NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2022

Could Claude Giroux join the Senators in the offseason? Why didn’t the Coyotes trade Jakob Chychrun and Phil Kessel at the deadline? What other interesting tidbits emerged from the recent trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD GIROUX JOIN THE SENATORS THIS SUMMER?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman said he believes Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux “is doing his research” on the Ottawa Senators. He adds there’s no guarantee it happens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t the first time speculation has surfaced linking Giroux, an Ottawa native, to the Senators. It’s easy to dismiss the notion of the 34-year-old joining the Senators at this stage in his career given the club’s difficulties emerging from its much-ballyhooed rebuild. Still, never say never.

WHY DIDN’T THE COYOTES MOVE CHYCHRUN OR KESSEL ON DEADLINE DAY?

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports no team will willing to meet the high asking price Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong set for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Armstrong hinted some of the teams he was dealing with had the pieces to make the deal but they didn’t want to break apart their rosters. He anticipates greater trade opportunities for the 23-year-old blueliner this summer, expressing his willingness to listen to offers.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported Armstrong’s price tag for Chychrun kept changing, settling on three first-round picks and a high-end prospect. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claimed the return the Montreal Canadiens received from the Florida Panthers for Ben Chiarot drove up the Coyotes’ asking price.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun mentioned the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins among the suitors. The latter might not be among those calling about Chychrun this summer given their acquisition and signing of Hampus Lindholm on Sunday.

Morgan reports Phil Kessel wanted a trade to a playoff contender since the start of this season and his camp wasn’t happy that a deal failed to materialize. The Coyotes’ $6.8 million share of his $8 million annual average value was the sticking point, as retaining half of it would’ve left an acquiring team picking up $3.4 million. Teams weren’t willing to acquire that hit. The Coyotes weren’t able to retain any more salary after doing so to ship Johan Larsson to the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Morgan observes, Kessel’s next chance to join a playoff contender will be this summer as an unrestricted free agent. He’ll have to accept a significant pay cut to do so.

MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Regarding the possibility of the Vegas Golden Knights trading Evgenii Dadonov to a non-playoff club following the deadline, league bylaws prevent him from playing for the remainder of the season. Friedman speculates the Arizona Coyotes could be a trade partner if they’re not blocked by the league. The Seattle Kraken could be another given their cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Dadonov wouldn’t be a rental player. He’s signed through next season with an annual cap hit of $5 million.

The Montreal Canadiens could be an offseason destination for Colin White. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes is White’s former agent and negotiated the 25-year-old center’s current contract with the Ottawa Senators. The Habs and Senators had some trade conversations before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: White struggled in the two seasons following his 41-point performance in 2018-19. He was sidelined most of this season with a dislocated shoulder. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him regain his promising form. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $4.75 million.

Zdeno Chara drew lots of interest at the trade deadline. New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello kept his promise to Chara and Andy Greene that they would finish the season with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 45-year-old Chara is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Perhaps one of those interested clubs will try to sign him if he doesn’t opt for retirement.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy drew a lot of attention but the club resisted all inquiries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy has a year remaining on his contract. The Kraken could attempt to sign him this summer to an extension if they see him as a key part of their future.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 20, 2022

A record-setting night for Filip Forsberg, the Bruins attempt to sign recently-acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm, Tyler Bertuzzi speaks out about trade rumors, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg tallied his franchise-record 211th career goal (and tied his single-season personal best of 33 goals) in a 6-3 defeat of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Predators captain Roman Josi collected three assists to become the first NHL defenseman since Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis in 1990-91 to reach 75 points in 60 games. Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored twice and teammate Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist in his return from a two-game suspension. With 76 points, the Predators hold a four-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the first Western Conference wild-card berth while the Leafs (83 points) remain one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs winger Ondrej Kase left the game in the second period after taking an elbow to the head by Predators forward Matt Duchene. He has a history of head injuries and there was no immediate update about his condition.

Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Rangers when Mika Zibanejad snapped a 1-1 tie with just 16 seconds remaining in the game. Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for the win as the Rangers completed a sweep of their season series against the Lightning. The Blueshirts sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby enjoyed his 87th career multi-point game with two goals to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Coyotes forward Clayton Keller scored to extend his points streak to eight games. The Penguins sit two points ahead of the Rangers for second place in the Metro Division and are three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got a 38-save performance by goaltender Logan Thompson (19 of them in the third period) in a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist for Vegas (72 points) as they opened a three-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card berth. The Kings sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 76 points.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 6-3. The Oilers tallied four unanswered third-period goals to overcome a 3-2 deficit and pick up their fifth straight win, sitting two points behind the Kings in third place. Evander Kane scored twice for the Oilers while Jesper Bratt netted two goals for the Devils.

