NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2022

The schedule resumes with the Hurricanes extending their win streak to nine games, Connor McDavid stretching his points streak to 16 games and Jamie Benn reaching a Stars milestone. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their win streak to nine games by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots for the shutout while Martin Necas, Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook were the goal scorers as the Hurricanes (23-6-6, 52 points) hold a six-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Petr Mrazek made 46 saves for the Blackhawks (8-21-4) sitting in last place in the overall standings with 20 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid stretched his points streak to 16 games by scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. McDavid leads the league with 31 goals while Stuart Skinner kicked out 46 shots for the win as the Oilers improved to 19-15-2. Mikael Backlund scored for the Flames as they dropped to 16-13-7.

The Vancouver Canucks are over .500 for the first time this season (16-15-3) as they downed the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Bo Horvat and Ilya Mikheyev each had four points for the Canucks. Timo Meier scored twice and Erik Karlsson collected two assists to extend his points streak to a career-high 10 games for the 11-19-6 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s hoping sidelined starting goaltender Thatcher Demko can return in mid-January but remains uncertain if he’ll be back before February. Demko’s been out with a lower-body injury since Dec. 1.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored his 343rd career goal and Roope Hintz tallied twice in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Benn moved past Brian Bellows into second place on the Stars’ all-time goals list. With 48 points (21-9-6), Dallas moves to within one point of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Juuse Saros made 30 saves for the Predators as they slipped to 14-14-5. Predators forward Matt Duchene missed this game as his wife was giving birth to the couple’s baby daughter.

The Ottawa Senators (15-16-3) got a 49-save performance from Cam Talbot to upset the Boston Bruins 3-2 on a shootout goal by Alex DeBrincat, who also scored in regulation. Jake DeBrusk tallied his 14th goal of the season for the Bruins (27-4-3), who remain atop the overall standings with 57 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. There was no update as to his condition following the game.

An overtime goal by William Nylander lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs past the St. Louis Blues 5-4 after the Blues (16-16-3) overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits to force the extra frame. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and two assists for the Leafs (22-7-6) while Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou were among the Blues scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues played without defenseman Torey Krug as he was placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury. He’s expected to be re-evaluated in six weeks. The Leafs, meanwhile, placed forward Nick Robertson and defenseman Victor Mete on LTIR.

The Los Angeles Kings doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson each collecting a goal and two assists. The Kings (20-12-6, 46 points) move within three points of the Golden Knights (24-12-1), who sit atop the Western Conference with 49 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings forward Trevor Moore missed this game for undisclosed reasons. The Kings also placed Arthur Kaliyev (lower body) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 20. Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez departed in the second period with an injured leg after blocking a shot by Kings forward Alex Iafallo.

Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves to blank the New York Rangers 4-0. Marcus Johansson, Erik Gustafsson, Lars Eller and Conor Sheary were the goal scorers as the Capitals (20-13-4) picked up their fifth straight win and their 10th in their last 11 contests. Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 shots for the 19-12-5 Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen left the game in the final minutes after being struck in the face by the puck. Earlier in the day, they placed blueliner John Carlson (facial injury) on injured reserve.

New York Islanders forwards Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal each tallied twice in a 5-1 romp over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders improved to 20-14-2 but lost winger Oliver Wahlstrom to injury after he was cross-checked in the first period by Pittsburgh defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph. The Penguins slide to 19-10-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins recalled defenseman Mark Friedman from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Minnesota Wild (20-12-2) picked up their seventh victory in their last eight games by dropping the Winnipeg Jets 4-1, handing the latter their third straight defeat. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist while Filip Gustavsson made 36 saves for the Wild. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied for the Jets (21-13-1).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without rookie forward Cole Perfetti as he’s out for at least a week with an injured shoulder. Wild defenseman Jake Middleton missed this game with a non-COVID illness.

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz each had a goal and an assist for the 12-16-5 Coyotes. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche as they dropped to 19-12-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers got some good news as goaltender Carter Hart skated with his teammates in practice on Tuesday. He suffered what appeared to be an upper-body injury during Friday’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes following a collision with Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings assigned forward Jakub Vrana to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. Vrana hasn’t played since Oct. 15 before entering the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens recalled defenseman Justin Barron from their AHL affiliate in Laval.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2022

The Lightning, Bruins, Kings and Blues tie their best-of-seven first-round series at two games apiece. Check out the details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 5-0 lead after two periods over the Toronto Maple Leafs on route to a 7-3 victory, tying their best-of-seven opening-round playoff series at two games apiece. Ross Colton scored twice while Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Brandon Hagel each collected two assists. William Nylander tallied two goals for the Leafs while teammate Jack Campbell was pulled after giving up five goals on 16 shots. The series returns to Toronto for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are learning the hard way that the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning rises to the occasion when their backs are to the wall. At least the Lightning hasn’t held a lead in this series but that could change if the Leafs come out with another flat effort in Game 5.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand scored twice and set up three others to lead his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 to square their first-round series at two games each. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak scored and picked up a helper. Jeremy Swayman got the win with a 24-save performance while Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed this game due to COVID protocol. Game 5 is in Carolina on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ill-disciplined play proved costly for the Hurricanes as the Bruins went two-for-nine on the power play. Marchand was also his usual pesky self, getting into the head of Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo by appearing to call him a racist during a heated exchange. Meanwhile, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was frustrated when his challenge of Jake DeBrusk’s tying goal in the second period for goalie interference was ruled as incidental contact while attempting to make a play with the puck loose in the crease.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 31 saves to shut out the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 to tie their series at 2-2. He set the playoff shutout record (10) for American-born NHL netminders. Carl Grundstrom scored two goals and collected an assist while Trevor Moore and Troy Stecher each had a goal and an assist. The series shifts back to Edmonton on Tuesday night for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings looked done like dinner following lopsided losses in the previous two games. Quick’s superb goaltending and the Kings’ veteran leadership were crucial in this series-tying win. The Oilers played as though they were expecting another easy victory. This game should be a wake-up call that they’re facing an opponent they cannot take lightly.

