NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2021

Recaps of Tuesday’s games, the stars of the month, plus injury updates, game postponements and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski scored twice and collected two assists as the Dallas Stars defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists while Patrik Laine was held scoreless in his first game with the Blue Jackets since getting traded last month from the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 36-year-old Pavelski is off to a strong start, with 14 points in his first seven games of the season.

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber (NHL Images).

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber collected an assist as his 1000th career NHL game ended in a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Habs winger Tyler Toffoli continues to terrorize his former club by scoring twice while Josh Anderson also tallied two goals. The Canadiens (16 points) vaulted over the idle Toronto Maple Leafs into first place in the North Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eight of Toffoli’s nine goals this season have been against the Canucks.

The Carolina Hurricanes edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Andrei Svechnikov. Jordan Staal and Warren Foegele each had two points for the Hurricanes. Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Nicolas Beaudin rejoined the lineup after being on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list.

Vince Dunn scored and set up another as the St. Louis Blues hung on to nip the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Blues have won four straight games. Christian Dvorak tallied twice for the Coyotes, who played without forwards Christian Fischer (upper-body injury) and Lawson Crouse (upper body).

The Winnipeg Jets tallied three first period goals and held on to down the Calgary Flames 3-2. Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals for the Flames.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves backstopping his club over the Minnesota Wild 2-1. The Avalanche were playing with superstar Nathan MacKinnon, who’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left this game with an upper-body injury. No post-game update was provided on his status.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Nicolas Deslauriers scored and added an assist while Kings rookie Arthur Kaliyev tallied his first career NHL goal.

Jesse Pulujaarvi scored his first two goals of the season as the Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Connor McDavid and Tyson Barrie each collected two assists while Senators rookie Tim Stuetzle netted his third goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have dropped nine straight games since their season-opening win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They weren’t expected to be a playoff contender but it was assumed they would be more competitive after a busy offseason shoring up their roster with some veteran additions. None of those moves, however, have improved the Senators, who are on track for one of their worst seasons in franchise history.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Pavelski and McDavid were among the NHL’s top stars for the month of January 2021, joining Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk.

WGR 550/NEW YORK POST: The Buffalo Sabres’ scheduled games against the New York Islanders on Tuesday and Thursday were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Sabres forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were added to the protocol list following the club’s recent series of games against the New Jersey Devils.

NJ.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they now have 14 players on their COVID-19 protocol list. Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, Damon Severson, Ty Smith and Matt Tennyson were added to the list yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind this doesn’t mean those players have all tested positive for COVID-19. Players can be added to the list if they’re a suspected close contact.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Morgan Frost will undergo potentially season-ending shoulder surgery later this week. Center Sean Couturier (costochondral separation) is expected to return within seven-to-10 days.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forwards Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne will rejoin their teammates today after missing several games on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. Sam Gagner, Jon Merrill and Filip Zadina are also off the protocol list.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Several sticks ordered by the Capitals for defenseman Zdeno Chara were instead delivered to a New Jersey man. The total order was worth over $5,000.00.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2021

Recaps of Saturday’s action, Flyers center Sean Couturier sidelined, Penguins forward Jared McCann fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Rookie Yegor Sharangovich’s first NHL goal was also a game-winner in the dying seconds of overtime as the New Jersey Devils nipped the Boston Bruins 2-1. Miles Wood opened the scoring and goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 saves for the win. Patrice Bergeron replied for the Bruins, who also lost winger Ondrej Kase (upper-body injury) after being hit by Wood with what appeared to be a high stick in the second period.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their first win of the season by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Phil Kessel scored twice, Oliver Ekman-Larsson collected three assists and Antti Raanta kicked out 31 shots for the Coyotes. Timo Meier had a goal and two assists for the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It took Kessel six games into 2019-20 to tally his first two goals in what was a disappointing season for the veteran winger. He now has three in his first two games this season.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price turned aside 34 shots to backstop his club over the Edmonton Oilers 5-1. Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry each tallied twice for the Habs, who held Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scoreless in this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens blew this game open with three unanswered second-period goals. Habs winger Josh Anderson left the game late in the third after falling awkwardly into the boards. Following the game, coach Claude Julien said Anderson was ok.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

After being shut out 4-0 by the New York Islanders in their first meeting of this season, the New York Rangers turned the tables by blanking the Isles 5-0. Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich each scored twice. Ilya Sorokin made his NHL debut in goal for the Islanders after starter Semyon Varlamov was injured during warmups after he was hit in the throat by a puck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov’s injury reportedly wasn’t serious but it was enough to keep him out of the lineup for this game. Isles coach Barry Trotz refused to blame Sorokin for the loss, pinning it instead on his club’s overall poor performance in this contest.

