Can Darryl Sutter Save The Calgary Flames?
The Lightning are within a game of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning moved within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Bolts quickly erased a 1-0 Isles lead in the second period on goals by Blake Coleman and Ondrej Palat 12 seconds apart. Brayden Point and Patrick Maroon expanded the lead in the third period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those two quick goals changed the course of the game, leaving the Islanders stunned and trying to play catch-up. Point’s goals early in the third sealed the deal. Tampa Bay’s top line of Point, Palat and Nikita Kucherov were involved in two of their club’s four goals.
The Lightning also benefited from Point and Alex Killorn returning to the lineup. Point missed Game 3 with an undisclosed injury while Killorn served a one-game suspension. The Bolts can wrap things up with a win in Game 5 on Tuesday.
The Islanders announced forwards Casey Cizikas and Tom Kuhnhackl are sidelined for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs and have left the quarantine bubble in Edmonton.
Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano is this year’s winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
The Dallas Stars could be without centers Radek Faksa and Roope Hintz for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. Faksa remains unfit to play while Hintz’s status will be updated today.
Meanwhile, Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer declined to provide updates on forwards Mark Stone and Tomas Nosek. Stone appeared to injure a foot when he blocked a shot during Game 4 but returned to action. Nosek was unfit to play in Game 4 after being injured in the previous game.
THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson helped rescue the pilot of an amphibious plane that crashed on Lake Massawippi in Quebec on Saturday. He helped the pilot out of the water into his boat before taking him to paramedics on the scene.
A Bruins player tests positive for COVID-19, Las Vegas will reportedly be confirmed as a hub city for the playoff tournament, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: In a statement yesterday, the Boston Bruins announced one of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to using the club’s practice facilities as part of Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. The player subsequently underwent two more tests, which came back negative. The player remains asymptomatic and all other Bruins players have returned negative tests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty points out this serves as a reminder of the challenges facing the league in its quest to complete this season. The Bruins also indicated they’ll continue adhering to CDC guidelines and the league’s Phase 2 protocols. I suspect the player will be under self-quarantine for the next two weeks.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Las Vegas is expected to be among the two hub cities to host the 24-team playoff tournament when the NHL announces its selections on June 22. MGM Resorts International is reportedly keeping its Las Vegas hotels available for the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston expects that announcement could come before June 22. While some fans will wonder why the NHL favors a Sun Belt location like Vegas, that city has a suitable arena, training facilities, accommodation, and transportation within a closely-contained area that meets the league’s requirements for a host city.
Johnston also reports the league prefers placing the other hub city in Canada, with Toronto considered the front-runner. That will depend, however, on whether the Canadian government relaxes its strict border protocols to allow NHL clubs to travel to that hub city.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tampa Bay received some buzz as a potential destination when there was talk of four NHL host cities. Once the league opted for two, however, Tampa slid down the list. The city and Amalie Arena lack the space the league needs to bring 12 teams together.
CALGARY SUN: Mark Giordano, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips, and Mark Jankowski were the first Flames to hit the ice in Calgary for small-group training.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Former Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic is reportedly working on a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. The Capitals terminated the remainder of Leipsic’s one-year contract last month after his offensive remarks on social media about several current and former teammates were made public.
TSN: The Ottawa Sun recently issued a correction and an apology for errors in two recent columns regarding the Ottawa Senators Foundation’s decision to cut ties with the club’s ownership.
A tradition in an untraditional world – @HockeyHallFame will announce the 2020 class on Wednesday, June 24th at 4:30 PM LIVE on TSN, https://t.co/KTYMAArjx3 and @NHLNetwork . The meetings will be held virtually. @TSNHockey, @TSN_PR
— Kelly Masse (@KellyHockeyHall) June 12, 2020
Game recaps, players and rookie of the month for February, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist as the Washington Capitals edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Ovechkin has 45 goals on the season, moving into a second-place tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews in the NHL goal-scoring race. The Capitals (86 points) opened a three-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Wild (71 points), who remain one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.
The Flyers jumped to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers. They scored three goals in the first period, two on the power-play and one shorthanded. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals on 26 shots in his first start since Feb. 3. The Flyers (83 points) opened a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers (74 points) are four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the slumping Vancouver Canucks 5-3. Zach Werenski and Ryan Murray each had two points for the Jackets (78 points), opening a three-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for the final Eastern wild-card spot. Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists for the Canucks, who dropped into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
Cam Talbot made 38 saves as the Calgary Flames blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0. Flames captain Mark Giordano collected three assists while Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist. With 75 points, the Flames moved one point ahead of the Canucks into third place in the Pacific Division. The Panthers (73 points) have dropped seven-straight games and remain five points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.
The Los Angeles Kings upset the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Calvin Petersen stopped 42 shots while Anze Kopitar scored two goals to snap the Golden Knights’ eight-game winning streak. With 80 points, the Golden Knights remain atop the Pacific Division. Earlier in the day, they revealed winger Mark Stone is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Cory Schneider turned in a 34-save shutout and Pavel Zacha scored twice to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak are the NHL’s three stars for February 2020. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes was the rookie of the month.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Andrei Vasilevskiy reach goaltending milestones, plus updates on Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Elias Pettersson, Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves in a 7-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Fleury picked up his 460th career victory to move past Henrik Lundqvist into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Mark Stone led the way offensively with two goals and three assists for the Golden Knights (63 points), who moved within two points of the first-place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division. Max Pacioretty also tallied twice for Vegas.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves backstopping his club over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. Vasilevskiy set a club record with a 17-game points streak. Victor Hedman collected three assists for the surging Lightning (73 points), who sit five behind the first-overall Boston Bruins. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh left the game after being struck on the right leg by a shot from Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.
