NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2022

An update on the Coyotes’ efforts to shop Jakob Chychrun, the latest Canucks speculation, and some suggested trade targets for the Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

UPDATE ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports nothing has changed regarding Jakob Chychrun’s trade request or the Arizona Coyotes’ efforts to move the 24-year-old defenseman. However, everything is in a holding pattern as interested clubs assess the blueliner’s strengths, weaknesses, potential and the Coyotes’ asking price.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

It’s expected interest in Chychrun will increase as he rounds into game shape after being sidelined until late November by offseason wrist surgery. He’s looked good thus far and is logging over 23 minutes of ice time per game since his return. Morgan suggests that’s in part because management is trying to showcase the rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There remains considerable interest in Chychrun around the league. His puck-moving skills and ability to play big minutes would make him a welcome addition to any blueline.

However, it all comes down to whether the oft-injured Chychrun can stay healthy this season. His injury history is making interested clubs reluctant to meet the Coyotes’ asking price. The longer he can keep playing and producing, the more likely one of those teams will step up and meet that price.

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson reports the Canucks leadership group is “fragmented, inconsistent and cliquey.” So much so that “at least two Canucks core stalwarts” would welcome a trade. He believes management needs to make some choices sooner instead of later, preferably in January following the holiday break and approaching the midseason mark.

Simpson also reports the Canucks are getting lots of calls about Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old is a tough right-shot defenseman who’s a leader on and off the ice. If the Canucks can get a prospect with a similar upside they should go for it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have shown some signs of improvement in the last couple of weeks. Much depends on how this month plays out, especially with goaltender Thatcher Demko sidelined for six weeks with a lower-body injury.

If they sink again in the standings during Demko’s absence, management could consider getting an early start in the trade market when the calendar flips to January.

WHICH RUGGED FORWARDS SHOULD THE OILERS TARGET?

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently noted the “worst-kept secret in Edmonton” is the Oilers’ search for “a rugged depth forward who can impact the game physically.” He went on to suggest five potential trade targets with average annual values at $3 million or less.

The Boston Bruins have two in Trent Frederic and A.J. Greer. Others include the New Jersey Devils’ Nathan Bastian and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Zack MacEwen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of these, the only one possibly available is MacEwen given the Flyers’ low placement in the standings. That’s assuming they finally acknowledged it’s time to start a rebuild as soon as possible.

The Bruins and Devils are flying high in the standings right now and have no reason to shake things up. However, the Bruins are pressed for cap space and that might necessitate moving out a salaried player. That move could come from their blueline as Mike Reilly has been in and out of their lineup this season due to salary-cap constraints.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2022

Alex Ovechkin sets a goal-scoring record, the Kraken and Kings play the highest-scoring game thus far this season, the Stars re-sign Roope Hintz to a lucrative new contract, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored twice to surpass Wayne Gretzky for the most career road goals (403) in a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves for the Capitals and Anthony Mantha collected two points for the Capitals (10-11-3). Nil Hoglander replied for the Canucks as they fall to 9-11-3.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gretzky scored 402 road goals during his career. Ovechkin now has 793 total career goals and needs just nine more to move past Gordie Howe (801) in second place on the all-time list. He currently has 13 goals in 24 games this season.

An overtime goal by Andre Burakovsky lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Los Angeles Kings 9-8 in the highest-scoring game of the season thus far. Burakovsky, Jared McCann and Matty Beniers each scored twice while Jordan Eberle collected four assists for the Kraken (14-5-3) as they picked up their sixth straight win. Kevin Fiala had four assists, Drew Doughty collected three helpers and Gabriel Vilardi tallied twice as the Kings drop to 12-9-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a record-setting game for the Kraken, winning their franchise-best sixth consecutive game, scoring the most goals in one game and the most combined goals.

Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler collected a hat trick and picked up an assist as his club blanked the Colorado Avalanche 5-0. Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 40-save shutout while Mark Scheifele and Cole Perfetti collected three points each as the Jets improved their record to 14-6-1. Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev gave up five goals on 23 shots as his club fell to 12-7-1.

