NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2022

The Flames set a franchise record in win over Blue Jackets, the Avalanche’s home win streak continues, the Penguins re-sign Jeff Carter, the Canucks hire Patrik Allvin as GM, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames fired a franchise-record 62 shots at the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-0 victory. Johnny Gaudreau collected three assists, Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals and Jacob Markstrom turned in a 23-save shutout. Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 56 saves. With 46 points, the Flames tie the Dallas Stars but take over the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with two games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikins wasn’t to blame for his club’s lopsided loss. His teammates let him down with a lousy defensive effort. They also lost center Alexandre Texier as he left the game with an injured hand.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Cale Makar’s overtime goal lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, extending their home winning streak to 17 games. They forced the extra frame with unanswered third-period goals by Samuel Girard and Gabriel Landeskog while Nazem Kadri finished the night with three assists. Charlie McAvoy collected two assists for the Bruins. The Avs are tied with the Florida Panthers with 63 points but hold first overall with two games in hand while the Bruins hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 51 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Avs as center Nathan MacKinnon left the game following a hard hit from Bruins winger Taylor Hall. MacKinnon’s face was bloodied by his own stick following contact from Hall’s shoulder. He could miss the Avs’ upcoming game with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Auston Matthews. Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell reached the 20-win mark in a season for the first time in his career as his club remains in third place in the Atlantic Division with 55 points. The Ducks picked up a point thanks to goalie John Gibson’s 41-save effort and sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 50 points.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Dylan Strome tallied his first NHL hat trick in an 8-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Alex DeBrincat scored twice and added an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have been trying to trade Strome since last season. The Athletic’s Scott Powers speculates his improved play of late might make him more enticing to other clubs if he keeps playing well between now and the March 21 trade deadline.

The San Jose Sharks got a 32-save performance from James Reimer to beat the Washington Capitals 4-1, handing the latter their third loss in the past four games. The win keeps the Sharks (46 points) in the hunt for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

HEADLINES

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Jeff Carter to a two-year contract extension. The 37-year-old forward will receive an annual average value of $3.125 million with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable contract for a veteran forward who still has plenty left in the tank. He’s been a good fit with the Penguins since joining them in a trade last season. He’s sixth among their leading scorers this season with 12 goals and 26 points in 36 games.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Penguins with $51.8 million invested in 10 players for 2022-23. Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Kasperi Kapanen are among their free agents to be re-signed or replaced.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks officially announced Patrik Allvin as their new general manager. He’d been with the Penguins for 16 seasons and was named their assistant GM in 2020. Allvin previously worked with Canucks president Jim Rutherford during the latter’s tenure as Penguins GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canucks management team in place, there’s speculation big roster changes could be coming before the March trade deadline. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor update.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for interference on Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson.

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of Batherson, he suffered a high-ankle sprain as a result of Dell’s actions. He was slated to play in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game and has been replaced by Brady Tkachuk. Batherson could be sidelined for months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Batherson is the Senators’ leading scorer so this is a significant blow to their offense.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild got some good news as defenseman Jonas Brodin is set to return after missing several weeks with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks intend to begin reaching out to potential general manager candidates for interviews this week. Current interim GM Kyle Davidson will also interview for the job.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, the league announces updates to its 2021-22 schedule, the Canadiens introduce Kent Hughes as their new GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz turned in a 34-save shutout to blank the Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Samuel Girard and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win and their ninth in the last 10 games. They also opened a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues atop the Western Conference with 55 points.

New York Rangers forward Ryan Reaves (NHL Images).

The New York Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit and rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Adam Fox and Ryan Reaves each scored two goals as the Rangers moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points. Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who remain in third place with 51 points in the Atlantic Division.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka kicked out 35 shots in a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Lawson Crouse and Loui Eriksson each had two points. Coyote defenseman Jakob Chychrun picked up an assist in his return to action after being sidelined for 11 games by an upper-body injury and COVID protocols.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league will play 95 games from Feb. 7 – 22 as part of its comprehensive update to its 2021-22 schedule. That three-week window was originally scheduled for the 2022 Winter Olympic break. With the NHL withdrawing from the Beijing Games, this period will be used to make up a number of games postponed by COVID protocols.

THE SCORE: Newly appointed Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes held his introductory press conference yesterday at the Bell Centre. His plans for the club include building an offensive-minded club with a focus on speed and puck possession.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes will have two months to determine which players he could shop before the March 21 trade deadline. Pending UFAs such as Ben Chiarot are the most likely to be moved. There are also questions over the futures of veterans such as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin over whether they’ll want to be part of a full rebuild if that’s the direction the Habs take under Hughes. Those will likely be addressed in the offseason given their expensive contracts.

