NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

Tuukka Rask makes a triumphant return to the Bruins, the 2022 All-Star Game rosters and captains are revealed but several notable players are passed over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in his season debut as he backstopped the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. David Pastrnak tallied all of the Bruins’ goals, including the game-winner on the power play to snap a 2-2 tie in the second period. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots. With 44 points, the Bruins moved to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they fell 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings as the latter tallied four unanswered third-period goals, including three in a span of 1:23. Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice and set up another while Sean Durzi had a three-point performance and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves. The Kings (43 points) move into third place in the Pacific Division.

Nikita Kucherov collected two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 24 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Lightning holds a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with 55 points. The Canucks have lost three of their last four contests.

The New York Rangers Rangers got a 37-save shutout from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Chris Kreider scored twice, including his first NHL shorthanded goal. Braden Schneider scored in his first NHL game. The Rangers (52 points) sit atop the Metropolitan Division while the Sharks (41 points) still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames.

Speaking of the Flames, they were upset 4-1 by the Ottawa Senators. Nick Paul tallied twice while Matt Murray made 27 saves for his first win of the season. The Flames have dropped four straight games.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up the shutout with a 33-save performance to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Andrew Copp scored two goals and Kyle Connor scored shorthanded. The Jets (39 points) are two points behind the Sharks and one back of the Flames.

A four-goal third period carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 6-0 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes. Elvis Merzlikins turned in a 31-save shutout and Yegor Chinakhov scored two goals. The loss leaves the Hurricanes two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Seattle Kraken 2-1. The Blues extended their home points streak to 13 games while the Kraken have lost eight straight. With 49 points, the Blues are one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

The Predators, meanwhile, saw their five-game win streak halted in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Skinner tallied twice while Aaron Dell made 29 saves for the Sabres.

Mathew Barzal broke a 2-2 tie to lift the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Barzal’s teammates Zach Parise and Josh Bailey each collected two points as the Isles’ played their first game in 11 days.

Philipp Kurashev scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their five straight loss. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane also scored to snap a 13-game goalless drought. The Canadiens played without goalie Jake Allen, who is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. Teammate Chris Wideman also missed this game as he’s serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov, New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar were among the notable first-time selections for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game to be held in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Feb. 5.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid were named captains of their respective division squads as chosen by fan voting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link to see the full rosters as well as the candidates for the “Last Man In” for each division to be decided by fan voting.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the notables passed over for selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The exclusion of Markstrom, Rantanen and Ekblad could be a result of being overshadowed by their more well-known teammates. Marchand’s snub is likely tied to his well-earned reputation for questionable play.

Shesterkin still isn’t as well-known as he should be, though his profile should improve if the Rangers remain among the league’s top clubs. It won’t help him become a participant in this year’s All-Star Game but could help him garner recognition for next season’s event.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A partial tear in a thumb tendon has sidelined Oilers goaltender Mike Smith for at least a week, possibly two. The club has recalled Stuart Skinner from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Evander Kane could help resolve that issue…oh, wait, he’s not a goaltender…never mind…

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome, New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere and Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny are among the notable players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol on Jan. 13.

AHL’s Iowa Wild signed Eric Staal to a professional tryout contract.

TSN: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said individual active NHL players will not be permitted to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, any player under an NHL contract cannot participate in the Beijing Olympics.

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Quebec finance minister Eric Girard the league isn’t aware of any opportunity at this time that would lead to a franchise returning to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one observer noted on Twitter, that was Bettman’s polite way of saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Oh, and for those of you saying, “What about the Arizona Coyotes?”, should that club be relocated, it’ll likely be to another American city in the Western Conference such as Houston.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2022

The Hurricanes snuff out the Flames, the Blues defeat the Capitals, plus the latest COVID news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their winning streak to five games by dousing the Calgary Flames 6-3. Brady Skjei had a goal and two assists while teammate Andrei Svechnikov scored twice. With 49 points, the Hurricanes vaulted over the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals into first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flames have lost three straight and sit third in the Pacific Division.

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich (NHL Images).

