NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2022
Connor McDavid reaches 70 points with a five-point performance while the Hurricanes set a franchise-record win streak. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored a goal and collected four assists in a 7-2 thumping of the Seattle Kraken. He extended his points streak to 17 games while becoming the first player to reach 40 assists and 70 points this season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had four assists while Zach Hyman and Klim Kostin each tallied twice for the Oilers (20-15-2). Daniel Sprong and Brandon Tanev replied for the Kraken (18-12-4), who are winless in their last three games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid leads the NHL points race with 72, 15 more than teammate Leon Draisaitl, who missed this game nursing some bumps and bruises. The Oilers captain also leads the goal-scoring race with 32.
The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their franchise-best 10th straight win by blanking the Florida Panthers 4-0. Antti Raanta kicked out 19 shots for the shutout while Brent Burns, Seth Jarvis and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each collected two points. With 54 points (24-6-6), the Hurricanes sit six points up on the New Jersey Devils in first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Panthers, meanwhile, slipped to 16-17-4.
Speaking of the New Jersey Devils, they doubled up the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 to hand the latter their fourth straight loss. Jack Hughes scored twice while Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves for the win as the Devils improved to 23-11-2. Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Carter scored for the Penguins (19-11-6) as they went 0-9 on the power play in this game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed this game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Pens activated forward Ryan Poehling off injured reserve after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg scored and set up two others in his 600th career NHL game to lead his club to a 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson made 37 saves for the Ducks as they dropped to 10-23-4. The Predators now sit at 15-14-5.
IN OTHER NEWS…
STLTODAY.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko remains questionable for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild as he battles a non-COVID-related illness that sidelined him from Thursday’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom is listed as out indefinitely with a lower-body injury suffered during Tuesday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Winger Simon Holmstrom (knee) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 23 but remained day-to-day.
SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle will miss Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals with a lower-body injury suffered during Thursday’s loss to the Florida Panthers.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly, 30, has announced his retirement. He spent eight seasons in the NHL from 2011-12 to 2018-19 with the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals, helping the latter win the Stanley Cup in 2018.
Smith-Pelly spent 2019-20 in the KHL and the last two seasons in the AHL. In 395 NHL games, he scored 44 goals and 57 assists for 101 points along with 13 goals and 16 points (including three game-winners) in 51 postseason contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Smith-Pelly in his future endeavors. Capitals fans will long remember his highlight-reel game-tying goal in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final that set the stage for Lars Eller’s Cup-winning goal.