NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2024

Marc-Andre Fleury ties Patrick Roy for career wins, Sam Reinhart and Zach Hyman have hat-trick performances, Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard is sidelined with a fractured jaw, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for his 551st career NHL win in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fleury is tied with Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy for second on the all-time wins list. Marco Rossi scored the game-winner while Matt Boldy and Brock Faber each collected three points for the 17-17-4 Wild (38 points), who sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Cole Sillinger tallied all three goals for the 13-19-9 Blue Jackets.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart collected a hat trick as his club picked up its seventh straight win by dropping the Colorado Avalanche 8-4, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk each had four points and Carter Verhaeghe had three for the red-hot Panthers (25-12-2, 52 points) as they moved within two points of first place in the Eastern Conference. Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin each had two points for the 25-12-3 Avalanche (53 points) as they remain one point out of first place in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche played without defenseman Bowen Byram. He’s expected to miss “a handful of games” due to a lower-body injury suffered on Thursday against the Dallas Stars.

Speaking of hat tricks and seven-game win streaks, Zach Hyman’s three goals continued the Edmonton Oilers’ winning ways in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Evan Bouchard collected three assists while Stuart Skinner made 29 saves for the 20-15-1 Oilers (41 points), who moved into a playoff spot for the first time this season as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Anton Forsberg turned aside 43 shots for the 14-21-0 Senators as their losing skid extended to three games.

A third-period goal by Travis Konecny lifted the Philadelphia Flyers past the Calgary Flames 3-2. Morgan Frost had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (20-13-6) as they snapped a four-game losing skid and sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 46 points. Jacob Markstrom turned aside 39 shots for the 17-17-5 Flames as they are two points out of a Western wild-card spot.

The Boston Bruins rolled to a 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Trent Frederic tallied two goals while David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm and Matthew Poitras each collected two points as the Bruins 24-8-6 sit atop the Atlantic Division with 54 points. Brayden Point netted two goals for the 19-17-5 Lightning as they sit one point out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have the same number of points as the New York Rangers and the idle Winnipeg Jets. However, the Jets hold first place in the overall standings with 23 regulation wins while the Rangers are second overall with 21 regulation wins. The Bruins have fewer victories.

Speaking of the Rangers, they suffered a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on a shootout goal by Cole Caufield. Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers overcame a 3-0 deficit but Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault kicked out 45 shots for the win. The Rangers (26-10-2) hold first place in the Eastern Conference while the Canadiens improved to 17-17-5.

The Vancouver Canucks held off the New Jersey Devils by a score of 6-4. J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson each had two goals and an assist while Quinn Hughes collected three assists for the Canucks (25-11-3) as they hold first place in the Pacific Division with 53 points and sit one point out of first place in the overall standings. Colin Miller tallied twice for the 21-15-2 Devils as they cling to the final Eastern wild-card spot with 44 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler left this game with a broken foot from a blocked shot. The Devils also played without Timo Meier as he was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 30 while Jack Hughes missed this game with an upper-body injury suffered during Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy returned to action nearly two months after being sidelined by a fractured leg. However, blueliner Nikita Zadorov is out with an undisclosed injury while Phillip Di Giuseppe was placed on long-term injury reserve.

A 40-save performance by goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen gave the Buffalo Sabres a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zemgus Girgensons scored the game-winner for the 17-19-4 Sabres. Rickard Rakell replied for the Penguins (19-15-4) as they sit two points out of a wild-card berth in the East with 42 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander scored two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their 11th straight loss. The 20-10-7 Leafs sit third in the Atlantic Division with 47 points while the Sharks (9-28-3) remain at the bottom of the overall standings.

The St. Louis Blues nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 thanks to a 29-save effort by goaltender Jordan Binnington. Brayden Schenn netted the winning goal in the shootout as the Blues (20-17-1) sit just outside the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 41 points. Teuvo Teravainen scored for the 22-13-5 Hurricanes as they extended their points streak to six games and sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 49 points.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third period as his club held off the Dallas Stars 4-3. Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist each had two points for the 22-17-1 Predators as they hold the first Western wild-card spot with 45 points. Jason Robertson and Thomas Harley each had two points for the Stars (22-11-5) as they hold third place in the Central Division with 49 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals each from Jack Eichel and Nicolas Roy in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Logan Thompson stopped 28 shots for the Golden Knights (23-12-5) as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 51 points. Mathew Barzal and Matt Martin replied for the 18-11-10 Islanders as they hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 46 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud missed this game with an undisclosed injury.


NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks placed rookie star Connor Bedard on injured reserve after he suffered a fractured jaw during Friday’s game against the Devils. There is no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks already have several players sidelined by injuries with Bedard now their ninth player on injured reserve. He could return sometime in mid-February at the earliest but he’s almost certain to miss the 2024 All-Star Game on Feb. 3.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks acquired forward Rem Pitlick from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes recalled forward Dylan Guenther on an emergency basis with winger Jason Zucker serving a three-game suspension.

MAYOR’S MANOR: Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender Pheonix Copley is out for the season following successful ACL surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are using Aaron Dell as Copley’s replacement but they could go into the trade market for a goaltender before the March 8 deadline.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2023

Nathan MacKinnon extends his point streaks, Jack Eichel establishes a Golden Knights record, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and collected two assists in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. MacKinnon extended his season-opening home points streak to 16 games and his overall points streak to 15 games as the Avalanche (19-10-2) reclaimed first place in the Central Division with 40 points. Tomas Hertl scored both goals for the 9-19-3 Sharks while Anthony Duclair was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon is having an MVP-worthy season thus far. With 47 points, he’s now five behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, who leads all scorers with 52 points.

Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist to lead his club over the Ottawa Senators 6-3. Mark Stone collected three assists for the Golden Knights (21-6-5), who sit atop the overall standings with 47 points. Josh Norris had a goal and an assist for the 11-15-0 Senators, who’ve dropped four straight and remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 22 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel extended his points streak to a franchise-record 10 games. Meanwhile, Vegas goaltender Adin Hill left this game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. It was his first game since being sidelined for the last seven with a lower-body injury.

A hat trick by Adam Henrique powered the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-1 upset of the New Jersey Devils. Alex Killorn had a goal and two assists for the 11-19-1 Ducks as they snapped a five-game losing skid. Michael McLeod replied for the 16-12-1 Devils (33 points), who sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

The Vancouver Canucks netted three goals in the second period to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. J.T. Miller picked up two assists as he leads his teammates with 45 points to sit third in the league scoring race. The Canucks (21-9-2) sit second in the Western Conference with 44 points. Nick Foligno tallied twice for the Blackhawks (9-20-1), who sit at the bottom of the overall standings with 19 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks winger Brock Boeser netted his 23rd goal of the season to move into a tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead in goals. Meanwhile, the ranks of injured Blackhawks is growing as winger Joey Anderson left this game with an upper-body injury. He joins Seth Jones (left shoulder), Alex Vlasic (upper body), Andreas Athanasiou (groin), Colin Blackwell (lower body), Jarred Tinordi (concussion) and Taylor Hall (season-ending ACL injury) on the sidelines.

A shootout goal by Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Washington Capitals a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for the Capitals (15-9-4), who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 34 points and two games in hand over the Detroit Red Wings, who also have 34 points. Sebastian Aho scored for the 16-12-3 Hurricanes, who’ve dropped six of their last eight games and cling to the first Eastern wild-card spot with 35 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger TJ Oshie was a late scratch from this game with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. The Canes got some good news as goalie Frederik Andersen was cleared to resume skating after being sidelined for six weeks with a blood clot issue.


CALGARY SUN: Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom was activated off injured reserve after missing seven games with a fractured finger. Goalie Dustin Wolf has been assigned to their AHL affiliate.

LA KINGS INSIDER: The Kings placed goaltender Pheonix Copley on long-term injury reserve with an undisclosed injury. They called up David Rittich from their AHL affiliate over the weekend. Copley suffered the injury during practice on Friday.