Pavel Buchnevich scored two goals and set up another as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Goaltender Ville Husso kicked out 26 shots for his first win since Nov. 27. The Blues (45 points) move to within one point of the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division. Earlier in the day, the Capitals placed Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on injured reserve.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier and Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto were among the players placed on the COVID protocol list on Friday.

NHL.COM: Two Ottawa Senators games have been postponed. The first is tonight’s match against the Vancouver Canucks and the second is their Jan. 15 contest against the Winnipeg Jets.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets have backed off their suggested plan to play some of their home games in Saskatoon where arena capacity restrictions aren’t as strict as in Manitoba. A survey of the idea among their season-ticket holders found 40 percent against the idea with 30 percent neutral and 30 percent in approval.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov will miss tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals after suffering an upper-body injury on Thursday against the Boston Bruins. There is no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov is enjoying a strong sophomore campaign, sitting among the top-10 scorers with 40 points. A lengthy absence from the lineup could be devastating for the Wild.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced they will be raising a banner to long-time broadcaster Rick Jeanneret during “RJ Night” on Apr. 1 honoring his career. Jeanneret is retiring following this season and will call his final Sabres game on Apr. 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fitting tribute to a fine play-by-play man who’s been part of the Sabres’ history since 1971-72.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game as the Penguins get their 10th straight win, Nathan MacKinnon has a five-point performance, Joe Thornton and Jakub Voracek reach milestones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game (two goals, one assist) as his Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 to pick up their 10th straight win. Jake Guentzel also tallied twice while Kris Letang collected three assists. With 45 points, the Penguins have a comfortable hold on the first wild-card berth in the very tight Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flyers (32 points) have lost three straight and sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Bruins, they failed to gain ground on the Penguins by dropping a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Matt Boldy scored what proved to be the game-winner in his NHL debut while teammate Kirill Kaprizov left the game in the second period following what Wild coach Dean Evason called a “predatory hit” by Bruins forward Trent Frederic. Minnesota (42 points) holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but sits just five points out of first in the Conference. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 12 points in a 7-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, Landeskog tallied a hat trick and collected an assist while Rantanen has a goal and two helpers as the Avs (42 points) picked up their third straight win to move into third place in the Central Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up two assists in his first game since Oct. 16 to help his club defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning sits atop the overall standings with 51 points. The Flames (40 points) are third in the Pacific Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down the New York Rangers 5-1, spoiling the return of Rangers coach Gerard Gallant and winger Ryan Reaves to Vegas. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Golden Knights, who sit atop the Western Conference with 47 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 46 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each had two points on the night as the Predators sit one point behind the Golden Knights.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Stars’ first game in 16 days. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers while Joe Thornton played in his 1,700th NHL game. The Panthers (49 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference while the Stars (34 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes extended his career-high points streak to five games with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. MacKenzie Blackwood made 31 saves for the win. Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek played in his 1,000th NHL game. With the win, the Devils (33 points) are just three points out of a wild-card spot in the East.

The San Jose Sharks (37 points) moved within one point of a Western Conference wild-card spot by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist while goalie Adin Hill turned aside 37 shots.

A hat trick by Johan Larsson carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Boyd collected a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced forward Jay Beagle is out “long-term” with a lower-body injury and claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the latest players placed on the COVID protocol list.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have extended their break from all activities until Saturday due to COVID-19. Twenty-two of their players are currently on the COVID protocol list.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence in the latest step toward his eventual return with the club. The 34-year-old goaltender is working his way back from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be back with the Bruins by sometime next week.

TSN: Seattle Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz is out four to six weeks with a hand injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed winger Nick Ritchie on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas’ gamble on Ritchie failed to pay off. However, his other affordable offseason additions (Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and David Kampf) are working out rather well for the Leafs.

CTV SASKATOON: The Winnipeg Jets are looking into the possibility of playing some of their home games in Saskatoon due to strict COVID-19 capacity restrictions in Manitoba.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2022

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar scores a dazzling highlight-reel game-winner, Ducks winger Troy Terry continues his high-scoring ways, Dougie Hamilton is sidelined by a broken jaw, the latest COVID updates & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 with a brilliant highlight-reel overtime goal. Makar wasn’t the only Avalanche defenseman to hit the score sheet as Erik Johnson also tallied twice. Alex DeBrincat scored two goals for the Blackhawks, who are winless (0-2-3) in their last five games.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry netted his first career NHL hat trick to lead his club over the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Terry exceeded the 20-goal plateau for the first time and sits third in the goal-scoring race with 21. John Gibson picked up the win with 28 saves. The Flyers were without Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov as both were placed on the COVID protocol list.

