get rid of the offside reviews.
      Here is the link to Nielson’s tweet.
      The interesting thing is a former NHL referee, Dave Jackson, comments on it.

    • Holy sh%t …. Did not see game; had only seen highlight of McDs goal

      Just watched the Vid of the OT goal called back… what the ??

      Avs goal last playoffs counts, that one doesn’t ? Yikes…. Is the Edmonton radio waves all over this today??

  5. I imagine a team in the east enjoys their trip to LA, Ana, SJ, Vegas and Arz but not so much Edm, Cal, Wpg and Minny in the Winter.

    The schedule itself doesn’t change much year to year. I can tell you Boston for the passed several years always come to Winnipeg in March. This season it’s March 16th and Minny and Chicago are part of that road trip.

    • Come through Alberta in Feb Caper, seems like every year it is the same, but might be wrong.

      Will be there of course.

  6. Streak over…. But deservedly so… Rangers deserved the win…. Leafs certainly had the refs skewed their way for the first period…Shesterkin should have had a shutout…. The bunting “chicken-wing” hold of stick then pulled out stick…. Not called … instead of penalty… bunting gets a goal. Vesey goal was nice…. sprawling butterfly Brodie didn’t look pretty; but the tight roof-daddy did

    Would love for the MM streak to have continued…. c’est la vie (sp?)

    Good for the Pens win…. Hopefully Gino’s GWG doesn’t cost him any time…. Full force Sid blast caromed off his unprotected leg just above knee….. looked bad

    Another beauty by McD…. Mind boggling

    Re any revamp of sched…. I would like to see mor B2Bs of same teams

    Even without changing number of Div match ups; if you increase the number of Intra-Div B2Bs (and increase the number of same to two teams B2B [within Div] while decreasing same number of inter-Div and inter-Conf B2Bs…. rivalries increase; both teams equally rested; likely more exciting games; less travel…. Much better IMVHO

    For instance…. Oct 12/13… Leafs were in Montreal then had to fly back to take on Washington

    Make those Home and Home Habs/Leafs B2B; have Wash game on a 3 game road trip 6 days… Habs, Sens; Leaf’s; and subsequently Wash could do B2B home/away with Carolina

    Devils v Isles; Devils v Rangers; Rangers v Isles; Ducks v Kings ; Ducks v Knights; Knights v I
    Kings etc etc

    Make at least 4 of those close geo intra Div games… usually 5 or 6 played against each Div foe; as Home and home B2Bs

    Doing just that doesn’t change the current match-up mix…. superstars still get to every arena ….. yes even the desert barn

    • Omg!

  7. Check the NFL divisions. Then stick to a balanced schedule.

  8. Nate Schmidt didn’t “miss the game”, he left the game after a blindside, cheap shot hit to his head by Jeannot. No penalty of course either.