NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2022

by | Dec 21, 2022 | News, NHL | 12 comments

Game recaps feature the Hurricanes, Leafs and Jets moving upward in the standings, Phil Kessel’s Ironman streak could soon come to an end, injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes stretched their points streak to 12 games by topping the New Jersey Devils 4-1, extending the latter’s winless skid to six games (0-5-1). Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 37 shots while Jordan Staal scored what proved to be the game-winning goal as the Hurricanes (20-6-6) moved ahead of the Devils into first place in the Metropolitan Division and second place overall in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. The Devils sit at 21-9-2 with 44 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After riding a 13-game win streak from late October to late November, the Devils are 5-6-2 in their last 13 contest. Their defense has been sloppy and they’re not cashing in on the power play, sitting 25th overall with a PP percentage of 19.2.

Third-period goals by Pierre Engvall and William Nylander gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nylander finished the night with a goal and an assist as the Leafs (20-7-6) snapped the Lightning’s five-game win streak and move into third overall in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. The Lightning dropped to 20-10-1.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes and Leafs have the same number of points but the former has a game in hand. Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin left the game late in the second period with a neck injury. He’ll undergo further evaluation today.

Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor and defenseman Josh Morrissey each extended their points streaks to 10 games with a 5-1 thrashing of the Ottawa Senators. Connor had two goals and an assist while Morrisey scored and collected an assist as the Jets (21-10-1, 43 points) sit one point behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division. The Senators slipped to 14-16-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck missed this game with a non-COVID illness. Earlier in the day, the Jets placed winger Blake Wheeler on injured reserve as he recovers from groin surgery.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner as his club held off the New York Rangers by a score of 3-2, snapping the latter’s seven-game win streak. Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots as the Penguins improved to 19-9-4. Chris Kreider tallied twice for the 18-11-5 Rangers.

The Seattle Kraken improved to 18-10-3 with a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Ryan Donato scored to extend his goal streak to four games while Morgan Geekie and Brandon Tanev each had two points for the Kraken. Pavel Buchnevich and Colton Parayko replied for the Blues (16-16-1) as their four-game winning streak comes to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues winger Jordan Kyrou missed this game with an upper-body injury suffered during Monday’s win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Calgary Flames forwards Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli each collected three points in a 7-3 thumping of the San Jose Sharks. Toffoli and Dillon Dube set a franchise record by scoring within the first 30 seconds as the Flames improved to 15-12-6 on the season. The Sharks fell to 10-18-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames activated defenseman Chris Tanev off injured reserve but placed blueliner Dennis Gilbert on IR. Meanwhile, Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro returned to action after missing 10 games with an injured foot. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced that winger Luke Kunin underwent season-ending knee surgery.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their third win in a row by downing the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Adrian Kempe collected two assists while Pheonix Copley kicked out 24 shots for the 18-12-5 Kings. Lukas Dostal made 37 saves for the Ducks as they slide to 9-21-3.

Philadelphia Flyers forwards Travis Konecny and Owen Tippett each scored twice and Carter Hart made 30 saves in a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers improved to 11-15-7 while the injury-depleted Blue Jackets (10-20-5) suffered their fifth straight defeat.


THE ATHLETIC: Phil Kessel’s Ironman streak (1,016 games) could be in jeopardy. He’s seeing declining ice time with the Vegas Golden Knights as he’s struggled of late, especially in his defensive play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 35, Kessel’s best days are behind him. The veteran winger could become a healthy scratch in the near future if his play doesn’t improve. Nevertheless, his consecutive games record won’t be falling anytime soon. The active player closest to him is 37-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns at 711 games.

YARDBARKER: Ryan McDonagh will return to the Nashville Predators lineup on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s missed the last seven games with a facial injury.

NESN: The Boston Bruins assigned winger Craig Smith to their AHL affiliate in Providence on Monday afternoon after he cleared waivers. The move frees up $1.125 million in cap space for the Bruins. It’s unclear if he will actually report to Providence.