Robby Fabbri’s goal late in the third period was the game-winner as the Detroit Red Wings doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Dylan Larkin scored twice and Bobby Ryan tallied his first with the Wings. Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A much better effort by the Wings in this contest after getting blanked 3-0 by the Hurricanes in their season opener.

Joe Thornton netted his first goal with the Toronto Maple Leafs as they held on to edge the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Mitch Marner factored in each Leaf goal, tallying once and setting up two others. Senators rookie Tim Stuetzle scored his first career NHL goal. Leafs forward Nick Robertson left the game in the first period with an apparent knee injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs improved their defensive play following a sloppy loss 5-3 loss to the Senators on Friday night. They controlled the puck most of the night, out-shooting the Senators 40-19.

A four-goal third-period outburst powered the Nashville Predators to a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to sweep their season-opening two-game series. Predators goalie Juuse Saros made 42 saves while Brad Richardson snapped a 2-2 tie with what proved to be the winning goal. Alexandre Texier had a goal and an assist for the Jackets.

The Minnesota Wild overcame a 3-1 deficit to the Los Angeles Kings for the second straight game for a 4-3 overtime victory. Marcus Johansson tallied the game-winner with Kirill Kaprizov (the overtime hero in the first game) picking up an assist. Ryan Suter had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

Max Pacioretty was the overtime hero as his Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. William Karlsson scored the tying goal late in the third, setting the stage for Pacioretty’s winner. John Gibson made 31 saves for the Ducks.

Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom turned in a 32-save shutout against the Vancouver Canucks to defeat his former club 3-0. The Flames got power-play goals by Sean Monahan, Dillon Dube and Matthew Tkachuk. Former Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev led all blueliners in this game with eight blocked shots.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a costochondral separation, which is when one of the ribs becomes separated from the sternum.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jared McCann was fined $10,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for elbowing Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim in the head on Friday. Sanheim seemed to escape injury and finished the game.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets canceled practice on Saturday due to potential exposure to COVID-19. It remains to be seen if they’ll hold practice on Sunday.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers yesterday claimed goaltender Troy Grosenick off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, he’ll have to stay in Edmonton for 14 days, meaning he’ll miss the club’s upcoming four-game road trip to Toronto and Winnipeg.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported goaltender Jimmy Howard will announce his retirement in the coming days. He spent his entire 14-season NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. In 543 games, he had a record of 246 wins, 196 losses and 70 overtime defeats, with a 2.62 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and 24 shutouts.

CBC.CA: Adam McQuaid has officially announced his retirement. He last played in 2018-19 but was sidelined by a herniated disc in his neck, leading to concussion symptoms and nerve pain in one arm. In 512 NHL games, McQuaid tallied 16 goals and 73 points with a plus-minus of plus-62 with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets. He played all but one of his 10 seasons with the Bruins, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard joined the Red Wings at the tail end of their dominance but played well through most of his tenure. McQuaid was a hard-nosed defensive blueliner who was a key part of the Bruins’ defense corps for most of his time in Boston. Best wishes to both players in their future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s five games, updates on Henrik Lundqvist and Jordan Staal, the latest notable contract signings, waiver claims and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and Gabriel Landeskog scored twice as the Colorado Avalanche crushed the St. Louis Blues 8-0. Philipp Grubauer turned in a 20-save shutout and Cale Makar collected three assists.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wednesday’s season-opening 4-1 loss to the Blues seemed to light a fire under the Avs. They were far more energized compared to their rather flat effort in their previous contest. Coach Jared Bednar’s decision to reunite Landeskog with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the top line for this game paid off.

The Ottawa Senators opened their season with a 5-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winger Brady Tkachuk led the way for Ottawa with a goal and two assists while goalie Matt Murray made 20 saves for his first victory as a Senator. John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators exploited the Leafs’ defensive breakdowns for a well-deserved season-opening win. Toronto blueliners TJ Brodie and Zach Bogosian wore the goat horns in this one. The offseason additions haven’t brought much to the Leafs’ defense thus far but there’s still lots of time for them to adjust to their new team.

Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 35 shots to backstop the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat were among four Lightning forwards with a goal and an assist. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat replied for the Blackhawks

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks made it interesting by narrowing the Bolts’ 3-0 lead to 3-2 by the end of the second period but Yanni Gourde and Stamkos put the game out of reach in the third.

The Philadelphia Flyers swept their two-game series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-2 victory. Travis Konecny tallied a hat trick as the Flyers chased Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry from the game after he gave up three goals on six shots. Sidney Crosby and Brandon Tanev replied for the Penguins. Flyers center Sean Couturier left the game in the first period with a shoulder injury. He’s slated for an MRI today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ defensive play has been sloppy and undisciplined thus far. It’s still very early in this season and they have plenty of time to address the problem but it could become their undoing this season if a solution isn’t found soon.

Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals nipped the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek turned aside 30 shots to pick up the win in his first NHL contest. Rasmus Ristolainen replied for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough loss for the Sabres. They outplayed the Capitals but couldn’t get more than one goal past Vanecek. They didn’t help their cause by going 0-5 on the power play.

HEADLINES

TSN: Henrik Lundqvist announced yesterday he left hospital after having open-heart surgery last week. He’ll remain in Cleveland for a few more days before returning to New York City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes in your ongoing journey to a full recovery, King Henrik.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Friday. Staal played in the Hurricanes’ season-opener on Thursday. There’s no indication how long he could be sidelined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes players are placed on this list because of an initial positive test and then come off it if the follow-up test is negative. That could be the case with Staal.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers placed goaltender Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve. He’ll miss at least 24 days or 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a concern given the Oilers’ lack of goaltending depth, especially after losing Anton Forsberg to Carolina on waivers earlier this week. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of Forsberg, he was claimed off waivers from the Hurricanes by the Jets.

THE SCORE: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $950K contract. He recently joined the Ducks on a professional tryout offer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins defenseman Zach Trotman underwent surgery on his right knee and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will start their season on Jan. 22 after having their first four games postponed and rescheduled following a recent COVID-19 outbreak during training camp.

CBS SPORTS: The New York Islanders loaned forward Joshua Ho-Sang to Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League for the remainder of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could officially signal the end of Ho-Sang’s NHL career. The former first-round pick (28th overall, 2014) last played in the NHL in 2018-19 and spent last season in the AHL. The Isles reportedly tried to trade him but couldn’t find any takers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

The Stars regain the lead in the Western Conference Final, Sean Couturier wins the Selke Trophy, and updates on Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into overtime as the Dallas Stars edged the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. The Stars hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist while Anton Khudobin made 38 saves for the win. Mark Stone had two points for the Golden Knights, including the game-tying goal that forced overtime. Game 4 of the series is Saturday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of the scoring came in the third period, with the Golden Knights out-shooting the Stars 18-4 thanks to three power-play opportunities. Khudobin was outstanding for Dallas while Stars coach Rick Bowness’ decision to reunite Benn, Radulov and Tyler Seguin on the top line provided a much-needed boost to their offense.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is this year’s winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Couturier for a long-overdue recognition of his place among the league’s best defensive forwards. He’s the first Flyer to win the Selke since Dave Poulin in 1986-87.

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn for one game for boarding New York Islanders center Brock Nelson in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Lightning could also be without their leading scorer for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Center Brayden Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and might not dress for tonight’s contest with the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning coped without Killorn and Point for most of Game 2. It will be a bigger challenge offsetting their absences for the entirety of Game 3.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports 17 NHL teams have slashed expenditures and reduced payroll amid a COVID-19 crunch. That includes Original Six teams like the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of the seven Canadian teams, only the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t yet reduced the pay of staff members, including team presidents, coaches and general managers. The Ottawa Senators’ coaching staff received relief from the league after having their pay cut by 50 percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Seravalli points out, the teams are doing this because there’s been no meaningful revenue coming in since mid-March and none on the immediate horizon. He also anticipates those cuts will affect free agency and salary-cap payrolls.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki will test the free-agent market.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Jacob de la Rose to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Adam Cracknell to a one-year, two-way contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed a three-year agreement with the Chicago Wolves to be their new AHL affiliate.

NHL.COM: The Charlotte Checkers (the Hurricanes’ former AHL farm club) signed a multi-year affiliation deal with the Florida Panthers.

CBS SPORTS: Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio signed a three-year contract with Lausanne HC of Switzerland’s National League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

The Lightning crush the Islanders to open the Eastern Conference Final, Bobby Ryan wins the Masterton Trophy, plus updates on Sean Couturier, Mikael Granlund and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the New York Islanders 8-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each collected five points while Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk each had three points. Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy replied for the Islanders, who pulled goalie Thomas Greiss in the first period after he gave up three goals on nine shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning dominated the Islanders from the opening faceoff to the final whistle. Whatever the reason – lack of time to prepare following their Game 7 win over the Flyers on Saturday, the travel day between games – the Isles were flat in this contest. The Bolts aren’t expecting further lopsided wins in this series as their opponent is expected to put up a better effort in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan is this year’s winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. He took an extended leave of absence in November to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. Ryan returned in February and tallied a hat trick in his second game back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Ryan and best wishes in his ongoing recovery.

THE SCORE: The NHL recorded its seventh consecutive week of zero positive COVID-19 tests among its players and staff participating in the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the league and the NHLPA deserve praise for how they’ve pulled this off. None of the doom-and-gloom forecasts from some observers came to pass.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier played through a sprained MCL during Game 7 against the Islanders.

THE ATHLETIC: Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund intends to test this year’s unrestricted free agent market.