The Boston Bruins regained first place in the overall standings with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, extending their league-record season-opening home wins streak to 13 games. Taylor Hall scored two goals while Jeremy Swayman kicked out 27 shots for the win. Steven Stamkos scored to pick up his 999th career point as his Lightning dropped to 13-8-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins (19-3-0) are tied with the New Jersey Devils (38 points) but have a game in hand and have lost one fewer game. Before the game, they activated defenseman Derek Forbort and demoted Anton Swayman to their AHL affiliate.

Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube had a goal and two assists while goalie Dan Vladar stopped 31 shots to defeat the Florida Panthers 6-2 and improve their record to 10-9-3. Sam Reinhart and Nick Cousins replied for the 10-9-4 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was Matthew Tkachuk’s first game in Calgary since forcing a trade to the Florida Panthers during the offseason. He was honored by the Flames with a video tribute and a standing ovation by most Calgary fans but was booed every time he touched the puck in this contest.

An overtime goal by Brett Pesce gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Hurricanes (12-6-5) while Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel replied for the 11-8-4 Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were furious following the game as an uncalled boarding penalty by Carolina winger Seth Jarvis on Bryan Rust led to Pesce’s goal.

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped their 10-game winless skid by downing the New York Islanders 3-1. Kevin Hayes tallied two goals and Carter Hart turned in a 23-save effort for the 8-10-5 Flyers. Noah Dobson replied for the Islanders as they drop to 15-9-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger Scott Laughton returned to the lineup following a four-game absence with an upper-body injury.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi’s scored in overtime as his club nipped the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 2-1. Colton Sissons also tallied for the Predators as they improved to 10-9-2. John Gibson made 39 saves and Troy Terry scored for the Ducks, who hold the league’s worst record at 6-15-2.

The San Jose Sharks blanked the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. Tomas Hertl scored twice and Kaapo Kahkonen made 28 saves for the shutout as the Sharks improve to 8-13-4. The Canadiens went 0-6 on the powerplay and drop to 11-10-1 on the season.

NOTABLE NEWS

DALLAS HOCKEY NOW: The Stars signed center Roope Hintz to an eight-year, $67.6 million contract extension. The average annual value is $8.45 million and goes into effect for the 2023-24 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a big increase for Hintz over the $3.15 million AAV of his current contract. The 26-year-old was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in July and would’ve also been a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

Hintz earned that big payday centering the Stars’ top line with wingers Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski since 2020-21. He had 43 points in 41 games despite being hampered by injury during that COVID-shortened season. The Finnish center enjoyed a career-best 72-point performance last season and has 24 points in 22 games thus far in this campaign.

The Stars now have young core players like Hintz, Robertson, defenseman Miro Heiskanen and goaltender Jake Oettinger signed for at least the next two seasons.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Tempe City Council voted 7-0 in favor of the Arizona Coyotes’ proposed 16,000 arena proposal. The next (and potentially final) step will be a referendum by Tempe citizens to be held on May 16, 2023.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed the Coyotes are willing to sign a 30-year non-relocation agreement if the arena proposal goes forward. The league will also bring an NHL draft or an all-star game to the new arena.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2022

The Golden Knights, Devils and Kraken extend their winning streaks, actor Ryan Reynolds is interested in buying the Senators, the ongoing fallout from the Mitchell Miller saga, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights extended their winning streak to eight games by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Reilly Smith scored the tying goal shorthanded in the third period and the game-winner in overtime as the Golden Knights (12-2-0) moved atop the overall standings with 24 points. Timothy Liljegren scored twice for the Leafs (7-4-3) as their winning streak ended at three games.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

New Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 33 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist as the Devils (10-3-0) extended their win streak to seven games while the Flames (5-5-2) are winless in their last six contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Devils announced that goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood will be sidelined for three-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL while winger Ondrej Palat is out for eight-to-10 weeks after undergoing groin surgery last week. Meanwhile, Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Seattle Kraken extended their winning streak to five games by taming the Nashville Predators 5-1. Jordan Eberle scored twice while Andre Burakovsky had a goal and two assists for the 8-4-2 Kraken. Filip Forsberg netted the Predators’ only goal as they fall to 5-7-1.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each scored second-period goals and Jack Campbell stopped 35 shots as the Edmonton Oilers (8-6-0) held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Brandon Hagel and Alex Killorn replied for the 7-5-1 Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers winger Evander Kane left the game early in the second period after he was accidentally sliced on one of his wrists by the skate blade of Lightning forward Patrick Maroon. Following the game, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said Kane was stabilized and taken to hospital where he underwent surgery on his wrist. No word yet as to how long he could be sidelined.

Third-period goals by Adam Pelech, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee rallied the New York Islanders over the New York Rangers 4-3. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Islanders (9-5-0) while the Rangers (6-5-3) got two assists from Artemi Panarin.

The Winnipeg Jets extended their points streak to seven games with a 5-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Mark Scheifele scored twice while Kyle Connor and Mason Appleton each had three points as the Jets’ record improves to 8-3-1. Jason Robertson replied for the 8-4-0 Stars.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Felix Sandstrom made 27 saves for his first NHL win to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-1, handing the latter their eighth straight loss. Travis Konecny, Owen Tippett and Noah Cates each had a goal and an assist for the 7-3-2 Flyers while Ryan O’Reilly tallied for the 3-8-0 Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sandstrom got the start for the Flyers as Carter Hart was out with a non-COVID-related illness.

The Los Angeles Kings got a 21-save shutout from Jonathan Quick in a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild (5-6-1). Gabriel Vilardi netted his team-leading 10th goal of the season as the Kings improve to 8-6-1. Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was ejected for high-sticking Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick in the 2017 draft, the 23-year-old Vilardi is blossoming into a scorer after struggling through injuries and inconsistent play earlier in his career. He’s also among the league leaders in goals thus far this season.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice and Spencer Martin stopped 37 shots to beat the Ottawa Senators 6-4 and improve their record to 4-6-3. The Senators (4-8-0) got two-point performances from Tim Stutzle and Alex DeBrincat but their winless streak is now at six.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was overshadowed by the drama for both clubs off the ice.

Actor and prospective Senators owner Ryan Reynolds took in this game at Canadian Tire Centre and received a standing ovation from the fans. Earlier this week, he indicated his interest in buying the club, which was officially put up for sale last week. However, he also told Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon on Monday that he needs a deep-pocketed partner to help him acquire the team.

Meanwhile, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau defended his team’s efforts after president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford criticized their work ethic and structure. Rutherford’s recent comments have generated speculation among NHL pundits that Boudreau could be replaced or a shakeup could be coming for the roster.

The Montreal Canadiens got a 41-save effort from goalie Jake Allen as they nipped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on shootout goals by Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. Mike Hoffman scored both goals in regulation for the 6-6-1 Canadiens while the Red Wings (7-3-3) got goals from Austin Czarnik and Lucas Raymond.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka stopped 32 shots while Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Tage Thompson replied for the Sabres (7-6-0) while the Coyotes improved to 5-6-1.

HEADLINES

ESPN.COM: The Boston Bruins face limited options after cutting ties with Mitchell Miller following a public outcry two days after signing him to an entry-level contract. The Bruins’ original intention was to send Miller to their AHL affiliate in Providence. He remains under contract with the club.

One option would see the Bruins pay Miller to stay home and then buy him out at the end of the season for one-third of the remaining value of the contract. Another would be working with the defenseman’s agent to reach a settlement allowing him to become a free agent. The Bruins or the league could also seek to terminate the deal based on Miller’s history but the NHLPA is expected to file a grievance if they go that route.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Eustace King, who represents Miller, claimed the Bruins and every team they spoke to knew about the timeline of events from Miller and the classmate he bullied as they grew up and recently as well.

Bruins president Cam Neely said on Monday the Bruins intended to terminate Miller’s contract based on “new information” about the defenseman’s bullying of his victim, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers. King, however, countered that there was no new information to the best of his camp’s knowledge and believes the Bruins made the decision based on the public backlash.

