10 NHL Rookies To Watch This Month
Recaps of Monday’s games, the stars of the week, plus updates on Patrik Laine, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Mitch Marner scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. John Tavares also scored for the Leafs. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 35 shots. The Jets were also playing without winger Patrik Laine, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Leafs learned winger Nick Robertson will be out at least four weeks with a knee injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the Leafs’ most complete game of this young season after inconsistent defensive play dogged them in their previous contests.
The Buffalo Sabres picked up their first win of the season by thumping the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar each scored twice while Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall each collected three assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-earned victory by the Sabres, who blew the game wide open with a three-goal second period. Their dominating performance seemed to catch the Flyers off-guard.
Jake Allen made 25 saves in his Montreal Canadiens debut while rookie Alexander Romanov scored his first NHL goal in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Habs held Oilers stars Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goalless for the second straight game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s steady performance is a reminder of why the Canadiens acquired him as Carey Price’s backup last summer. Expect to see Allen spelling off Price in more back-to-back games throughout this season.
Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each had two points to lead the Calgary Flames over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves to pick up his second straight win over his former club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks dominated the first period, outshooting the Flames 16-4 but the latter turned the tables and changed the course of the game by outshooting the Canucks 20-3.
The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up their first win of the season by hanging on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 35 saves, while third-period goals by Alexandre Texier and Pierre-Luc Dubois secured the win. Bobby Ryan scored both goals for the Wings, who played without Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne due to COVID-19 protocols.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois only played one shift in the final seven minutes of the second period but head coach John Tortorella denied benching the center. Dubois has requested a trade so his lack of playing time in the middle frame was bound to raise some eyebrows.
New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 27-save shutout to blank the Boston Bruins 1-0. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the only goal as the Isles managed just 17 shots against Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left the game with what appeared to be an injured right shoulder. No update was provided on his status following the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are the league’s lowest-scoring club thus far with just three goals. They’re definitely feeling the absence of sidelined sniper David Pastrnak. They’re also missing the blue-line production of departed defenseman Torey Krug while winger Jake DeBrusk is off to a disappointing start.
Justin Faulk scored two goals, Mike Hoffman collected his first of the season and Jordan Kyrou tallied the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Logan Couture scored twice and collected an assist while Brent Burns had a goal and two assists.
The Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist. Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson also had a goal and an assist.
Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson’s 34-save performance backstopped his club to their first win of the season in a 1-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild. Nicolas Deslauriers netted the game’s only goal.
The Vegas Golden Knights rallied past the Arizona Coyotes with four straight goals on route to a 4-2 victory. Reilly Smith scored twice in the third period, including a shorthanded goal. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes learned captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.
Minnesota Wild rookie winger Kirill Kaprizov, Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny and Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 17, 2021.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Winger Kasperi Kapanen has finally joined the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. A delay in processing his work visa and a mandatory seven-day quarantine period resulted in Kapanen missing training camp and the Penguins’ opening games of the season.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Blake Coleman was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Michael Stone to a one-year, two-way contract. He’d attended Flames training camp on a professional tryout offer.
TSN: The New Jersey Devils claimed goaltender Aaron Dell off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Recaps of Thursday’s action and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid had a hat trick and Leon Draisaitl had four assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored twice for the Oilers and added an assist while Mikko Koskinen made 38 saves for the win. The Oilers peppered Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko with 46 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins seemed determined to make amends for their unproductive efforts in the Oilers’ 5-3 loss to the Canucks the night before. They were the best players on the ice in this game.
Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as his club edged the Calgary Flames 4-3. Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm replied for the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine doesn’t appear to be troubled by the trade rumors dogging him since last fall. If this game is any indication, the 22-year-old sniper could have one of the best seasons of his career.
The New York Islanders spoiled the NHL debut of Alexis Lafreniere by blanking the New York Rangers 4-0. Anders Lee scored twice while Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves for the shutout. Rangers center Mika Zibanejad played over 19 minutes after recovering from COVID-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lafreniere, the first-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, saw 15:21 of ice time with one shot on goal and a two-minute hooking penalty that led to Lee’s second goal. Overall, the Rangers played poorly in this contest as the Isles took an early 3-0 lead and never looked back.
Peter Laviolette picked up his first win as head coach of the Washington Capitals as his club hung on to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 6-4. T.J. Oshie had a three-point night (one goal, two assists), Alex Ovechkin collected two assists while Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson each had a goal and an assist. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist in his debut with the Sabres while teammate Eric Staal left the game in the third period after he was hit in the head by the Capitals’ Nic Dowd. Staal is listed as day-to-day.
Brad Marchand opened the scoring and ended it with a shootout goal as the Boston Bruins nipped the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Devils center Jack Hughes collected two assists while teammate Mackenzie Blackwood made 35 saves.
Filip Forsberg snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period as the Nashville Predators went on to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Juuse Saros kicked out 29 shots for the Predators.
Mark Stone scored a goal and set up another in his first game as Vegas Golden Knights captain, leading them to a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Alex Pietrangelo had a team-leading 25:40 of ice time and collected an assist in his debut with the Golden Knights. Max Comtois scored twice for the Ducks.
A shootout goal by Logan Couture gave the San Jose Sharks a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Sharks had a 3-1 lead in the third but the Coyotes rallied to tie it on goals by Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel. Tomas Hertl scored twice for the Sharks and picked up an assist while teammate Evander Kane had a goal and two assists.
Kirill Kaprizov made an impressive NHL debut with two assists and a breakaway overtime goal to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar each had two points for the Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov was the star of the game as he seemed to have little difficulty adjusting to the NHL pace. He’s among the top rookies for watch in this season’s race for the Calder Memorial Trophy.
The Carolina Hurricanes opened their season by shutting out the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Dzingel and Andrei Svechnikov were the goal scorers while Petr Mrazek made 14 saves for the shutout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes’ margin of victory would’ve been larger if not for a 40-save performance by Wings goalie Thomas Greiss, who got little help from his teammates in this contest.
IN OTHER NOTABLE NEWS…
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed Jonathan Toews (illness) and Kirby Dach (wrist surgery) on long-term injury reserve and placed defenseman Brent Seabrook (back) on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews going on LTIR indicates his mysterious illness will keep him out of the lineup much longer than anticipated.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Sammy Blais received a two-way suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews on Wednesday. Toews left the game but returned and afterward said he suffered no lingering effects from the hit.
TSN: The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Anton Forsberg on waivers yesterday just two days after claiming him from the Edmonton Oilers.
CBS SPORTS: The Sharks placed defenseman Radim Simek (undisclosed) on injured reserve.