NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2023

The Leafs, Hurricanes and Blues Jackets each collect 3-2 overtime wins, the surging Kraken take over first place in the Pacific Division, the Avalanche and Sharks make a four-player trade, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored 19 seconds into overtime in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers after teammate Timothy Liljegren tied it late in the third period. The Leafs improved their record to 30-11-8 and are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes with 68 points. Filip Chytil tallied twice for the 26-14-8 Rangers as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 60 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they got an overtime goal from Martin Necas to beat the Dallas Stars by a score of 3-2. Sebastian Aho scored his 200th career NHL goal as they extended their points streak to six games. The Hurricanes (30-9-8) sit second overall in the overall standings with two games in hand over the Maple Leafs. Jason Robertson scored his 33rd goal of the season for the 28-13-9 Stars as they hold a two-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Western Conference with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen left this game following the first period with an upper-body injury. There was no post-game update as to the severity of his injury. He was activated off long-term injury reserve on Jan. 11 after missing over two months with a lower-body injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets also picked up 3-2 overtime victory by downing the Edmonton Oilers thanks to Kent Johnson’s winning goal. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves as the Blue Jackets improved to 15-30-3 on the season. Zach Hyman tallied his 25th goal of the season for the 27-18-4 Oilers, who hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.

Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and Jared McCann collected three points to crush the Vancouver Canucks 6-1 and move into first place in the Pacific Division with 61 points. It was the first loss for Rick Tocchet since taking over as Vancouver’s head coach on Sunday. The Canucks slipped to 19-26-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken rookie Matty Beniers left the game with an upper-body injury. No update was provided as to his condition.

The Ottawa Senators got goals by Shane Pinto and Claude Giroux to hold off the New York Islanders 2-1, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Brock Nelson replied for the Islanders (23-22-5) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 51 points. The Senators improved to 21-23-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello shouldered the blame for his club’s struggles this season. He also expressed confidence in his coaching staff. Meanwhile, Senators goaltender Cam Talbot left the game midway through the second period with a leg injury. The club is expected to have an update on his condition on Thursday.

HEADLINES

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche acquired defenseman Ryan Merkley and forward Matt Nieto from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Jacob MacDonald and forward Martin Kaut.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nieto previously played for Colorado from 2016-17 to 2019-20 and is being brought in to improve the Avalanche’s penalty kill. Merkley and Kaut are two young players in need of a fresh start after struggling to stick with their former clubs. Evan Rawal of Colorado Hockey Now believes MacDonald’s inclusion in this swap suggests sidelined defensemen Bowen Byram and Josh Manson could be returning to the Avs’ lineup soon.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry will be sidelined with an undisclosed injury until after the upcoming All-Star break. The club recalled goalie Dustin Tokarski.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (upper-body injury) is also sidelined until the All-Star break.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes signed defenseman Juuso Valimaki to a one-year contract extension worth $1 million. He was also fined $4,189.19 by the NHL department of player safety for slashing Anaheim Ducks forward Max Jones.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2023

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid maintains his points streak, the Flyers’ Travis Konecny enjoys a hat-trick performance, the coaches for the 2023 All-Star Game are announced, plus the latest on Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Klim Kostin tallied twice as the Oilers improved to 22-18-3 and hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 47 points. Sam Carrick and Simon Benoit replied for the Ducks as they dropped to 12-26-4.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With a league-leading 35 goals and 79 points in 43 games, McDavid is on pace to become the NHL’s highest-scoring player since Mario Lemieux netted 161 points in 1995-96.

Ducks forward Max Jones returned to action for the first time since Dec. 12. Sidelined forward Isac Lundestrom (fractured finger) could join the club on its next road trip.

