NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2020

A look at several veterans who could face retirement in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis lists Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry and Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu among six pending unrestricted free agents that may have played their final NHL games if the league cancels the remainder of this season and the playoffs. Nashville Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patrick Marleau, and Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams round out his list.

Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry is among several veterans who may have played their final NHL games if the season doesn’t resume (Photo via NHL Images).

Perry’s low production (21 points) makes it hard to imagine another team signing him after this season. Injuries have hampered Koivu, who’s slipped down the Wild’s depth chart. He’s also shown no interest in playing elsewhere. Injuries have also taken a toll on Hamhuis’ play.

Howard’s struggles in recent years leads Ellis to suggest a club would be desperate to take a chance on the veteran netminder. Marleau didn’t manage much offense with the Penguins after being traded to Pittsburgh last month. Williams put up decent numbers following his return from a half-season hiatus, but his two-way play was rusty and his ice time reduced from last season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently looked at which NHL players may have played their final games if the league doesn’t return to action this season.

He also notes Koivu’s Wild-or-nothing position could make things tricky for the veteran center. He also believes the Stars’ one-year gamble on Perry hasn’t worked out. However, Williams could still be an affordable option if he decides to return next season. For teams with flexibility, a player like Marleau, Toronto’s Jason Spezza or Washington’s Ilya Kovalchuk might be worthwhile signings.

Turning to defensemen, O’Brien suggests injuries could force the end of the careers of Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, Dallas’ Roman Polak, Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson, and Trevor Daley. He also hopes St. Louis Blues rearguard Jay Bouwmeester hangs up his skates following his health scare last month. He feels Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is a “play as long as you want” option, while Hamhuis and Ottawa’s Ron Hainsey could remain good veteran options.

Among the goaltenders, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller could get nudged out the door. O’Brien wondered if Henrik Lundqvist would accept a backup role if the New York Rangers buy him out. He speculates Howard might accept less money and a reduced role to remain in the NHL. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson and Edmonton’s Mike Smith are aging and struggled in recent seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL cancels this season, it will rob those on Ellis’ and O’Brien’s lists the opportunity for a last hurrah.

I think Perry, Koivu, Howard, Hamhuis, Miller, Anderson, Polak, Ericsson, and Daley have probably played their final NHL games. Bouwmeester’s cardiac incident last month will probably bring his playing days to an end.

Lundqvist’s situation will be interesting if he and the Rangers part company. He could move on to a mentor role with another club or call it a career. At this point, it could go either way.

Chara will return with the Bruins next season on another one-year, bonus-laden deal. I can see Marleau doing the same with the Sharks, though that’ll depend upon their cap space. Williams could return with the Hurricanes, but they’ll probably want a full-season commitment this time around.

Seabrook could be placed on long-term injury reserve for next season if he needs more time to recover from his surgeries. Smith’s had his inconsistencies, but he’s played well enough to remain in Edmonton in a backup role for another season.

Spezza could stick with the Leafs for another season on a cheap one-year deal. Speculation out of Montreal claims Kovalchuk is all-but-certain to return to the Canadiens on a bonus-filled one-year deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2020

More compliance buyout speculation and how the Canadiens cap space could serve them well in the off-season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HYPOTHETICAL COMPLIANCE BUYOUT CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports the anticipation of the 2020-21 NHL salary cap taking a COVID-19 hit has generated speculation the league and the NHL Players Association could agree to the implementation of compliance contract buyouts. He listed 11 hypothetical amnesty buyout candidates, with Vancouver’s Loui Eriksson ($6 million annual average value through 2021-22) topping the list. With Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Tyler Toffoli and others to re-sign, a compliance buyout window would help the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were rumored looking into trading Eriksson last summer, but couldn’t find any takers for his contract. Given the complications they’ll face if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million, he’ll be a prime compliance buyout candidate.

Others could include Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader ($4.25 million AAV through 2022-23), Chicago’s Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million AAV through 2023-24) provided he’s recovered from his recent surgeries, Calgary’s Milan Lucic ($6 million through 2023-24), Montreal’s Karl Alzner ($4.625 million through 2021-22), and the New York Islanders’ Andrew Ladd ($5.5 million through 2022-23).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox points out the Wings can afford to absorb Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen ($5.25 million AAV through 2021-22), but general manager Steve Yzerman could avail himself of the opportunity to shed the expensive contracts of fading veterans.

if Seabrook hasn’t been medically cleared to return to action during the buyout period (whenever that might be), the Blackhawks won’t be able to avail themselves of that option. Lucic, Alzner, and Ladd are probably goners. The Isles attempted to trade Ladd to the Minnesota Wild as part of a complicated deal for Zach Parise at the trade deadline.