NHL.COM: Jack Eichel will be traveling with the Vegas Golden Knights on its four-game road trip next week. However, head coach Peter DeBoer said the 25-year-old center is at least a month or two away from making his debut with the club. The Golden Knights acquire Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in November and he underwent artificial disk replacement surgery on Nov. 12. He started skating with the club earlier this month in a non-contact jersey.

SPORTSNET’s Nick Kypreos reports he’s heard the NHL will need until the end of this week to complete its investigation into whether Evander Kane violated COVID protocols during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate. No decision is expected until next week at the earliest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Kane could soon sign a new NHL contract if the league rules in his favor, perhaps with the Edmonton Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov received a two-game suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety for a knee-on-knee hit on Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ehlers is expected to be sidelined for at least three games.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault received a $5,000.00 fine for a dangerous trip of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings claimed center Gemel Smith off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s the older brother of Red Wings winger Givani Smith.

NBC SPORTS: One day after the Boston Bruins retired Willie O’Ree’s No. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to award the 86-year-old the Congressional Gold Medal. He was a hockey pioneer by becoming the first black man to play in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to O’Ree for this recognition of his work as a hockey trailblazer during and after his playing days.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2022

With a new general manager in place, what roster changes could be coming for the Canadiens? What’s the latest on Claude Giroux, Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Will the Rangers and Leafs make moves at the deadline? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE CANADIENS?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wondered what other changes are coming for the Montreal Canadiens now that they’ve hired Kent Hughes as their new general manager. He’s like to know how Hughes’ hiring will affect their amateur scouting department, which current roster players are untouchable and if there have been any conversations with the core players over who wants to stay or go?

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna and Tyler Yaremchuk discussed the Canadiens options for some of their free agents. They agree pending UFA defenseman Ben Chiarot could fetch a nice return. Yaremchuk felt restricted free agent forward Artturi Lehkonen could also get something decent at the trade deadline while UFAs Cedric Paquette and Brent Kulak could get a lower pick.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot (NHL Images).

If the Canadiens want to kickstart their rebuild they will have to do more than just trade pending free agents. Yaremchuk suggested trading someone like Jake Allen or perhaps a bigger piece. McKenna wondered if they could make a hockey trade involving Carey Price or Jonathan Drouin to bring in some much-needed defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the March 21 trade deadline just over two months away there’s still plenty of time for Hughes and Hockey Ops VP Jeff Gorton to start fielding trade offers or shopping players who don’t fit into their long-term plans or those who want to leave. Moving the pending free agents is the easy part, trying to move those with expensive contracts like Price and Drouin might have to wait until the offseason when teams usually have more cap space and a willingness to take on players with term remaining on their deals.

As for their amateur scouting department, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gorton has already begun laying the groundwork for changes there. He’ll work in tandem with Hughes to bring in the people they need before the draft in July.

UPDATES ON GIROUX, CHYCHRUN, KLINGBERG , LAINE AND MORE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun observed Claude Giroux’s name has floated around the rumor mill but the Philadelphia Flyers have not spoken to rival clubs about moving their captain. Management hasn’t spoken to the 34-year-old center about waiving his no-movement clause nor has he approached them about getting traded.

LeBrun points out the March 21 trade deadline is nine weeks away and there’s still plenty of time for the slumping Flyers to improve their fortunes. However, he acknowledged that trade discussion between management and Giroux could take place if they remain out of playoff contention. With his no-movement clause, he’ll control his fate as the deadline approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. There’s no rush to move Giroux on the Flyers’ part right now. Let’s see where they’re at once the calendar flips to March.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there are teams that believe the Florida Panthers are interested in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. It’s an “all-in” year for the Panthers.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan addressed a recent comment by Friedman suggesting if the Coyotes trade Chychrun it’ll be to an Eastern Conference team. He doesn’t think that’s accurate, doubting the Coyotes would limit their trade options when trying to secure the best deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could prefer trading Chychrun to an Eastern team so his club would only have to face the blueliner once or twice per season. Nevertheless, I concur with Morgan that Armstrong likely won’t spurn a pitch from a western club that meets his asking price of a good young NHL player, a high draft pick and a top prospect.

The Dallas Stars have stepped up efforts to trade defenseman John Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several playoff contenders could pursue him as a rental player. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings have been speculated as potential suitors.

Friedman wonders if the Columbus Blue Jackets will consider it worthy of their resources for now and down the road to sign winger Patrik Laine to a hefty contract extension. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a decision that might have to wait until the offseason for an answer.

