NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2022

by | Dec 30, 2022 | News, NHL | 23 comments

Thursday’s games saw Aleksander Barkov, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Okposo enjoy hat-trick performances while Erik Karlsson becomes the first defenseman to reach 50 points this season. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had a five-point performance (including a first-period hat trick) in a 7-2 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Barkov had missed three games with a lower-body injury. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice for the Panthers as they improved to 16-16-4. The Canadiens (15-18-3) have dropped four straight games.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens welcomed back Brendan Gallagher after he was sidelined for 13 games by a lower-body injury. Habs defenseman Kaiden Guhle left this contest late in the third period with an apparent leg injury. There was no post-game update regarding his condition.

A hat trick by Mark Scheifele carried the Winnipeg Jets (22-13-1)over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 4-2. Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on a penalty shot while teammate Sam Gagner skated in his 1,000th career NHL game. Collin Delia made 35 saves for the Canucks, who drop to 16-16-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly victory for the Jets as defenseman Josh Morrissey left the game in the third period following a hit by Canucks blueliner Tyler Myers. Head coach Rick Bowness claimed Morrissey had a “little bit of a lower-body injury” but anticipates he’ll be able to play on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers.

Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo also had a hat trick while Casey Mittlestadt tallied twice in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres (17-14-2) have won five straight games. Dominik Kubalik scored two goals for the Red Wings as they dropped to 15-12-7.

The San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson became the first defenseman to reach 50 points this season but his club fell 4-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers (12-17-7) on an overtime goal by Tony DeAngelo. Karlsson collected two assists to extend his points streak to 11 games while teammate Tomas Hertl scored twice for the 11-19-7 Sharks. Travis Konecny tallied twice for the Flyers as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is having what could become a career-best performance. With 50 points in just 37 games, he’s on pace to exceed his previous high of 82 points and could become the first blueliner to reach 100 points since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

The Dallas Stars (22-9-6) moved into first place in the Western Conference by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Tyler Seguin scored two goals and Jake Oettinger kicked out 23 shots as the Stars are tied with the Vegas Golden Knights with 50 points but hold first place with a game in hand. Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 20-13-2 Wild.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored his 20th goal of the season as his club downed the New York Rangers 2-1 on a shootout goal by Alex Killorn. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves through regulation and the shootout as the Lightning rose to 22-11-1. Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers (19-12-6) in regulation while Igor Shesterkin made 39 stops.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Point became the fifth player in Lightning history to reach the 20-goal plateau in at least six straight seasons. Meanwhile, there were some raised eyebrows when the Rangers announced former first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere was a healthy scratch for this game.

The Arizona Coyotes scored four unanswered goals (two by Jack McBain) to upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Barrett Hayton had a three-point performance for the 13-16-5 Coyotes while Conor Timmins collected two assists for the 22-8-6 Maple Leafs.

A shootout goal by Viktor Arvidsson lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Arvidsson also collected two assists in regulation as the Kings (21-12-6) extended their points streak to seven games (6-0-1). With 48 points, they’re now two behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat scored the game-tying and winning goals to defeat the Washington Capitals 4-3. Claude Giroux picked up two assists as the Senators improved to 16-16-3. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the 20-13-5 Capitals.

The New York Islanders topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on goals by Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal. The Islanders improved to 21-14-2 with their third straight victory while the Blue Jackets (10-22-4) suffered their seventh straight defeat.

Goals by Calle Rosen and Brandon Saad gave the St. Louis Blues (17-16-3) a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks to snap a three-game losing skid. Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks (8-22-4), who have lost 18 of their last 20 contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko sat out this game with a non-COVID-related illness.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby received an appointment for the Order of Canada for “being one of the greatest hockey players of all time and for supporting community service initiatives for youth.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Crosby on receiving one of Canada’s highest honors.

Speaking of the Penguins, defenseman Kris Letang missed practice on Thursday with a lower-body injury. His status for Friday’s game again the New Jersey Devils remains uncertain.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, winger Andreas Johnsson cleared waivers yesterday and was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Utica.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL winger Barry Cullen passed away on Dec. 16 at the age of 87. He spent five seasons in the league between 1955-56 and 1959-60 with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Red Wings, finishing with 32 goals and 84 points in 219 games. Cullen’s brothers, Brian and Raymond, also played in the NHL. In his post-playing career, he owned a successful car dealership in Guelph, Ontario.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cullen’s son, John, spent 10 seasons in the NHL from 1988-89 to 1998-99. My condolences to the Cullen family as well as Barry’s friends and former teammates.