Could Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky become a compliance buyout candidate? (Photo via NHL Images)

Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo ($6 million AAV through 2022-23), Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million AAV through 2025-26), the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (one year at $8.5 million), Edmonton’s James Neal ($5.75 million through 2022-23) and Anaheim’s David Backes ($6 million for one more season) round out this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see those guys receiving compliance buyouts. A couple of readers questioned Bobrovsky being a candidate when I wrote about this in an earlier Rumor update, claiming he’s the victim of the Panthers’ woeful defense.

That’s as may be, but there’s no denying the two-time Vezina Trophy winner has struggled over the last two years. His performance this season was not the Panthers’ front office banked on when they signed him to that whopping big contract.

There’s talk that ownership will want to slash payroll if they miss the playoffs this season. An amnesty buyout for Bobrovsky would be the easiest option.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes the Montreal Canadiens could be well-positioned to use their cap space to their advantage once the salary-cap figures are determined for 2020-21.They have over $63 million invested in 16 players.

Re-signing restricted free agents Max Domi and Victor Mete and re-signing or replacing other free agents will have little impact upon next summer, when such notables as Tomas Tatar, Joel Armia, Jeff Petry, and Phillip Danault will become free agents. Engels suggested they’d have more flexibility if they traded Domi for a defenseman like Minnesota’s Matt Dumba. 

Engels believes it’s all but assured winger Ilya Kovalchuk will return to the Canadiens on a bonus-laden deal next season. He also anticipates they’ll look to the UFA market for a reliable backup for Carey Price. He doubts they’ll go the offer-sheet route this summer, but they could target cap-strapped clubs looking to make cost-cutting trades before the start of next season, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens fans and pundits have been waiting for Bergevin to use his cap space to provide a significant boost to the roster. This summer could provide that opportunity if the cap remains flat and compliance buyouts aren’t implemented as a cost-cutting measure.

As for the suggestion of trading Domi for Dumba, the latter lacks no-trade protection, but it could be premature to believe Wild GM Bill Guerin will go that route. If he does, he’ll be shopping Dumba to the highest bidder, meaning Domi might not be enough to pry him away from the Wild. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

Patrick Kane has a four-point performance, Jack Eichel’s points streak comes to an end, the holiday roster freeze is now in effect, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored a goal and set up three others in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad left the game with an injured right ankle. Earlier in the day, the Hawks revealed defenseman Brent Seabrook remained in Chicago for medical evaluation. Meanwhile, the Jets reclaimed goaltender Eric Comrie off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane led his club to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored twice and Travis Konecny collected three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. The Sabres played without captain Jack Eichel, who was scratched following an upper-body injury believed suffered during pre-game warmups. His 17-game points streak has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s absence highlights his value to the Sabres. He’s put this club on his back this season, determined not to miss the playoffs again. If he’s out for a lengthy period, it could spell doom to their postseason hopes.

Mathew Barzal scored in regulation and the game-winner in a shootout as the New York Islanders edged the Boston Bruins 3-2. Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck left the game to get stitches on his wrist after getting cut by a skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Isles activated Tom Kuhnhackl from injured reserve. The Bruins are 1-4-3 in their last eight games.

Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair’s 20th goal of the season was also the overtime winner as his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-4. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected three assists. The Predators overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

Minnesota Wild forwards Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and two assists in an 8-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 3. Jakob Chychrun scored twice and Nick Schmaltz picked up three assists for the Coyotes, who lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an injured right leg.

Chris Tanev’s overtime goal gave the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks had blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 leads before Tanev’s heroics in the extra frame. Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks, who scratched Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson from this contest.

Three unanswered goals late in the third period lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard was fined over $1,900.00 for boarding Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat on Wednesday.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Max Domi. It was the Habs’ sixth win in their last eight contests. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm each had two points for the Flames.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Tyler Seguin had two points, including the game-winning goal, while teammates Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg also picked up two points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson left the game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed defenseman Andrew Peeke (broken finger) on injured reserve.

IN OTHER NEWS…

The NHL holiday trade freeze is now in effect until 12:01 am ET on Saturday, Dec. 28.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc could miss the club’s weekend games with an upper-body injury. They also claimed forward Stefan Noesen off waivers yesterday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Long-time hockey reporter Kevin Allen’s 34-year tenure with USA Today has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s one of the best hockey scribes in the business. Here’s hoping he’s not out of the game for long.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2019

Sportsnet parts ways with Don Cherry, Jesse Puljujarvi to remain in Finland this season, the Coyotes extend GM John Chayka’s contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes blew a three-goal lead but went on to edge the Washington Capitals 4-3 on shootout goals by Nick Schmaltz and Conor Garland. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice for the Capitals. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced general manager John Chayka signed a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only 26 when hired as GM in 2016, Chayka’s made significant changes to the Coyotes roster. He re-signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year extension, acquired Schmaltz, Phil Kessel, Darcy Kuemper, Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Jason Demers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and drafted Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun. His moves appear to be paying off. The Coyotes look like a playoff contender this season.

