NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2022

by | Dec 28, 2022 | News, NHL | 23 comments

The schedule resumes with the Hurricanes extending their win streak to nine games, Connor McDavid stretching his points streak to 16 games and Jamie Benn reaching a Stars milestone. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their win streak to nine games by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots for the shutout while Martin Necas, Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook were the goal scorers as the Hurricanes (23-6-6, 52 points) hold a six-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Petr Mrazek made 46 saves for the Blackhawks (8-21-4) sitting in last place in the overall standings with 20 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid stretched his points streak to 16 games by scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. McDavid leads the league with 31 goals while Stuart Skinner kicked out 46 shots for the win as the Oilers improved to 19-15-2. Mikael Backlund scored for the Flames as they dropped to 16-13-7.

The Vancouver Canucks are over .500 for the first time this season (16-15-3) as they downed the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Bo Horvat and Ilya Mikheyev each had four points for the Canucks. Timo Meier scored twice and Erik Karlsson collected two assists to extend his points streak to a career-high 10 games for the 11-19-6 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s hoping sidelined starting goaltender Thatcher Demko can return in mid-January but remains uncertain if he’ll be back before February. Demko’s been out with a lower-body injury since Dec. 1.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored his 343rd career goal and Roope Hintz tallied twice in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Benn moved past Brian Bellows into second place on the Stars’ all-time goals list. With 48 points (21-9-6), Dallas moves to within one point of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Juuse Saros made 30 saves for the Predators as they slipped to 14-14-5. Predators forward Matt Duchene missed this game as his wife was giving birth to the couple’s baby daughter.

The Ottawa Senators (15-16-3) got a 49-save performance from Cam Talbot to upset the Boston Bruins 3-2 on a shootout goal by Alex DeBrincat, who also scored in regulation. Jake DeBrusk tallied his 14th goal of the season for the Bruins (27-4-3), who remain atop the overall standings with 57 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. There was no update as to his condition following the game.

An overtime goal by William Nylander lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs past the St. Louis Blues 5-4 after the Blues (16-16-3) overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits to force the extra frame. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and two assists for the Leafs (22-7-6) while Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou were among the Blues scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues played without defenseman Torey Krug as he was placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury. He’s expected to be re-evaluated in six weeks. The Leafs, meanwhile, placed forward Nick Robertson and defenseman Victor Mete on LTIR.

The Los Angeles Kings doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson each collecting a goal and two assists. The Kings (20-12-6, 46 points) move within three points of the Golden Knights (24-12-1), who sit atop the Western Conference with 49 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings forward Trevor Moore missed this game for undisclosed reasons. The Kings also placed Arthur Kaliyev (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 20. Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez departed in the second period with an injured leg after blocking a shot by Kings forward Alex Iafallo.

Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves to blank the New York Rangers 4-0. Marcus Johansson, Erik Gustafsson, Lars Eller and Conor Sheary were the goal scorers as the Capitals (20-13-4) picked up their fifth straight win and their 10th in their last 11 contests. Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 shots for the 19-12-5 Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen left the game in the final minutes after being struck in the face by the puck. Earlier in the day, they placed blueliner John Carlson (facial injury) on injured reserve.

New York Islanders forwards Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal each tallied twice in a 5-1 romp over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders improved to 20-14-2 but lost winger Oliver Wahlstrom to injury after he was cross-checked in the first period by Pittsburgh defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph. The Penguins slide to 19-10-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins recalled defenseman Mark Friedman from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Minnesota Wild (20-12-2) picked up their seventh victory in their last eight games by dropping the Winnipeg Jets 4-1, handing the latter their third straight defeat. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist while Filip Gustavsson made 36 saves for the Wild. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied for the Jets (21-13-1).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without rookie forward Cole Perfetti as he’s out for at least a week with an injured shoulder. Wild defenseman Jake Middleton missed this game with a non-COVID illness.

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz each had a goal and an assist for the 12-16-5 Coyotes. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche as they dropped to 19-12-2.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers got some good news as goaltender Carter Hart skated with his teammates in practice on Tuesday. He suffered what appeared to be an upper-body injury during Friday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes following a collision with Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings assigned forward Jakub Vrana to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. Vrana hasn’t played since Oct. 15 before entering the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens recalled defenseman Justin Barron from their AHL affiliate in Laval.


  1. George. Heck of a fame by Talbot last night. Especially in the third Bruins deserved better but he simply wouldn’t allow it to happen

    • Unforntunately the refs missed the too many men on the ice on Ottawa second goal. The puck hit the players skate who was going off the ice, while his replacement was already on the ice. That is too many men on the ice.