CBS SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Lyon suffered a lower-body injury during Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. No updates were released regarding his condition.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils recalled netminder Nico Daws from their AHL affiliate as Vitek Vanecek is not feeling “physically well”, though it is not related to any illness.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2023

A milestone game for the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, the league and NHLPA investigate a breach in treatment protocol for Coyotes defenseman Juuso Valimaki, and the Avalanche trade Tomas Tatar to the Kraken. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider scored two goals in a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each picked up two assists for the Rangers (20-7-1) as they sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division and second overall in the Eastern Conference with 41 points. Lukas Dostal made 34 saves for the Ducks (10-19-0) as they’ve lost five straight games and nine of their last ten.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a milestone game for Kreider as he surpassed Adam Graves to move into third place among the Rangers’ all-time goalscoring leaders with 281. He also tied Graves for fourth on their all-time list for power-play goals (100) and surpassed the 500-point mark (501). He’s just seven points away from surpassing Graves for tenth place among the Blueshirts in total points.

The Boston Bruins defeated the New York Islanders 5-4 on a shootout goal by David Pastrnak, who also had a goal and an assist in regulation time. James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Geekie also each scored and collected an assist for the 19-5-4 Bruins, who sit in first place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points. Bo Horvat had a goal and two assists while Mathew Barzal set up two goals for the Islanders (14-7-8), who sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 36 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders announced that defenseman Scott Mayfield (upper body) was placed on injured reserve before this game.

Four unanswered third-period goals lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 upset of the Vegas Golden Knights. Casey Mittelstadt scored twice and collected an assist while Dylan Cozens had a goal and two assists for the 13-15-3 Sabres. Ivan Barbashev and Jack Eichel replied for the Golden Knights (20-6-5) as they held a three-point lead over the Bruins for first place in the overall standings with 45 points.

An overtime goal by Filip Forsberg lifted the Nashville Predators over the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5. Roman Josi and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and two assists for the Predators (17-13-0), who’ve won three straight games and hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 34 points. Martin Necas and Stefan Noesen each had a goal and an assist for the 16-12-2 Hurricanes as they cling to the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 34 points.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 4-2 deficit in a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist while Scott Wedgewood made 25 saves as the Stars improved to 17-8-3 and sit in second place in the Central Division with 37 points. Drake Batherson scored two goals and Jakob Chychrun picked up three assists for the 11-14-0 Senators, who have dropped seven of their last 10 games and remain mired in last place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars goalie Jake Oettinger started this game but left just eight minutes into the first period with a lower-body injury. He will not be traveling with his team to St. Louis for Saturday’s game against the Blues.

Meanwhile, Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed this game due to a family matter. Teammate Mathieu Joseph suffered a lower-body injury early in the first period and didn’t return.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram made 21 saves to shut out the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Mattias Maccelli scored for the Coyotes (14-13-2) as they regained the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 30 points. Kaapo Kahkonen turned aside 23 shots for the 9-18-3 Sharks.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli cited sources indicating the NHL and NHL Players Association are investigating a gap in treatment protocol as defenseman Juuso Valimaki was left in a Dallas hospital without care for hours last month after suffering a serious facial injury during a game against the Stars on Nov. 14.

According to Seravalli’s sources, Valimaki was dropped off at the emergency room and left to advocate for his own care with his wife Vilma (who was traveling with him during that road game) and a Coyotes employee. After initial observation, the overworked Dallas hospital told Valimaki to find a local hotel and return the next day as they were treating more critical incoming trauma patients.

Valimaki, however, required immediate treatment. With a bloodied face, a hole in his mouth, and internal bleeding, he was unable to function. Doctors later said he might have asphyxiated in his sleep on his blood had he gone to the hotel as instructed. Five hours later after the NHLPA stepped in, Valimaki received 55 stitches in his mouth to close the wound, which included a fractured bone and the loss of three teeth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s story indicates it was Valimaki’s wife who called the NHLPA after her husband spent an hour in the emergency room without care. It was two hours later when his face and wound were finally cleaned, another hour before he was admitted to the hospital for surgery to close the wound in his mouth and another 12 hours before he received surgery to repair the fractured bone in his mouth and realign his remaining teeth.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Avalanche traded winger Tomas Tatar on Friday to the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar, 33, signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract this summer with the Avalanche. He struggled to mesh with his new club, tallying one goal and nine points in 27 games. The move frees up cap space for the Avalanche if they wish to make another move later in the season.

