NHL Offseason Lookahead – Philadelphia Flyers
The Islanders set a franchise-record points streak, Sheldon Keefe gets his first win as the Leafs’ coach, Claude Giroux has a four-point game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Islanders extended their points streak to a franchise-record 16 games (15-0-1) with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brock Nelson scored twice (including his second straight overtime tally) while teammate Mathew Barzal collected three assists. Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist scored in his return from injury. Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced Justin Schultz (lower body) and Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery) will be sidelined for a while. Bjugstad could be out for eight weeks.
Sheldon Keefe picked up his first win as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs as they snapped a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen turned aside 30 shots while Auston Matthews netted his 15th goal of the season. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced Keefe signed a new contract through 2022.
Claude Giroux scored twice and set up two others leading the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, snapping a four-game winless skid. Travis Konecny collected three assists in the victory.
Jordan Binnington had a 40-save shutout and Zach Sanford enjoyed the first four-point performance of his NHL career in a 5-0 blanking of the Calgary Flames. Sanford had a goal and three assists while Oskar Sundqvist tallied two goals. The Flames are winless in their last six games.
The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to six games by edging the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Brad Marchand scored twice and goaltender Tuukka Rask made a highlight-reel save with his blocker hand. The Sabres have dropped three straight and have just one victory in their last 10 contests.
An overtime goal by Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad completed a five-goal rally as his club downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-4. Ekblad and Brett Connolly each scored two goals. Ondrej Kase had a goal and an assist for the Ducks. The Panthers have surged into fourth overall in the Eastern Conference.
Third-period goals by Oliver Bjorkstrand, Boone Jenner, and Eric Robinson powered the Columbus Blues Jackets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. The Jackets have won four of their last six contests. Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice for the Wings. The Jackets also announced Paul MacLean was joining their coaching staff.
The Vancouver Canucks netted five power-play goals on route to a 6-3 pasting of the Nashville Predators, extending the latter’s winless skid to six. Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom kicked out 45 shots while teammates Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each collected three points.
Jason Zucker netted the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild nipped the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Cale Makar tallied twice for the Avs.
Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Curtis McElhinney made 32 saves as his club held on for a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos left the game with a lower-body injury. The Bolts were also playing without winger Nikita Kucherov, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.
The Dallas Stars blew a 3-0 lead but rallied to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. Jamie Benn tallied the game-winner and Corey Perry picked up three assists for the Stars, who’ve won five straight to sit fourth overall in the Western Conference.
The San Jose Sharks picked up their seventh victory in their last eight games by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1. Logan Couture picked up the winner in overtime. Aaron Dell made 37 saves for the win.
Tyler Toffoli scored twice and Jeff Carter had a three-point night as the Los Angeles Kings thumped the Edmonton Oilers 5-1. Connor McDavid tallied the Oilers’ only goal. Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson returned to the lineup after being sidelined with a broken fibula since their season-opener.
Game recaps, Ducks made three trades, Flames to retire Iginla’s number, no World Cup of Hockey in 2020, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Former Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored twice and set up another goal against his former team.
Sean Couturier netted a natural hat trick and teammate Claude Giroux picked up his 500th career assists as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Bruins call-up Peter Cehlarik scored his first two NHL goals.
The Buffalo Sabres snapped the Calgary Flames’ five-game win streak as an overtime goal by Jack Eichel gave them a 4-3 victory. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau picked up his 28th goal of the season.
A shootout goal by Alex Chiasson gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers are now tied with the Minnesota Wild (49 points), though the latter holds the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference as they hold a game in hand. The Canucks are right behind them with 48 points.
The Arizona Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 to end the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves while Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Sharks forward Kevin Labanc had a goal and two assists.
NBC SPORTS: The Anaheim Ducks swung a trio of trades yesterday. First, they shipped winger Pontus Aberg to the Minnesota Wild for center Justin Kloos. They followed that by sending defenseman Luke Schenn and a seventh-round pick in 2020 to the Vancouver Canucks for blueline Michael Del Zotto. Their final move saw them send minor-league center Joseph Blandisi to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Derek Grant. These moves come just two days after the Ducks traded veteran winger Andrew Cogliano to the Dallas Stars for center Devin Shore.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t call this a fire sale by Ducks general manager Bob Murray as he’s bringing in players who could contribute to his roster this season. Nevertheless, it’s not a major roster shakeup, probably because his club is still close to a wild-card spot despite their 12-game losing skid.
