NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2023
The Lightning match a franchise home win streak, the Sabres’ Owen Power sets a franchise record for rookie defensemen, the Canucks re-sign Andrei Kuzmenko, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning matched a franchise record with their 11th straight home win by nipping the Boston Bruins 3-2, snapping the latter’s six-game win streak. Victor Hedman broke a 2-2 tie in the third period while Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point each had three points for the 31-15-1 Lightning, who hold third place in the Atlantic Division. Brad Marchand and Pavel Zacha replied for the Bruins (38-6-4), who sit atop the overall standings with 80 points.
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power scored for the third straight game in a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin each had two points for the 26-19-3 Sabres, who’ve won five straight contests and moved within two points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 55 points. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 shots for the Jets (31-18-1), who sit in second place in the Western Conference with 63 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Power became the first Sabres rookie defenseman to record a goal streak of three games.
Speaking of the Penguins, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Washington Capitals on shootout goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom. Alex Ovechkin tallied his 32nd goal while Darcy Kuemper made 35 saves for the Capitals (26-19-6), who hold a one-point lead over the Penguins for the first Eastern wild-card spot with 58 points. Casey DeSmith stopped 43 shots for the 24-15-9 Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger Tom Wilson missed this game with a lower-body injury.
An overtime goal by Mats Zuccarello lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2. Matt Boldy scored twice and collected an assist for the Wild (26-17-4) as they vaulted back into third place in the Central Division with 56 points. The Flyers slipped to 20-21-9 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers forward Wade Allison left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury while Zack MacEwen suffered an upper-body injury from his fight with Wild winger Marcus Foligno. Wild center Ryan Hartman was a healthy scratch from this game.
Anaheim Ducks winger Frank Vatrano tallied a hat trick to upset the Colorado Avalanche 5-3, ending the latter’s six-game win streak. John Gibson kicked out 41 shots for the 15-29-5 Ducks. Mikko Rantanen scored twice for the Avalanche 26-18-3 as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 55 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar collected an assist as he returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
The Calgary Flames missed an opportunity to surpass the Avalanche for that wild-card berth as they were upset 5-1 by the Chicago Blackhawks. Rookie goalie Jaxon Stauber made 34 saves to win his second straight NHL start for the 15-28-4 Blackhawks. The Flames (23-17-9) have 55 points but the Avs hold two games in hand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews missed this game with a non-COVID-related illness.
Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist in the third period in a 6-4 win over the New Jersey Devils to end the latter’s eight-game points streak. Juuse Saros turned aside 34 shots for the Predators (24-18-6) as they moved within one point of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 54 points. Devils center Jack Hughes collected two points as the 31-13-4 Devils remain two points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with 66 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Predators announced that defenseman Alexandre Carrier will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.
The Arizona Coyotes (16-28-5) got a natural hat trick from Nick Schmaltz and a 33-save shutout from Karel Vejmelka to blank the St. Louis Blues 5-0. The Blues dropped to 23-23-3 and sit six points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues forward Robert Thomas left this game with a lower-body injury. Coyotes forwards Matias Maccelli and Lawson Crouse returned to the lineup after being sidelined by injuries. However, the club announced before this game that defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will miss four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. That could affect management’s efforts to trade the pending free agent before the March 3 trade deadline.
An overtime goal by Robby Fabbri gave the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Moritz Seider had three assists for the Wings as they improved to 21-18-8 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with 50 points. The Canadiens (20-25-4) got two goals from Rafael Harvey-Pinard but also lost defenseman Joel Edmundson to a lower-body injury.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed winger Andrei Kuzmenko to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $5. 5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I predicted this in yesterday’s Rumor Mill as reports emerged Kuzmenko’s camp sought a two-year bridge deal worth between $5 million and $6 million. The 26-year-old rookie winger has 21 goals and 43 points in 47 games with the Canucks this season as he’s played well alongside center Elias Pettersson.
The signing disappoints those who believe the struggling Canucks should trade Kuzmenko for draft picks and prospects while his value was high. However, that would’ve meant rebuilding and that’s something the Canucks don’t do. This signing is also considered another indication that the club will move pending free agent center Bo Horvat before the March 3 trade deadline.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen reportedly avoided serious injury when he left Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed defenseman Ben Harpur to a two-year contract extension with an average annual value of $787, 500.