NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2022

The Devils extend their win streak to 12, the Bruins tie a league record for consecutive home wins, the Blues picked up their sixth straight win and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils remain red hot by defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-1 to extend their winning streak to 12 games. Yegor Sherangovich and Michael McLeod each had a goal and an assist while Akira Schmid stopped 25 shots for the Devils (15-3-0) as they open a seven-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 30 points. Derick Brassard replied for the struggling Senators as they fall to 6-10-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators captain Brady Tkachuk took exception with some Ottawa fans chanting for the dismissal of head coach D.J. Smith at the end of this game. Tkachuk put the blame for the club’s poor play on himself and his teammates, claiming he was “sick and tired” of the criticism aimed at Smith.

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (NHL Images).

Speaking of win streaks, the Boston Bruins won their 11th straight home game by thumping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1. Charlie McAvoy collected four assists and David Pastrnak tallied twice as the Bruins (16-2-0) tied an NHL record for the most season-opening home victories. They sit atop the league’s overall standings with 32 points. Jonathan Toews scored the only goal for the 6-8-3 Blackhawks.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their sixth straight victory by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Pavel Buchnevich led the way with two goals and two assists while Robert Thomas had a three-point night as the Blues improve to 9-8-0. Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler replied for the Ducks as their record slides to a league-worst 5-12-1. Earlier in the day, the Ducks activated defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk off injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed this game due to illness. It’s been a weird start to this season thus far for the Blues. They won their first three games and then lost eight straight before reversing their fortunes with their current win streak.

An overtime goal by Connor McDavid lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three assists while McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers improved to 10-8-0. Mark Stone tallied twice for the Golden Knights (14-4-1) as they sit in first place in the Western Conference with 29 points.

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 to hand the latter their eighth straight loss. Leafs winger Mitch Marner collected two assists to extend his points streak to 12 games while William Nylander scored twice and John Tavares had a three-point performance. Alex Tuch and Casey Mittelstadt replied for the 7-11-0 Sabres while the Leafs raised their record to 10-5-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sabres claimed forward Tyson Jost off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

Shootout goals by Jonathan Huberdeau and Rasmus Andersson gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. Adam Ruzicka scored twice and collected an assist for the Flames (8-7-2) while Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the 9-7-2 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first game between these two clubs since the trade in July that sent Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames in exchange for Tkachuk.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment each had two points as the Stars extended their record to 11-5-2. Mathew Barzal netted his first two goals of the season for the Islanders as they slide to 11-8-0.

The Seattle Kraken nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jordan Eberle, who finished the night with two points as the Kraken (10-5-3) have won seven of their last nine games. Phillip Danault and Trevor Moore replied for the 11-8-2 Kings.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tallied in overtime to tame the Nashville Predators 3-2. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists and Brayden Point had two assists for the Lightning to boost their record to 11-6-1. Filip Forsberg and Nino Niederreiter replied for the Predators (8-8-2) while Juuse Saros made 36 saves in a losing cause.

The Colorado Avalanche blanked the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-0. Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 32 shots to pick up his first shutout with the Avalanche (10-5-1) while Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Andrew Cogliano and Artturi Lehkonken were the goal scorers. Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves against his former club as the banged-up Capitals drop to 7-10-3.

On the night the Minnesota Wild celebrated Alex Goligoski’s 1,000th career game, he scored in overtime in a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Sam Steel scored the game-tying goal late in the third period for the 8-8-2 Wild while Sebastian Aho tallied for the 10-5-3 Hurricanes.

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry stopped 32 shots for his first shutout of the season to blank the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel were the goal scorers while Sidney Crosby collected two assists as the Penguins bolster their record to 8-7-3. Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the 10-5-1 Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Jets announced winger Nikolaj Ehlers will be sidelined indefinitely as he undergoes sports hernia surgery next week.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame 2-0 and 4-3 deficits to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by Nick Suzuki, who finished the night with two assists. Cole Caufield scored twice (including the game-tying goal with three seconds on the clock) while Mike Matheson scored in his season debut for the 9-8-1 Canadiens. Owen Tippett scored two goals for the Flyers (7-7-4) as their winless skid extends to six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman suffered an undisclosed injury and left the game after the second period. The Flyers went into this contest with winger Travis Konecny sidelined by an upper-body injury. They also lost forward Scott Laughton in the third period with an upper-body injury.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek scored two goals as his club romped to a 6-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dylan Larkin and Moritz Seider each collected three points as the Red Wings improved their record to 9-5-4 while the injury-ravaged Blue Jackets fell to 6-10-1.