      Wasn’t as bad as the miss in Winnipeg Kyle Connor skating with the puck gets high stick, immediately drops his stick and plays continue; meanwhile Connor has a gash and blood running down his face. If your not watching the player with the puck, what are you watching? This penalty can be called by the refs and linesman all 4 missed.

      Back to Ottawa game, I like Ottawa size and speed, Sanderson got so get up and go. Disappointing season so far but the future looks bright.

      • That was a brutal missed call on Connor. Jets haven’t caught many breaks recently, that will come around.

        In addition to Perfetti (#2 LW) being out they are also missing Wheeler, Ehlers and Appleton (#1,2&3 RW) and Manolinen who had claimed the #3 LW spot. The game was played with 5 forwards who started the season in the AHL and looks like that will be how it is for another week or two. Unfortunatly it is in the middle of their heaviest part of the season (16 games in 31 days). Look for them to slip down the standings a little before improving.

  2. Cam Talbot was a world beater last night wow Bruins peppered him with shot after scoring chance after shot.

    • Heh. Yeah. Games like that come along every once in a while when a goalie for a lower-half team stands on his head facing the top rated team. But if the Senators think they can put together any sort of winning streak while allowing upwards of 50 shots against per game they’re whistling Dixie.

      I notice Zub wasn’t in the line-up – I thought he was due to come off the IR for that one. Maybe now, with Zaitsev going down with an injury, and Bernard-Docker ready to return, Smith will have no option but to play him – and possibly Thomson – on a regular basis the rest of the way.

      Nutshell: the Bruins should have had 2 points. That is a well-balanced team with no discernible major weak spots.

  3. @George

    Did you not know the Leafs game was on last night vs St.Louis .

    I wish the Leafs had Talbot in net

    • Oh I knew it was on. Saw large parts of it … including the 21st goal of the season (to lead the team by a fairly wide margin) by the guy some think should be sacrificed in a trade for a top D-man. I think that suggestion should be laid to rest and, from what I’m seeing, their D is just fine. If there was a weak spot last night it might have been Samsonov who’d likely wish to have back at least 2 of those goals.

      • Hi George

        I am in total agreement with you , as per Nylander not being sacrificed for a top D- man.
        I am not minding their defense, the Swedish pair in particular have drastically matured .
        Holl even looks better
        Timmins , I think is ok for now as well
        I think the trade bait should be Morgan Reilly , as per a previous note of yours, that I am in agreement with
        Samsonov – It feels like dejavu all over again , as per Jack Campbell’s spirits visiting us once again .
        A back up goaltender should seriously be considered as well .
        If there is a trade to made, I strongly believe it should be for a power left winger to compliment the second line .

        Any known defenseman out there as trade bait, the partner is held for ransom

        Leafs can dangle an elite defenseman of their own , in which I already know – Dubais will not entertain !

    • You must mean the Talbot from that one game, right? Otherwise you want a goalie who’s been worse as your goalie? Interesting take. I don’t get it but whatever.

      Gotta say, that Holmberg kid looks like a smart defensive player. For a rookie, he looked pretty good out there. His line (4th) was caught out there a few times against the Blues top two including a few icings and even after losing the draw, he and his line mates squashed any offensive opportunities the Blues had. His offensive instincts are also pretty high and seems to have a good tool box of tricks to go with it.
      I’m just mentioning this because it’s a big glaring hole this team had and just wondering/hoping he can fill it as so far, I’m sold – considering he’s a rookie and can develop into it pretty soon.

      • Hold the phone,, Ron. Aside from your understandable tendency to counter any and all criticisms of the Leafs, even in the face of the team enjoying a great season so far, please keep in mind that Talbot is playing behind a D and F complement that is among the highest in the league at shots/chances allowed on a nightly basis and that, despite that, in 20gp he has a 2.66gaa and a save % of 0.915.

        All things being equal, and considering the number of shots/chances allowed nightly, that compares more than favorably with the stats for Murray (13gp 2.34gaa and0.925 save %) and Samsonov (14gp 2.20gaa and 0.920 save %).

        Would Talbot make the Leafs significantly better? Probably not … but let’s give credit where credit is due.

      • I see your point George but everyone including me thought the Leafs blew their chance to nab a good goalie. Like the two they went with are either over preforming, about what they are, or the Leafs defense is making them better.