A three-point effort by Ondrej Palat (two goals, one assist) powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. Brayden Point also had three points (one goal, two assists) as the Lightning (49 points) regained first place in the overall standings. The depleted Blue Jackets were without Zach Werenski (COVID protocol), Elvis Merzlikins (lower-body injury), Alexandre Texier and Jake Bean (non-COVID illness).

The Florida Panthers got a 47-save performance from Sergei Bobrovsky and two goals from Patric Hornqvist in a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Florida defenseman Brandon Montour collected three assists. The win vaults the Panthers (48 points) into second place in the overall standings. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored to extend his road points streak to 11 games.

Third-period goals by David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo lifted the Boston Bruins over the New Jersey Devils 5-3. The Bruins (36 points) have won three straight and remain one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed defenseman Dougie Hamilton on injured reserve as he will undergo surgery this week to repair a broken jaw. Team captain Nico Hischier also missed this game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Hamilton could be a crushing blow to the Devils’ hopes of climbing back into the playoff chase. He sits third among their scoring leaders with 20 points in 30 games. With 31 points, the Devils are five points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Speaking of the Red Wings, they ended a 100-game shorthanded goal drought by scoring twice on the penalty kill in a 37-second span in a 6-2 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Pius Suter and Tyler Bertuzzi scored those shorthanded tallies as both of them finished the night with two goals.

Filip Forsberg scored twice as the Nashville Predators held off the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. The win moves the Predators into first place in the Central Division with 44 points. William Karlsson had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their third straight victory by beating the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Mark Scheifele collected two assists and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored what proved to be the game-winning goal. Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka kept the game close with a 46-save effort.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid was among several players to be placed on the COVID protocol list. Others include Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Buffalo Sabres forward Alex Tuch and the Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs are breathing a sigh of relief as center Auston Matthews tested negative for COVID-19 following a PCR test. While he missed practice yesterday, the Leafs star could be in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Oilers.

NHL.COM: The league has postponed the Blue Jackets vs New York Islanders and Red Wings vs Flyers games originally scheduled for Jan. 18. Three previously postponed Islanders games (vs the Flyers and two against the Leafs) have been rescheduled for Jan. 18, Jan. 22, and Apr. 17.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Tuukka Rask’s agent said his client has not yet signed a contract with the Bruins. Rumors claimed the two sides had an agreement in place on a tentative one-year deal. However, it’s believed they could have a new deal soon. The free-agent goaltender has been rehabbing from offseason hip surgery with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can find more info on Rask later this morning in the Rumors section.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Minnesota Wild placed forward Victor Rask on waivers yesterday.

TSN: The Anaheim Ducks’ search committee for a new general manager includes Ducks Hall-of-Famers Scott Niedermayer and Paul Kariya.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning owner Jeff Vinik sold a minority stake of the franchise to Arctos Sports Partners. The sale was approved by the NHL on Dec. 31.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2022

It was a day of hat tricks for the Penguins and Rangers, Nathan MacKinnon extends his points streak, the three stars and rookie of the month for December are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their eighth straight win by holding off the San Jose Sharks 8-5. Penguins forwards Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust led the way with three goals each as the club played its first game in 13 days due to COVID postponements. Rust also collected two assists to finish the game with five points. Sharks forward Timo Meier picked up three assists while James Reimer got the hook after giving up six goals on 17 shots.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust (NHL Images).

Speaking of hat tricks, Mika Zibanejad tallied three times as the New York Rangers blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Igor Shesterkin made 38 saves for the shutout while Lightning goalie Andre Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on 21 shots in his first game since returning from COVID protocol.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon extended his points streak to 10 games with three assists in a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Linemate Mikko Rantanen also had three points with a goal and two assists as the Avs played their first game in 16 days. Ducks forward Max Comtois and defenseman Cam Fowler returned to the lineup from recent injuries.

