NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2022
Game recaps feature a four-point game for Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, the three stars of the week are revealed, two trades go down before the holiday freeze goes into effect, the Oilers re-sign Stuart Skinner and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins extended their home points streak to 19 games by dumping the Florida Panthers 7-3. Boston captain Patrice Bergeron scored twice and collected two assists while Brad Marchand collected three assists as the Bruins (25-4-2) opened a seven-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the overall standings with 52 points. Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe each had two points for the 15-14-4 Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are showing no signs of cooling off from their hot start to this season as they approach the holiday season. They’re widening their lead over the teams chasing them in the overall standings.
Speaking of the Golden Knights, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 41 saves to hold off Vegas while Tage Thompson tallied his 26th goal of the season as the Sabres improved to 16-14-2. Chandler Stephenson and Reilly Smith replied for the Golden Knights (22-11-1) as they hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 45 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a lower-body injury.
The Stars (19-8-6), meanwhile, nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 2-1. Jake Oettinger made 27 saves while Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson were the goal scorers. Kent Johnson replied for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four in a row and dropped to 10-19-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game with an upper-body injury. The Jackets also played without captain Boone Jenner as he’s sidelined for four weeks with a broken thumb.
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev turned in a 26-save shutout and Evan Rodrigues scored the only goal in a 1-0 shootout victory over the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin stopped 46 shots for the 18-13-2 Islanders. The Avalanche improved to 17-11-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar provided a fine example of sportsmanship by telling the referees not to call a tripping penalty on Isles center Mathew Barzal. The call was reversed after Makar told the official that he wasn’t tripped by Barzal but merely slipped and fell down.
Before the game, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower-body), Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri (upper body) are day-to-day. Defenseman Adam Pelech remains sidelined with an upper-body injury but it’s not believed to be long-term. The Isles also terminated the contract of Nikita Soshnikov.
An overtime goal by Alexander Carrier lifted the Nashville Predators over the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Juuse Saros kicked out 30 shots for the Predators (13-13-4) as they end a six-game skid. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Connor McDavid (two assists) extended his points streak to 13 games. The Oilers sit at 17-14-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Oilers announced they’ve signed goaltender Stuart Skinner to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $2.6 million. Skinner has outplayed Jack Campbell ($5 million AAV) and taken over the starter’s job from the struggling Campbell.
Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov’s overtime goal gave his club a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Nic Dowd scored twice in 11 seconds during the second period for the Capitals as they move to 17-13-4 on the season. Ville Husso made 38 saves for the 13-11-7 Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. He backed up Charlie Lindgren for this contest.
A hat trick by Jordan Kyrou carried the St. Louis Blues over the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists and Jordan Binnington made 33 saves for the Blues as they improved to 16-15-1. Ilya Mikheyev scored for the Canucks as they drop to 13-15-3.
An overtime goal by Mike Hoffman gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Sam Montembeault stopped 37 shots while Cole Caufield netted his 19th goal of the season for the Canadiens (15-15-2). Nick Schmaltz and Matias Macelli replied for the Coyotes as they slide to 10-15-5.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens announced they’ll honor former Habs defenseman P.K. Subban prior to their Jan. 12 game at the Bell Centre against the Nashville Predators. Subban played for both clubs but he spent seven of his 13 NHL seasons with the Canadiens, winning the Norris Trophy in 2012-13. He retired before the start of this season.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson and Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello are the three stars for the week ending Dec. 18, 2022.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers winger Cam Atkinson’s season is over before it had a chance to begin. He’ll undergo neck surgery on Dec. 21 and is expected to make a full recovery.
Meanwhile, Flyers center Kevin Hayes didn’t believe he deserved to be a healthy scratch for the club’s 6-3 loss to the Islanders on Saturday. “I wasn’t happy but it’s not my decision,” said Hayes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tensions appear to be rising between Hayes and Flyers coach John Tortorella. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill update.
NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl for two games for high-sticking Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm during Sunday’s game between the two clubs.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs traded forward Denis Malgin to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Dryden Hunt.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks acquired defenseman Michael Del Zotto in a three-team trade involving the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. Del Zotto was traded first by the Panthers to the Red Wings for blueliner Giavani Smith. The Wings then flipped him to the Ducks for center Danny O’Regan. All three will be reporting to their new minor-league teams.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks activated Alex Stalock from injured reserve and sent Arvid Soderblom to their AHL affiliate in Rockford. They also placed Jarred Tinordi (facial fracture) on IR retroactively to Dec. 18.
NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Andrew Hammond has announced his retirement. He spent six seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils from 2013-14 to 2021-22 with a record of 31 wins, 20 losses and 7 overtime losses. He had a career goals-against average of 2.56 and a .916 save percentage with four shutouts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hammond is best remembered for his 20-1-2 run with the Senators to carry the club into the 2015 playoffs. Best wishes to “The Hamburglar” in his future endeavors.