        You’re speculating that Talbot (a career back up) but maybe ready to be a full time starter would be better if he had a better team in front of him. I personally don’t buy that simply because we’ve seen great goalies like the dominator on those Buffalo teams as an example. To finish your question on whether he will make the Leafs any better, you’re right he won’t as well as I don’t think they’ll be much worse either… but every point matters and so far, Leafs management, aka that “loser” boy wonder Dubas got it right again to many’s surprise.

  4. Watched the Oilers Flames Game last night,

    The Flames look like they Really miss Johnny Hockeys scoring and Matt Tkachuk all round game up front looks like they cant Finish they just looked like they were missing somthing All night.

    Young Stu Skinner had a Great Game stopping 46 of 47 shots, The Oilers d could have played better all round they still need to fix the Top 4
    and the hole on the RW on 97 line

  5. 🍁 Dont look now but Coach Bruce has his Vancouver Canucks on a Roll… 7-3 in the last 10 games
    and 5 points out of 6th spot in the Western Conference with 2 Games in Hand… 💥👀

    2 more goals for Bo Horvat last night (25)….❗️Do they Really think they Can Trade Horvat… he is now on pace for 50 Goals🤮

    • Horvat has 26 goals, 5 behind McDavid.

  6. willie w, I posted in here a few weeks back that counting the Canucks out would be a mistake. They continue to be on pace better than last year at this time, and last season they JUST missed. Right now they’re 5 back of Edmonton and 4 back of Calgary with 2 games in hand on each. They’ve scored 9 more goals than Calgary and are just 8 back of the high-powered Oilers. All this without Demko.

  7. Jets v Wild game….. how do 4 “stripes” (Linesman allowed to call high sticking infractions) ALL completely miss the puck carrier (KC) getting his face sliced open via high-stick??????

  8. Did Talbot steal a game for the Sens? Hell yes! Does this suddenly mean the Sens have turned a corner…maybe not. Is it still amazing that he stole the game from the number one team in the league! Hell yes again! Great confidence booster for the team all around. Also, at least the Sens still managed a respectable 32 shots for 😛

    At this point I am just happy with any win they can squeak out as they continue to grow and gel as a team.

    • theSaint, I hear ya. There are a few big IFS in what I’m about to say, but let’s face it, every team has their share of IFS.

      IF Norris can come back healthy and ready to go in early January, that will strengthen the top line immeasurably, adding to increased % of puck-possession for the team as a whole (and therefore less shots/chances against), since the Tkachuk-Norris-Batherson line would reduce the checking attention against the 2nd line of DeBrincat-Stutzle-Giroux.

      IF both Motte and Joseph come back soon from their injuries, and are re-united on that 3rd line with Pinto at C and regain that early-season magic, having a strong 3rd line increases sustained offensive pressure on the opposition.

      IF Zub can get back on that 1st pairing with Chabot and be comfortable with a protective mask (a lot of players over the years have had to adjust to that pain-in-the-ass piece of equipment and did it well).

      And IF Dorion can swing a trade for a RD to play alongside Sanderson on the 2nd pairing, their overall defense will improve exponentially with the better-playing among Holden, Hamonic, Brannstrom and Bernard-Docker getting the 3rd D-pairing minutes.

      Maybe just once in recent memory we’ll be able to see what the best possible line-up can do over the second half.

      • There may be a few IFS in there, but a huge percentage of those are extremely plausible if not a sure thing. We will see. As I say, any time we can steal games while running a skeleton crew it’s a very good thing for what a full healthy team can do down the stretch.

    • Once Zub is back we will see a much more stable defence and if just one of JBD, Thomson, Brannstrom could elevate their game a bit that would help a lot as well. Nice to see Talbot put on a show and steal the game for the Sens. Now the forwards have to improve defensively so that 40-50 shot against games don’t happen so regularly. Maybe getting Motte and Norris back will improve things in that regard.

      • Regarding all the injuries, in the end I only hope the NHL doesn’t try to follow the example being contemplated in the NBA – i.e., that crap known as “load management.”

        In a nutshell, for those not familiar with the term, it’s the concept of constant monitoring and restriction of a player’s actual physical “activity” in order to lower risk of injury. To that end, the ‘load’ part refers to the time in action, games played and even – if you can believe it – specific physical actions that may be demanded by a coach!

        Tortorella’s preference for all players getting involved in blocking shots would be a prime example of a legislated “no-no.”

        What an utter crock of s*&t.

      • Yep, the only thing I do not foresee happening is Brannstrom finally leveling up. I have all but given up on him.

  9. Yes, George, maybe they’ll legislate baby monitors being put on the players. And, yes, any improvement from Brannstrom seems unlikely. If we’re lucky he could be included in some package for a real defenceman.