King also contradicted claims made by Jodi Meyer-Crothers, Isaiah’s mother, saying Miller had never reached out and apologized to her son until recently. However, a statement from the Hockey Diversity Alliance criticizing the Bruins’ handling of this situation indicated that Isaiah had recently contacted them to express his distress over Miller’s signing.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin is expected to be sidelined for about a month following ankle surgery. Meanwhile, defenseman Bowen Byram is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury while Samuel Girard (lower body) is listed as day-to-day.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is expected to return to action on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury on Oct. 17.

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek is sidelined indefinitely by an upper-body injury.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will retire the number of Chris Neil, who spent his entire 15-season NHL career with Ottawa from 2001-02 to 2016-17.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s action, the three stars of the week are revealed, Canucks president Jim Rutherford remains unhappy with his club’s performance, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Four power-play goals enabled the Washington Capitals to hold off the Edmonton Oilers 5-4. Evgeni Kuznetsov scored twice and collected two assists while Dylan Strome scored twice for the Capitals as their record improves to 6-6-2. Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist in his 500th career NHL game while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice as the Oilers fell to 7-6-0 after losing three straight games.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a milestone game for Capitals coach Peter Laviolette. He picked up his 723rd career victory to move into eighth place on the all-time wins list for NHL head coaches.

The Boston Bruins remain undefeated on home ice by downing the St. Louis Blues 3-1. Linus Ullmark made 25 saves for the win while Brad Marchand collected two assists for the Bruins (11-2-0). Jordan Binnington stopped 34 shots while Brayden Schenn scored for the 3-7-0 Blues, who’ve lost seven straight games.

An overtime goal by Noah Dobson completed a three-goal comeback by the New York Islanders in a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Two unanswered third-period goals by Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri set the stage for Dobson’s winner while Ilya Sorokin kicked out 43 shots for the 8-5-0 Islanders. Mikael Backlund scored twice for the Flames as they dropped to 5-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Islanders as Cal Clutterbuck left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Dallas Star winger Jason Robertson, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 6.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford continues to voice his unhappiness with his club’s performance following a 3-6-3 start to the season. He once again indicated he doesn’t like how the team’s system is set up and the players’ work ethic stretching back to training camp.

Rutherford resisted an opportunity to endorse head coach Bruce Boudreau. He also said he expected more accountability from the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are getting ugly for the Canucks. Boudreau was hired before Rutherford, who indicated he thought the coach’s contract was only for the end of last season. The deal in fact had a mutual option year which both sides agreed to but Rutherford appears to have regrets about that decision.

I’ll have more about the Canucks in today’s Rumors update.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Josh Norris got some good news as it turns out he won’t require surgery on his injured shoulder. There’s no timeline for his return to action but he will be re-evaluated in January.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Senators, general manager Pierre Dorion gave a vote of confidence to head coach D.J. Smith. The club is mired in a five-game losing skid but Dorion insists he has no plans to replace Smith.

Dorion also indicated there’s nothing new to report regarding contract negotiations with Alex Formenton. The 23-year-old restricted free agent has until Dec. 1 to sign a new contract with the Senators or become ineligible to play for the remainder of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been speculation that the reason Formenton remains unsigned is his ties to the 2018 Canadian World Junior team currently being investigated over accusations that several players sexually assaulted a young woman. So far, there is nothing to indicate Formenton had any involvement in this case.

CBS SPORTS: The Chicago Blackhawks have activated goaltender Petr Mrazek off injured reserve and placed recently signed netminder Dylan Wells on waivers. They also moved goalie Alex Stalock (concussion) to IR.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Jordan Greenway (shoulder) has been activated off injured reserve and will return to action for Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers will don their classic Cooperalls for warmups as they debut their reverse retro jerseys.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2022

What’s the latest on the Canadiens’ efforts to shop a surplus forward? Could the Golden Knights become a trade target for teams seeking a goalie? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently listed Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin and Christian Dvorak as the Canadiens’ most likely trade candidates.

Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak (NHL Images).