Rasmus Ristolainen could be worth watching. Friedman wondered if the Flyers pending UFA defenseman will consider testing the market this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depending on the outcome of this season, the Flyers could make that decision for him. Perhaps there will be a change in management if they miss the postseason.

The New York Rangers could be stealthy near the trade deadline. He also said the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t against clearing cap space to prepare for a deadline addition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers GM Chris Drury has plenty of salary-cap space and lots of promising young assets within their system to dangle as trade bait if he wishes. I wouldn’t be shocked if he made one or two significant moves to load up for the playoffs.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2021

Analysis of a list of suggested Canadiens trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TVA SPORTS: asked their NHL analysts for their picks of which players the Montreal Canadiens could move before the March 21 trade deadline and those they keep.

Renaud Lavoie believes the Canadiens should shop goaltender Jake Allen and retain Brendan Gallagher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen is among the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Canadiens. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit. Clubs seeking experienced depth between the pipes could have an interest in Allen. However, I doubt the Habs would consider moving him until Carey Price returns to action. Even then, his affordable contract and reliability as Price’s backup make it likely that they’ll hang onto him.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Teams love Gallagher’s work ethic and feisty style but they won’t be enamored of his $6.5 million cap hit through 2026-27. The Habs would have to pick up a healthy chunk of his annual average value to move him. His six-team no-trade list could also be a bit of a sticking point. Moving Gallagher seems like something that would occur in the offseason than at the trade deadline when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.

Patrick Lalime suggests shopping Jonathan Drouin and retaining Nick Suzuki.

Drouin has had consistency issues but he could flourish on a deeper club. He’s got a $5.5 million cap hit but only one season left on his deal plus a three-team no-trade list. It could be worth exploring the trade market to gauge his value.

Suzuki’s not going anywhere unless he demands a trade. The Canadiens signed the 22-year-old to an eight-year deal that kicks in next season at an annual cap hit of $7.875 million. He remains a key part of the Canadiens’ future despite the recent management change.

Felix Seguin proposed peddling Joel Armia and retaining Artturi Lehkonen.

Armia has three more seasons at $3.5 million annually on his contract. He’s affordable but his streaky play could hurt his trade value. .

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will also be a year away from UFA eligibility. The Canadiens could try to move him at the trade deadline if he’s only seeking a one-year deal. However, they can afford to wait until the summer or next season’s trade deadline.

Louis Jean recommended trading Carey Price and retaining head coach Dominique Ducharme.

Price won’t be going anywhere at the trade deadline. He’s still rehabbing his way back from offseason knee surgery. His $10.5 million cap hit through 2025-26 and full no-movement clause makes it very difficult to move him during the season.

Trading Price might have to wait until the offseason and could require the Habs retaining half of his cap hit. They might also need to get a third team involved willing to pick up half of the remainder for a sweetener like a draft pick to facilitate shipping him to any interested club.

Jean believes Ducharme deserves another chance after having little time to prepare last season and a shortened offseason heading into 2021-22. Canadien executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorton said Ducharme would remain as head coach for the rest of the season. Whether he’s still behind the bench next season isn’t a certainty.

Guillaume Latendresse believes Jeff Petry should be moved and Ryan Poehling retained.

Petry has had a horrible season but the 34-year-old defenseman reached 40 points last season for the fourth straight year. He carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and a 15-team no-trade clause. Still, there could be a playoff contender willing to bet on Petry regaining his form on a better blueline.

Poehling had difficulty cracking the Canadiens roster in the past but the 22-year-old has shown potential this season. He’s signed through 2022-23 at a very affordable $750K. He’ll be staying put.

Maxime Lapierre felt they should trade Ben Chiarot and hang onto Alexander Romanov.

Chiarot is slated to become a UFA next summer. There’s talk he could fetch a first-round pick. That makes him their most likely trade candidate.

Romanov is only 21 and still has plenty of potential as a top-four defenseman. His future remains in Montreal.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2021

Carey Price reveals treatment for substance abuse while Ducks GM Bob Murray is placed on administrative leave for improper professional conduct. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price broke his silence yesterday regarding the reasons why he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last month. In a statement released on his Instagram account, Price said he sought treatment for substance abuse after years of neglecting his mental health. He admitted it could take some time before he returns to action. The 34-year-old goaltender also expressed appreciation for the support and well wishes he’s received.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price didn’t owe the public an explanation for seeking help but it was brave of him to do so. He’s dealt with an unimaginable burden of pressure as a superstar in one of hockey’s most demanding markets. Success and millions of dollars does not make a person immune from struggling with mental health issues. Best wishes to Price and his family in his ongoing recovery.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Anaheim Ducks placed general manager Bob Murray on administrative leave following the initial findings of an internal investigation into allegations of “improper professional conduct”.