A three-point performance by Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, two assists) powered the Calgary Flames to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jacob Markstrom turned aside 30 shots for the Flames.

The Boston Bruins scored five straight goals to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Charlie McAvoy and Tomas Nosek each had a goal and an assist as the Bruins (34 points) vaulted over the Wings into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Kyle Connor’s overtime goal lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4. Playing their first game in 13 days, the Jets blew a 4-2 lead as Mattias Janmark scored two unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame.

The New Jersey Devils blew a 3-1 lead but still managed to upset the Washington Capitals 4-3 on an overtime goal by Nico Hischier. It was Hischier’s second goal of the game as his Devils picked up their third straight victory. The Capitals, however, moved past the Lightning into first place in the Eastern Conference.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Rangers winger Artemi Panarin were among the latest players to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko were the NHL’s three stars for December 2021. Ducks forward Trevor Zegras was named the rookie of the month.

The NHL department of player safety suspended Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett for three games for an illegal hit to the head of Montreal Canadiens forward Cedric Paquette during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, their search for a new general manager is reportedly underway. Pierre LeBrun reports they’ve been reaching out to NHL clubs to seek permission to speak with potential candidates. Roberto Luongo, Mathieu Darche and Daniel Briere are believed among the Habs targets.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2021

Cross-border games are postponed until after the upcoming holiday break as the number of teams shut down by COVID outbreaks reaches seven while Olympic participation is in question. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CROSS-BORDER GAMES POSTPONED, OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION IN JEOPARDY

NHL.COM: The league announced yesterday all cross-border games between Canadian and American clubs have been postponed through the upcoming holiday break period (Dec. 24-26) over COVID-19 concerns.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: 16 teams (Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets) won’t be playing this week for COVID-related reasons.

Despite the increasing number of positive COVID tests among players, the league and the NHL Players Association agreed to continue the 2021-22 schedule. That decision was based on advice by medical experts on both sides who point to the low number of cases among the players with concerning symptoms or serious illness.

Given the rising number of postponed games and its potential effect upon the schedule, the league and the PA are discussing whether players will participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last night reported there’s a “real sense” the players won’t be taking part in the Olympics but there’s nothing official yet. A further announcement is expected in the coming days.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Robin Lehner made 29 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to their fifth straight win by beating the New York Islanders 4-3. Shea Theodore and Nicolas Roy scored in the shootout to give the Golden Knights the win. Theodore also scored twice in regulation. The Golden Knights have won five straight and taken over first place in the Pacific Division with 40 points. Vegas captain Mark Stone missed the game with an upper-body injury while the Islanders placed Matt Martin and Robin Salo on COVID protocol before this match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Lehner’s first game back on Long Island since he last played for the Islanders in 2018-19. He credits Isles fans for helping him battle bipolar disorder and addiction as he got his career back on track.

Paul Stastny scored twice and collected his 500th career assist and Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced captain Blake Wheeler (lower body) was placed on long-term injury reserve.

The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their win streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, who’ve now lost six straight.

Three unanswered goals lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Garret Sparks made 33 saves for his first NHL win since 2019 as the Kings have won four of their last six contests. Capitals forwards T.J. Oshie and Michael Sgarbossa and Kings center Phillip Danault missed this game as they were placed on the COVID protocol list. Earlier in the day, the Capitals placed winger Tom Wilson (upper body) on injured reserve backdated to Dec. 10.

IN OTHER HEADLINES…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher said he was hit hard by COVID-19 symptoms during the first two days after he tested positive on Dec. 2 and went into the mandatory 10-day quarantine. He’s since recovered and rejoined his teammates during practice on Sunday.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets canceled practice yesterday after Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic and Gabriel Carlsson were placed on the COVID protocol list.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point is expected to make his return to action from a shoulder injury on Dec. 28 against the Canadiens. He’s been sidelined for a month.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly for four games for interference against Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kero was stretchered from the ice and taken to a hospital for observation following the hit by Connolly. He’s reportedly been released and is resting at home.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes senior director of hockey development Matt Shott passed away Sunday following a 10-month bout with liver cancer. He was 34.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Shott’s family, friends and the Coyotes organization.