The Kraken, meanwhile, are struggling to score this season. Pressed for cap space, they hope Tatar (a former six-time 20-plus goal scorer) can regain his form in Seattle.

THE PROVINCE/SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Vancouver Canucks traded forward Jack Studnicka to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Nick Cicek and a 2024 sixth-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In what could be a related move, the Sharks also placed forward Nico Sturm on injured reserve.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers general manager Daniel Briere doesn’t intend to be a buyer before this season’s NHL trade deadline. While the club is exceeding expectations, Briere doesn’t intend to mortgage the future just to sneak into the playoffs.

Briere would love for the Flyers to reach the postseason. However, he still believes his club should stockpile draft picks rather than trade those assets for rental players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Briere becomes a seller by the March 8 deadline if the Flyers are still holding a playoff berth by then. He could stand pat rather than shop his own pending unrestricted free agents such as Sean Walker and Nick Seeler.

Both defensemen have reportedly drawn lots of interest in the trade market. Briere could still move one or both by March 8 for the right offer.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine is expected to miss six weeks as he recovers from a fractured clavicle suffered during Thursday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons. He’s recently surfaced in media trade conjecture though there’s no indication he wants to be moved or that the Blue Jackets are shopping him. If he was available in the trade market, his injury history would hurt his value.

CBS SPORTS: The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (lower body) in injured reserve. He’s listed as week-to-week.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Kings, backup goalie Pheonix Copley left practice on Friday with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings have reportedly called up David Rittich.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward Vinnie Hinostroza on waivers to send him to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2023

Check out the latest on Kevin Hayes, Anton Khudobin, Tuukka Rask and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues head coach Craig Berube believes Kevin Hayes will bring experienced help at the center-ice position to his team. The 31-year-old forward was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in July.

Berube noted that Hayes played well during his tenure with the New York Rangers, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. “He’s a good player with the puck, he makes plays,” said Berube. “Big, he’s got good size. When he was with the Rangers, he was killing penalties, he was a faceoff guy. He was really good at the dot. There’s a lot of upside there that he can really help us.”

St. Louis Blues center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

Hayes averaged 20 goals and 30 assists per 82 games during his four seasons with the Flyers. Despite a 54-point performance last season (including a team-leading 36 assists), he was a healthy scratch at times under coach John Tortorella and spent some time as a left wing. His production dropped to seven points in his final 28 games with the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are hoping that Hayes will improve in St. Louis and bolster their depth at center after trading away Ryan O’Reilly last season. He carries a $7.1 million cap hit through 2025-26 but the Flyers retained half of that. The Blues only gave up a 2024 sixth-round pick to get him. This could turn into a steal for the Blues if Hayes regains the form that earned him that lucrative contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: Anton Khudobin signed a contract with Sokol Krasnoyarsk in Russia’s second-tier VHL. The 37-year-old goaltender spent most of last season with the AHL’s Texas Stars. Traded to the Chicago Blackhawks before the March 3 trade deadline, he made his last NHL appearance on March 23, giving up six goals on 28 shots.

Before that, Khudobin had a well-earned reputation as a reliable backup goaltender with the Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, and Dallas Stars. His most memorable performance occurred during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs as he backstopped the Stars to the Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin struggled following the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season. A nagging hip injury led to season-ending surgery in March 2022 requiring a six-month recovery period.

In 260 NHL games played, he had a regular-season record of 114 wins, 92 losses and 33 overtime losses with a 2.52 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage and 11 shutouts. He also had a record of 14-10-0 in 24 playoff starts with a 2.63 GAA, a .919 SP and one shutout.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask recently denied a long-standing rumor that he missed the last game of the 2015-16 season due to a hangover from drinking at a Boston pub the night before.

Rask was actually sidelined by a stomach virus and was replaced in that game by Jonas Gustavsson. The Bruins fell to the Ottawa Senators 6-1 and missed the playoffs.

In a recent interview with the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, Rask said that the rumor was started by a former bartender at the pub. The former Vezina Trophy winner said he was there five days beforehand but not the night before that crucial game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask was among the NHL’s elite goaltenders during most of his tenure in Boston. He holds the Bruins’ record for career wins with 308, backstopping them to two Stanley Cup Finals and winning a Cup as Tim Thomas’ backup in 2011. Nevertheless, he never really got his just due from some Bruins fans during his 15-season NHL career.