A hat-trick performance by Travis Konecny powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Scott Laughton had a goal and two assists for the Flyers (17-18-7). T.J. Oshie, Marcus Johansson and Garnet Hathaway tallied for the 23-15-6 Capitals, who hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Konecny is among the few bright spots for the struggling Flyers this season. He has a team-leading 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games and is currently riding a 10-game points streak.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner snapped a 1-1 tie late in the third period to nip the Nashville Predators 2-1. Matt Murray made 32 saves while John Tavares scored his 20th goal of the season for the Leafs (26-9-7) as they hold a two-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for second place in the Eastern Conference with 59 points. Filip Forsberg replied for the Predators (19-15-6) as they sit three points behind the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs center Auston Matthews missed this game with an undisclosed ailment.

The Los Angeles Kings held off the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on third-period goals by Gabriel Vilardi and Drew Doughty scored 53 seconds apart. Quinton Byfield had a goal and an assist for the 25-14-6 Kings as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division. Timo Meier had a goal and an assist for the Sharks as they fell to 13-22-8 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings and Vegas Golden Knights have the same number of points but the latter holds first place in the Pacific with two more victories and three games in hand.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The head coaches for the 2023 NHL All-Star Game were announced yesterday. The Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour will represent the Metropolitan Division, the Boston Bruins’ Jim Montgomery will be behind the Atlantic Division bench, the Dallas Stars’ Peter DeBoer will coach the Central Division while the Vegas Golden Knights’ Bruce Cassidy will coach the Pacific Division.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price discussed his exposure in the 2021 NHL expansion draft during an episode of the podcast La Poche Bleu with former teammates Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre.

Price said he had no problem with then-Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin asking him to waive his no-movement clause to be exposed in the expansion draft. “I had a feeling they (Seattle Kraken) wouldn’t pick me because of my contract and the stage of my career,” he said. “I felt like we could do a solid here if we exposed me because I really doubt that it was going to happen. So I felt like it was a tactical move to be able to protect another player.”

The long-time Canadiens goaltender also revealed that he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program to address his alcohol abuse that was tied to dealing with his social anxiety. He was grateful for the help he received in the assistance program.

Price praised former teammate P.K. Subban for the upbeat energy and attitude that he brought to the Canadiens during the defenseman’s tenure in Montreal. He also applauded Shea Weber for his leadership and for holding his teammates accountable. The Canadiens traded Subban in 2016 to the Predators for Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting look behind the scenes regarding how Bergevin approached Price about waiving his NMC in the Kraken draft. Good on him as well for having the courage to seek assistance in dealing with his alcohol abuse. Meanwhile, Price’s playing career remains in limbo due to complications from a knee injury.

Speaking of the Canadiens, winger Brendan Gallagher will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a lower-body injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider will miss Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury.

SPORTSNET: The Carolina Hurricanes activated goaltender Frederik Andersen off injured reserve. He’s been out since Nov. 6 with a lower-body injury.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins placed goaltender Tristan Jarry and forward Ryan Poehling on injured reserve and returned defenseman Mark Friedman to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov could return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes after suffering an upper-body injury on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Meanwhile, the Jackets placed winger Carson Meyer on IR with an oblique strain.

TSN: The Rangers claimed forward Jake Leschyshyn off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights. Meanwhile, defenseman Casey Fitzgerald was plucked off the waiver wire by the Florida Panthers from the Buffalo Sabres.

NHL.COM: The postponed Dec. 27 game between the Blue Jackets and Sabres has been rescheduled for Friday, April 14, 2023, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2023

The Bruins defeat the Penguins in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic, the three stars of the week are announced, plus updates on sidelined stars such as Ryan O’Reilly and John Carlson in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 at the 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Jake DeBrusk tallied the game-tying and winning goals in the third period for the league-leading Bruins (29-4-4, 62 points) as they extended their home points streak to 22 games. Kasperi Kapanen scored for the Penguins (19-12-6) as they’ve lost five straight games.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. No update was provided on his condition following the game.

The Pens also played without defenseman Kris Letang, who returned home to Montreal following the death of his father. He remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. My condolences to Letang and his family for their loss.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Nicolas Roy scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. With the win, the Golden Knights (26-12-2) regained first place in the Western Conference with 54 points and sit two up on the Dallas Stars. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the 19-14-3 Avalanche, who’ve dropped four games in a row.