The Calgary Flames dealt a blow to the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff hopes by beating the latter 5-2. Matthew Tkachuk led the way with a goal and two assists for the Flames, who sit atop the Pacific Division with 84 points. The Canucks sit five points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 67 points.

Late goals by Ryan Hartman and Jordan Greenway lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Cam Talbot made 21 saves for the win as the Wild have victories in four of their last six contests. They sit one point behind the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division with 76 points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got two-point performances from Patrik Laine, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Gustav Nyquist and Emil Bemstrom to hold off the Blues 5-4. David Perron had a hat trick for St. Louis.

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson tallied a hat trick as his club doubled up the Dallas Stars 4-2. Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves for the Isles, who’ve gone 5-0-1 in their last six games. The Stars are three points out of the final Western wild-card berth.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 29 saves for his first win since Nov. 27 in a 5-1 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators. Jake Evans had a goal and an assist while Cole Caufield extended his goal streak to four games.

A four-goal outburst in the third period carried the Seattle Kraken over the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. Yanni Gourde tallied twice for the Kraken.

HEADLINES

TSN: The Boston Bruins are reportedly attempting to sign Hampus Lindholm after acquiring him yesterday from the Anaheim Ducks. Pierre LeBrun reports it’s believed to be an eight-year contract extension that could be completed Sunday. Chris Johnston followed up indicating the annual average value is $6.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a reasonable cap hit for Lindholm. His current annual average value is over $5.2 million. He might’ve received more on the open market this summer.

The contract term was a sticking point in Lindholm’s contract talks with the Ducks and led to his trade to Boston. Signing an extension with the Bruins gives him an extra year on his contract he otherwise wouldn’t have received in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The full details of Claude Giroux’s trade to the Florida Panthers sees the Flyers receive winger Owen Tippett, a conditional 2024 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick. The Panthers also received minor-league forwards Connor Bunneman and German Rubtsov and a 2024 fifth-round pick. The Flyers retained 50 percent of Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The details of the trade tended to dribble out during the course of the evening. You can read my reaction to the trade at this link.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi dismissed recent trade rumors, making it clear he’s committed to the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi is replying to a recent rumor claiming he’d welcome a move to another club. General manager Steve Yzerman has made no comment about Bertuzzi or any of his other players as Monday’s trade deadline approaches.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter received a one-game suspension for slashing Washington Capitals Axel Jonsson-Fjallby on Friday.










Giroux to Panthers, Lindholm to the Bruins, Deslauriers to the Wild

Giroux to Panthers, Lindholm to the Bruins, Deslauriers to the Wild

The Philadelphia Flyers have traded forward Claude Giroux and minor-league center Connor Bunnaman to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Owen Tippett, a first-round pick in 2024 and a third-rounder in 2023 (as per RDS’ Francois Gagnon) while TSN’s Chris Johnston reports the Flyers will retain 50 percent of Giroux’ $8.275 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux’s no-movement clause gave him full control over this situation and severely limited where the Flyers could ship him. While the Colorado Avalanche were also considered among the bidders, it was apparent in recent days that the Panthers were emerging as the most likely destination.

Philadelphia Flyers trade Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

Panthers general manager Bill Zito was considered to be in “go-for-it” mode this season with his club riding high in the Eastern Conference standings. Having bolstered his blueline earlier this week by acquiring defenseman Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens, he’s provided additional firepower to his forward lines with Giroux.

A versatile, productive forward who can play all three forward positions and is among the best faceoff men in the league, the 34-year-old Giroux will provide the Panthers with veteran experience and leadership to go with his impressive skill set. It’ll be interesting to see where they put him on their already deep forward lines.

The return for the Flyers probably won’t sit well with their fans. Considering the Panthers were believed the only serious bidder, this is the best they could get.

Tippett, 23, should provide some immediate help and will have an opportunity to get his NHL career on track after seeing checking-line minutes with the Panthers. The first-rounder is worthwhile but it’s two years from now. Still, this return is quite light considering the harvest the Anaheim Ducks got from the Boston Bruins for Hampus Lindholm.

