Leafs captain John Tavares and Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns pick up wins in their respective milestone games during a quiet Sunday for NHL action. Check out the details in the Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares collected two assists in his 1,000th career NHL game in a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. The Leafs blew the game open in the second period with four goals.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).
Morgan Rielly’s first goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Leafs improved to 31-12-8 to sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points. Nicklas Backstrom tallied his first of the season for the Capitals (26-20-6) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.
Meanwhile, Leafs goaltender Matt Murray missed this game with an ankle injury. He will be sidelined until after the upcoming All-Star break.
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns picked up an assist in his 1,300th career NHL game as his club beat the Boston Bruins 4-1, handing the latter their third straight loss. Sebastian Aho tallied his 21st goal of the season as the Hurricanes (32-9-8) sit atop the Metropolitan Division and second in the overall standings with 72 points. The 38-7-5 Bruins hold a nine-point lead in first overall with 81 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins had never lost consecutive games this season prior to the start of this losing skid on Jan. 26 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did pick up a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
NOTE: With the All-Star Break approaching on Feb. 2-5, we can expect a light schedule of games up to Wednesday. There’s only one game on Monday, Jan. 30 as the St. Louis Blues visit the Winnipeg Jets.
Three games are slated for Tuesday, Jan. 31 as the Los Angeles Kings visit the Carolina Hurricanes, the Ottawa Senators journey to Montreal to face the Canadiens, and the Columbus Blue Jackets host the Washington Capitals.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Hurricanes head to Buffalo to meet the Sabres while the Boston Bruins will face off against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
Four-point performances from Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov and Moritz Seider, plus injury updates on Patrick Kane, Evander Kane and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored two goals and collected two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (21-13-6), who move one point ahead of the New York Islanders into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 48 points. Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who dropped to 17-20-3 and have lost five of their last six games.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov also scored twice and picked up two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each collected two assists for the 25-13-1 Lightning as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 51 points. Patrick Laine had two assists for the Blues Jackets as they slid to 12-26-2.
The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Winnipeg Jets 7-5 with Moritz Seider collecting four assists while Lucas Raymond had a goal and two assists. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Neal Pionk each had a goal and an assist for the Jets (26-14-1) to sit in second place in the Central Division with 53 points. The Red Wings improved to 17-15-7 on the season.
Speaking of the Central Division, the Dallas Stars (25-11-6) opened a three-point lead over the Jets for first place (56 points) by nipping the New York Islanders 2-1. Jason Robertson opened the scoring and won the game with a shootout goal while Anders Lee replied for the 22-17-3 Islanders. The Stars also sit in first place in the Western Conference with 22 regulation wins compared to 19 for the Vegas Golden Knights, who have the same number of points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars played without Roope Hintz, who will also miss Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers with an upper-body injury.
The New Jersey Devils gained ground on the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with a 5-3 victory. Dawson Mercer scored twice and collected an assist while Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist as the Devils improved to 26-12-3. With 55 points, they’re two back of the 25-9-7 Hurricanes, who got a goal and an assist from Sebastian Aho in this contest.
Shootout goals by Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin gave the New York Rangers a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Filip Chytil scored the game-tying goal while Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (23-12-7) sit two points behind the Devils in third place in the Metro Division. Marc-Andre Fleury made 40 saves in regulation and overtime for the 22-14-4 Wild as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 48 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a costly win for the Rangers as Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier both left this game with upper-body injuries. They will be evaluated on Wednesday.
The Seattle Kraken picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Kraken center Matty Beniers scored for the fifth consecutive game to set a franchise record as he, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist. Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored twice, including his 20th goal of the season. The Kraken (24-12-4) sit two points behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division with 52 points. The Sabres dropped to 20-17-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju returned to the lineup for the first time since being sidelined on Dec. 9 by a lower-body injury.
Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal, to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4. Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett had a goal and an assist as the Panthers took a 4-1 lead into the third period before the Avalanche rallied to tie the game on goals by Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher. The Panthers boosted their record to 19-19-4 while the Avalanche (20-16-3) sit two points behind the Edmonton Oilers, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 45 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Panthers recalled goaltender Alex Lyon to back up Sergei Bobrovsky as Spencer Knight (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve.
An overtime goal by Robert Thomas gave the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Jordan Kyrou had a goal and two assists and Jordan Binnington made 28 saves for the Blues (21-18-3). Andrew Mangiapane had a goal and an assist for the Flames (19-14-9) as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 47 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have an identical record as the Edmonton Oilers (21-18-3) but the latter holds the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 19 regulation wins.
Third-period goals by Matt Nieto and Jaycob Megna lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-2. Kevin Labanc had a goal and an assist while Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 27 shots for the Sharks (13-21-8). Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere each collected two assists as the Coyotes fell to 13-22-5.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane said he’s being cautious with the lower-body injury that has sidelined him for the past two games. He’s hoping to return to action soon.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported it’s a nagging injury that might require a “clean-up” at some point. Kane hasn’t closed the door on that possibility but said it’s not something he’s contemplating for the moment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lower body could mean hip, groin, knee or ankle. It could affect Kane’s performance as well as his value in the trade market if he agrees to waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 deadline.
TSN: Evander Kane could return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup for either their Jan. 19 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning or Jan. 21 against the Vancouver Canucks. He’s been sidelined since suffering a wrist laceration against the Lightning on Nov. 8. The original prognosis had him returning sometime in late February.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s return won’t help the Oilers’ struggling defense and inconsistent goaltending. However, he will provide an extra measure of offense and some physical swagger to their forward lines that’s been missing during his absence.
Speaking of the Oilers, goaltender Stuart Skinner flew to Edmonton yesterday for the birth of his and his wife’s first child.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman T.J. Brodie (rib) on injured reserve.
Mitch Marner extends his points streak in the latest Leafs win, Johnny Gaudreau talks about his decision to leave Calgary for Columbus, the latest salary cap update for 2023-24 and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his franchise-best points streak to 21 games as his club blanked the Los Angeles Kings 5-0. Marner scored his 11th goal of the season while Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for the shutout as the Leafs (17-5-6) sit three points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins with 40 points. The Kings dropped to 14-11-4.
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto defenseman T.J. Brodie returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a strained oblique. However, forward Nick Robertson is expected to miss significant time after suffering a shoulder injury in the first period. The Leafs are on a roll, going 10-0-3 since dropping a 4-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 11.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored twice and Steven Stamkos picked up two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Stamkos extended his points streak to 12 games while Brian Elliott kicked out 34 shots. The Lightning improved to 16-9-1 while the Predators fall to 12-10-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning honored defenseman Ryan McDonagh with a video tribute. He spent five seasons with the Bolts before being traded to the Predators in the offseason.
Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals and picked up an assist to defeat the St. Louis Blues by a score of 5-2. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots for the Jets (17-7-1) as they’ve won seven of their last 10 games. The Blues (12-15-0) have dropped seven of their last 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets sit in fifth place in the overall standings with 35 points. Defenseman Logan Stanley returned to action after being sidelined since Oct. 24 with a fractured foot. Jets forward Saku Maenalanen left this game with an upper-body injury.
An overtime goal by Tyler Seguin lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Miro Heiskanen tallied twice for the Stars (15-7-5), who sit in second place in the Central Division behind the Jets. The Senators sit in last place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 10-14-2.
The Florida Panthers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves as the Panthers improved to 13-10-4. The Red Wings sit at 13-8-5.
THE SCORE: Johnny Gaudreau wants Calgary Flames fans to know that he didn’t string them or the team along before signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said the former Flames winger. He said it ultimately came down to being able to play closer to home and spend more time with his family.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were offering more money on a long-term team deal but Gaudreau left that cash on the table to accept a slightly lesser offer with the Blue Jackets.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the salary cap for 2023-24 will be the prime topic at next week’s NHL Board of Governors meetings. The cap could rise by $3.5 million or more over the current $82.5 million if the players repay their remaining cap debt from the pandemic to the owners by the season’s end. If they don’t finish paying it off, and a lot of observers believe they won’t, the cap will only rise by $1 million.