  1. Barkov. Can play on my team anytime

  2. Congrats Sid

    I realize this site is for (current) NHL…. But THE next one was on fire last night (again)…. Playing in a tournament where he is the youngest on his team; one of the youngest in the entire tournament; many teams having more than 1/2 their team 19 (when he’s still 17)..,, and he gets 13 points in the last 2 games!!!!

    Yes, I realize it was Austria and Germany…. But Holy Sh%#t Batman…. 13 points in 2 games. A shot that just rockets off his stick…. The kid is something else… will certainly be a big change to the winner of the draft

    Cats…. Showing what they CAN do…. Still going to have to make up tons of ground to get in…. Bobo has 1 good game every 3 or 4 weeks!

    Leafs v Yotes…. Leafs played exactly like you’d expect from playing in front of only 4,800… like a Jr team. Not all on Murray…. But he’d like at least 2 back

    Watching that game was difficult (beyond the results)….the camera sight-lines were absolutely awful and the cut from Cam to cam brutal

    Gary…. Move the team to Houston!!

    • Pengy, with the aid of 3 cups of ground Jamaican Blue Mountain, I was able to stay awake to watch that Leafs-Coyotes game, and have to agree with a;; you say about that joke of an “arena.”

      I also agree that it was a classic “ok, boys, here’s an easy 2 points – only to fall flat on their asses effort.” Yesterday, Captain Obvious talked about the inherent unfairness of +/- stats (with which I also agree) and one scenario that happens often throughout the league is when, playing 5 on 5, a goalie allows 1, 2 or 3 “soft” goals that a famed Zamboni driver could have stopped – and everyone on the ice gets a -1, -2 or -3.

      Last night, facing just 21 shots while firing 32 at the Arizona goalie, I thought Murray should have had at least 2, and maybe 3 of the ones that got by him among the 4 (there were 2 empty-netters for those who haven’t checked the box score). As a consequence, Matthews and Nylander each were -4, Bunting -3, Marner -2 and Tavares-2, while the just-returned Rielly was also -3.

      • Hi George

        Murray Definitely should have had two of them for sure

        Lacklustre Leaf effort all around; with brutal cam angles and camera broadcast cuts/shifts; plus the loss…. Crappy…. But I watched it with my morning Tim’s in just over 1 hour (PVR, and FFWD through breaks/commercials/intermissions) this morning at 5:30

        Sorry to hear that you had to stomach the mess late at night and with the JBM gruel (and 3 Cups at that!!!) to boot. Why add insult to injury… LOL

        Leafs went in cock sure of themselves; left tails tucked between their legs

        Showing like that come playoffs …. Acquisitions or not…, out in 4 …. Lesson learned ????

      • I think if Arizona dont get this Arena deal sorted out with Tempe AZ by June 2023
        I can see them getting moved to Houston TX

        this has just been an on-going Soap Opera for the NHL and Gary Betman,
        The AZ team is consistently a Mess going no where no wonder Chycrun wants out and they cant even get a trade deal done for him pretty Sad They just keep going down hill year after year
        its a Joke❗️🙈

      • Hi WW

        The only reason (ONLY) they haven’t been moved yet…. Gary Bettman

        He retires…. Yotes On to Houston

        There should be no wait to have the Tempe referendum on this…. Just sign off on relo to Houston now…. Tickets on sale (Houston Yotes) starting in 23/24…. Sellout (within s few days of online sales) for 3 seasons

        Massive increases in league revs; contributor to shated revs rather than a team that “withdraws” from shared revs; relo fees to 31 owners; Yotes franchis value increases; more players would want to play on Houston Yotes; since overall HRR goes up; Cap goes up; Sals go up;

        The list goes on and on

        Again…. There is just one single roadblock…. Hints….He’s maybe 5’ 5” ; gets massively booed in every arena; disliked by millions; deflects on any poignant directed questions…..

      • Another hint willie. Second best commissioner in professional North American sports.

