NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022
Recaps of Saturday’s action, updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl, the Canadiens acquire Andrew Hammond, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The red-hot Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Adam Ruzicka had a goal and an assist while Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists. Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves replacing Semyon Varlamov after the latter was placed in COVID protocol following pre-game warmups. With 58 points, the Flames sit one behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.
Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored twice and added three assists as he rallied his club from a 2-0 deficit to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Mark Scheifele scored and collected two assists for the Jets (48 points) as they sit seven points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Predators (60 points) slid one point behind the Minnesota Wild into third place in the Central Division. Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki was ejected in the first period for elbowing Jets forward Evgeny Svechnikov in the face, who was forced to leave the game with an injury.
A 51- save performance by Thatcher Demko carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks while the Leafs Auston Matthews tallied his 32nd of the season. Defenseman Travis Hamonic returned to action for the first time since Dec. 8 for the Canucks (50 points), who sit five points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Leafs, meanwhile, remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 63 points.
The Minnesota Wild held off the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 to extend their home points streak to 12 games. Kevin Fiala tallied a goal and an assist for the Wild while Andrei Svechnikov netted both Hurricanes goals. Wild blueliner Matt Dumba returned from an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. With 61 points, the Wild sit second in the Central Division while the Hurricanes (67 points) hold a one-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn collected two assists and Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, who were held to just 16 shots in this contest. The Blues hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points.
Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman picked up his first win since Jan. 2 with a 30-save shutout to blank the Ottawa Senators 2-0. The Bruins got first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar. Matt Murray made 35 saves for the Senators. With 57 points, the Bruins are four behind the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Senators forward Austin Watson faces a hearing today for interference on Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan when he appeared to catch Ahcan in the head with a high hit.
Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had three assists in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Wings goalie Thomas Greiss made 32 saves in his first game since Jan. 9 as his club sits seven points behind the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth.
Patrik Laine’s power-play goal in the dying seconds of regulation gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking loss for the Canadiens, whose performance has noticeably improved under new head coach Martin St. Louis. Cole Caufield has definitely benefited from playing for St. Louis, scoring two goals in as many games after managing just one in 30 previous contests this season.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will return to action today against the Dallas Stars after being sidelined since Jan.26 by a broken nose and concussion.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Tomas Hertl’s agent has been in contract extension talks with the Sharks, but the 28-year-old center has yet to decide if he’s staying. Hertl is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could cost at least $7 million annually to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted in the rumor mill, much could depend on how much cap space the Sharks have for next season following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination. A date for that hearing has yet to be determined.
The Sharks did get some good news as sidelined defenseman Erik Karlsson could return from surgery on his left forearm earlier than anticipated. He was expected to be re-evaluated by mid-March. However, defenseman Jaycob Megna underwent surgery to repair a displaced fracture and is likely out for four-to-six weeks.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens traded minor-league forward Brandon Baddock to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Andrew Hammond.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move allows the Canadiens to send struggling young goalie Cayden Primeau back to their AHL affiliate in Laval.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden will undergo knee surgery on Monday after suffering a fall shoveling out his driveway during the All-Star weekend. He’s expected to be sidelined for some time.