NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2023

The league’s executive committee approves the sale of the Senators, Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk praises teammate Jake Sanderson, an update on Max Pacioretty, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the sale of the Ottawa Senators to billionaire Michael Andlauer cleared another hurdle when the NHL’s executive committee approved his purchase of the club from the estate of Eugene Melnick, the club’s former owner. It is said to be on track for completion in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Completion of the sale of the Senators to Andlauer is expected to be completed in September. The final step will be approval from the NHL Board of Governors. A two-thirds majority is required but Garrioch writes that it’s expected the sale will receive unanimous approval.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Senators, team captain Brady Tkachuk praised teammate Jake Sanderson. During a recent appearance on the podcast “Dropping the Gloves”, Tkachuk called the young defenseman “one of the most important players on our team.”

Ottawa Senators defenseman Jake Sanderson (NHL Images)

Sanderson, 21, made his NHL debut last season, finishing with 32 points in 77 games. Tkachuk was impressed by the young blueliner’s all-around game and leadership, calling him “the most underrated player” in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong sophomore campaign by Sanderson will be crucial to the Senators’ hope of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: It could be over a month into the 2023-24 season until Max Pacioretty makes his debut with the Capitals. Head coach Spencer Carbery recently indicated that he wasn’t sure of the exact timeline for when the 34-year-winger would join the roster.

Pacioretty’s 2022-23 season was limited to just five games by two torn Achilles tendons. Limited by salary cap constraints, the Capitals signed him to a one-year contract that is incentivized by games played, earning him $4 million if he plays over 20 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this summer, Pacioretty indicated that he was doing well in his recovery from surgery. He stated that he would miss the start of the season but didn’t expect to be sidelined for too long.

DAILY FACEOFF: Patrick Kane, Tomas Tatar, Paul Stastny and Phil Kessel remain the most notable players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. Max Comtois, Noah Gregor and Jaroslav Halak are also unsigned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is rehabbing from a hip resurfacing procedure in June and isn’t expected to entertain offers from teams until December. Tatar was frequently linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins in recent weeks but there’s no indication he’s close to signing with them or another club. No word on the status of the others.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens are mourning the passing of journalist Yvon Pedneault at the age of 77 following a month-long battle with cancer. Pedneault covered the Canadiens and other Quebec sports clubs and events since 1965. In 1998, the Hockey Hall of Fame honored him with the Elmer Ferguson Lifetime Achievement Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Pedneault’s family, friends and associates










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2023

A roundup of the weekend’s notable headlines including the latest on Evander Kane, Tony DeAngelo and Alex Galchenyuk plus the recent contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

DAILY FACEOFF: Evander Kane is leaving the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization he helped to create. In a statement, the Edmonton Oilers winger indicated that he believes the HDA is being led and influenced by members with individual agendas along with a combative approach with other organizations pursuing similar goals.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers placed Tony DeAngelo on waivers on Friday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract, which they did on Saturday.

Philadelphia Flyers bought out defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

The club believed they had a trade in place earlier this month that would send DeAngelo back to the Carolina Hurricanes. After it fell through due to a CBA clause, general manager Daniel Briere opted to buy out the final year of the 27-year-old defenseman’s contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade with the Hurricanes would’ve seen the Flyer retain 50 percent of DeAngelo’s $5 million average annual value. The buyout counts as $1.666 million against their cap for 2023-24 and 2024-25. He is now an unrestricted free agent.

SPORTSNET: The Arizona Coyotes terminated the contract of Alex Galchenyuk over a material breach of his deal following a report of the 29-year-old winger being arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, on a number of different charges, including private property hit and run, disorderly conduct, failure to obey, resisting arrest and threatening or intimidating.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Details were released on Friday on what led the Coyotes to terminate Galchenyuk’s contract. The winger was heavily intoxicated when apprehended and made a series of threats and racial slurs toward the arresting officer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Players’ Association is reportedly reviewing the matter. Galchenyuk could receive treatment and counseling via the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Whatever the outcome, this is likely the end of Galchenyuk’s playing career.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Coyotes, they have signed winger Matias Maccelli to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $3.425 million. When it expires, he’ll be 25 years old, eligible for arbitration and two years away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maccelli had a solid rookie performance in 2022-23, netting 49 points in 64 games to finish fourth in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Zach Sanford to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanford replaces Galchenyuk on the Coyotes roster.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning avoided arbitration with winger Tanner Jeannot, signing him to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.665 million.

