NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2022

by | Dec 18, 2022 | News, NHL | 14 comments

The Bruins are the first team to reach 50 points this season, Alex Pietrangelo returns for the Golden Knights, the once red-hot Devils suffer their fifth straight loss, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins are the first team to reach 50 points this season as they doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, extending their home points streak to 18 games. David Pastrnak tallied his 20th goal of the season while Jeremy Swayman made 31 saves and narrowly missed scoring an empty-net goal. The Bruins (24-4-2) hold a five-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the overall standings. Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist for the 10-18-2 Blue Jackets.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Golden Knights (22-10-1), they suffered their fifth straight home loss by dropping a 5-2 decision to the New York Islanders. Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves for the win despite leaving late in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Zach Parise and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 18-13-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned to the lineup for the first time since taking a leave of absence for personal reasons on Nov. 27. He explained that his four-year-old daughter took ill over the American Thanksgiving weekend resulting in a lesion on her brain that required hospitalization. Her condition has since improved and she is expected to make a full recovery.

In other Golden Knights news, Paul Cotter missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Vegas sits first overall in the Western Conference with 45 points. Meanwhile, the Islanders played without Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri, who are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

The Florida Panthers dropped the New Jersey Devils 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Sam Reinhart scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots as the Panthers improved to 15-13-4. John Marino and Erik Haula replied for the 21-8-2 Devils, who sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 44 points and a game in hand over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Panthers as captain Aleksander Barkov left the game late in the first period with a possible knee injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman Erik Gustafsson tallied his first career hat trick to lead his club to a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Sonny Milano collected three assists and Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves as the Capitals move to 16-13-4 on the season. Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs (19-7-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie left this game with an upper-body injury. The Caps were already shorthanded entering this contest with Nic Dowd (lower body) and Hunter Shepard (upper body) on the sidelines.

An overtime goal by Martin Necas lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Dallas Stars 5-4 to extend their points streak to 10 games. Necas, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes (18-6-6) moved to within two points of the Devils in the Metropolitan Division. Jason Robertson collected three assists for the 18-8-6 Stars, who sit atop the Central Division with 42 points.

The Winnipeg Jets (20-9-1) moved to within a point of the Stars in the Central with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kyle Connor and Sam Gagner each had a goal and an assist while Pierre-Luc Dubois picked up three assists. Bo Horvat replied for the Canucks as they fell to 13-14-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without Blake Wheeler (groin injury) and Nate Schmidt (upper body) as they’re both sidelined for at least a month. Canucks forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser missed this contest with a non-COVID illness.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel scored twice and chipped in an assist as his club dumped the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (20-9-1) as they move to within three points of the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Nick Suzuki replied for the Canadiens (14-15-2) as they fall into the bottom of their division with 30 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson returned to the lineup following a four-game absence with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Habs moved blueliner David Savard to injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 4.

The New York Rangers extended their winning streak to six games with a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Artemi Panarin and K’Andre Miller each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (17-10-5) sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points. Carter Hart made 29 saves for the 10-15-7 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers placed winger Cam Atkinson on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined the entire season with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. Alexandar Georgiev made 25 saves for the win as the Avalanche improved to 16-11-2 and sit fourth in the Central Division with 34 points. Matt Duchene scored for the 12-13-4 Predators.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson scored his 25th goal of the season in a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Jeff Skinner returned to the Sabres lineup following a three-game suspension and tallied twice. The Sabres (15-14-2) have won three straight. Connor Ingram kicked out 38 shots for the Coyotes as they drop to 10-15-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes played without Liam O’Brien as they announced earlier in the day that he’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 46-save performance by Lukas Dostal to upset the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. John Klingberg broke a 3-3 tie for the Ducks (9-20-3) after the Oilers (17-14-1)had overcome a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period. Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist.

Special teams made the difference for the Ottawa Senators as they clipped the Detroit Red Wings 6-3, tallying three power-play goals and two short-handed tallies. Alex DeBrincat had three assists as the Senators improved to 14-14-2. Olli Maatta returned to the Red Wings (13-11-6) following a four-game absence due to a non-COVID illness. The Wings have now lost five straight contests.