Dadonov and Drouin are both pending unrestricted free agents who are struggling with the Canadiens and might benefit from a change of scenery. Dvorak could be more enticing to other clubs. He carries an affordable $4.45 million average annual value through 2024-25 and his play is improving after a slow start.

D’Amico suggested Dvorak’s strengths as a penalty killer and winning faceoffs could interest the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators apparently had an interest in Dvorak during the offseason and recently lost center Josh Norris to shoulder surgery while Flyers center Sean Couturier is out for at least four months due to back surgery.

Dadonov or Drouin could be a fit with the injury-ravaged Capitals’ forward lines if young Connor McMichael or call-up Sonny Milano fail to stick. The rebuilding Anaheim Ducks could also be a destination for either guy. The Canadiens have the luxury of retaining 50 percent of Dadonov’s or Drouin’s salary to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak is the best of this bunch but I think Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes prefers to retain him for the time being. The very things that could make him attractive in the trade market also make him a key player as their second-line center.

Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber acknowledged TSN’s Pierre LeBrun’s recent report of the Canadiens talking trade with the Capitals. However, she doubts they’ll be enticed by Dadonov, Drouin or the equally struggling Mike Hoffman. The Capitals’ recent claim of Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs probably brings any further trade discussion with the Habs to a close for now.

WILL TEAMS COME CALLING FOR A GOLDEN KNIGHTS GOALTENDER?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps speculates the Golden Knights could draw interest from clubs in need of goaltending depth. They currently using Logan Thompson and Adin Hill as their goalie tandem while Laurent Brossoit is with their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint after returning from offseason hip surgery.

The Golden Knights currently lack sufficient cap space to bring Brossoit back into the lineup. They could decide to trade him.

Krepps believes there are several clubs in need of help between the pipes. The Toronto Maple Leafs are relying on AHL call-ups with Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov sidelined. So are the Chicago Blackhawks with Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock on the shelf. Boston Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman is week-to-week while the Minnesota Wild tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustafsson has struggled through the early going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs recently indicated Murray could return within the next few days while the Blackhawks expect Mrazek back in the lineup soon. The Bruins will likely ride things out with Linus Ullmark and call-up Keith Kinkaid for the time being while Fleury and Gustafsson have improved since their shaky starts in October.

Nevertheless, one of those clubs could express an interest in Brossoit if their injured players suffer a setback or their regular tandems continue to struggle.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2022

Alex Ovechkin tallies another goal-scoring record, the Golden Knights take over first overall, commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on the Bruins signing controversial prospect Mitchell Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 787th career goal in his club’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. He moved past Gordie Howe to set the record for the most goals scored by one player on one NHL team. However, Washington blew a 2-0 lead as Arizona rallied for the win on two goals by Nick Ritchie. The Capitals dropped to 5-6-2 while the Coyotes improved to 4-6-1.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injury-ravaged Capitals suffered another blow as defenseman Dmitry Orlov left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Vegas Golden Knights (11-2-0) took over sole possession of first place in the overall standings with 22 points as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Reilly Smith scored two goals as the Golden Knights rode a four-goal third period to victory. Nick Suzuki tallied twice and Kirby Dach collected three assists for the Canadiens as their record falls to 5-6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Josh Anderson received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline for boarding Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was unhurt on the play.

Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 lead over the Boston Bruins (10-2-0), dropping the latter two points behind the Golden Knights in the overall standings and snapping their seven-game winning streak. Brad Marchand replied for the Bruins on a penalty shot for his 800th career point. Mitch Marner collected two assists for the Leafs as they raise their record to 6-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov left this game with a knee injury, leaving them with just one healthy goalie in third-stringer Erik Kallgren. Following the game, the Leafs signed Toronto Marlies netminder Keith Petruzzelli to a one-year, two-way NHL contract. Meanwhile, Bruins center David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each had three assists to lead their club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, sweeping their two-game Global Series. The Avalanche elevated their record to 6-4-1 while the struggling Blue Jackets are 3-9-0 thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

The Dallas Stars got a hat trick from captain Jamie Benn and a three-point performance from Jason Robertson to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse scored for the Oilers (7-5-0) while the Stars rise to 8-3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was another rough game for Oilers starting goaltender Jack Campbell, who acknowledged his performance thus far this season has been “pathetic”. Signed to a five-year, $25 million contract by the Oilers in July as a free agent, the 30-year-old Campbell has a bloated 4.20 goals-against average and a measly save percentage of .874. Backup Stuart Skinner could see more starts in the coming games. He’s among the league leaders with a sparkling .944 save percentage and a 2.10 GAA in five games.