The Philadelphia Flyers (14-17-7) picked up their third straight win with a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist while goaltender Samuel Ersson made 28 saves. Ryan Strome replied for the Ducks, who dropped to 10-24-4.

HEADLINES

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and Carolina Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 1, 2023.

The Seattle Kraken will host the Vegas Golden Knights at the 2024 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2024, at T-Mobile Field.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m taking a victory lap having predicted this during a Bleacher Report roundtable last week. OK, I picked the wrong stadium where they’d play but I’m not sweating the minor details here.

TSN: Bad news for the St. Louis Blues as captain Ryan O’Reilly (broken foot) will be sidelined for six weeks while winger Vladimir Tarasenko (hand injury) will be out for four weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are struggling to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. Losing their two core forwards for a month could sink their postseason hopes.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir recently reported Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson could be sidelined for months with a head injury suffered against the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 23. His estimated return could be late in the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals will miss Carlson’s presence on the blueline. He had 21 points in 30 games this season before his injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings have extended Jakub Vrana’s conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate from three days to the full two weeks. He only played two games with the Wings this season before voluntarily entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in mid-October.

The New York Islanders activated goaltender Semyon Varlamov off injured reserve.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed defenseman Nick Perbix to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1.125 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: Top NHL prospect Connor Bedard broke the Canadian World Junior record for all-time goals (16) and points (33) to lead Canada to a 4-3 overtime victory over Slovakia in the quarter-final of the 2023 World Junior Championships.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard was considered the top prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft prior to the 2023 WJC. His performance in this tournament will cement his spot in that position.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2022

Alex Ovechkin reaches 50 goals for the ninth time, the Golden Knights keep their playoff hopes alive while ending those of the Jets, the date for the 2022 Draft Lottery is revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including his 50th goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Shea Theodore tallied the winner in overtime for the Golden Knights (89 points), who moved within two points of the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Ovechkin, meanwhile, reached an important scoring milestone, joining Hall-of-Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy as the only NHL players to score 50 goals in nine seasons. His Capitals are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 97 points but the Penguins still hold third place in the Metropolitan Division on the basis of regulation plus overtime wins.

The Golden Knights’ win over the Capitals officially eliminated the Winnipeg Jets from playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer raised eyebrows by replacing starting goaltender Robin Lehner with Logan Thompson following the first period with the score tied at one after he gave up just one goal on 13 shots. DeBoer claimed the move was made to shift the momentum during the game.

Connor McDavid scored and collected two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Dallas Stars 5-2. The Oilers hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with 96 points while the Stars failed to widen their lead over the Golden Knights. McDavid regained first place in the NHL scoring race with 113 points, two ahead of Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau.

Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves as his club held on for a 3-2 upset of his former club, the Colorado Avalanche. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers picked up an assist to extend his points streak to four games. With the loss, the Avalanche drop to second place in the overall standings behind the Florida Panthers. Avs center Nazem Kadri returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beniers only has four games of NHL experience but he’s not looking out of place with the Kraken. The second-overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft appears to be on his way toward a bright future in Seattle.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat’s 40th goal of the season was also the game-winner as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. The Coyotes have dropped eight in a row.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on May 10 at 6:30 PM ET, setting the order for the 16 teams that failed to qualify for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Central Scouting’s final rankings will be released on May 5 while the annual Scouting Combine is set for May 29 to June 4 in Buffalo.

TSN: Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the San Jose Sharks’ termination of his contract will require a second day. The date has yet to be determined.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry’s status remains “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. His right foot appeared to be in a boot cast during their recent annual team photograph.