The Anaheim Ducks trade defenseman Hampus Lindholm and minor league blueliner Kodie Curran to the Boston Bruins for a first-round pick in 2022, a second-rounder in 2023 and a second-rounder in 2024, along with defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore. The Ducks will also retain 50 percent of Lindholm’s $5.205 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having traded Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has shipped out another of his veteran defense core in Lindholm after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension. The 28-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

This is a significant addition for the Bruins, who’ve been lacking skilled top-four left-side blueline depth since Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug departed via free agency two years ago. The 6’3, 208-pound Lindholm plays a solid all-around game and can log big minutes. He’ll lift some of the defensive burdens from Boston’s top rearguard Charlie McAvoy.

It remains to be seen if Lindholm will be merely a rental player or if the Bruins can re-sign him. It’s believed his insistence on a seven- or eight-year deal was the factor that scuttled his contract talks with the Ducks. Bruins GM Don Sweeney has a history of re-signing notable pending free agents acquired by the trade deadline (hello there, Taylor Hall) so perhaps he’ll take a stab at retaining Lindholm if he proves a good fit in Boston.

Verbeek has signaled the rebuild is on for the Ducks considering the draft picks he’s getting in this deal to go along with the 2023 second-rounder he got from the Avalanche in the Manson trade and the 2023 third-rounder he’s getting from the Wild. The Ducks are also getting a 23-year-old defenseman in Vaakanainen who had difficulty cracking the Bruins blueline but could have a better opportunity to reach his full potential with the Ducks.

The Ducks also trade forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a third-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin decides to add some muscle to his checking lines for the playoffs. Deslaurier, 31, is a big, physical depth forward with 10 points and 90 PIMs in 61 games with the Ducks this season. He’s also an unrestricted free agent this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill (Part One) – March 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill (Part One) – March 19, 2022

Check out the latest on Claude Giroux, Hampus Lindholm, Mark Giordano and Tyler Bertuzzi in the first part of today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON GIROUX, LINDHOLM, GIORDANO AND BERTUZZI

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche remain the front-runners for Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. However, a source said the Flyers aren’t close to a deal with the Panthers, adding he expects talks will pick up on Sunday as teams position themselves.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

It’s believed Panthers forward Owen Tippett was discussed but he wouldn’t be worth it as the centerpiece of the deal for the Flyers. Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports the Avalanche have offered up prospect Justin Barron and their 2023 first-round pick.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty cited a rumor claiming Giroux has rejected offers to join the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word if there could be a third team Giroux is willing to join or one stepping up to make a bid. It appears he’ll either be heading to the Panthers or Avalanche.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports contract term remains a sticking point in negotiations between the Anaheim Ducks and pending free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm. General manager Pat Verbeek would prefer a deal that doesn’t stretch in the blueliner’s mid-30s.

Verbeek’s asking price for Lindholm in the trade market is expected to be three assets, with what the Montreal Canadiens got in the Ben Chiarot deal (first-rounder, fourth-rounder, prospect) shaping the ask. The St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers could be among the suitors.

Stephens also weighed in on Rickard Rakell, indicting the pending UFA winger’s recent upper-body injury isn’t considered serious. He’s said to be on the Rangers’ radar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks sat out Lindholm from last night’s game against the Florida Panthers. While it’s still possible he could sign a contract extension, it appears more likely he’ll be moved by Monday’s trade deadline. I also anticipate Rakell will be traded before the deadline.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Geoff Baker reports teams seeking a top-four defenseman like the Kraken’s Mark Giordano include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. What could be holding up a potential trade is the Kraken seeking a first-round pick as part of the return. Some clubs, like the Leafs, aren’t willing to part with a first-rounder for a rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of them might part with a first-round pick. However, if no one’s willing to do so, Kraken GM Ron Francis could be forced to lower his price come deadline day.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Bob Duff cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting he believed Tyler Bertuzzi has let Red Wings management know he’s open to moving on. Seravalli doesn’t think Bertuzzi made a trade request but thinks the winger would be okay with a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi lacks no-trade protection so he really has no say in any dealings that could involve him.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 18, 2022

Check out the latest on Claude Giroux, Mark Giordano, Hampus Lindholm and Jordan Binnington plus updates on the Bruins, Coyotes and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON GIROUX, GIORDANO, LINDHOLM & BINNINGTON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun expects trade talks to escalate today for Claude Giroux after he played his 1,000th career game with the Philadelphia Flyers last night. The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers continue to show interest. LeBrun doesn’t see any sign that a third team is getting into the bidding though that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports it’s his understanding the Avalanche have made an offer for Giroux and haven’t been told they’re out of the running. He also indicated Avs management isn’t sweating whether they’ll get the Flyers forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs and Panthers are among the handful of this season’s Stanley Cup contenders. Both already made significant moves to bolster their respective defense corps and are now looking at boosting their forward lines. Whoever loses out in this bidding could set their sights on more affordable rental options before Monday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano (NHL Images).