CBS SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche winger Andrew Cogliano will miss the next two games with a shoulder injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: One of the victims in a condo shooting in Vaughan, Ontario, on Sunday was the maternal grandfather of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Victor Mete. Five people were killed in the mass shooting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Mete and his family as well as the families of the other victims.

OTTAWA SUN: NHL sources said it could take until March before we learn who the new owner of the Senators will be due to the league’s stringent vetting process of potential owners.

SB NATION: Former NHL defensemen Alex Biega and Brendan Guhle have announced their retirements.

Biega tallied 42 points in 243 career NHL games from 2014-15 to 2021-22 with the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Guhle had 14 points in 65 games with the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks from 2016-17 to 2021-22. He is the older brother of Montreal Canadiens blueliner Kaiden Guhle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to both players in their future endeavors.


  1. Nice win by Flames…. Knocking on Oil’s door

    Still a big surprise (at least for me); to see Krakken keep ploughing away with wins… good on ya!!

    Great to see Pens and Leafs win 1 goal games (discounting the 2 ENs) v key division rivals

    Leafs need 7 games like last night to get past round 1…. Doable; but must be all in; 60 mins (and maybe more); all 7 games

    To Rangers fans…. Yes Dumo should have been penalized late in the game; and Pens benefitted from 3 Rangers “off the iron and out”…. So this could easily have gone the other way

    Metro tight…. had Pens won v Canes….this morning would have seen 3-way ties for first in Metro; with Rangers only 3 points behind

    Sully… your stubbornness (faithfulness??) in playing CR is getting waaaaay too dangerous. Canes game was bad enough… but last night, were it not for 2 spectacular 10 bellers by Harry; a post; and another great play by P-O J…. Then CR would have directly caused 5 goals last night (instead of just 1).

    Pens up (tomorrow) against the hottest team in the NHL ; that already beat Pens last weekend…. CR out/Friedman in is a must.

    There is a possibility for being tied for first in Div; tied for 5th in League; as at Sat morning (for the break)…. A great Christmas present for Pens fans….. don’t ruin it just because you are keeping a promise (I can’t think why else you are playing him) to CR. Sit him; play Friedman.

    • Pengy, is there that big a difference between CR and this Friedman fella I have never heard of? Seems like a borderline NHL’er.

      I have to admit you have more passion for # 7 D-men than anyone I have ever met.

      On a positive note the Pens team defense/GA seems pretty good looking at the #’s, better than most. Good to see ex Oil King Jarry having another solid year. Kids a gamer.

      • Hi Ray

        Huge —- absolutely huge difference

        Only reason Friedman has not played; is Sully’s favouritism (promises made???) for/to Ruhweedel

        No other reason

        It is quite literally night and day

        CR :

        can’t clear anybody out from infront of the net;

        plays out of position 1/2 if his minutes;

        Repeatedly follows his D partner into D partner’s corner (partner already engaged with puck carrier)..,. thus leaving CR’s own man uncovered

        Continuously has unforced puck icings

        Brutal at giving/receiving passes

        Has serious trouble with clearing puck out of zone when pressure id on; leading often to prolonged onslaughts by opponents

        Takes stupid (and ill-timed) penalties

        Makes an awesome screen for his own goalies

        Often forgets what side of ice he is supposed to be on

        He has but one benefit…. He can sit for 3 months then come in and play 2 consecutive games (at less than 10 mins) for injury replacement…. And get by

        After that…. He forgets everything he learned by observing for 3 months; and his game progressively falters

        Good guy…. Good teammate …..Just not skilled enough to warrant NHL play

        It’s getting sad how much Sully shows favouritism to him

        Yes Pens D overall have been pretty fair

        They’d be that much better if CR was replaced by Friedman of Smith

  2. Correction: The Leafs have not won 5 in a row. They lost their previous 2 games, prior to the Tampa Bay game. The leafs snapped Tampa’s 5 game winning streak.