Frank Seravalli reported sources claimed Murray allegedly created a toxic workplace atmosphere through repeated verbal abuse and harassment of Ducks players, coaches and personnel. His intimidation tactics and temper tantrums fostered a climate of fear throughout the organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Ducks GM was with his team in Vancouver yesterday when the news was delivered. He was ordered to leave the team immediately and return to Anaheim on his own. Murray’s fate could be decided once the team receives additional findings from the investigation.

This news comes less the two weeks following the release of the report into allegations by Kyle Beach that he was sexually assaulted by former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Alrich in 2010. That report cost Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman his job over his handling of the allegations.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins have settled a lawsuit filed by a former minor-league assistant and his wife. Jarrod and Erin Skalde accused the team of negligently retaining a coach who sexually assaulted and harassed Erin and threatened retaliation against Jarrod for reporting the incident.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, NHL teams, here’s a thought: stop hiring and protecting abusive scumbags and sexual predators.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils overcame a 3-2 deficit to thump the Florida Panthers 7-3, handing the latter their second straight regulation defeat after going 10-0-1. Mackenzie Blackwood made 35 saves, Ty Smith had a goal and two assists and Andreas Johnsson scored twice.

Detroit Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov tallied two goals and Alex Nedeljkovic kicked out 31 shots in a 4-2 upset of the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi replied for the Oilers after the Wings opened a 3-0 lead. Moritz Seider put the game away with an empty-net goal. Detroit extends its record to 7-5-2.

A 37-save effort by Adin Hill carried the San Jose Sharks over the Calgary Flames 4-1. Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Jonathan Dahlen netted three unanswered third-period goals for the Sharks, who now sit 7-4-1 on the season.

The Los Angeles Kings extended their winning streak to six games by nipping the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on an overtime goal by Adrian Kempe. Cal Petersen made 33 saves for the win as the Kings’ record sits at 7-5-1. Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin missed his third straight game as he still feels lingering effects from a recent head injury.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 41 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Winger Troy Terry netted the game-winner to extend his points streak to 12 games as the Ducks (7-4-2) have won five straight games. Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes each had two assists in a losing cause.

The Carolina Hurricanes (10-1-0) downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on an OT goal by Martin Necas. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos opened the scoring but Teuvo Teravainen tied in the third period. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves. Before the game, the Hurricanes placed winger Nino Niederreiter (lower body) on injured reserve.

A shootout goal by Ryan O’Reilly gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 39 stops while teammates Pavel Buchnevich and Jordan Kyrou each had a goal and an assist. The Blues’ record sits at 8-2-1.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith scored twice in a 46-second span in the third period as his club doubled up the Seattle Kraken by a score of 4-2. Vegas defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore each had a goal and an assist. The Kraken (4-8-1) have dropped four of their last five contests.

Patrice Bergeron tallied the game-winner late in the third period as the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy picked up his 200th career NHL victory. The Senators (3-8-1) have lost five straight games. Bruins forward Trent Frederic left the game after being hit in the second period by Senators defenseman Josh Brown. Earlier in the day, Senators defenseman Victor Mete became the sixth member of the team placed on COVID protocol.

The Chicago Blackhawks overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves while shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat completed the comeback. The Blackhawks (3-9-2) have won two straight games under interim head coach Derek Kings. Jeff Carter scored two goals for the Penguins. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed winger Mackenzie Entwistle (ankle injury) on IR. He’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Tuukka Rask returned to the Boston Bruins practice facility in full goalie gear working out with the club’s goaltending coach Bob Essensa. The 34-year-old Rask underwent hip surgery three months ago and remains an unrestricted free agent. Whether he returns with the Bruins or signs with another NHL club remains to be seen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask has already indicated he’s open to returning to the Bruins on an inexpensive one-year deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back in the lineup at some point in the New Year.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon missed practice yesterday with a lower-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Nashville Predators placed Filip Forsberg (upper body) on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2021

Patrice Bergeron and Brock Nelson each have four-goal performances, the aftermath of the Jack Eichel trade and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron had a natural hat trick (all on the power play) on his way to a four-goal performance as the Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Brad Marchand collected four assists for the Bruins (5-3-0). Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin missed this game for personal reasons as his club’s record fell to 4-5-2.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron, 36, became the second-oldest player behind Johnny Bucyk to score four goals in a game. Bucyk was 38 when he had his final four-goal game back in 1974.