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano is among the Toronto Maple Leafs’ trade targets. The Kraken seek a first-round pick, something Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he wouldn’t part with for a rental player. San Jose Sharks blueliner Jacob Middleton is also on the Leafs’ list but they don’t like the Sharks’ asking price.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Leafs are Giordano’s preference. He wondered if the Kraken might accept a second-round pick from the Leafs. Giordano has a 12-team no-trade list so he has some control over this situation.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues could be options for Giordano. Like the Leafs, however, Blues GM Doug Armstrong doesn’t want to part with his first-rounder for a rental. For Giordano to land with the Leafs, LeBrun believes it’ll have to be a second-rounder and a prospect. He also said Giordano wouldn’t stand in the way of a deal to a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame the Kraken for seeking a first-round pick for Giordano. They could get it but might have to accept a second-rounder and a prospect or young NHL-ready player if they can’t find a bidder willing to part with a first-rounder for the 38-year-old defenseman.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports of little progress in contract extension talks between the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Hampus Lindholm. Ducks GM Pat Verbeek isn’t willing to offer up a seven- or eight-year contract, something Lindholm’s camp believes they can get elsewhere. Verbeek is gauging the trade market but Seravalli doesn’t rule out the Ducks GM circling back to Lindholm before deadline day. The asking price is said to be a first-rounder, a top prospect plus another asset.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun suggests Lindholm could be a fit with the Bruins or St. Louis Blues but it’ll take a high price to pry him away from the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm also lacks no-trade protection so Verbeek could have a wide range of potential suitors. Those could include non-playoff clubs willing to acquire the 28-year-old defenseman if he’ll agree to a contract extension. Something to keep in mind if the Ducks don’t get any suitable offers from postseason clubs.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong has contacted clubs in the market for goaltending help and pitched Jordan Binnington as a solution to their woes. However, there’s not much interest in the 29-year-old netminder due to his declining performance and his contract, which includes a $6 million annual cap hit through 2026-27 and a full no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t blame Armstrong for trying but Binnington’s contract alone makes him almost impossible to move at the trade deadline.

BRUINS PURSUING CHYCRUN BUT WILL THEY GET HIM?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Boston Bruins showed interest in Josh Manson before he was traded to the Avalanche and in Ben Chiarot before he was shipped to the Panthers. They’ve shown interest in Jakob Chychrun but it’s not clear if the Arizona Coyotes will move him based on the current offers. LeBrun also reported acquiring Chychrun in a “hockey trade” remains the Bruins’ priority.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss reports the Coyotes’ asking price for Chychrun could include a first-round pick and a top prospect among other assets. The Bruins, however, don’t have a lot of premium trade assets.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports whatever the Bruins are offering is unlikely to outdo other clubs interested in the 23-year-old Chychrun. He believes the Bruins would have to part with a top prospect such as Mason Lohrei or Fabian Lysell as part of a package to entice the Coyotes. The Los Angeles Kings are also making a pitch for Chychrun and their prospect pool is much deeper than the Bruins.

Shinzawa also reports Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk’s trade request still stands. His agent hopes a deal can be found by the trade deadline. Shinzawa also dismissed the possibility of a Bruins reunion with Zdeno Chara at the trade deadline, suggesting Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Calvin de Haan would be a more suitable rental option.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli included the Bruins among the clubs with interest in de Haan and the Kraken’s Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland doesn’t rule out the Coyotes’ moving Chychrun by the trade deadline. However, he said it’s looking increasingly likely that it won’t happen. If it does, I don’t see the Bruins winning a bidding war with the Kings. The latter has far too many assets to draw upon as trade bait compared to the Bruins.