Murray’s giving up some offense in Aberg, who has 11 goals in 37 games, but Kloos led the AHL’s Iowa Wild with 30 points and could get a shot with the Ducks at some point. The Wild, meanwhile, receive a speedy, affordable winger who could provide them with a bit of a scoring boost as they jockey for playoff contention.
The Canucks moved Del Zotto, a frequent healthy scratch, to make room for rookie star Elias Pettersson, who’s returning from injury. Schenn spent this season with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate and will report directly to the Canucks’ farm club in Utica. Del Zotto, an unrestricted free agent this summer, could become a rental depth addition for the Ducks.
Grant played for the Ducks in 2017-18, enjoying his best season with 12 goals and 24 points in 66 games. He signed with the Penguins as a free agent but didn’t enjoy the same measure of success. Murray could be hoping Grant rediscovers his form. The Penguins remove Grant’s $650K cap hit and could be setting the stage for a larger move.
TSN: Speaking of the Ducks, veteran center Ryan Kesler has no plans to waive his no-movement clause.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for charging Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar during Tuesday’s game.
SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHLPA released statements yesterday ruling out the possibility of staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2020. While the tournament was linked to recent talks regarding a possible extension of the CBA, the two sides intend to meet again soon to continue discussions aimed at avoiding another work stoppage.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA have the option of exercising their early-out clause in September, which would bring the current CBA to an end in September 2020. Recent reports indicate a seeming willingness on both sides to implement a new deal without going through another round of contentious collective bargaining. We’ll find out by this September if that apparent cooling in tensions between the two sides results in a new deal.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames will honor former captain Jarome Iginla by retiring his No. 12 prior to their March 2 game against the Minnesota Wild. Iginla announced his retirement last July
NBC SPORTS: Former NHL winger Brandon Bollig announced his retirement yesterday. He spent five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. In 241 career games, Bollig had 10 goals, 23 points and 392 penalty minutes. He also had three goals, four points and 75 PIMs in 35 playoff contests.
Blackhawks fired Joel Quenneville, plus game recaps players of the week, Brendan Lemieux suspended, and more trouble for the Senators in the NHL morning coffee headlines.
The Chicago Blackhawks have fired head coach Joel Quenneville and replaced him with Jeremy Colliton. They also fired assistant coaches Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson “and named Barry Smith to the coaching staff as an assistant.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a major move by the Blackhawks, who are struggling to regain their once-dominant form. Under Quenneville, the Hawks won three Stanley Cup during his 11-year tenure. Since their last championship in 2015, however, their fortunes have steadily declined, missing the playoff last season for the first time in a decade.
In my opinion, Quenneville is paying for management’s sins. Limited salary-cap space in recent years depleted the Blackhawks’ depth, giving him less talent to work with compared to previous years. Given his experience, he probably won’t be unemployed for long.
Colliton is earning a quick promotion from the head coach of the Blackhawks AHL affiliate in Rockford, where in his first season (2017-18) he guided the IceHogs to the third round of the 2018 AHL playoffs.
NHL.COM: On Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night in Pittsburgh, New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle netted a natural hat trick to lead his club to a 5-1 victory over the Penguins. Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia on Sept. 19, 2017, but his condition is now in remission.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 234th career power-play goal as the Washington Capitals doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Ovechkin tied Marcel Dionne for eighth on the all-time list. Oilers center Connor McDavid scored to keep his points streak alive at eight games.
Claude Giroux scored twice and set up another to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, snapping the latter’s five-game winning streak.
The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to down the New York Islanders 4-3 in the shootout. Joel Armia tallied the game-winner while Max Domi rallied the Habs with a goal and an assist.
Brad Marchand scored in overtime as the Boston Bruins edged the Dallas Stars 2-1, snapping the latter’s three-game winning streak.
Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 4, 2018.
Winnipeg Jets forward Brendan Lemieux received a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck.