The St. Louis Blues got a 28-save effort from Jordan Binnington in his 2022 postseason debut to tame the Minnesota Wild 5-2 and even their series at two games apiece. Jordan Kyrou scored two goals while Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron each picked up three points. Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy replied for the Wild. The two sides face off in Minnesota for Game 5 on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ revolving door blueline continued in this game as Scott Perunovich returned to action for the first time since January while Marco Scandella left this game with a lower-body injury. It’s possible Nick Leddy, Robert Bortuzzo or both could return for Game 5.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper escaped a serious eye injury on Saturday but swelling could keep him out of Game 4 against the Nashville Predators on Monday. The injury occurred in Game 3 when the blade of Predators center Ryan Johansen’s stick accidentally poked through the cage of Kuemper’s mask. Johansen was remorseful over the incident and was glad to hear the Avs goalie wasn’t seriously hurt.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Teresa Walker reports Predators coach John Hynes said starting goalie Juuse Saros will not be playing in Game 4 against the Avs. He’s been sidelined since April 26 by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Predators down 3-0 in this series it would be folly to put Saros in net if he’s not fully recovered.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for high-sticking Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane during Game 3 of their first-round series on Saturday.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov received the same fine for a similar infraction against Florida Panthers forward Noel Acciari in Game 3 of their series on Saturday.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. An update on his status is expected later today before Game 4 against the Panthers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2022

The Flames extend their points streak to nine games, the Avalanche widen their lead atop the overall standings, the Leafs and Coyotes make a trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames remain red hot as they picked up their ninth straight victory by downing the Seattle Kraken 2-1, spoiling Mark Giordano’s return to Calgary for the first time since being selected by the Kraken in last year’s expansion draft. Elias Lindholm extended his goal streak to seven games with the tie-breaking goal in the third period. Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk each finished the night with a goal and an assist as the Flames (64 points) hold a four-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division.

Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Third-period goals by Alex Newhook and Mikko Rantanen lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. With 76 points, the Avs hold a three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the top spot in the overall standings. Tage Thompson tallied all three goals for the Sabres.

The Edmonton Oilers got their fifth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to become the first player to reach the 70-point plateau this season. The Oilers (59 points) have moved within a point of the second-place Golden Knights in the Pacific Division while the Jets (52 points) sit seven points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Woodcroft’s hiring has given what had been a slumping Oilers club a timely shot in the arm. The players are all buying into his system, especially those who played for Woodcroft when he was coaching their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. They’re not trying to rely solely on McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to carry the offense. Other players are getting more minutes plus the team has improved its defensive game.

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich scored twice while goaltender Ville Husso kicked out 34 shots in a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Robert Thomas and David Perron each picked up two assists as the Blues moved ahead of the Minnesota Wild into second place in the Central Division with 64 points. William Nylander tallied two goals for the Leafs, who sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 67 points.

David Pastrnak’s overtime goal lifted the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman made 32 saves and defenseman Mike Reilly had two assists. Boston holds the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 60 points.

Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Adrian Kempe each had three points as the Los Angeles Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit to drop the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Kopitar had three assists while Doughty and Kempe each scored two goals and collected an assist. The Kings hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 59 points.

The Anaheim Ducks remain two points behind the Kings after snapping a four-game skid with a 7-4 drubbing of the Vancouver Canucks. Adam Henrique and Nicolas Deslauriers tallied two goals each while rookie star Trevor Zegras picked up three assists. Elias Pettersson had a goal and two assists for the Canucks, who remain seven points back of the Ducks.

HEADLINES

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded winger Nick Ritchie and a conditional pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin and winger Ryan Dzingel. The conditional pick received by the Coyotes will be either the Leafs’ 2023 third-rounder or their 2025 second-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ritchie signed a two-year deal ($2.5 million cap hit) with the Leafs this season but failed to play up to expectations and was eventually demoted to their AHL affiliate. This move brings in two affordable depth rentals for the Leafs in Dzingel ($1.1 million) and Lyubushkin ($1.35 million) who should contribute to their roster right away. Ritchie, meanwhile, will get an opportunity for more playing time with the rebuilding Coyotes.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000.00 by the league’s department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $800K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable depth signing for the Penguins, who evidently liked what they’ve seen of Ruhwedel’s performance over the course of this season. He’s helped to improve the Penguins’ penalty kill.

MLIVE.COM: Gemel Smith is heading back to the Tampa Bay Lightning as they reclaimed him off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings had claimed Smith on Jan. 19. He saw action in three games for Detroit, skating with his younger brother Givani.

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks have reportedly parted ways with assistant general manager Dave Nonis. The move is said to be part of the front-office restructuring under new GM Pat Verbeek. Nonis had a year remaining on his contract.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday announced Emile Francis passed at age 95. Nicknamed “The Cat”, he played for the Rangers as a goaltender and later served as head coach and general manager. He also worked for the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. He holds the Rangers’ coaching records for games (654) and wins (342), as well as playoff games (75) and wins (34).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis built the Rangers into a powerhouse during the late-60s and early-70s, which saw them reach the semifinals four times and the 1972 Stanley Cup Final. Their rivalry with the Boston Bruins during that time was must-watch hockey. My condolences to his family, friends and the Rangers’ organization.