    • Isn’t that what is says?

  3. Pengy

    POJ got walked by Trocheck on the second goal so he is just as much to blame. He also let Kreider get in behind him for a clean breakaway chance. Maybe put Friedman on the left side with CR for a few games.

    • Hi SJPP

      Under no circumstances should that (P-O J out; Friedman in on left paired with CR) EVER be considered

      CR is by far Pens worst D. Not even close.

      Yes; Trochek around P-O J…. But EVERY single Pens got beat cleanly at least once by a forward last night (CR, 6 times!!!)

      But it was Ruhweedel’s absolute horrific butterfly dive on puck carrier (leaving his man open [2 on 1 …. Let goalie take “shooter” is how it should be played]) that caused the goal. No chance for Jarry.

      Also last night…. A post; 2 spectacular Jarry saves; and a bailout (again) by P-O J… saved another 4 that would have been due to CR (making it 5 in one night)

      Similarly against Canes last weekend… bailouts by Sid; De Smith; P-O J… or CR would have cost 3 more instead of 1

      3 unforced icings last night; errant pass after errant pass after errant pas; repeated failure to clear puck out of own end resulting in lengthy onslaughts, out of position many times; following P-O J into P-O J’s corner (P-O J already engaged with puck carrier) leaving his man wide open… 3 more times last night…. All from last night…. The list goes on and on

      I have no idea what insane promise Sully made to Ruhweedel …. He’s got to break that promise tomorrow night; put him in the press box; Friedman in

      I’m positive Ruhweedel is a nice guy and great team-mate…. we would have definitely heard about it if that was the case…But Sully has to think of the whole team not one player. Team first!!!

      Pens already have seen how costly Sully’s favouritism to JJ was (hello first round exits all on 1 player)

      P-O J has to repeatedly play as if it’s a 5-4 …. because CR is playing so very bad; and in a fog; and covering no one

      He’s (P-O J’s) been doing Yoemen’s work… but he can’t do it all

      See how well he plays when paired with ANYBODY not wearing #2…. Night and day

      CR out, Freidman in until Petry returns; is a must

      After freeze…. Seriously consider trading for Schenn (should have been done off-season)

  4. Well i went to the game last night, good night for Winnipeg and Batherson who dad is from my home town scored the Ottawa goal. Left with 6 mins and beat the rush.

    I sat two rows behind the players bench. I would have to say maybe one of the worst seats in the arena. Any play on the same side i was sitting blue line in you didn’t see and the other part you were looking thru two panes of glass.

    With that said if you wanted a close up of the players and see the speed of the game, and all the interactions on the bench including how much interactions the coaches have with the players.

    One thing stood out to me was watching Bowness, when he saw something he didn’t like defensively he was animated on the bench and we would talk to the coach and tell him what he expected, who then talked to the player when he came off the ice.

    They announced Morrissey 200 career point last night. As Morrissey was almost sitting directly in front of me and the teammates did the stick tap against the board; however, oddly in my view, not one teammate went and tapped him or congratulated him or even looked at him.

    To say i didn’t really watch much of the game would be an accurate statement.

  5. Crosby 33
    Robertson 30
    Karlsson 30

    These are your top 3 even strength point producer.

    Over 50% of McDavid points and just under 50% of Draisaitl points come on the power play.

    McDavid is 4th in evp and Draisaitl 8th

    David Pastrnak ranks 6th in points and 32nd in evp which ranks him 1st among bruin players.

    What is my point

    1. Crosby is still a beast
    2. Stay out of the box against Edmonton
    3. How much does Boston want to invest in Pastrnak on a long term deal.

  6. The Senators are really showing the fatigue of having so many top players sidelined. They managed some good wins there, but seem to be losing steam. Hope some healthy bodies get back in the lineup soon!

    Also YAY on Artem Zub’s extension.

    • Seems like a reasonable deal for Zub both in $ and term.

      • Agreed.