The Penguins also announced Amanda Kessel will be joining their executive management program. Kessel, an Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey, is the sister of former Penguin and current Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark is expected to return to the lineup this weekend. He’s been sidelined since last Thursday with an upper-body injury. The Bruins are still waiting on sidelined winger David Pastrnak and defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

MLIVE.COM: Longtime Detroit Red Wings Zamboni driver Al Sobotka was reportedly fired because another employee caught him urinating into a drain used for ice runoff at Little Caesars Arena. He’s filed a lawsuit claiming he was discriminated against due to his age and disability.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

The Avalanche clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, the Flames, Blues and Bruins secure playoff berths, Kirill Kaprizov sets a new Wild scoring record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche secured the top seed in the Western Conference with 116 points by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4. Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher each scored twice while rookie forward Ben Meyers scored in his first NHL game. Jordan Staal scored twice for Carolina but left the game with an undisclosed injury following a hit by Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. Hurricanes goaltender Frederic Andersen left the game in the third period with an apparent injury to his left leg. The Hurricanes remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had two goals and two assists in a 9-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes. Elias Lindholm had a goal and three assists for the Flames, who sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 101 points. They clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day following the Edmonton Oilers’ win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Speaking of the Oilers, they blanked the Golden Knights 4-0 with Mike Smith kicking out 39 shots for his second shutout in as many games. Kris Russell, Cody Ceci, Warren Foegele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the goal scorers as the Oilers sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. The Golden Knights (87 points) sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

After blowing leads of 4-1 and 5-3, the St. Louis Blues bested the Minnesota Wild 6-5 on an overtime goal by Brayden Schenn to clinch a playoff berth. Schenn and teammate Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and two assists as the Blues hold second place in the Central Division with 100 points. Minnesota center Ryan Hartman scored twice and collected an assist while teammate Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 43rd goal to set a single-season franchise record. The Wild are one point back of the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Nick Leddy left the game after taking a stick near one of his eyes. He’ll be undergoing further evaluation. Meanwhile, Wild forward Tyson Jost suffered a lower-body injury and will miss today’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Boston Bruins secured a playoff berth by holding off the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 thanks to early first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Erik Haula and a 23-save effort by goaltender Jeremy Swayman. With 97 points, they hold the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. Danton Heinen replied for the Penguins, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points. Earlier in the day, they announced goalie Tristan Jarry is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have already clinched a playoff berth so Jarry’s absence won’t hurt them in that regard. However, this could be a problem if he’s still sidelined when the playoffs open in early May.

New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Alexis Lafreniere put the game out of reach with two third-period goals. The Rangers are tied with the Hurricanes with 104 points but the former holds first in the Metro division with 42 regulation wins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. It was only his fourth match since missing 31 games with a wrist injury. On Friday, the club revealed winger Tyler Motte will be sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Mark Giordano gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Giordano finished the game with a goal and two assists while Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs (104 points) as they tied a franchise record with their 49th win of the season. They hold a four-point lead over the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators played without Colin White as the 25-year-old center was placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

The Lightning, meanwhile, got four-point performances from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman to down the Winnipeg Jets 7-4. Kyle Connor tallied his 43rd goal of the season for the Jets, who sit 10 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets aren’t eliminated yet from the postseason chase but they’re on the brink.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars (91 points) maintained their grip on that final Western wild-card position by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Tyler Seguin and Michael Raffl scored for the Stars while Jake Oettinger made 23 saves for the win.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi scored his 20th goal of the season as his club held off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Juuse Saros picked up the win by stopping 28 shots while Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist. The Predators are tied with the Stars but they hold the first wild-card spot with 35 regulation wins.

The Los Angeles Kings strengthened their hold on third place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dustin Brown and Phillip Danault scored first-period goals and Jonathan Quick made 21 stops as the Kings sit three points ahead of the Golden Knights with 90 points and are four back of the Oilers.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 47th goal in an 8-4 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov each had four-point performances as the Capitals hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 94 points. Canadiens center Nick Suzuki reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career while Ryan Poehling tallied twice.

The Seattle Kraken got a shootout goal from Ryan Donato to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored his first NHL goal in his second game while Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves for the win.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and an assist while teammate Kyle Okposo netted his 20th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2022

Remembering the late Mike Bossy, Carey Price returns to action with the Canadiens, an independent report clears NHLPA of wrongdoing in Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL COMMUNITY HONORS MIKE BOSSY

NHL.com: Hall-of-Fame scorer Mike Bossy passed away yesterday at age 65 of lung cancer. He spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the New York Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. Bossy also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1982 and was a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

New York Islanders hall-of-famer Mike Bossy (NHL.com).

