NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2021

Alex Ovechkin reaches more scoring milestones, the Wild and Rangers extend their points streaks, plus updates on Igor Shesterkin, Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 750th career goal and his 118th game-winner as the Washington Capitals downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. He’s now 16 goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, tied for third with Phil Esposito for the most game-winning goals, and tied with Jagr, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull and Mats Sundin for the third-most consecutive 20-goal seasons. The Capitals played without Trevor van Riemsdyk, joining teammate Nic Dowd in COVID protocol.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Kirill Kaprizov’s shootout goal lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3, extending their winning streak to six games while snapping the Leafs’ five-game streak. The Wild (35 points) hold a seven-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division. Jason Spezza scored twice and added an assist as the Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit. Leafs winger Mitch Marner missed this game following a collision in practice with teammate Jake Muzzin. He’s also expected to miss Sunday’s contest with the Winnipeg Jets.

The New York Rangers picked up their sixth straight victory by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had a goal and two assists while Alexandar Georgiev picked up the win with a 25-save performance. Earlier in the day, the Rangers placed goaltender Igor Shesterkin (lower body) on injured reserve. Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and Seth Jones each had two points.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart’s shootout goal gave his club a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues, marking the third straight game the Panthers overcame a deficit to claim victory. Maxim Mamin tallied twice for the Panthers while Blues goalie Ville Husso made 48 saves. With 37 points, the Panthers return to first place in the overall standings.

Jake Guentzel extended his points streak to 12 games with a hat trick and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists and Kris Letang chipped in three helpers. The Canucks sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division with 18 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks fans expressed their displeasure late in the game by calling for general manager Jim Benning to be fired. Whether the club’s ownership takes them up on their suggestion remains to be seen.

The Tampa Bay Lightning nipped the Boston Bruins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Steven Stamkos. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 37 shots for the win. The Bruins forced the extra frame on goals by Charlie Coyle and Curtis Lazar. Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a non-COVID-related illness.

An overtime goal by Moritz Seider lifted the Detroit Red Wings over the New York Islanders 4-3, leaving the latter winless in 10 straight games. Oliver Wahlstrom tallied twice for the Isles while the Wings have won five straight.

The Ottawa Senators blew a 5-2 lead but an overtime goal by Brady Tkachuk gave them a 6-5 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle each scored twice and added an assist.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and two assists in a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Sebastian Aho collected three assists for the Hurricanes as they snapped a three-game losing skid. Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov was a late scratch with an injured finger.

Filip Forsberg’s overtime goal gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Predator forward Luke Kunin had a goal and an assist. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen stopped 40 shots while teammate Cole Caufield had two assists. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens claimed defenseman Kale Clague off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. They’re also rumored to have player agent Kent Hughes on their radar as a potential general manager candidate though they haven’t yet contacted him about the job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is a bilingual Montreal native whose clients include Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2021

Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigns amid reports linking Habs to Jeff Gorton, Artemi Panarin and Andrei Svechnikov fined, Islanders games postpone through Nov. 30, game recaps and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MELLANBY RESIGNS AS HABS ASSISTANT GM, CLUB LINKED TO GORTON

SPORTSNET: Scott Mellanby resigned yesterday as assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens amid reports linking the club to former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton.

Former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton (NHL.com).

Elliotte Friedman reported there’s a widespread belief Marc Bergevin will not return as Canadiens general manager following this season. Friedman felt Bergevin recommended Mellanby as his successor or for a more significant role with the club. There had been recent discussions between team owner Geoff Molson and Mellanby but the latter resigned after being informed the club was going in a different direction.

The Canadiens reportedly sought and received permission from the New York Rangers to speak with former Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton. Friedman said Gorton would not be taking over as the Habs GM but could fill the role of president of hockey operations or another senior front-office role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the initial reports, it appears Molson has made a mess of this situation by upsetting Mellanby and alienating Bergevin, who is now a lame-duck general manager. TVA Sports’ Louis Jean reports Bergevin was hurt by how this went down, that he was kept in the dark and only learned about this situation through the media.