New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves as his club held off the San Jose Sharks by a score of 2-1. All the scoring came in the third period as Julien Gauthier and Adam Fox tallied for the Rangers (9-6-4) while Logan Couture replied for the 6-11-3 Sharks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2022

The Devils and Bruins continue their win streaks, Phil Kessel extends his Ironman record, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Yegor Sherangovich gave the New Jersey Devils their 11th straight win by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils (14-3-0), who sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 28 points. Auston Matthews and William Nylander replied for the 9-5-4 Maple Leafs.

The Boston Bruins extended their home winning streak to 10 games in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. David Krejci scored twice as the Bruins (15-2-0) are on top of the overall standings with 30 points, two points up on the Devils and Vegas Golden Knights. The Flyers dropped to 7-7-3 and lost winger Travis Konecny in the second period with an injured right hand.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they extended their record to 14-4-0 by beating the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights while teammate Phil Kessel became the first player in NHL history to play in 1,000 consecutive regular-season games. Clayton Keller scored for the Coyotes as they fall to 6-9-1.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor tallied a hat trick to lead his club to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry replied for the 5-11-1 Ducks while the Jets (10-4-1) have won eight of their last 10 contests. Before the game, the Jets inducted Teemu Selanne and Teppo Numminen into their Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Jets revealed Nikolaj Ehlers’ lower-body injury that has sidelined him since Oct. 18 could be more serious than originally reported. Head coach Rick Bowness suggested the possibility of surgery for Ehlers. Meanwhile, defenseman Dylan DeMelo missed this game with an undisclosed ailment. As for the Ducks, they placed sidelined defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (undisclosed) on injured reserve earlier in the day.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored twice and set up two others to beat the Minnesota Wild 6-4. Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who improved to 7-7-3. Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice for the Wild as their record drops to 7-8-3.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi collected four assists as his club held off the New York Islanders 5-4. Juuso Parssinen scored twice and collected an assist as the Predators (8-8-1) have won three straight games. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Adam Pelech each had a goal and an assist for the 11-7-0 Islanders.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz made 46 saves and Artturi Lehkonen tallied in overtime to down the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-2. Martin Necas had a goal and an assist for the 10-5-2 Hurricanes while the Avalanche rose to 9-5-1.

The Dallas Stars (10-5-2) got two goals from Roope Hintz in their 6-4 win over the Florida Panthers. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Ty Dellandrea each had a goal and an assist for the Stars. Sam Bennett collected three assists for the 9-7-1 Panthers. Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood was stretchered from the game in the second period with an apparent back injury but was reportedly responsive and in good spirits. He will be re-evaluated on Friday in Dallas.

St. Louis Blues netminder Thomas Greiss kicked out 47 shots and Pavel Buchnevich tallied the winning goal in a shootout to nip the Washington Capitals 5-4. Vladimir Tarasenko collected two assists as the Blues improved their record to 8-8-0. Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists while John Carlson scored two goals for the 7-9-3 Capitals.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored twice, Steven Stamkos had two points and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 39 saves to douse the Calgary Flames 4-1. Elias Lindholm scored the only goal for Calgary. With the win, the Lightning move to 10-6-1 while the Flames fall to 7-7-2.

The Seattle Kraken got an overtime goal from Justin Schultz to defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 and improve their record to 9-5-3. Schultz finished the night with two goals while Martin Jones picked up the win by stopping 28 shots. Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck replied for the 8-6-4 Rangers.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Moritz Seider, Pius Suter and Dominik Kubalik lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-4 win over the San Jose Sharks. David Perron had a goal and two assists for the Wings (8-5-4) while Erik Karlsson had four points for the 6-10-3 Sharks.

The Columbus Blue Jackets (6-9-1) extended their points streak to four games by dropping the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Sean Kuraly scored twice and collected an assist for the Jackets while Nick Suzuki and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal and an assist for the 8-8-1 Canadiens.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2022

All three of Wednesday’s games end in 4-3 scores plus the latest on Gabriel Landeskog, Aaron Ekblad, Jake Muzzin and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Neal Pionk lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Pionk finished the night with two goals while Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for the win. Mikko Rantanen scored twice for the Avalanche while Valeri Nichushkin had a two-point game.

Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs were without a key player in this contest. The Avalanche announced before this game that Gabriel Landeskog underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will be sidelined for 12 weeks. The Avs captain had surgery last March on his knee and returned for the playoffs but it continued to bother him throughout the offseason and sidelined him through training camp and the start of this season.