LeBrun and Darren Dreger said there could be a third option whereby the NHL Players Association ask the players if they want the cap to rise by between $2 million and $3 million for next season. From a player’s perspective, it must not impact escrow. So far, there’s been no discussions on that issue between the league and the PA but they’ll have to have that conversation before early summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how they would work that out if the players are willing to find a way for a bigger bump in next season’s cap. LeBrun and Dreger didn’t indicate how the league and the PA could “massage the cap” in a way that won’t affect escrow payments.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Some good news for the injury-ravaged Avalanche as winger Valeri Nichushkin could return from ankle surgery for Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.
CBS SPORTS: John Klingberg will return to the Anaheim Ducks lineup Friday against the San Jose Sharks. He’s missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury.
AM NY: New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Sam Lafferty is ready to return to action after missing the last six games with a back injury.
GOPHNX.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have loaned forward Dylan Guenther to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships.
Recaps of Monday’s games, the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is inducted, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on a third-period power-play goal by Jordan Kyrou. Jordan Binnington stopped 45 shots while Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist for the Blues (6-8-0), who’ve now won three straight games. The Avalanche (8-5-1) got a 36-save effort from Alexandar Georgiev while Mikko Rantanen tallied a goal and collected an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Avalanche announced that Kurtis MacDermid would be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. They also placed sidelined forward Shane Bowers (upper body) on injured reserve.
Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).
Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau tallied his 200th career NHL goal as his club held on to nip the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 and improve their record to 7-6-2. Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists for the Flames while Arthur Kaliyev scored twice for the 10-7-1 Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau was returning to action after missing the last three games with an injured foot. Coming off a career-best 115-point performance with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22, he’s having a slow start with his new club this season with seven points in 12 games.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jordan Staal and Jordan Martinook each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they improved their record to 10-5-1 while the Blackhawks dropped to 6-6-3.
The New York Islanders got a 36-save performance from Semyon Varlamov to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the 11-6-0 Islanders. Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle each had two points for the Senators as they fall to 5-9-1. Giroux extended his points streak to nine games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is tied with Brock Nelson as the Islanders’ leading scorer this season with 18 points. He has yet to score a goal.
NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 was officially inducted on Monday night. The six members included former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo and former Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Finnish women’s hockey star Riikka Sallinen and pioneering Black hockey star Herb Carnegie were also inducted.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Bill Clement and Al Morganti were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for media excellence.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2022 for their well-deserved honors.
NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox were the NHL three stars for the week ending Nov. 13, 2022.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained ankle. He’s the latest member of the injury-ravaged club to be sidelined, joining Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Nick Blankenburg, Justin Danforth and Adam Boqvist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets are also sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with nine points in 14 games. This rash of injuries will only make it more difficult for this club to climb out of that increasingly deep hole.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs announced defenseman Jake Muzzin is sidelined indefinitely with a cervical spine injury and will be re-evaluated in February. Fellow blueliner T.J. Brodie is expected to miss two weeks with an oblique injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of Muzzin and Brodie has some pundits suggesting general manager Kyle Dubas should make a trade to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline. I’ll have more about this in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DAILY FACEOFF: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and center Nick Schmaltz are set to return to the lineup next week. Chychrun has been sidelined by off-season wrist surgery while Schmaltz has been sidelined by a rib injury since the Coyotes’ season opener.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for months. Expect the speculation to ramp up once he resumes playing.
NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for roughing Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois on Sunday.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW/CBS SPORTS: Sharks defenseman Radim Simek has been placed on IR with an upper-body injury while blueliner Nikolai Knyzhov (Achilles) has been placed on long-term injury reserve.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Quinn will be sidelined this week with an undisclosed injury.