NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2022
The Red Wings stage a big rally to defeat the Penguins, the Bruins continue their winning ways, the Leafs are fined for violating the CBA and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on an overtime goal by Jake Walman. Magnus Hellberg stopped all 19 shots he faced after replacing Ville Husso in the Red Wings net while David Perron scored the tying goal as his club improved to 15-11-7 on the season. Jason Zucker tallied twice for Pittsburgh as they dropped to 19-10-6.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang were all held scoreless in this contest as the Penguins were outshot 46-31.
Third-period goals by Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Zacha lifted the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils (22-11-2). Linus Ullmark stopped 30 shots for the 28-4-3 Bruins as they extended their points streak to nine games and sit atop the overall standings with 59 points, seven ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. The once red-hot Devils, meanwhile, have dropped eight of their last nine contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Devils placed defensemen John Marino (upper body) and Ryan Graves (lower body) on injured reserve. Both are considered week-to-week.
Bruins fourth-line forward Tomas Nosek (undisclosed) was kept out of the lineup for this game. Head coach Jim Montgomery called it nothing serious, preferring Nosek not to play in back-to-back games during his recovery.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made a season-high 49 shots backstopping his club to a 3-2 shootout upset of the Vegas Golden Knights. Adam Henrique scored twice in regulation while Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry tallied in the shootout for the 10-22-4 Ducks. Mark Stone and Ben Hutton replied for the Golden Knights (24-12-2), who hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 50 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Gibson’s fifth game this month and his first since Dec. 13 as injuries and illness limited his playing time.
The Calgary Flames nipped the Seattle Kraken 3-2 as Jonathan Huberdeau snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period. Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist for the Flames (17-13-7) while Philipp Grubauer made 41 saves for the 18-11-4 Kraken.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point scored twice to drop the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Victor Hedman collected two assists as the Lightning improved to 21-11-1 while the Canadiens (15-17-3) dropped their third straight game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also set a franchise record in this game by starting five rookies (Kaiden Guhle, Johnathan Kovacevic, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Justin Barron) on their blueline.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs were fined $100,000 by the NHL for violating the collective bargaining agreement. They traveled to St. Louis on Dec. 26 for their game the following day against the Blues. That date was a mandated off-day for all team purposes, including travel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans criticized the league for this action. However, it was the NHL Players Association that mandated off days for players in the CBA. The league is merely enforcing the rules.
Meanwhile, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was fined $25,000 by the league for what it called “demeaning conduct directed at the officials” during the Leafs 5-4 overtime win against the Blues. Keefe was upset over what he considered two uncalled infractions by Blues players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second infraction was Leafs forward Zach Aston-Reese getting cut by a high stick from Blues winger Brandon Saad. I don’t think Keefe was unjustified in his anger at the officials over that missed call.
Speaking of the Leafs, Morgan Rielly is set to return to the lineup in Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. The 28-year-old defenseman has been sidelined since Nov. 21 by a knee injury. During his absence, the Leafs went 12-2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not to imply that the Leafs are a better team without Rielly but rather an indication of how well they adjusted during his absence. Having their best defenseman back in the lineup should only make them better.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers placed goaltender Carter Hart on injured reserve despite the fact he practiced with the club earlier this week. He is expected to play in the final two games of their upcoming road trip against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks provided he clears concussion protocol.
THE SCORE: Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin has reinjured his surgically repaired left ankle. There is no timetable for his return. Nichuskin underwent the procedure in early November and returned to the lineup on Dec. 9.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Canadiens. He’s been sidelined since Dec. 3 by a concussion.
YARDBARKER: The Minnesota Wild placed winger Marcus Foligno (lower body) on injured reserve.