Meanwhile, Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers was sidelined by an undisclosed injury and remains questionable for Thursday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The club also announced that head coach Rick Bowness will return on Saturday from his bout with COVID-19.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to defeat the Seattle Kraken 4-3. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists while goalie Jordan Binnington got the win with a 32-save performance. Alex Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstand each had two assists for the Kraken, who are 1-2-2 in their first five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich missed this game with a lower-body injury.

The Florida Panthers got two goals from Carter Verhaeghe as they held off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 to hand the latter their first loss of the season. Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett each collected two assists while Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk were among the Flyers’ goal scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers played this game without top defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury. There is no timetable for his return, which is bad news for the Panthers’ already thin blueline depth. Speaking of the Flyers, they claimed center Lukas Sedlak off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin (neck) on injured reserve. Meanwhile, head coach Sheldon Keefe walked back his critical comments aimed at his elite players following their 4-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs lost two games of their first four games to teams they should easily defeat (Arizona, Montreal) and barely won the other two games. That has a number of their followers already on edge. Keefe’s clarification drew criticism from social media with some suggesting that it’s indicative of the Leafs’ fragility this early in the season.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana has entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program and will be out of the lineup for an indefinite period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Vrana gets the help he needs to resume his playing career and get his life back on track away from the arena.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Connor Brown (lower body) has been placed on injured reserve.

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Goaltender Jake Allen has returned to the Canadiens lineup. He missed Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins as his wife was giving birth to the couple’s third daughter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Allen family on their new arrival.

TWINCITIES.COM: Jordan Greenway makes his season debut with the Minnesota Wild. The 25-year-old winger underwent off-season shoulder surgery. He also underwent procedures to have a cyst removed from his ankle and to have his wisdom teeth removed.

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reported New York Rangers forward Dryden Hunt and Vancouver Canucks winger Phillip Di Giuseppe were placed on waivers yesterday.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser signed a PTO contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

CALGARY SUN: The city of Calgary and the Flames organization have restarted formal talks on the construction of a new arena. Negotiations fell apart last year over cost overages weeks before construction was to start on a $650 million project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wake me when you’ve got a deal. And yes, I believe they will hammer out a deal.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2022

The Hurricanes widen their lead in the Eastern Conference standings, Joe Pavelski reaches a career milestone, more front-office changes for the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes (81 points) opened a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning atop the Eastern Conference by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. The Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit on two goals by Jordan Staal, setting the stage for Andrei Svechnikov’s overtime winner. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who are four points behind the Hurricanes.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed defenseman Mike Matheson on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 24. He’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Lightning, Victor Hedman collected three assists in a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had two assists while Brian Elliott picked up the win with 22 saves. The Bolts hold a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 32 shots to backstop the New York Rangers to a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each had a goal and an assist, with the latter tallying his 36th goal of the season to sit third in the NHL goal-scoring race. The Rangers (75 points) are two points behind the second-place Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.

A hat trick by Jason Robertson (including the winning goal in overtime) carried the Dallas Stars over the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Stars forward Joe Pavelski picked up an assist to earn his 900th career point while goaltender Braden Holtby made 39 saves for the win. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers also had an assist as he returned to the lineup following a 19-game absence with a knee injury. The Stars (65 points) moved one point ahead of the Nashville Predators into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference while the Jets (58 points) are six points behind the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Jets over the next couple of weeks. They could become sellers by the March 21 trade deadline if they don’t gain ground in the Western Conference wild-card race. The Stars, meanwhile, are less likely to be sellers if they can maintain their hold on a playoff berth.

Viktor Arvidsson completed his hat trick with an overtime goal as the Los Angeles Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. The Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 67 points.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Michael Amadio had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Anaheim Ducks 5-4, moving into third place in the Pacific Division with 66 points. Nicolas Roy also tallied twice for the Golden Knights. With 61 points, the Ducks are three back of the Predators.

Jeff Skinner scored two goals as the Buffalo Sabres upset the Minnesota Wild 5-4 to hand the latter their seventh loss in their last nine games. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild while linemate Mats Zuccarello missed this game with an undisclosed injury. Minnesota is third in the Central Division with 67 points.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced yesterday that vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley and assistant GM of pro evaluation Ryan Stewart have left the team. The pair were part of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup wins in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds will play in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Vancouver Canucks

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The injury bug has bitten the Canadiens again as goaltender Andrew Hammond was placed on injured reserve. Cayden Primeau has been recalled from Laval.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Top Russian prospects such as Danila Yurov and Alexander Perevalov could see their stock plummet in this year’s NHL draft due to their country’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent international sanctions and bans implemented upon Russian hockey as a result.