LA HOCKEY INSIDER: The Los Angeles Kings enter this season with the second-lowest payroll invested in goaltending. They have three goalies with NHL experience in Cam Talbot, Pheonix Copley and David Rittich. It’s expected that Talbot and Copley will be their main tandem to start the seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending is the Kings’ potential Achilles’ heel this season. Don’t be surprised if general manager Rob Blake goes shopping for an upgrade at some point if Talbot, Copley and Rittich struggle between the pipes.

DAILY FACEOFF: Highly-touted Philadelphia Flyers prospect Matvei Michkov was a healthy scratch from SKA St. Petersburg’s first two games in the new KHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some on social media are pointing to this as justification for why Michkov dropped to seventh overall in this year’s draft. That’s as may be but it’s still very early in the 18-year-old winger’s career. He won’t be making his NHL debut for three more seasons so there’s plenty of time for him to develop and improve as a professional in the KHL.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 11, 2023

Penguins star Evgeni Malkin reaches a points milestone, Vladimir Tarasenko scored in his Rangers debut, the latest on Patrick Kane and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin collected two assists to become the third player in franchise history to reach 1,200 career points in a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Pierre-Olivier Joseph scored twice and collected an assist as the Penguins (26-16-9) vaulted over the Washington Capitals into the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 61 points. Mason McTavish had a goal and an assist for the Ducks as they dropped to 17-30-6.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Ducks placed winger Troy Terry (upper body) on injured reserve.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored in his debut with the New York Rangers as they picked up their fourth straight win by down the Seattle Kraken 6-3. Vincent Trocheck, Kaapo Kakko and Ryan Lindgren each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who improved to 30-14-8 (68 points) and sit four points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Vince Dunn each had two points for the 29-18-5 Kraken as they dropped their third straight game and slipped to third place in the Pacific Division with 63 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As expected, Tarasenko skated on the Rangers’ top line alongside Mika Zibanejad (who also scored in this contest) and Artemi Panarin (one assist). He indicated that he received no contract offer from the Blues prior to the trade to the Rangers.

Meanwhile, the Kraken and the Edmonton Oilers have identical records. However, the latter moved into second place in the Pacific with 27 regulation wins.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov turned in a 30-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. John Tavares scored twice for the 32-13-8 Leafs (72 points) as they widened their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division by four points. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 38 shots for the Blue Jackets (15-33-4) as they remain mired at the bottom of the overall standings.

An overtime goal by Caleb Jones lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-3. Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and two assists for the 16-29-5 Blackhawks. Coyotes forward Clayton Keller also had a goal and two assists as his club dropped to 17-30-6.


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane wasn’t pleased when he heard that the Rangers acquired Vladimir Tarasenko on Thursday. “It’s not like the happiest I’ve been to hear about a trade,” he said. Kane indicated the Rangers were a team he was interested in if he was going to be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s comments are an indication that he’s leaning toward accepting a trade before the March 3 deadline. He and teammate Jonathan Toews are reportedly supposed to make a decision by mid-February whether they’ll waive their no-movement clauses. It sounds like Kane already has a list of preferred trade destinations with the Rangers probably at the top.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond could miss Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks after suffering a lower-body injury during practice on Friday. Defenseman Jake Walman is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ian Cole was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for kneeing Colorado Avalanche forward Andrew Cogliano during Thursday’s game.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Jordan Harris to a two-year, $2.8 million contract extension. The average annual value is $1.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Canadiens followers went on social media suggesting this was more than what Harris deserved. Perhaps they initially confused that $2.8 million as his new annual cap hit. On his current two-year contract (entry-level), the 22-year-old blueliner is earning an AAV of $842,500 (not counting performance bonuses). $1.4 million is a reasonable raise.

LA HOCKEY NOW: The Kings signed goalie Pheonix Copley to a one-year, $1.5 million contract extension.

TSN: The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Josh Mahura to a one-year, one-way contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates his new deal is worth $925K.