Injuries to Key Players an Early Test for High-Flying Avalanche
The latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche yesterday avoided arbitration with J.T. Compher. The two sides agreed to a four-year, $14-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Compher, 24, has developed into a reliable, versatile forward for the Avalanche. Last season, he became the first player since Joe Sakic to scored three shorthanded goals, three power-play goals, and three game-winners in the same season.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Police consider the death of Greg Johnson a likely suicide. The former NHL player died at his Michigan home last week at age 48. A gun and a single bullet was found near his body. Johnson suffered multiple concussions during his career but his wife said he displayed no signs of depression or other symptoms related to CTE.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an extra measure of tragedy to Johnson’s passing. My condolences to his family, friends, and former teammates.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights granted the wish of teenage cancer survivor Doron Coldwell by making him a Golden Knight for a day. He received a team jersey and goaltending gear, received pointers from Marc-Andre Fleury, and skated with the players at the team’s practice facility.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of the Golden Knights, forward Ryan Reaves is getting into the brewing business. He received approval for a brewery license from the city council.
NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Chris Stewart to a professional tryout offer. A 10-year NHL veteran, Stewart spent last season playing for the Nottingham Panthers of the English Elite Ice Hockey League.
NBCS CHICAGO’s Charlie Roumeliotis reports Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman remains hopeful of signing forward Brendan Perlini.
TSN: Former Vancouver Canucks winger Ryan Spooner signed a one-year contract with Switzerland’s HC Lugano.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Joe Hicketts to a two-year contract.
Game recaps, updates on Joe Thornton, Roberto Luongo, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists and Joe Thornton moved past Mario Lemieux into 11th place on the NHL all-time assist list as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, handing the latter their eighth consecutive defeat. Thornton now has 1,034 assists. Canucks forward Antoine Roussel could face supplemental discipline for biting Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s left hand during a fracas at the end of the game.
Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen scored twice to lead his club to a 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Bobby Ryan had three assists for the Senators while goalie Craig Anderson made 48 saves in a losing cause. Speaking of lost causes, that might be the best way to describe the Senators’ hopes for a new arena in downtown Ottawa. Team owner Eugene Melnyk has filed a lawsuit against now-former partner John Ruddy over their “failed” arena bid.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As The Athletic’s Chris Stevenson observed, “there is now no way the Senators will be playing in a new rink at LeBreton as long as Melnyk owns the team.”
Jordan Martinook tallied his NHL hat trick as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game with an apparent right knee injury and is listed as day-to-day. Teammate Mike Hoffman had his personal points streak ended at 17 games.
Craig Berube got his first win as coach of the St. Louis Blues as his club rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Earlier in the day, the Blues placed Jaden Schwartz (upper body) on injured reserve. It was also reported that former Blues president Jack Quinn died on Tuesday of cancer at age 80.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Quinn’s family, friends, and the Blues organization.
The Buffalo Sabres extended their winning streak to eight games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Jeff Skinner scored the tying and winning goals.
Josh Anderson scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson extended his goal streak to six games.
Four unanswered third-period goals by Nino Niederreiter, Eric Fehr, Eric Staal, and Zach Parise rallied the Minnesota Wild from a 2-0 deficit to a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the day, the Jets reclaimed winger Marko Dano off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.
Calvin Pickard made 31 saves backstopping the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-0 shutout over the New York Rangers. Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny each collected three points.
Tyler Johnson’s two first-period goals powered the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Two first-period shorthanded goals by J.T. Compher paved the way for the Colorado Avalanche’s 5-1 win over the slumping Arizona Coyotes, who’ve won just three games in their last 10.
Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist and Braden Holtby kicked out 31 shots to give the Washington Capitals a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 28 shots to shut out the Calgary Flames 2-0.
Joakim Nordstrom’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins, who’ve won just twice in their last 10 games. Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves.
Nick Ritchie’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period set the stage for Rickard Rakell’s overtime winner as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Edmonton Oilers 2-1.