      • Nice one Chrisms LOL

        No other NA commissioner in any sport (ANY sport) has refused to make the right decision (while concurrently costing his/her league millions and millions and millions , and for many many years); just because he or she refuses to admit he/she made a mistake

        Bettman was provided the entire eco outlook from many sources at the time (Moving Jets to Pho) and repeatedly told that it would not be supported in Phoenix, and would lose. He has been updated over and over and over through the years; each outlook showing worse than the previous

        He was told NOT to allow the barn as a stop gap

        He has repeatedly refused the obvious

        Name any other commissioner/head of a league in NA that has done anything similar to that

        And that is just one example

        He refuses to consider a 2nd GTA team….. which would bring $700 M plus in expansion fees AND huge annual HRR

        Our (you and I) back and forth re CR is more entertainment related and has some subjectivity to it. Easy to disagree subjectively

        Bettman making the decision on Yotes…nothing subjective about it…. Millions and millions and millions of dollars in losses easily refute any subjective viewpoint

        The argument that revs have increased in his tenure doesn’t resound since revs would have increased anyway

        Comparing the level to which they would have raised profits under another commissioner is almost impossible to quantify ; other than accounting for(backing out) all the Yotes losses. Note, that is just backing out the negative ….. remember …. All other relos (instead of in Pho) would have had profits…. So subtract losses; then add in missed profits

        CR viewpoints are one thing…. We differ as fellow Pens fans

        Re Bettman…. Just from the simplest level…. Dollars and cents [sense]… and reminder, I’m a businessman….Bettman’s errors in no way would be viewed as prudent (liked)

        The only reason he remains as commissioner is the deal he signed… 8 BOGs decide over 24; and he has at a minimum 7 BOG’s that will not go against him no matter what …. Absolutely no matter what

      • His Arizona gamble hasn’t paid off but it’s got one last chance. It his overall body of work without a doubt makes him the second best commish in the professional sports world. The growth of the game is inarguable. Barring the COVID stuff the financial security of the league is so much more solid under his leadership.

        I give bettman the leash to try to make Arizona viable one last time. He’s earned it.

  3. Ottawa fans have a right to be encouraged by the efforts of their team in going 6-2-2 over their past 10 without Zub, Norris, Motte, Joseph while employing AHLers like Lucchini, Heatherington and Bernard-Docker who returned after being out with a high ankle sprain and played 22.28 meaningful minutes and posting a -1. In winning the season series against Washington 2-1 (outscoring them 11 – 8) they peppered Kuemper with 45 shots while holding the Capitals to 23 on Talbot.

    • I thought they outplayed the Caps for the whole game. Giroux and DeBrincat were excellent and Jacob Bernard-Docker played surprisingly well. If he can continue this type of play, the Sens defence will be greatly solidified, particularly when Zub comes back.
      Batherson now has a 12 game point streak. The forwards’ defensive play was also much improved. The next two games against Detroit and Buffalo will tell us a lot about where the team is at, particularly the Buffalo game.

      • Yeah, agree there. The Sabres are another young, hungry team that no opponent should take lightly, let alone one that is right there with them in the standings. And you know that, if Anderson is in net, they’ll be playing extra hard to ensure he doesn’t lose to his former club,

    • Hi George

      Sens at 6-2-2…. Playing at the level they can

      Have had down gaps in season; some crappy outcomes; but certainly a team better than their current record indicates

      I had (last year) thought that Sens might be able to make playoffs this year…. Looks like s no go now

      Still on the upswing; youth in the fold (while other Eastern teams aging and winding down their windows of opportunity)…. Sens and Wings should be right up there in the EC standings in a couple of years

    • Yes, I am buoyed by the fact that the Sens are not winning in just one way right now. Shootouts, OT, high scoring regular time, contributions from all over the roster and now some consistent points from those we expect it from. Even a game where the goalie is stealing it. Seems like there is some level of gluing together that is finally happening here and I am so happy to see it!

      Please keep Zaitsev off the roster… some way, some how…

  4. As per the goaltending situation in Toronto , I have had my fingers crossed all year !

    I am honestly dumbfounded .I don’t have an answer for the recent , disgraceful play of Murray and Samsonov .
    Recent , as per the last 10 games or so ….
    Very worrisome to say the least ?

    I have upgraded my bell account , so I can have a broader view of games .
    Bruins with Ullmark and Swayman are set for a deep playoff – HOPEFULLY , a cup! Tampa again will be a major hurdle , again with fabulous goaltending !
    What a year Eric Karlson is having ! I assume he is staying put ?
    What a fabulous addition for a cup run if at all possible for someone able to obtain him.

    • Hi Ken,
      Im not a leafs fan, But i think young Ilya Samsonov has played Very Well for the Maple Leafs going
      11 & 3 in his 14 games so far this season with 2.2 goal’s against✔️👌

      I can see teams in the East like Ottawa and Buffalo who Really Need a Starter to be looking at this young kid as he is an RFA in July…..❓

      The leafs have 9… UFA players to replace for the 2023/4 Season and 5, RFA players, 14 players to re-sign with only $12.7 in Cap space, Not including ( Jake Muzzin ) in this 🤔
      we could see a couple of offer sheets in 2023…..?

