NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 17, 2018
Game recaps, Flames re-sign Mikael Backlund plus updates on Phil Kessel, Roberto Luongo and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Blake Wheeler scored twice, Mark Scheifele collected three assists and Connor Hellebuyck got his 30th win of the season as the Winnipeg Jets crushed the Colorado Avalanche 6-1. The Jets (77 points) are tied with the Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After missing over a month to injury, Scheifele’s been on fire since his return. He has seven points in just four games, with three in each of his last two games.
The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their first win in Columbus since 2005 by edging the Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime. Flyers forward Sean Couturier tallied the game winner while goaltender Michal Neuvirth made 35 saves.
Thomas Greiss kicked out 45 shots as the New York Islanders blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. It was the Isles second straight shutout win. Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier and John Tavares were the goal scorers, with the latter potting his 30th of the season.
The Dallas Stars got goals from Mattias Janmark and Stephen Johns as they held off the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Ben Bishop turned aside 28 shots for the Stars.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames yesterday announced the re-signing of two-way center Mikael Backlund to a six-year, $32.1-million contract extension. The annual salary-cap hit is $5.35 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a nice pay raise from the $3.575-million per season the 28-year-old Backlund is earning on his current deal. It’s a good deal for both sides. Backlund is a solid two-way puck-possession player who is a key part of the Flames lineup, centering their “3M” line with left wing Matthew Tkachuk and right wing Michael Frolik. He finished fourth in voting for the Selke Trophy last season, had a career-best 53 points in 2016-17 and could reach 50 points this season.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel sits tied for fourth in the NHL scoring but he’s not concerned about the possibility of winning the scoring title. “I got two Cups. It doesn’t really matter,” Kessel said Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Kessel has his priorities in order. Nothing beats winning the Stanley Cup.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: After being sidelined for two months by injury, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo will get the start tonight against the Flames in Calgary.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is taking over the duties of the club’s CEO. Speaking of the Senators, their attendance woes continue, sitting 24th overall among the 31 NHL franchises this season.
BOSTON HERALD: Long-time Bruins beat writer Steve Harris passed away Thursday due to complications from heart surgery. He was 66.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Harris’ family and friends. I followed and enjoyed his work for years. He earned a reputation for fairness in his coverage of the Bruins and will be missed.