Nevertheless, this could still work out for the Canadiens if the end result is Gorton taking over as president of hockey operations. It would be a significant step toward returning this floundering franchise to respectability and perhaps a long-overdue rebuild.

Gorton did a fine job building up the Rangers roster. He signed Artemi Panarin, acquired Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba and drafted Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Before that, he was an assistant general manager for several seasons with the Boston Bruins. During a brief period as their interim GM in 2006, he acquired Tuukka Rask, drafted Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic, and signed Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.

Molson has indicated the role of Canadiens GM has to be filled by a Francophone or someone who is bilingual. Gorton is neither but he would hold a role of considerable influence within the organization with input on trades, signings, drafting and player development.

Should Gorton get the role of hockey ops president, finding Bergevin’s successor becomes their next priority. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels mused about Patrick Roy, Roberto Luongo, Martin Madden Jr., Vincent Damphousse and Mathieu Darche as possible candidates. Jeff Marek reported the Canadiens have not contacted Patrick Roy about a role in the organization.

It will be interesting to see how the coming week unfolds in Montreal.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Canadiens (6-15-2), they got a rare win by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Jake Allen made a career-high 47 saves for the win while Josh Anderson scored twice and Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak each had a goal and two assists. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also had a goal and two assists while teammate Bryan Rust remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury. Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman missed the game with an upper-body injury.

The Florida Panthers’ season-opening home winning streak has ended at 11 games after falling 4-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Former Panthers goalie Chris Driedger made 33 saves while teammate Jordan Eberle celebrated his 800th career NHL game with two goals.

Mikko Rantanen’s hat trick powered the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Cale Makar collected three assists while Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky each had two helpers. Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram returned to the lineup after missing six games with a concussion.

The Edmonton Oilers ran up a 3-0 lead over the Vegas Golden Knights and held on for a 3-2 victory. Mikko Koskinen turned aside 36 shots while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman and Jesse Puljujarvi scored for the Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held off the score sheet by the Golden Knights.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar had three assists and Carl Gundstrom tallied twice to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Kings forward Brendan Lemieux was ejected from the game for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk’s hand during a scrum in the third period. Tkachuk wasn’t pleased, calling what Lemieux did “the most gutless thing somebody could ever do” following the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could also earn supplemental discipline for his antics. He bit Tkachuk’s hand hard enough to draw blood.

An overtime goal by rookie Lucas Raymond gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, handing the latter their fifth loss in six games. The Sabres’ Jeff Skinner sent the game to overtime with the tying goal late in the third period.

The Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by nipping the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Braden Holtby made 25 saves for the Stars, Joe Pavelski had two assists and Roope Hintz scored his seventh goal in his last eight games.

St. Louis Blues forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev each scored twice in a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists. Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist scored twice for the Jackets. Before the game, the Blues placed winger James Neal on injured reserve.

The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 4-2. Kyle Connor led the way with two goals for the Jets to snap a five-game skid while ending the Flames’ win streak at four games. Flames winger Milan Lucic was ejected in the second period for boarding Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was fined $5,000.00 for throwing one of his hockey gloves at Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand on Friday. Panarin said he was incensed over Russia-related insults made toward him by Marchand.

NEWSOBERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov was fined $5,000.00 for kneeing Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton on Friday.

NEW YORK POST: The NHL has postponed the New York Islanders’ next two games through Nov. 30 after Casey Cizikas became the eighth player on the club to test positive for COVID-19.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday placed goaltender Matt Murray on waivers. He’s expected to report to their AHL affiliate in Belleville if he goes unclaimed today. The Senators also claimed forward Adam Gaudette off waivers yesterday from the Chicago Blackhawks.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Nate Thompson missed practice yesterday after suffering a shoulder injury during Friday’s game against the Hurricanes.