Jeff Petry scored in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Carey Price made 35 saves for the Habs (59 points), who’ve won six of their last eight games and sit five points behind the Panthers and six out of a wild-card spot. Montreal defenseman Shea Weber missed the game with a lower-body injury. He’s on injured reserve and expected to miss a week.
The Detroit Red Wings edged the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on shootout goals by Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Larkin also scored twice in regulation. With 54 points, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are fading. They’re 11 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and 10 behind the third-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division.
New York Islanders rookie Kieffer Bellows scored the first two goals of his NHL career in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Isles overcame a 3-1 deficit with four unanswered goals. They sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 68 points.
MacKenzie Blackwood made 46 saves and picked up his first career NHL assist as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0. Miles Wood tallied twice for the Devils as the Flyers (65 points) slipped out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fifth win in their last six games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avs.
Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho each scored twice to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 65 points, the Hurricanes hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Winners of just two of their last 11 contests, the struggling Coyotes (61 points) are clinging to the first Western Conference wild-card spot.
Jusse Saros kicked out 37 shots to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, who are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 60 points. Nashville captain Roman Josi collected two assists. The Flames were playing without captain Mark Giordano, who’s listed as week-to-week with a hamstring injury. The Predators are now one point behind the Flames.
Andrew Copp tallied the game-winner as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2, snapping the Blues 11-game home points streak. With 59 points, the Jets are one behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Minnesota Wild kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Brad Hunt and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist. The Wild (56 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks played without leading scorer Elias Pettersson, who missed the game with a lower-body injury.
Timo Meier scored twice and collected an assist as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. The Oilers (62 points) are two points behind the first-place Canucks in the Pacific, but only three points ahead of the ninth-overall Predators.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook underwent successful right hip surgery on Thursday. He had surgery on his right shoulder in December and on his left hip last month. He’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp in September.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci will be out “for a while” with an ankle injury.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights purchased the American Hockey League team in San Antonio, Texas, and plan to move it to the Las Vegas area next season.
NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA will resume negotiations toward an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is due to expire in September 2022.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes are seeking funding to stage an outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium in 2021.
Game recaps, Leafs acquire Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford from the Kings, plus the latest on Mark Giordano, Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Charlie McAvoy’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Sean Kuraly also scored for the Bruins (78 points), who picked up their fifth straight victory. They move one point ahead of the Washington Capitals into first place in the Eastern Conference and overall standings. Alex DeBrincat replied for the Blackhawks (58 points), who picked up a point to move within two of the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored six seconds apart in the first period as the New York Rangers downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists. Auston Matthews scored twice for the Leafs (63 points), who remains two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot and one back of the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division.
Following the game, the Leafs traded winger Trevor Moore, a third-round pick (originally from Columbus via Ottawa) in 2020, and a conditional third-rounder in 2021 to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Jack Campbell and winger Kyle Clifford. The Kings retain half of Clifford’s $1.6-million annual salary-cap hit. The 2020 third-rounder becomes a second-round pick if the Leafs re-sign Clifford, or Campbell wins six regular-season games and the Leafs reach the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had no choice. Starting goalie Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with a neck injury, Michael Hutchinson isn’t getting the job done as the backup, and third-stringer Kasimir Kaskisuo has limited NHL experience. With the Leafs spinning their wheels and in danger of missing the playoffs, Dubas had to shore up his goalie depth.
Campbell’s stats (8-10-2, 2.85 GAA, .900 SP) are better than Hutchinson’s. He’s also signed through 2021-22 at an affordable $1.65-million AAV. Clifford, meanwhile, should bring some welcome grit and veteran leadership to the Leafs’ lineup. Moore, 24, is a Southern California native who can be an immediate fit with the rebuilding Kings’ checking lines.
If this deal doesn’t pan out, it’ll stoke ongoing criticism of Dubas’ inability to suitably address his club’s depth between the pipes.
CALGARY SUN: No word yet regarding the status of defenseman Mark Giordano. The Flames captain underwent an MRI for a lower-body injury suffered during Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were reportedly in the market for a top-six forward. Their priority could shift if Giordano is out long-term.
OTTAWA SUN: Bobby Ryan rejoins the Senators for the first time since entering the NHL’s Players’ Assistance program on Nov. 20. While medically cleared to resume skating, there’s no timetable when he’ll return to action.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha revealed he suffered a punctured lung after being slammed to the ice by Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin during an altercation on Dec. 21. He also came down with the flu that week. Mantha estimates he could return to the lineup between Feb. 10 – 15.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (laceration, left knee) and defenseman Sami Vatanen (lower-body bruise) will miss tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov is listed as day-to-day with a head injury from a high shot taken by Alex Ovechkin during practice on Tuesday.