SPORTSNET: The St. Louis Blues avoided arbitration with Alexey Toropchenko by reaching an agreement on a two-year, $2.5 million contract. They also signed 2023 first-round pick (10th overall) Dalibor Dvorsky to a three-year entry-level contract.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild avoided arbitration with winger Brandon Duhaime by signing him to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The signings of Jeannot, Toropchenko and Duhaime bring the number of players who re-signed with their clubs before their scheduled arbitration hearings to eight.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: New York Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom and goaltender Jakub Skarek elected not to accept the club’s qualifying offers. They both have until Dec. 1 to sign contracts with the Isles or face missing the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils signed forward Chris Tierney to a one-year, two-way contract.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins re-signed defenseman Ty Smith to a one-year, one-way contract worth $775K.

SEATTLE HOCKEY INSIDER: The Kraken signed 2023 first-round pick (20th overall) Eduard Sale to a three-year entry-level deal.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed goaltender Lukas Dostal to a two-year contract. It’s a two-way deal for 2023-24 with an AAV of $775K at the NHL level, becoming a one-way agreement for 2024-25 with an AAV of $850K.

CBC NEWS: Former NHL player and coach Billy MacMillan passed away on Friday at age 80. The Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island native had 151 points in 446 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders from 1970-71 to 1976-77. He also won a Memorial Cup in 1961 and was a bronze medalist for Canada in 1968.

MacMillan won a Stanley Cup with the New York Islanders as an assistant coach in 1979-80. He was also coach of the Colorado Rockies in 1980-81 and was the first head coach in New Jersey Devils history from 1982 to 1984. He also coached the Fort Worth Texans to a CHL championship in 1977-78.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacMillan had a successful, well-rounded career as a player and coach. Inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame in 1985, he was an inspiration for young Islanders pursuing their hockey dreams. My condolences to MacMillan’s family, friends, former teammates, and those who played for him during his coaching days.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2023

The Stars stave off elimination in the Western Conference Final, Stanley Cup Final schedule scenarios are revealed plus the latest on Kyle Dubas and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars avoided being swept from the Western Conference Final in a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 on an overtime power-play goal by Joe Pavelski.

Jason Robertson scored twice, Roope Hintz and Miro Heiskanen each collected two assists while Jake Oettinger made 37 saves for the win. William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas while Adin Hill stopped 39 shots.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

The series returns to Las Vegas for Game 5 on Saturday with the Golden Knights leading the series three games to one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars’ best players rose to the occasion in this contest despite the absence of team captain Jamie Benn, who’ll also miss Game 5 as he serves his two-game suspension.

Pavelski tallied his 73rd career playoff goal making him the leader among active NHL players in that category. He also made NHL history by becoming the oldest player (38) to score a postseason overtime goal.

The league also released its Stanley Cup Final schedule scenarios. Depending on the outcome of the Western Conference Final, the best-of-seven series will begin on May 31 or June 3. The winner of this Golden Knights-Stars series will face off against the Florida Panthers for hockey’s holy grail.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas met with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at the Penguins’ practice facility on Tuesday night. The Pens received permission from the Leafs to speak with Dubas regarding their vacant GM position.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of Dubas, the NHL Players’ Association is reviewing his relationship with his agent for “potential violation of the Certified Agent regulations that govern agent activity.”

Dubas was represented in his recent negotiations with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment by Chris Armstrong of Wasserman Sports, the same agency that also represents Leafs center Auston Matthews.

The PA’s certified agent regulations prohibit agents from representing any officer or employee of an NHL club. Wasserman, however, is currently not a certified NHL agent and is not subject to discipline by the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It has yet to be determined if Dubas and his agent violated those regulations. It’s uncertain how much of an effect this might have on the Penguins’ interest in hiring him as their new GM.

THE ATHLETIC: Hollywood producer Neko Sparks’ ownership group has been seeking additional investors in their bid to purchase the Ottawa Senators. They have reportedly secured international funds for their bid but are seeking additional Canadian investors.

The Sparks group is one of four finalists hoping to purchase the Senators alongside Toronto businessmen Michael Andlauder, Steve Apostolopoulos and the Kimel family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sparks group’s scramble for additional investors at this late stage could adversely affect their efforts for a successful bid.