      • @willie
        How do you resign 14 players with only 12.7 mil cap space

        But take note Muzzin most likely won’t be coming back , hopefully not , frees up 5.7 mil plus whatever the increase in the cap , which is most likely minimal .

        Nylander s contract is upcoming for renewal as well

        As per Samsonov , try and figure out his stats over the past 6 -8 games or so , he has started .
        As far as Buffalo or Ottawa needing goalies , they are welcome to him !!!

        I think the Leafs should trade for Carter hart – drowning in Philadelphia . He would be sensational in Toronto !

        Money in. Money out trade case scenario

      • I think buffalo goes with
        Comerie and upl next year
        With Levi heading to ahl for a year.

  5. Pengy, although I have been critical of some aspects of the team – especially certain coaching approaches – and while it has been an up and down season at times for the Senators, I’m not ready to write them off just yet.

    Right now they find themselves 9 points out of a Wild Card berth (back of NYI and NYR) with a game in hand on each. And despite being without Norris, Joseph and Motte for a large part of their season so far, they are 12 goals back of the NYI and 10 back of the NYR, and without a mainstay like Zub in the top pairing for equally long stretches, they sit 11 goals against more than the NYO and 9 goals against more than the NYR.

    One of the players I have repeatedly said has to be inserted into the line-up and allowed to “learn” at the NHL level is RD Bernard-Docker. They finally brought him up about a month ago and he was playing very well until suffering a high ankle sprain. He’s back now and last might played very well over 22 minutes. Once Zub is back at RD alongside Chabot, and possibly Bernard-Docker at RD alongside Sanderson (who’s having an excellent rookie season) they could surprise more than a few teams down the stretch.

    I am not now, nor ever will be, a “my team right or wrong tub thumper” but what I see is a team sitting 23rd overall and playing very well despite missing some key elements (all due back soon) with an overall goal differential infinitely better than most immediately in front of and behind them who still has 47 games left to play. And I keep thinking about that year St. Louis found themselves dead last in the league on January 1 only to surge to the playoffs and win the cup.

    Do I think Ottawa can repeat that? Hell no. But I’m not ruling out a surge strong enough to get them into the playoffs.

    • Agree George

      I have not fully ruled them out

      As you pointed out re StL …. Anything can happen

      That said…. I’m still thinking it’s a longshot

      Best (again longshot) they could possibly hope for is WC…. and there is no way I could back (this year) a bet on Sens upsetting Bruins or Canes

      Just missing and still getting top 16 pick in this deep draft; and perhaps an extra couple of mid-rounders for their UFAs…. Probably best for Sens

    • Hi Ken,
      I think Any NHL Team would love to have a Goaltender who is only 25 yrs old and has gone
      11 & 3 in his 14 games so far this season with 2.2 goal’s against and a good save percentage, Leafs are very lucky to have him.
      both the Sens & Sabers would jump at that chance to have him👌

      Matt Murray will be out injured again right away for a month or so and back for a few weeks again and out again… the Most Game he has put in 4 season is 38 games out of 82……? and 12 as a Maple leaf… we are now at the 36 game mark
      I hope the leaf fans are not holding the breath with the China Cup AKA MM…😱

      Re; Carter Hart
      This guy is playing Very Inconsistent Again this year…⁉️, and in front of him there is a pretty good defence…..right
      Provorov, Ristolainen , Deangelo, Sanheim, a good top 4, he is a Bust Carter Hart🥶

  6. George you use the +/- in two different post and applied them two different ways.

    If your going to look at the +/- in a snap shot then yes you very well might says that player didn’t deserve a – on that play.

    If your going to look at it as a trend it provides a consistency of that player.

    Ie Neal Pionk of Winnipeg Defense is a -9, other then Heinola is a -2 with 6pg all other dman are not in the negatives Dillion is 0

    This tells me when Pionk is on the ice the team is more likely to give up a goal at even strength, more so then when any other dman is on the ice.

    • Well, he’d have to be on the ice with 4 other players and you’d have to look at the same tendencies for all 4 to compare. Then there’s the % of shots that a goalie should have stopped with his eyes shut (too bad they don’t try and keep that statistic) but didn’t – and so all 5 skaters on the ice get a minus.

      As Benjamin Disraeli once said “there are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies and statistics.”