Sebastian Aho scored twice and Joel Edmundson enjoyed a three-point performance as the Carolina Hurricanes thumped the Ottawa Senators 8-2. Andrei Svechnikov, Brett Pesce, Ryan Dzingel, Warren Foegele, and Martin Necas each collected two points.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: announced yesterday Don Cherry was immediately stepping down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada. The move came after Cherry singled out new Canadian immigrants during Saturday’s Coach’s Corner segment for not wearing poppies to honor the country’s veterans and troops leading up to Remembrance Day. Cherry’s comments sparked considerable outrage in the press and social media, sparking apologies by Cherry’s co-host Ron MacLean, the network, and the NHL.

After 38 years, Don Cherry is no longer on Hockey Night in Canada (Photo via NHL.com).

In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Cherry refused to walk back his comments, insisting his remarks weren’t racial or bigoted but made out of respect for Canada’s troops. He also said he felt betrayed over the firing, adding he wasn’t going to be turned into a “tamed robot” to keep his job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of what you think of Cherry, his departure from Hockey Night in Canada creates a void it could struggle to replace. He’d been on the show since 1981 and had his Coach’s Corner segment for over 35 years. Former NHL executive Brian Burke is rumored as a potential substitute.

Cherry’s dismissal drew considerable reaction among hockey fans and pundits. Some supported him while others are glad to see him go. He’s had a long history of making controversial statements on topics that had little or nothing to do with hockey. The latest proved to be a bridge too far, sparking an intense backlash the network and the league couldn’t ignore or gloss over with apologies.

TSN: Jesse Puljujarvi intends to spend the rest of this season playing in Finland. The 21-year-old restricted free agent opted to return to his home country to await a trade by the Oilers. The club still retains his NHL rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on Puljujarvi in the Rumors section.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov.10, 2019.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno received a three-game suspension by the league’s department of player safety for elbowing Colorado Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Saturday.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss at least one game with an undisclosed ailment. He didn’t join the team on its five-day trip to the New York area.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is sidelined with an upper-body injury. The club called up Uhro Vaakanainen on Monday.

WASHINGTON POST: Winger Richard Panik has returned to the Capitals after missing 10 games on long-term injury reserve.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader is sidelined for three weeks with a mid-body injury.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed Trevor Lewis on injured reserve.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed goaltender Michael Hutchinson on waivers and called up netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed free agent forwards Troy Brouwer and Jamie McGinn to professional tryout offers.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

A look at 10 supposedly untradeable contracts in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Noting the recent Milan Lucic trade, Ken Campbell feels no NHL contract is truly “untradeable” anymore. Nevertheless, he provides a list of 10 players with seemingly unmoveable deals. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, Campbell isn’t saying the following contracts can’t be traded. It would be difficult to move them, but a bit of creativity and a willing trade partner could make it happen. He also looked at contracts with four-or-more seasons remaining. That’s why Loui Eriksson isn’t on this list. 

Is Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris’ contract really untradeable? (Photo via NHL Images)

Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, and Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo come in at 10 through eight on Campbell’s list. Turris has five years remaining on his contract worth $6-million annually. He lacks no-trade protection. Abdelkader, 32, has four years left with an annual average value of $4.25-million. Okposo has four years remaining ($6 million AAV) and has battled injuries and concussion-related illness in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris could be the easiest to move if the Predators picked up part of his cap hit or took back a toxic contract in return. The 29-year-old center had a rough 2018-19 but played well for Canada at this year’s World Championships. He could be poised for a bounce-back performance, which could also make him enticing if the Preds want to move him. Abdelkader’s declining play and Okposo’s injury history are significant sticking points.

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz and Minnesota’s Zach Parise and Ryan Suter fill positions seven through five. Schmaltz is starting a seven-year deal worth an AAV of $5.85 million and suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2018-19. Parise and Suter are aging veterans with six seasons remaining on their identical $98-million contracts with full no-movement clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Including Schmaltz on this list could be premature. While Campbell notes he’s had only one good NHL season thus far, he did tally 14 points in 17 games with Arizona before his injury. With a strong recovery, he could quickly regain his offensive form and become a solid addition for the Coyotes. Parise and Suter, on the other hand, are now past their prime and age and injuries could take their toll. Parise turns 35 on July 28, Suter on Jan. 21.