COYOTES COULD BE AMONG CLUBS WILLING TO ACQUIRE SALARY

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Arizona Coyotes have informed other clubs they’re willing to act as a third-party broker in deals involving high-salaried players and are receiving plenty of interest from other clubs. The Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks and Seattle Kraken could do the same.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the Coyotes have an interest in acquiring the remainder of Shea Weber’s contract. The Montreal Canadiens defenseman is on long-term injury reserve amid speculation injuries have ended his career. They could use Weber’s $7.57 million cap hit to reach the cap floor next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could ask for a second-round draft pick or a prospect to be included as part of the price as a third-party broker or to acquire a permanent LTIR contract.

LATEST RED WINGS SPECULATION

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Bob Duff weighs in on recent speculation suggesting the Red Wings could peddle winger Tyler Bertuzzi. He believes the 26-year-old winger’s anti-vaccination stance didn’t sit well with GM Steve Yzerman, who could be willing to entertain offers for Bertuzzi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi is in the first year of a two-year contract. If Yzerman intends to trade the winger, he can wait until the offseason if he doesn’t receive any suitable offers before the trade deadline.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Red Wings held defenseman Nick Leddy out of the lineup for Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. That appears a clear indication Leddy could be moved before Monday’s trade deadline.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2022

Claude Giroux plays his 1,000th (and possibly final) game with the Flyers, Roman Josi sets a Predators record, Golden Knights lose Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner denies he’s seriously injured, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux’s 1,000th and possibly final game with the Philadelphia Flyers ended in a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators thanks to Joel Farabee’s game-winner late in the third period. Farabee, Kevin Hayes and Travis Sanheim each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while Giroux was held scoreless. Predators defenseman Roman Josi collected three assists to set a single-season franchise record with 55 assists while teammate Filip Forsberg scored his 210th career goal to tie the franchise record. The Predators hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 74 points.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is not traveling with the Flyers to Ottawa to face the Senators tonight. He’s expected to be dealt before Monday’s trade deadline.

The Vegas Golden Knights snapped a five-game losing skid by beating the Florida Panthers 5-3 but lost Jack Eichel as he left the game in the second period after blocking a shot with one of his arms. There was no immediate update on his condition. Evgenii Dadonov scored twice as the Golden Knight (70 points) remain one point up on the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Panthers, meanwhile, remain one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for first overall in the Eastern Conference with 88 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined Golden Knights starting goaltender Robin Lehner denied a report by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli claiming he could miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Nevertheless, his frequent absences to injury this season and the Golden Knights’ struggles while he’s out of the lineup fuels speculation that management is shopping for a goalie.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs as rookie goalie Erik Kallgren made 34 saves for his second straight win in his second NHL start. Ondrej Kase tallied the winning goal for the Leafs (83 points), who are 4-1-1 in their last six and move within one point of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

The Stars, meanwhile, got the game-tying and winning goals by John Klingberg to nip the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime to snap a three-game losing skid. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Jan. 13.

Leon Draisaitl scored his 40th goal of the season as the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a 6-1 dubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Connor McDavid was among five Oilers to finish the night with two points while Mike Smith made 27 saves for the win. With 72 points, the Oilers have won four straight and sit in third place in the Pacific Division.

Alex Ovechkin tallied his 38th goal of the season, Anthony Mantha scored twice and Vitek Vanecek stopped 39 shots as the Washington Capitals thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. It was a costly win for the Capitals as winger T.J. Oshie left the game with a lower-body injury. The Capitals (78 points) move within a point of the Boston Bruins for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Detroit Red Wing netminder Alex Nedeljkovic kicked out 43 shots and Pius Suter scored the only goal to blank the Vancouver Canucks 1-0. Canucks center J.T. Miller’s point streak ended at 13 games. The loss leaves the Canucks (67 points) three points out of the final Western wild-card spot.

Speaking of shutouts, Cal Petersen made 29 saves for his third of the season in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault and Adrian Kempe were the goal scorers as the Kings (76 points) hold a four-point lead over the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.

A shootout goal by Bryan Rust lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s point streak ended at 10 games. Blues goaltender Ville Husso made 43 saves in a losing cause. The Penguins (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division while the Blues (77 points) sit four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild in second place in the Central Division.

The Rangers, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves for the win as Kyle Palmieri broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period. Rangers winger Chris Kreider netted his 40th goal of the season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot’s season is over after suffering a broken right hand during Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Andrew Copp was shaken up but avoided another concussion following a hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist on Sunday. He passed a return-to-play test on Tuesday. Copp has suffered four concussions in his playing career.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights signed defenseman Derrick Pouliot to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move was made to shore up Vegas’ injury-depleted blue line.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford was placed on the NHL COVID protocol list.