NHL Betting: Matthews Still A Rocket Richard Favorite But Others Lurk
Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
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.
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.
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.
Recaps from a very busy night in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Craig Smith. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who lost winger Jake DeBrusk to a lower-body injury following an open-ice hit by Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Jason Zucker scored and collected an assist for the Penguins.
Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s first goal of the season held up as the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the slumping New York Rangers, sending the latter to their fourth straight loss. Earlier in the day, the Rangers learned center Filip Chytil will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.
James van Riemsdyk scored two goals and Ivan Provorov had a goal and two assists to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Claude Giroux also collected two assists for the Flyers.
The Washington Capitals nipped the New York Islanders 3-2 when Justin Schultz scored with 27 seconds remaining in the third period. John Carlson had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who extended their points streak to seven games. Mathew Barzal scored and picked up an assist for the Islanders, who earned scorn from head coach Barry Trotz over his club’s lack of urgency. “It’s playoff mentality right now and I’m not sure we have our playoff mentality yet,” said Trotz. “And it’s pissing me off.” The Islanders were playing with Anthony Beauvillier as he was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
Patric Hornqvist’s shootout goal gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe each collected two points for the Panthers.
The Nashville Predators ended a three-game skid by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on an overtime tally by Roman Josi. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist for the Predators. The Blackhawks skated without winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist as both are expected to miss two weeks due to COVID-19 protocols.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored and set up three others as the Winnipeg Jets rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-4. Adam Copp also had a four-point night (two goals, two assists) and Adam Lowry had a three-point performance for the Jets. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had two points while blueliner Darnell Nurse chalked up three assists.
The Los Angeles Kings picked up their third win in four games by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on a third-period goal by Carl Grundstrom. Kings goalie Cal Petersen kicked out 32 shots for the win.
An overtime goal by Jason Dickinson lifted the Dallas Stars over the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Stars defenseman John Klingberg had a goal and an assist while Joe Pavelski collected his 800th career point. The Stars have won their first three games.
The St. Louis Blues defeated former captain Alex Pietrangelo and the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 5-4 on a shootout goal by Brayden Schenn. David Perron scored twice for the Blues while Max Pacioretty tallied a hat trick for the Golden Knights, who played without their coaching staff behind the bench after one of them tested positive for COVID-19. General manager Kelly McCrimmon took over as head coach and called up several coaches from their farm team as assistants. The Golden Knights are closing their facilities today as they determine their next steps under the league’s coronavirus protocols.
A third-period goal by Mitch Marner gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Marner, Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly each had two points for the Leafs, who swept their two-game series against the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau tallied twice for the Flames. There were fireworks at the game’s end when Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin flipped the puck at Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, touching off a scrum that landed Muzzin a meaningless unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The incident was likely tied to Tkachuk injuring Leafs backup goalie Jack Campbell in their previous game, leaving Campbell sidelined “for weeks”.
The Colorado Avalanche rolled to a 7-3 beat down of the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Sand scored twice, Cale Makar picked up three assists and Mikko Rantanen extended his goal-scoring streak to six games. The Sharks, meanwhile, are hoping to ready soon to their home arena after the state of California lifted its regional stay-at-home order that had been in place since Dec. 3.
John Gibson turned in a 31-save shutout and Danton Heinen scored the only goal as the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Arizona Coyotes 1-0.
The Canucks crush the Senators, last week’s three stars are announced, the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and David Pastrnak, plus injury/illness updates and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Brandon Sutter tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Thatcher Demko made 35 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thrashed the Ottawa Senators 7-1. Bo Horvat collected two assists while Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist. The Senators have dropped five straight games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Canucks as their recent struggles were cause for concern among their followers. The two clubs meet again on Wednesday and finish their three-game series on Thursday.
Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli, Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 24.
TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen refuted any notion that last year’s contract negotiations with Pierre-Luc Dubois led to the 22-year-old center being traded on Saturday to the Winnipeg Jets.
Dubois suggested in a recent interview that those discussions led in part to his trade request. “That’s just flat out not true at all and he knows that, so I don’t know why he would say that or even insinuate something like that, because it’s not true,” said Kekalainen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The real reason for Dubois’ trade request will be a hot topic for some time. Some believe it was his relationship with Jackets coach John Tortorella but Dubois has denied this.
There are also lots of guessing behind the trade request of Patrik Laine, who the Jackets swapped for Dubois. Some condemn Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, head coach Paul Maurice and Jets leaders Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele for creating a supposed toxic atmosphere that drove Laine away. Others blame the winger’s perceived lackadaisical approach.
CBS SPORTS: David Pastrnak could return to action with the Boston Bruins as soon as Saturday. The 24-year-old winger has been sidelined by offseason hip surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for a Bruins’ offense that has been inconsistent without their leading goal scorer.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Monday. There’s no confirmation either player has tested positive for the coronavirus.
THE SCORE: The NHL postponed Tuesday’s games between the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s the fourth consecutive Hurricanes game to be postponed. The club currently has five players on the COVID-19 protocol list with three confirmed to have tested positive. The league has released new dates for each of the postponed contests.
TSN: Edmonton Oilers winger Tyler Ennis and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Greg Pateryn were placed on waivers Monday. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mitchel Stephens is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury while defenseman Erik Cernak is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodrigues is sidelined indefinitely with an apparent lower-body injury suffering during a collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil on Sunday.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Former Coyotes GM John Chayka has been suspended to the end of 2021 by the NHL for conduct detrimental to the league and the game. The suspension is reportedly due to Chayka’s departure from the Coyotes last summer.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators goaltender Connor Ingram will be away from the club for an indefinite period as he voluntarily entered the league’s player assistance program.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Goaltender Scott Darling has signed a professional tryout offer with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford, Illinois. Darling spent three seasons with the Blackhawks from 2014-15 to 2016-17, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2015.