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 Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2022

The Bruins retire the number of hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree, the Canadiens hire Kent Hughes as their new general manager, updated COVID protocols are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins retired hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in a pregame ceremony last night. It was the 64th anniversary of O’Ree’s debut as the first black player in NHL history with the Bruins, becoming the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired.

The Boston Bruins raise Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 banner (NHL.com).

Following the ceremony, the Bruins were thumped by the Carolina Hurricanes 7-1. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored two of the Hurricanes’ five goals in the first period while Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo each finished the night with three points. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was pulled after giving up five goals on 12 shots. The Hurricanes are tied with the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division with 54 points but hold three games in hand while the Bruins hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

Johnny Gaudreau collected four assists as the Calgary Flames snapped a four-game losing skid to drop the Florida Panthers 5-1, ending the latter’s nine-game points streak. Sean Monahan scored twice and Matthew Tkachuk collected three points. Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers in his first game in Calgary since being traded to Florida last season. The Flames (42 points) move within two points of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Panthers (57 points) slip to second in the overall standings.

Victor Hedman scored twice and chipped in an assist to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Despite playing with 12 forwards and four defensemen, the shorthanded Lightning picked up their fourth straight win to regain first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Kings (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 27th goal in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Tom Wilson netted the game-winner in overtime as the Capitals (53 points) sit one point behind the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers could be sidelined for more than one game after leaving in the third period following a knee-on-knee collision with Capitals defenseman Dmitri Orlov. With 40 points, the Jets are two back of the Flames.

The Vancouver Canucks got a 31-save performance from Thatcher Demko to down the Nashville Predators 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson each scored for the Canucks, who sit one point behind the Jets. The Predators, meanwhile are third in the Central Division with 51 points.

New York Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom scored in the ninth round of a shootout to give his club a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve lost nine straight games. Semyon Varlamov turned aside 31 shots to give the Isles their sixth win in their last eight games. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced center Kevin Hayes will miss the next three to four weeks following a procedure to drain fluid from his adductor region.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Michael Hauser kicked out 43 shots in his season debut to backstop his club over the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Tuch and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

Montreal Canadiens netminder Sam Montembault turned aside a career-high 48 shots in a 5-3 victory over the slumping Dallas Stars. Christian Dvorak scored twice while Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist in his first game back with the Canadiens since Nov. 20. The Stars have dropped three straight and slip one point behind the Canucks.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Prior to yesterday’s game against the Stars, the Canadiens announced they’ve hired Kent Hughes as their new general manager. A bilingual Montreal native, Hughes was a player agent with a client list that included such notables as Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hughes hiring received widespread acclaim among NHL pundits. He built up an excellent reputation during his years as an agent. He understands the business of hockey, especially dealing with players and negotiating contracts.

Canadiens Executive VP of Hockey Ops Jeff Gorton is good friends with Hughes and reportedly wanted him for the job from the start. However, the latter apparently needed some convincing before agreeing to a five-year deal with the Canadiens.

This hiring should allay concerns among some Canadiens followers that Gorton was seeking a frontman while he pulled the management strings. Hughes wouldn’t have left his lucrative gig to be a puppet GM even for a friend.

Hughes and Gorton now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding a Canadiens roster seriously depleted by injuries to superstars Carey Price and Shea Weber, the departures of leaders such as Phillip Danault and Corey Perry to free agency, and significant talent gaps in the roster. They must decide the fate of embattled head coach Dominique Ducharme, who has two years remaining on his contract.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA announced it will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star Break in early February, saying COVID-19 cases are declining around the league. The current testing policy will remain in place until Feb. 3.

Testing of asymptomatic individuals will continue when it is needed for crossing the Canada-US border. One negative test result will be required for players to return to team facilities following the All-Star break. The 90-day testing “holiday” for those who have recovered from COVID-19 will remain in place. Both sides also agreed to maintain the five-day isolation period for those who test positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA want to avoid any further game postponements that could jeopardize their intent of ending the regular season on April 29. It also appears they don’t want rosters to become significantly depleted as teams jockey for playoff positioning over the final half of the schedule.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel, Montreal Canadiens wingers Cole Caufield and Joel Armia and Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat are the latest notable players to enter the NHL COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel have been named the Last Men In for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) will miss their upcoming games against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl got into a testy exchange yesterday with Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson during a press conference yesterday. At one point, Matheson asked Draisail, “Why are you being so pissy?” after the forward declined to give much of an answer to one of his questions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ poor play of late now seems to have ratcheted up tensions between the players and some of the reporters covering the club. Maybe Draisaitl should’ve been more forthcoming but most hockey players talk in cliches when addressing the media so I don’t know what answer Matheson thought he was going to get out of him with that catty remark.