The New York Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook fill spots four through two. Ladd was frequently sidelined by injuries, has a full no-trade clause this season and four years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $5.5 million. Hayes inked a seven-year, $49-million contract that Campbell doesn’t believe will age well. Seabrook has five years left ($6.875 million AAV) with a full no-movement clause to 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd’s injury history could be a killer here unless he becomes a permanent long-term injury reserve candidate. As we’ve seen, those contracts can be desirable for cap-strapped clubs. I agree with Campbell that Hayes’ deal could become burdensome during its latter years. Seabrook’s name surfaced in trade speculation last season but came to nothing. Moving his contract remains a daunting challenge.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber topped Campbell’s list. The 34-year-old has seven years left on his deal worth over $7.9 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s contract was traded once before. It could be moved again. He’s still an effective top-pairing defenseman, making him valuable in the trade market. He also lacks no-trade protection.

The threat of salary-cap recapture is there if he retires, but it’s the Nashville Predators on the hook for the bulk of it, especially the latter years. If you’re a Predators fan, pray he doesn’t call it quits before 2025-26.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2019

Game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning set a single-season franchise record for wins (55) and points (114) by defeating the Washington Capitals 6-3. Lightning winger Alex Killorn netted his first career NHL hat trick while league scoring leading Nikita Kucherov added two assists for 117 points on the season. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to move within two goals of reaching the 50-goal mark this season. 

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn tallied his first career NHL hat trick in a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Jordan Binnington made 40 and Vince Dunn scored twice to give the St. Louis Blues a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dunn also set a franchise first by becoming the third Blues defenseman to reach the 10-goal mark this season. The Blues (81 points) also lead the league in goals by defensemen (44) and sit third in the Central Division while the Penguins (87 points) remain two points behind the New York Islanders for second in the Metropolitan Division. 

The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 decision to the Detroit Red Wings, who snapped a four-game losing skid. Jonathan Bernier made 41 saves while Andreas Athanasiou scored twice for the Wings. The Isles sit two points behind the Metro Division-leading Washington Capitals. They skated without winger Casey Cizikas, who was a late scratch after suffering a lower-body strain in warmups. The Wings played without Justin Abdelkader and Trevor Daley. Abdelkader’s season is over after suffering a hairline fracture in his leg during Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay.  

Third-period goals by Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 decision over the Los Angeles Kings. Dadonov scored twice in this contest. With the win, the Panthers (76 points) sit eight points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have been hot of late, winning four straight games to give themselves an outside shot of reaching the postseason. 

The Calgary Flames missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth by falling 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets. Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault were the goal scorers for the Jets (88 points), who remain one up on the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Central Division. The Flames (95 points) remain one point ahead of the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and first overall in the Western Conference. Flames defenseman Michael Stone returned to action for the first time since being diagnosed with a blood clot in his arm in November. 

Brad Marchand’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Bruins (95 points) opened a four-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. Matt Duchene scored his 30th goal of the season as the Jackets (84 points) hold a three-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Jackets captain Nick Foligno missed the game attending to a personal matter unrelated to his daughter’s recent surgery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling a bit following their recent trade deadline acquisitions, the Blue Jackets have points in five of their last seven contests. 

The Canadiens, meanwhile, dropped a 2-0 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks. Corey Crawford turned in a 48-save shutout performance while Connor Murphy and Brendan Perlini scored for the Hawks (73 points), who sit five points out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, the Canadiens seemed in good shape to secure a playoff berth. They’ve since won just six games in their last 17. With 10 games remaining in their schedule, they’re running out of time to reverse their fortunes. 

Magnus Paajarvi scored twice and Zack Smith collected three assists as the Ottawa Senators upset the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2. Leafs center John Tavares tallied his 40th goal of the season while defenseman Morgan Rielly netted his 20th. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those goals by Tavares and Rielly were personal single-season milestones. That’s cold comfort, however, when one considers how the Leafs defense and goaltending has collapsed in their last four games. They’ve given up 23 goals over that stretch, allowing six goals in three of those four contests. 

Jordan Staal picked up his 500th career win as his Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Curtis McElhinney made 35 saves for the Hurricanes (85 points), who hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot and sit two points behind the Penguins for third place in the Metro Division. Sabres winger and former Hurricanes Jeff Skinner tallied his 37th goal of the season to match his career-high from 2016-17. Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella sat out the game with an upper-body injury

The Minnesota Wild (76 points) kept their Western Conference wild-card hopes alive by beating the New York Rangers 5-2 to end their three-game losing skid. Ryan Donato scored two goals for the Wild and now has 11 points in 12 games since coming to Minnesota in a trade with Boston. 

Connor McDavid’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes (78 points), who hold a two-point lead over the Wild. Alex Galchenyuk scored both goals for the Coyotes. The Oilers (71 points) are seven points out of a playoff spot in the West. 

The San Jose Sharks also missed an opportunity to clinch a postseason spot by falling to the Nashville Predators 4-2. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice for the Predators. Sharks winger Evander Kane returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 26 following an injury and his wife losing their child during pregnancy.