TSN: A group of Ottawa Senators players issued a statement last night apologizing for critical remarks about assistant coach Marty Raymond that were caught on camera in an Uber vehicle and posted online. Matt Duchene, Chris Wideman, Chris Tierney, Thomas Chabot, Dylan DeMelo, Alex Formenton, and Colin White made the remarks in Phoenix on Oct. 29. Head coach Guy Boucher defended the players, offering support for Raymond, and calling the incident a privacy breach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some are pointing to this incident as yet another example of dysfunction in the Senators’ dressing room. This could also be simply a case of a few players blowing off a bit of steam. It was a private conversation recorded without their knowledge that shouldn’t have been publicly shared. It’s a reminder for players to mind what they say in public.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson (lower body, day-to-day) was placed on injured reserve.
NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl is listed as day-to-day “after taking a shoulder to the head in Saturday night’s tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers.”
Matt Donovan Nashville #Predators
2 year / 2-way deal
2018-19: $650,000/$162,500 ($200K guaranteed)
2019-20: $700,000/$200,000 ($250K guaranteed)
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) November 5, 2018
Game recaps, seven of eight opening-round playoff series set, Rangers fire Vigneault, Red Wings re-sign Holland and the hockey world mourns junior hockey tragedy. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Gabriel Landeskog scored and collected two assists as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014. The Avs will face the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the 2018 playoffs, while the Blues will miss the postseason for the first time since 2011.
Thanks to Claude Giroux’s first career hat trick, the Philadelphia Flyers also clinched a playoff berth by shutting out the New York Rangers 5-0. Giroux also reached the 100-point plateau (102) for the first time, becoming the first Flyer to do so since Eric Lindros in 1995-96. The Flyers’ opening-round opponent will be the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers’ win also ended the Florida Panthers’ playoff hopes. Following the game, the Rangers announced the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault.
Speaking of the Panthers, they went on to set a franchise record for home wins (27) by downing the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Vincent Trocheck and Colton Sceviour each tallied a goal and an assist for the Panthers. It was the final game for Panthers winger Radim Vrbata, who is retiring after 16 NHL seasons.
The Boston Bruins picked up their 50th win of the season by downing the Ottawa Senators 5-2. With 112 points, the Bruins sit one back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division and can overtake the Lightning if they defeat the Panthers tonight.
As for the Lightning, they picked up a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bolts overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame.
The Toronto Maple Leafs set a franchise record for most points in a season (105) with a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen established a franchise record for single-season victories with 38. The Leafs will face either the Lightning or Bruins in the opening round.
Filip Forsberg tallied a hat trick as the Nashville Predators doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Before the game, the Predators were honored with the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record. The Blue Jackets’ opening round opponent will be the Washington Capitals.
Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 48th and 49th goals of the season in a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin wins the Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer for the seventh time. Like the Leafs, the Devils await the outcome of tonight’s Bruins-Panthers game to determine if their first-round opponent will be Boston or Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin narrowly missed reaching the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career. Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy (nine 50-goal seasons) have more.
Connor McDavid picked up two assists and Leon Draisaitl scored the winning goal as the Edmonton Oilers edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin were held without a point in what was their final NHL game but were feted by the Oilers and their fans following the game. McDavid finished the season with 108 points to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer for the second straight year.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck became the first American-born netminder to win 44 games as he backstopped his club to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets will face the Minnesota Wild in the opening round.
The Anaheim Ducks secured second place in the Pacific Division by shutting out the Arizona Coyotes 3-0. Ducks winger Corey Perry picked up his 400th career assists. The Ducks hold home-ice advantage in their first-round matchup with the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks, meanwhile, fell 6-3 to the Minnesota Wild. Jason Zucker scored twice for the Wild and teammate Eric Staal netted his 42nd of the season.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn netted a hat trick in a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, who’ll face the Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, were crushed by the Calgary Flames 7-1. Flames rookie Mark Jankowski scored four goals.
John Tavares scored in overtime as the New York Islanders edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. Isles forward Anders Lee scored his 40th of the season. The Red Wings also announced they re-signed general manager Ken Holland to a two-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the 2018 opening-round playoff bracket here.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: 15 people were killed and 14 injured when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League collided with a semi-trailer late-Friday afternoon. Among the dead is Jaxon Joseph, son of former NHL defenseman Chris Joseph.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This tragedy overshadowed yesterday’s news and shook up the tight-knit hockey community. My sincere condolences to the families of the dead and injured, the Broncos organization and the town of Humboldt. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the families.