NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2023
The Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov matches a franchise scoring record as Andrei Vasilevskiy returns to action, the Kings extend their road win streak and a goalie mask brouhaha involving the Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov tied a franchise record for most points in a game with six as the Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the Carolina Hurricanes 8-2. Kucherov scored two goals and set up four others to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race with 35 points. Teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning (10-6-5) in his season debut since undergoing back surgery in September. Brayden Point tallied a hat trick and added two assists. Michael Bunting had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they slipped to 11-8-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning lit up the Hurricanes on the power play, going four-for-five with the man advantage. Carolina goalie Antti Raanta gave up eight goals on 14 shots.
The Los Angeles Kings extended their season-opening road win streak to nine games with a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Kevin Fiala tallied twice, Drew Doughty collected two assists and Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots as the Kings improved to 12-3-3. Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn replied for the 9-11-0 Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After riding a six-game win streak to a 7-4-0 start the Ducks have plummeted back to earth, losing seven of their last nine contests.
The Colorado Avalanche (13-6-0) nipped the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Kurtis McDermid broke a 2-2 tie in the third period with the winning goal while teammate Valeri Nichushkin scored to extend his goal streak to six games. Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist for the struggling Wild as they dropped to 5-9-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was overshadowed by the news that the league wasn’t going to allow Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to wear a custom mask before this game for the club’s Native American Heritage Night.
Fleury wanted to honor his wife Veronique, who is an Indigenous woman. However, the league threatened to fine him for violating their policy prohibiting players from wearing specialty gear, jerseys or hockey tape for theme nights.
Allan Walsh, Fleury’s agent, said his client was willing to pay whatever fine the NHL would hand down for wearing the mask. The league then threatened to levy an “additional significant fine” on the Wild if he did.
Fleury wore the mask during the warmup.
Good on Fleury and good on the Wild for supporting his decision. This was another example of how the NHL continuously shoots itself in the foot with its tone-deaf policies.
Meanwhile, Avalanche defenseman Sam Girard has entered the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program. He released a statement through his agency that he is seeking treatment for severe anxiety and depression that led to alcohol abuse. Best wishes to Girard in his recovery.
Detroit Red Wings forwards Alex DeBrincat and JT Compher each had a goal and an assist to defeat the Boston Bruins 5-2, handing the latter just their second regulation loss. Ville Husso picked up the win with a 25-save performance for the 10-6-3 Red Wings. Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen replied for the Bruins (14-2-3), who remain atop the overall standings with 31 points.
The New York Rangers got two goals from Mika Zibanejad and 36 saves from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the 12th win in the last 14 games for the 14-3-1 Rangers, who hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 29 points. Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers as they dropped to 10-9-1.
An overtime goal by Kevin Korchinski lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jason Dickinson had a hat trick as the Blackhawks (6-12-0) overcame a 3-1 deficit. William Nylander’s season-opening 17-game points streak came to an end as the Leafs sit at 10-5-3 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander had a golden opportunity to win the game on an overtime breakaway but his backhander struck the post and the crossbar and ricocheted away.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 37 shots to nip the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Eric Robinson’s tie-breaking goal in the first period held up as the game-winner for the 6-11-4 Blue Jackets, who’ve won two straight following a nine-game losing skid. Alexander Holtz scored for the struggling Devils (8-9-1), who’ve dropped six of their last seven contests.
The Nashville Predators (9-10-0) picked up their fourth straight victory with an 8-3 romp over the St. Louis Blues. Filip Forsberg and Luke Evangelista each had two goals and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly scored in his first game in St. Louis against his former club since being traded to Toronto last February. Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist for the 10-8-1 Blues.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had four assists, Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got a goal and two assists to blank the Washington Capitals 5-0. Stuart Skinner turned in a 25-save shutout for the 6-12-1 Oilers. Charlie Lindgren stopped 30 shots for the 10-5-2 Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury and won’t be traveling with the club during their upcoming road trip.
A shootout goal by Jesse Ylonen gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist while Cayden Primeau stopped 31 shots for the 9-9-2 Canadiens as they overcame a 2-0 deficit. William Eklund had a goal and an assist for the Sharks (3-15-2), who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with just eight points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens recalled forward Joel Armia and placed sidelined defenseman Arber Xhekaj (upper body) on injured reserve. Meanwhile, San Jose winger Filip Zadina left this game with an undisclosed injury. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced defenseman Jan Rutta is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who improved their record to 9-9-2. Sidney Crosby netted his 13th goal of the season as the Penguins fell to 9-10-0.
New York Islanders forwards Kyle Palmieri and Oliver Wahlstrom each had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Isles (8-6-5) have won three straight games. Drake Batherson tallied twice for the 8-8-0 Senators.
The Winnipeg Jets got a 32-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to defeat the Florida Panthers 3-0. Nino Niederreiter, Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry scored for the 12-5-2 Jets as they picked up their fifth straight victory. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 28 shots for the 12-7-1 Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness returned behind the bench following a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife Judy, who is recovering from a seizure she suffered last month in Winnipeg.
The Panthers, meanwhile, placed defenseman Mike Reilly on waivers, sparking some speculation over whether this move is being made to clear a roster spot for Patrick Kane. The free-agent forward has been linked to the Panthers and is expected to reach a decision next week on where he’ll sign.
A four-goal third period carried the Calgary Flames to a 7-4 win over the Dallas Stars. Blake Coleman, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Flames overcame a 4-3 deficit to improve their record to 8-9-3. Wyatt Johnston scored twice for the Stars as they slipped to 12-5-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling through October and at one point finding themselves near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Flames (19 points) are just two points out of a wild-card berth.
The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Seattle Kraken 5-1. Connor Garland picked up two assists while Quinn Hughes had an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games for the 14-6-1 Canucks (29 points), who sit one point back of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Tye Kartye scored for the 8-9-5 Kraken, who lost forward Brandon Tanev during this game to a lower-body injury.