Mathew Barzal’s overtime goal gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Game recaps, Connor McDavid and Kyle Palmieri make history, Marc-Andre Fleury reaches another milestone and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a history-making performance leading his club to a 5-4 overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets. McDavid (two goals, two assists) has a point in all of the Oilers’ nine goals this season, breaking the record set by Adam Oates with the Detroit Red Wings in 1986-87. Adam Lowry scored twice for the Jets, who blew a 4-1 lead in the third period. They were also playing without Dustin Byfuglien, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s feat is impressive but it also highlights the Oilers’ lack of scoring punch this season. Without him, they would be screwed. If they don’t get more production from their secondary scorers they won’t make the playoffs next spring.
Marc-Andre Fleury collected his 407th career victory backstopping the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Fleury is now tied with Hall-of-Famer Glenn Hall for 10th on the all-time wins list. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and William Karlsson had a three-point night. Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian made his season debut after returning from a groin injury.
Kyle Palmieri became the first NHL player to score his team’s opening goal in the first four games of a season as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Dallas Stars 3-0. Keith Kinkaid made 24 saves for the shutout.
Kevin Shattenkirk collected two assists and scored the winning goal in a shootout as the New York Rangers edged the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Mats Zuccarello also had two assists and scored in the shootout. Avs center Nathan MacKinnon extended his goal streak to six games while teammate Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves. Earlier in the day, the Avalanche learned forward J.T. Compher (head injury) is sidelined indefinitely.
The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 5-2 lead but managed to defeat the Florida Panthers 6-5 on shootout goals by Jakub Voracek and Jordan Weal. Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux each scored twice for the Flyers while Aleksander Barkov and Frank Vatrano also had two-goal performances.
Tyler Johnson’s hat trick carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Lightning goalie Louis Domingue kicked out 38 shots for the victory.
Brock Boeser’s overtime goal gave the Vancouver Canucks their third straight victory by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.
Devan Dubnyk turned aside 31 shots and Eric Staal netted the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild nipped the Arizona Coyotes 2-1.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings poor start has some observers wondering if head coach Jeff Blashill might lose his job, but there’s no indication Wings management is considering that option right now.
MLIVE.COM: The Red Wings also learned prospect Evgeny Svechnikov (knee surgery) will be sidelined five-six months.
TSN: The Montreal Canadiens placed forward Jacob de la Rose on waivers.
CBC: Legalized marijuana in Canada won’t change the rules for NHL players for now.
Happy New Year, hockey fans! Here’s the latest game recaps and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: William Karlsson tallied the first hat trick in Vegas Golden Knights’ history as his club thumped the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. It’s the Golden Knight’s seventh straight win. Leafs center Auston Matthews picked up his 100th career point. The Leafs also learned defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (suspected broken foot) could be sidelined until late-January.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is Vegas’ leading goal scorer, reaching a career-high 20 goals. He’s also the first player in franchise history to reach that mark. Of all the players selected in the expansion draft, he could turn out to be a steal for the Golden Knights.
Speaking of the Golden Knights, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was named The Hockey News’ newsmaker of the year for 2017. “From a second straight Stanley Cup to the Vegas expansion experience to concussion pains, Marc-Andre Fleury was in the headlines for some of hockey’s biggest stories in 2017.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his league-leading fifth shutout of the season while Tyler Johnson scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0.
The Winnipeg Jets also enjoyed a 5-0 shutout with their victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 35 shots while Kyle Connor and Bryan Little each collected a goal and an assist.
Jimmy Howard made 37 saves and Gustav Nyquist notched his 100th career NHL goal as the Detroit Red Wings upset the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Nyquist tallied twice in this contest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Penguins struggling and perched three points out of a wild-card berth, this loss to Detroit will further stoke the trade speculation swirling about the defending Stanley Cup champions in recent weeks.
The Calgary Flames blew a 3-0 lead but went on to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on an overtime goal by Mark Giordano. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice for the Flames while Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames placed winger Michael Frolik (fractured jaw) on injured reserve.
Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists as the Colorado Avalanche crushed the New York Islanders 6-1. The Avalanche played without rookie J.T. Compher, who suffered an upper-body injury during Friday’s game against Toronto. Isles head coach Doug Weight was ejected from the game for cursing at the on-ice officials following the Avs’ fourth goal.
The Dallas Stars picked up their fourth win in five games with a 6-0 beatdown of the San Jose Sharks. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout, Tyler Pitlick scored twice and Radek Faksa added three assists.
Three unanswered third-period goals lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Ducks center Antoine Vermette scored and set up two others while Rickard Rakell scored twice.