New Jersey Devils winger Fabian Zetterlund scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Devils (9-3-0) have won seven straight games to sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zaitsev scored as the Flames (5-4-1) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.

Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3 to improve their record to 7-4-1. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Owen Power collected two assists for the Sabres as they drop to 7-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The banged-up Sabres blueline had to make do without star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin for this match. He’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 30 shots to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Morrissey each had a goal and an assist as the Jets move to 7-3-1. The Blackhawks (5-5-2) had to turn to fifth-string goalie Dylan Wells after Arvid Soderblom left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

The Detroit Red Wings got a 24-save shutout from Ville Husso in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Dominik Kubalik had a goal and an assist for the 6-3-2 Red Wings while the Islanders drop to 7-5-0. It was a costly win for the Wings as forward Filip Zadina left the game in the second period with an injured right leg.

A tie-breaking goal late in the third period by Brandon Tanev lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Yanni Gourde had a goal and two assists as the Kraken rise to 7-4-2. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel replied for the Penguins (4-6-2) as their winless skid extends to seven games.

The Los Angeles Kings got a tie-breaking goal by Gabriel Vilardi late in the third period to nip the Florida Panthers 5-4. Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson each had two points for the 7-6-1 Kings while Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for the 6-5-1 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux tallied his 300th career goal against the Philadelphia Flyers but his former club went on to win this game 2-1 on goals by Kevin Hayes and Zack MacEwen. Carter Hart made 31 saves for the Flyers (6-3-2) while the Senators’ record sits at 4-6-2.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene gave the Nashville Predators (5-6-1) a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, dropping the latter’s record to 3-6-3. The Predators overcame a 3-0 deficit with Jordan Gross scoring his first two goals of his NHL career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blown leads continue to plague the Canucks this season and will be their downfall if they don’t address this issue soon.

The Anaheim Ducks improved their record to 4-7-1 by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Adam Henrique. Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Brett Leason each had two points and Antony Stolarz made 48 saves for the win. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier each had a goal and two assists for the 3-8-3 Sharks.

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN WEIGHS IN ON BRUINS SIGNING MITCHELL MILLER

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league was not consulted by the Boston Bruins before they signed controversial prospect Mitchell Miller on Friday. Speaking at the 2022 NHL Global Series on Saturday at Tampere, Finland, Bettman stated that Miller is not eligible to play in the NHL.

What I understand and I’ve heard through the media anecdotally, what (Miller) did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable,” said Bettman. He indicated he’s spoken with Bruins president Cam Neely since the signing on Friday.

He’s not coming into the NHL, he’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL”, said Bettman. “I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL.” He added that if Miller ever reached that point, the league will have to clear him and his eligibility based on first-hand information at the time.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL Players Association said the league hasn’t informed them about any suspension for Miller or anything that would impact his eligibility. They added they require more information from the league regarding Bettman’s statements.

Wyshynski also reported a source claims Miller’s contract has been registered with the league and there was nothing official preventing the Bruins or any other club from signing him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story. Suffice it to say that this has become yet another black eye for a league reeling from ongoing revelations of abusive behavior at various levels of the sport.

Miller’s defenders suggest he just “made a mistake”, claiming his physical and verbal bullying and racist behavior toward Isaiah Meyer-Crothers was an isolated incident by a teenager who didn’t know any better.

Meyer-Crothers’ parents, however, indicate their disabled son was tormented for years by Miller. They said he has never apologized to them for his actions and only reached out to their son on Snapchat about a week before he was signed by the Bruins.