A judge recently ruled that Evander Kane could walk away from most of his outstanding debt in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The judge ruled in Kane’s favor against Centennial Bank, which made an $8 million loan to the Edmonton Oilers winger, who has a self-described gambling addiction.

Kane’s former girlfriend Hope Parker also has an outstanding lawsuit within the bankruptcy process. She alleges Kane owes her $3 million for abortions she agreed to. He also has another lender with an active claim.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: New Jersey Devils assistant coach Andrew Brunette was interviewed by the Columbus Blue Jackets for their vacant head-coaching job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets are still talking with other prospective coaches. A decision could be reached after May 29 when general manager Jarmo Kekalainen returns from scouting the IIHF World Championship.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2023

The Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane enjoys another multi-goal game, the Senators trade Nikita Zaitsev to the Blackhawks and the Vegas Golden Knights ship Shea Weber’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes. Get the details on these and other stories in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks overcame a 3-0 deficit to upset the Dallas Stars 4-3, leaving the latter winless (0-3-2) in their last five games. Patrick Kane and Max Domi each had two goals and an assist as the Blackhawks improved to 20-32-5 on the season. Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist for the Stars (30-16-12) as they remain second overall in the Western Conference with 72 points, one back of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was Kane’s third multi-goal game in his last four contests. That could alleviate concerns about his nagging hip injury among clubs that might be interested in acquiring him before the March 3 trade deadline.

A third-period goal by Simon Holmstrom lifted the New York Islanders to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, leaving the latter with three losses on their four-game road trip. Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves to pick up his second-straight 20-win season as the 30-24-7 Isles (67 points) opened a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Nikolaj Ehlers scored for the Jets (35-22-1) as they remain one point behind the Stars in second place in the Central Division with 71 points.

The Calgary Flames scored five unanswered goals to rally back from a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Arizona Coyotes 6-3. Elias Lindholm had a goal and an assist to reach 500 career points as the Flames (27-20-11) moved to within two points of the Minnesota Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 65 points. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes as they dropped to 20-29-9.

HEADLINES

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/OTTAWA SUN: The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, a second-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-rounder in 2026 from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for future considerations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Senators, shedding Zaitsev’s $4.5 million annual salary cap hit through 2023-24. They could use that freed-up cap space to upgrade their defense either at the trade deadline or in the offseason.

The Sun’s Bruce Garrioch noted the Senators have been linked to St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko but it doesn’t sound like they’re anywhere close to a deal. They’ve shown some interest in the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba but Garrioch believes they’d likely want to sign the pending UFA to a short-term contract extension. He also noted the Los Angeles Kings could move a defenseman such as Matt Roy or Sean Walker.

As for the rebuilding Blackhawks, they can afford to take on Zaitsev’s cap hit through next season as this move enables them to add to their growing stock of draft picks. They now have seven picks in the first three rounds of the 2023 draft, including three second-rounders.

ARIZONA SPORTS/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Vegas Golden Knights acquired defenseman Dysin Mayo in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick and the contract of Shea Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move is seen as a precursor for a bigger acquisition by the Golden Knights before the trade deadline, lightening their long-term injury reserve which already contains Mark Stone, Robin Lehner and Nolan Patrick. Shedding the all-but-retired Weber’s contract means they have more flexibility to acquire players signed beyond this season.

For a budget team like the Coyotes, acquiring Weber’s contract enables them to reach next season’s salary-cap floor especially if they trade a player such as Jakob Chychrun who is signed beyond 2023-24. On paper, Weber’s AAV is $7.857 million but in actual salary, Cap Friendly indicates he’s being paid $3 million for this season, after which the actual salary drops to $1 million over the next three seasons.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin is officially sidelined for the remainder of the regular season and the 2023 playoffs due to a cervical spine injury. He played just four games before suffering the injury in October.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a career-ending injury for Muzzin, who was already on long-term injury reserve before this announcement. The Leafs have used the salary-cap flexibility to add Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen underwent emergency surgery on Wednesday after being cut on his lower right leg by a skate blade during Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to how long Johansen will be sidelined but there’s speculation it could be a season-ending injury.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Alex Ovechkin has returned to the Capitals after taking time away dealing with the recent death of his father.

NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie during Tuesday’s game between the two clubs. Larkin had been assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for his actions.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane is expected to miss two more games with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2023

A hat-trick performance for Patrick Kane while Jonathan Toews steps away for health reasons, the Senators ship Tyler Motte to the Rangers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A hat trick by Patrick Kane powered the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kane also collected an assist as he and Max Domi each finished the game with four points as the Blackhawks improved to 18-32-5 on the season. John Tavares and Mitch Marner were among the scorers for the Leafs (34-15-8) as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 76 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane received a standing ovation from the fans at Chicago’s United Center as there is a sense that game could be among his last in a Blackhawks jersey. He could be playing for another club by the March 3 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Before the game, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews released a statement indicating he was stepping away from the team as he deals with the effects of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome which sidelined him for the entire 2020-21 season. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 28 but indicated he’d been struggling with symptoms for several weeks.

Toews’ condition effectively ends any talk of the Blackhawks shopping him before the March 3 trade deadline. General manager Kyle Davidson said the team will do all it can to help their captain regain his health and perhaps return to action at some point before the end of the season.

The Colorado Avalanche overcame a 5-3 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 on an overtime goal by Mikko Rantanen. J.T. Compher had a goal and three assists while Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists as the 31-19-5 Avalanche (67 points) moved to within two points of the second-place Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division. Warren Foegele tallied twice for the Oilers (30-19-8) hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar missed this game with an upper-body injury after taking incidental contact to the head during Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. It was his first game after being sidelined since Feb. 7 with a similar injury. The Avs also announced that defenseman Erik Johnson will be sidelined for multiple weeks recovering from a broken ankle.

The Oilers played with Evander Kane as the winger is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Jets, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the New Jersey Devils. Dawson Mercer scored two goals as the Devils improved to 37-14-5 (79 points) to move within three points of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division. Mark Scheifele and Neil Pionk each had two points for the Jets (34-21-1) as they remain three points behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 69 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers left the game with an undisclosed injury in the third period.

The Minnesota Wild nipped the Nashville Predators 4-3 on a goal by Ryan Hartman with 21 seconds remaining in the third period. Kirill Kaprizov scored twice as the Wild (30-21-5) sit in the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 65 points. Tommy Novak had a goal and two assists for the 26-22-6 Predators (58 points) as they sit seven points behind the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators announced they will be unveiling a statue of Pekka Rinne on March 10 outside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Rinne spent his entire NHL career with the Predators and is the only player on the team to have his number retired.

Ottawa Senators forwards Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat each had three points to thump the St. Louis Blues 7-2. With 58 points, the Senators (27-24-4) are five points behind the New York Islanders, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Blues dropped to 26-27-3 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues forward Jake Neighbours suffered an upper-body injury in the first period of this game. Head coach Craig Berube believes Neighbours will be sidelined for a while.

An overtime goal by Barrett Hayton lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Connor Ingram made 34 saves as the Coyotes (20-28-4) have gone 5-0-4 in their last nine games. The Blue Jackets slipped to 18-34-5 as Johnny Gaudreau missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the Coyotes lineup for the first time since being sidelined on Jan. 24.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: Prior to yesterday’s game against the Blues, the Ottawa Senators traded left wing Tyler Motte to the New York Rangers in exchange for right wing Julien Gauthier and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2023 draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Motte returns to the Rangers after spending part of last season with the Blueshirts.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculates Gauthier could be a potential replacement for winger Austin Watson if he’s moved at the March 3 trade deadline. The Athletic’s Arthur Staple believes the Rangers have sufficient salary-cap space to add a fourth-line center at the trade deadline.

Speaking of the Senators, Garrioch also reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the sale price of the franchise could reach $1 billion. Former owner Eugene Melnyk bought the franchise 20 years ago for $130 million.

More than 15 groups were granted permission to review the Senators’ financial statements and a copy of the memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission for a new rink at LeBreton Flats.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks winger Timo Meier is questionable for today’s game against the Seattle Kraken with an upper-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2023

The Lightning set a franchise record, the Panthers rally to upset the Bruins, the Oilers’ emergency backup gets to live the dream, reaction to the Rangers’ reversal on Pride Night warmup jerseys and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up a franchise-record 12th consecutive home win by downing the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. Steven Stamkos collected an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games while Nick Perbix collected three assists as the Lightning (32-15-1) moves to within three points of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 65 points. The Kings (28-18-6) sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 62 points.

An overtime goal by Sam Reinhart lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 upset of the Boston Bruins. Aleksander Barkov tied the game with three seconds remaining in the third period just 46 seconds after David Pastrnak gave the Bruins the lead. Barkov finished the game with three points while Alex Lyon stopped 38 shots for the 24-22-6 Panthers, who sit three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 54 points. The Bruins (38-6-5) remain atop the overall standings with 81 points.