Retiring in 1987, Bossy scored 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games, along with 85 goals and 160 points in 129 playoff games. He became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of a season. Bossy is tied with Wayne Gretzky as the only players to score 50 goals nine times but is the only one to do it in nine consecutive seasons.

Gretzky, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (who has eight 50-goal seasons) and former teammates Denis Potvin, Glenn “Chico” Resch and Bryan Trottier were among those in the NHL community paying tribute to Bossy as a player and a person.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bossy was the purest goal scorer I ever saw. Others may have tallied more career goals but only because a back injury cut short his career. His streak of nine consecutive 50-goal seasons are testament to his greatness.

Along with Potvin, Trottier, Billy Smith, Butch Goring and the late Clark Gillies, Bossy was instrumental in turning the Islanders into the last true Stanley Cup dynasty. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, former teammates, the Islanders organization and his broadcasting colleagues at TVA Sports.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carey Price returned to action for the first time since the 2021 Stanley Cup Final but he couldn’t prevent his Montreal Canadiens from being blanked 3-0 by the New York Islanders. Price stopped 17 of 19 shots but Isles goaltender Ilya Sorokin stole the show with a 44-save performance. Zach Parise and Noah Dobson beat Price with Brock Nelson getting an empty-net goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens honored Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence.

Price didn’t look too bad considering he’d been sidelined for nearly the entire season. He couldn’t be faulted for Parise’s 3-on-0 goal or Dobson’s screened wrister that beat him on the stick side. His teammates dominated much of the play through the first two periods. However, Sorokin was on top of his game in this contest, picking up his seventh shutout to tie a franchise single-season record.

The Florida Panthers picked up their ninth straight win by thumping the Winnipeg Jets 6-1. Jonathan Huberdeau extended his points streak to 13 games with two goals and an assist. Claude Giroux collected three assists and Gustav Forsling scored twice as the Panthers (112 points) moved within two points of the first-overall Colorado Avalanche. Jets captain Blake Wheeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau now has 108 points and sits two behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid in this season’s scoring race.

This loss could be the dagger in the heart of the Jets’ playoff hopes. They have 81 points with seven games remaining in their schedule, sitting eight points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with the Stars holding a game in hand.

HEADLINES

TSN: An independent report into the NHLPA’s handling of the Kyle Beach investigation did not find any “individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of policy or procedure”. The Toronto law firm Cozen O’Connor was hired to investigate PA executive director Donald Fehr’s response to concerns raised by two player agents about former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s allegations he was sexually assaulted by the club’s former video coach Brad Aldrich.

Fehr denied any recollection he’s received a call from one of those agents. However, he didn’t deny the call may have happened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was critical of the report’s findings. He pointed out Dr. Brian Shaw, a program administrator for the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, found Beach’s account to be a credible report of sexual assault. “After reading this passage, I don’t understand how anyone can claim there wasn’t any ‘systemic failure’ here,” writes Friedman.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche can clinch first place in the Western Conference with a win tonight over the Carolina Hurricanes.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames get another chance to secure a playoff berth when they face the Arizona Coyotes. They sit atop the Pacific Division with 99 points.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat has been sidelined for the remainder of the regular season after taking a shot off his left leg on Thursday against the Coyotes. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks when the schedule has ended.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting five points out of a wild-card berth, the Canucks already face an uphill climb to reach the playoffs. Losing Horvat makes that pursuit more difficult.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (upper-body injury) will be sidelined for today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brandon Carlo could be in the lineup after the defenseman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s game.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Penguins starting goaltender Tristan Jarry is being evaluated for a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with his teammates to Boston.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss this weekend’s games against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders due to an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach suffered a sprained right shoulder on Thursday. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year contract extension worth $900K.