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson also tallied four goals as his club whipped the Montreal Canadiens 6-2. Anthony Beauvillier had three assists and Zach Parise had two for the Isles (4-2-2) while the hapless Habs fall to 3-9-0. Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin (day-to-day) missed the game with a head injury.

Jordan Eberle tallied the first hat trick in Seattle Kraken history in a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (4-6-1) while the Sabres 5-4-1 dropped their third straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken aren’t going to enjoy an inaugural season like the Vegas Golden Knights did but they’re off to a respectable start. They’re certainly not an easy two points.

The Florida Panthers extended their points streak to 10 games by nipping the Washington 5-4 on an overtime goal by Eetu Luostarinen. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers (9-0-1), who blew 2-0 and 4-1 leads as the Capitals (5-1-4) battled back to force the extra frame. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had three points, including his 740th career goal to put him one behind Brett Hull for fourth on the all-time goal-scoring list.

John Tavares’ game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for William Nylander’s overtime winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-4-1) rallied to down the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Pat Maroon scored for the Lightning (5-3-2). The Leafs have won four straight. Tavares took exception to an illegal hit to the head by Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on Mitch Marner, immediately coming to his teammate’s defense. Sergachev received a two-minute penalty. 

The Vegas Golden Knights improved their record to 5-5-0 by dropping the Ottawa Senators 5-1. Robin Lehner made 38 saves for the win and Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators as their record slips to 3-6-1.

An overtime goal by Kris Letang lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3-2) over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. Tristan Jarry picked up the win with a 36-save effort. The Penguins played without head coach Mike Sullivan as he entered the COVID protocol. Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton scored for the Flyers (5-2-2).

Jamie Benn scored in overtime as the Dallas Stars (4-4-2) broke a four-game skid to snuff out the Calgary Flames 4-3. Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen picked up three assists. The Flames (6-1-3) extended their points streak to nine games.

The St. Louis Blues extended their record to 7-1-1 with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Saad scored two goals for the Blues while Joel Hofer had a 23-save performance to win his NHL debut. The Sharks slip to 6-4-0.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: In an interview with Elliotte Friedman, Jack Eichel thanked Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams for trading him to a team where he can under disc replacement surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, as well as providing him an opportunity to continue his playing career elsewhere. The Sabres traded the 25-year-old center on Thursday to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Eichel admitted he initially requested a trade following the 2019-20 season after the Sabres failed to qualify for the playoff bubble. He felt the club was heading toward another rebuild but he didn’t want to be a part of that. The 25-year-old center expressed regret over the club’s inability to improve during his tenure. “I really wish that we had won more for the fans because I felt they really deserved it,” he said.

Eichel also spoke about the impasse with the Sabres over his preferred choice of treatment for his injury. The club preferred a spinal fusion over disc replacement because the latter had never been done on an NHL player before. He understood the Sabres’ rights within the CBA giving them the final say but felt it was his body and thus his decision. He hopes to undergo the surgery next week.

Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon expects Eichel will be sidelined three-to-five months recovering from the disc replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans have criticized Eichel for not doing more to make the Sabres a better club during his tenure but I think that’s an unfair assessment. He led all Sabres with 355 points in 375 games during his tenure, averaging 0.95 points per game.

The fault lies with the Sabres front office. Three general managers failed to surround Eichel with a strong supporting cast while four different head coaches led to constantly changing systems that hurt some players’ development.

TSN: The New York Islanders traded the rights to defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the Sabres in exchange for future considerations. The move enables the Sabres to remain above the $60.2 million salary-cap minimum after trading Eichel yesterday. Boychuk is on permanent LTIR due to a career-ending eye injury and carries an cap hit of $6 million for this season.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes claimed goaltender Scott Wedgewood off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.

TSN: The executive board of the NHL Players Association voted to approve an independent investigation into the union’s handling of sexual assault allegations by Kyle Beach in 2010 against former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich. Beach said he informed the PA of the details of the allegations and blamed Donald Fehr, the union’s executive director, for turning his back on him.

NHL.COM: Marian Gaborik officially announced his retirement from the NHL after 17 seasons. He scored the first goal in Minnesota Wild history and went on to tally 407 goals and 815 points in 1,035 career games with the Wild, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators. He also netted 58 points in 84 career playoff games. He helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Gaborik throughout his career and ultimately brought his playing days to a close. When healthy, he was a talented scorer, tallying 30-plus goals seven times, including three seasons with 40-or-more goals. Best wishes to Gaborik and his family in their future endeavors.