The Edmonton Oilers got three-point performances from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Darnell Nurse to thump the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3. Tyson Barrie also scored twice for the Oilers (28-18-4), who hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 60 points. Patrick Kane collected two assists for the Blackhawks, who slipped to 15-29-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: University of Alberta goaltender Matt Berlin was the Oilers’ emergency backup with Stuart Skinner feeling under the weather. He got to live the NHL dream when he replaced Jack Campbell for the final 2:26 in the game and the Oilers leading 7-3, making one save in his appearance.

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture (NHL Images)

Oilers winger Evander Kane returned to the lineup after being in San Jose during the week dealing with his bankruptcy case.

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture scored twice and collected three assists in a 6-4 upset of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alexander Barbashev had a goal and two assists for the 15-25-11 Sharks. Evgeni Malkin tallied two goals and picked up an assist for the Penguins, who dropped to 24-16-9 as they cling to the final Eastern wild-card spot with 57 points.

The Minnesota Wild snapped the Buffalo Sabres’ five-game win streak with a 3-2 victory on a shootout goal by Frederick Gaudreau. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots for the Wild (27-17-4) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 58 points. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen turned aside 33 shots for the 26-19-4 Sabres as they moved to within one point of the Penguins.

Colorado Avalanche netminder Alexandar Georgiev made 26 saves as his club doubled up the St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-2. Logan O’Connor collected two assists for the 27-18-3 Avalanche, who’ve won seven of their last eight games and hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 57 points. The Blues dropped to 23-24-3 as they’ve lost four straight and sit eight points behind the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche and Flames each have 57 points but the Avs hold two games in hand over the idle Flames.

The Seattle Kraken (29-15-5) hold first place in the Pacific Division with 63 points following a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alex Wennberg scored in his 600th career game while Eeli Tolvonan scored for the third straight game. Kent Johnson replied for the Jackets as they dropped to 15-32-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets claimed forward Lane Pederson off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks and placed winger Gustav Nyquist (upper body) on injured reserve.

An overtime goal by Mathew Barzal gave the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Semyon Varlamov kicked out 44 shots for the Isles as they improved to 25-22-5 and moved within two points behind the Penguins with 55 points. Logan Thompson stopped 33 shots for the Golden Knights (29-18-4) as they dropped one point behind the Kraken in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are mired in a slump right now with a record of 2-6-2 in their last 10 contests.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart made 40 saves to shut out the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. Noah Cates and Owen Tippett each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (21-21-9) as they sit six back of the Penguins with 51 points. The Jets (31-19-1) are tied in points with the Kraken (63) but the latter holds second overall in the Western Conference with two games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced winger Zack MacEwen will be sidelined for five weeks following surgery to repair a fractured jaw. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo missed this game with a lower-body injury and will be sidelined for their next game as well.

Speaking of shutouts, the Ottawa Senators’ Anton Forsberg stopped 28 shots to blank the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-0. Claude Giroux tallied twice and picked up an assist for the 23-23-3 Senators, who sit eight points out of wild-card contention with 49 points. The Canadiens fell to 20-26-4 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens prospect Owen Beck made his NHL debut on an emergency call-up basis and was returned to his OHL team following this game.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras scored in overtime in a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Ducks improved to 16-29-5. Connor Ingram made 43 saves for the 16-28-6 Coyotes.

HEADLINES

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are facing criticism over the club’s decision not to wear rainbow jerseys or tape during warm-ups as promoted prior to Friday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights as part of their scheduled Pride Night. Two Rangers players told the Post that there was no team discussion over the decision and they don’t know why they didn’t wear them, prompting speculation that the choice was made higher up in the organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decision came over a week after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov opted not to wear a rainbow jersey during warm-ups as part of his club’s Pride Night game.

It appears the Rangers ownership may have been rattled by the fallout from Provorov’s actions. Maybe they were afraid of one of their own players doing the same thing. If they felt it would help them avoid a backlash, they were wrong.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury and will miss the club’s next two games before the upcoming All-Star break.

DAILY FACEOFF: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray is dealing with an ankle injury and will be undergoing further tests to determine its severity. Murray missed his scheduled start on Friday against the Ottawa Senators.