Shootout goals by Kevin Fiala and Trevor Moore gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Phillip Danault and Josh Anderson-Dolan scored for the Kings (17-12-5) while Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc replied for the Sharks as they fell to 10-16-6.


  1. If ever we needed a reminder that any team in the NHL, no matter how bad a season they’re having, can rise up and bite you where it hurts, Anaheim did just that. After coming east and getting hammered by a combined 10-0 in their first two games in Ottawa and Toronto, they go into Montreal’s barn and clip them 5-2 and then, just to show it was no fluke, two night later do the same thing to Edmonton in their rink (4-3). Moral: if you take a night off you can kiss 2 points goodbye – no matter the opposition.

    • George O, you are right on buddy, see it happen with the Avalanche a lot? They think they don’t have to focus against someone like Philadelphia or Buffalo and it comes back to bite them in the ass!!! Hopefully, they got their heads on straight? Good effort last night vs Nashville. They were ready to go from the opening drop of the puck. GO AVS!!!!!

  2. George.
    No doubt any nhl team can beat any other club at anytime. With full effort and some puck luck No freebies in the league

    • A variation of “you snooze you lose”

      • And New Jersey is another reminder of how swiftly things can turn around. Losses here and there among top teams – as with Boston, Tampa, Toronto etc. – are one thing (and not unexpected) but when a team suffers 5 in a row after riding high early, it’s usually an indication that the opposition has a definite game plan to shut down their leading scorers and/or have developed a “book” on where to direct shots on the goalies. Oct-Nov hockey often resembles April-May baseball in that unexpected teams ride high in the standings but when the season reaches mid-December (or mid-June in baseball) things begin to settle into place as expected.

  3. Torts had his leading scorer, Kevin Hayes, scratched. Or is there a move to be made?

    • Something like that is often followed by a trade … but isn’t the Holiday trade “freeze” in effect?

      • Torts had benched him during previous game. Something to watch in coming weeks. Philly would need to retain salary if Hayes is dealt after freeze.

      • The holiday freeze goes into effect at 11:59 pm ET on Dec. 19 and runs to 12:01 am ET on Dec. 28.

      • Freeze is tomorrow at midnight.

      • Thanks Lyle … so, a move today or tomorrow is still possible. Stay tuned!

      • On that subject, and being a C with considerable experience (he’s been close to or over 50% on faceoffs throughout his career), Hayes could be seen as the asnwer by more than one contender needing to shore up that key position. And with 9g 20a 29pts in 31gp with a struggling team it’s not like he’s fallen off a cliff. Yes, his -12 also stands out, but then again, the Flyers, with 106ga and a differential of -29 are not exactly festooned with + players.

        It’s that $7,142,857 cap hit with 3 years to run that could stand in the way … unless there’s a real “hockey deal” out there with a like cap hit at another position that comes back.

      • Another deal I was glad to watch NY run away from.

        Always liked him, solid guy but the ink wasn’t dry when this deal went sideways.

      • Captain Obvious, until I checked out his history in Wikipedia I never realized the somewhat strangeness surrounding his various career moves, e.g.

        “In the 2018–19 season, his fifth with the Rangers, Hayes increased his offensive output, contributing 42 points in 51 games … Despite his strong record, after missing nine games with an upper-body injury, he acknowledged his tenure with the team might be ending. A few days after making this statement, he was traded at the NHL trade deadline to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Brendan Lemieux and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Hayes learned about the trade after Jets winger Blake Wheeler texted him “Welcome to the team.” Upon being acquired by the Winnipeg Jets, Hayes was placed on a line with Mark Scheifele and Wheeler … playing on a line with Kyle Connor, Hayes helped the Jets qualify for the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.

        Hayes’ negotiating rights were traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 3, 2019, for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2019 Entry Draft. Later, on June 19, the Flyers signed Hayes to a seven-year, $50 million contract with an annual average of $7.14 million. The trade to Philadelphia meant a reunion for Hayes and Vigneault, who was hired as the Flyers head coach after being fired from the Rangers in 2018.”

        Heck of a trade return differential between what the Rangers got from the Jets and what the Jets got from Philadelphia.