NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2024
The Panthers and Rangers extend their win streaks as they jockey for first place in the Eastern Conference, the league-leading Canucks drop their third straight game, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers regained sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators. Anton Lundell netted the winning goal while Brandon Montour had a goal and an assist for the 37-15-5 Panthers (78 points), who’ve won six straight games and sit two points back of the league-leading Vancouver Canucks. Thomas Chabot and Tim Stutzle replied for the 23-27-3 Senators as they overcame a 2-0 deficit.
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin kicked out 41 shots to backstop his club over the Dallas Stars 3-1, extending their win streak to eight games. Kaapo Kakko scored what proved to be the game-winner for the Rangers (37-16-3) as they sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 77 points, one behind the Panthers. Miro Heiskanen tallied for the 34-15-8 Stars, who sit in first place in the Central Division with 76 points.
The Vancouver Canucks lost their third straight game by falling 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his season-opening home points streak to 27 games while Ryan Johansen tallied twice for the 35-18-4 Avalanche (74 points) as they sit second in the Central and two points back of the Stars. J.T. Miller scored for the slumping Canucks (37-15-6).
Winnipeg Jets forwards Kyle Connor and Gabriel Vilardi each had three points in a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Laurent Brossoit stopped 36 shots as the Jets (34-15-5) sit third in the Central with 73 points. Marco Rossi netted two goals for the 26-24-6 Wild (58 points), as they remain two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Nashville Predators defeated the Vegas Golden Knight 5-3. Kevin Lankinen got the win with 23 saves in his first start since Jan. 27 while Roman Josi collected two assists for the 29-25-2 Predators as they moved into a tie with the St. Louis Blues with 60 points. Adin Hill made 35 saves for the Golden Knights (32-18-6) as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 70 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left this game with an upper-body injury. There was no postgame update on his condition. Meanwhile, the Blues still hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a game in hand.
New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech scored in overtime to lift his club to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who overcame a 4-2 deficit to force the extra period. Pelech, Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders (23-18-14) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points. Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up an assist for his 800th career NHL point for the 24-21-8 Penguins.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied two goals and added an assist to beat the New Jersey Devils 6-2. Connor McMichael also scored twice while Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists for the Capitals (25-21-8) as they sit six points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Alexander Holtz and Erik Haula replied for the 28-23-4 Devils (60 points), who are four points out of that Eastern wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals center Nic Dowd left in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. Before the game, the Devils placed goaltender Vitek Vanecek (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 10 while activating defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler.
The Los Angeles Kings got two goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois as they cruised to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Quinton Byfield and Drew Doughty each had two points for the Kings (28-16-10) as they’ve won six of their last seven and hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points. Adam Boqvist replied for the 17-27-10 Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson left in the third period with a lower-body injury.
TORONTO SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the five-game suspension for Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly for high-sticking Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig on Feb. 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rielly’s absence hasn’t hurt the Leafs as they’ve won four straight since his suspension.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings signed forward Michael Rasmussen to a four-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $3.2 million.
DAILY FACEOFF: The St. Louis Blues placed defensemen Justin Faulk and Scott Perunovich on injured reserve.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but there’s no talk of the 26-year-old getting traded. After missing 21 months dealing with mental health issues, his comeback has sparked mutual interest in a contract extension.
DAILY FACEOFF: Chicago Blackhawks winger Zach Sanford and San Jose Sharks defenseman Jacob MacDonald were placed on waivers yesterday. Teams have until noon ET to claim them.
TSN: The AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack released former NHL forward Artem Anisimov from his professional tryout agreement in January. He had one goal and three assists in 18 games with the Wolf Pack.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Former San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau is part of the Bay Sports Area Hall of Fame’s class of 2024. He will be inducted on May 6, becoming the second Sharks player to be honored, joining Owen Nolan.