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 – May 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Predators while the Panthers, Rangers and Stars even their respective series at a game apiece. Check out the details and other news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 2-1 to give them a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring for the Avalanche while Yakov Trenin replied for Nashville. Predators goalie Connor Ingram made 49 saves.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Ingram this could’ve been another blowout loss for the Predators. They must get their offense going as the series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 or risk getting swept by the powerful Avalanche.

The Florida Panthers evened their first-round series with the Washington Capitals at a game apiece with a 5-1 victory. They got three unanswered second-period goals by Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell and Carter Verhaeghe while Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the win. Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek got the hook after giving up five goals on 19 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The suffocating defense that worked so well for the Capitals in Game 1 vanished in this contest. They also missed rugged winger Tom Wilson as he was sidelined by a lower-body injury. All five Panthers’ goals came at even strength. This series shifts to Washington for the next two games.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2, squaring their opening-round series at one game apiece. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the win. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as this series heads to Pittsburgh for the next two contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins need more from their secondary scorers. Almost all their goals in this series have come from the Crosby line. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury. Rangers winger Barclay Goodrow and defenseman Ryan Lindgren were also sidelined by injuries. Goodrow (lower body) is listed as week-to-week.

The Dallas Stars got a 29-save shutout from Jake Oettinger to blank the Calgary Flames 2-0, tying their first-round series 1-1. Joe Pavelski and Michael Raffl were the goal scorers. Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Stars thanks to young Oettinger’s goaltending. He’s tied with Markstrom for the best goals-against average (0.50) thus far among postseason netminders.

HEADLINES

TSN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in Game 2 of the first-round series on Wednesday. Marchand’s teammate Derek Forbort also received a $5,000.00 fine for high-sticking Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Hampus Lindholm has been ruled out of Game 3 on Friday. The club also confirmed Jeremy Swayman will get the start in that game.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, goaltender Antti Raanta skated with his teammates today but his status for Game 3 is uncertain. He left Game 2 after being shaken up in a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

THE SCORE: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes the Bruins are deliberately targeting his goaltenders. “It can’t get any more obvious,” he told reporters following Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL headquarters could issue a warning to both clubs about running goalies. Brind’Amour could also get a call about his comments.

NHL.COM: Center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs is the No. 1 prospect among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of this year’s top prospects. Left winger Jural Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland is the top European skater.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils confirmed Lindy Ruff will return next season as head coach. The announcement comes a day after they announced they were parting ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have added Sami Kapanen and Kyle Shero to their scouting department.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2022

The Panthers and Hurricanes continue their chase for the Presidents’ Trophy, Brad Marchand’s six-game suspension is upheld and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers kept pace with the Colorado Avalanche in the Presidents Trophy chase with a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Forward Mason Marchment tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair, Anton Lundell and Aaron Ekblad each collected two points. The Panthers (74 points) are one point behind the Avalanche in the overall standings. Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (63 points), who remain one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division.

Florida Panthers winger Mason Marchment (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov scored twice and collected an assist as his club held off the Nashville Predators 5-3. With the win, the Hurricanes (70 points) moved ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for third in the overall standings with a game in hand. The Predators, meanwhile, have lost four straight games and hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 60 points, three ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. No word yet as to the severity of his injury.

Speaking of the Kings, they overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to nip the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in overtime. Adrian Kempe scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Kings (57 points) hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty tallied twice while teammate Jack Eichel collected an assist for his first point of the season. Vegas sits in second place in the Pacific Division with 60 points, two behind the Calgary Flames.

The Stars, meanwhile, beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on a shootout goal by Jacob Peterson. Wild goaltender Jake Oettinger turned in a 34-save shutout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars defenseman John Klingberg and winger Joe Pavelski have become fixtures in the trade rumor mill of late. However, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro recently suggested pumping the breaks on that speculation. “Dallas is in playoff race with GM on hot seat who needs to make the playoffs with an owner desperate for playoff revenue. They aren’t a seller.”

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand’s six-game suspension has been upheld on appeal by league commissioner Gary Bettman. He received the suspension for roughing and high-sticking Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry on Feb. 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What apparently set Marchand off was Jarry chirping him by yelling, “How about that f**kin’ save!” Regardless, his long suspension history evidently factored into this latest one as well as Bettman’s decision.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi has been sidelined for four weeks with an upper-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens made two more front-office additions, hiring former NHL star Vincent Lecavalier as a special advisor to hockey operations and Nick Bobrov as co-director of amateur scouting. Bobrov spent six seasons as director of European scouting with the New York Rangers.

TSN: Forward Adam Brooks is on the move again, claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier this week, the Leafs had claimed Brooks from the Vegas Golden Knights, who had claimed him in November from the Montreal Canadiens, who had claimed him from the Leafs in October.

NHL.COM: The 2022 IIHF World Junior Under-20 Championships will be held this summer in Alberta after being postponed in December due to COVID-19. The rosters will remain the same regardless of whether players turn 20 before the new tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s great news for those youngsters, a number of whom are or will become NHL prospects.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2022

The Oilers win their first game under new coach Jay Woodcroft, Brad Marchand to appeal his six-game suspension, Flyers center Sean Couturier undergoes season-ending surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers won their first game under new head coach Jay Woodcroft by downing the New York Islanders 3-1. Connor McDavid collected two assists, Mike Smith made 37 saves and Zach Hyman scored what proved to be the winning goal. With 51 points, the Oilers are four behind the Anaheim Ducks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Robertson reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his young NHL career while teammate Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist. Jets center Mark Scheifele also had a goal and an assist. The Stars sit one point ahead of the Oilers and three behind the Ducks while the Jets (46 points) are nine points out of a wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have dug themselves a deep hole in the Western Conference standings. They could become sellers if they haven’t gained ground by the time the calendar flips to March.

The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Seattle Kraken. Jordan Eberle broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period while teammate Ryan Donato scored twice for the Kraken. Ducks forward Isac Lundestrom tallied two goals.

Steven Stamkos scored two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Teammate Corey Perry netted his 399th career goal. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. With 68 points, the Lightning sits one point behind the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.

HEADLINES

TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand over the six-game suspension he received by the NHL department of player safety. Marchand was handed the ban for roughing Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry and then high-sticking him on his mask during Wednesday’s game between the two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s suspension history likely contributed to his latest punishment. League commissioner Gary Bettman will review the appeal and determine if it will stand or be reduced.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers center Sean Couturier underwent season-ending back surgery on Friday. A decision whether Ryan Ellis (lower-body) will require surgery could be made in the coming weeks. Center Kevin Hayes could require a third abdominal surgery after having fluid drained from his adductor on Jan. 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries to those three key players are significant reasons why the Flyers are on the cusp of missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he’d like to bring former client Vincent Lecavalier into the organization in some capacity. “It’s not going to be assistant GM, despite all the rumors,” said Hughes. “But if we can find a way to do it then we’d absolutely like to do it.”

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko will remain sidelined for another both with an unspecified upper-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Leafs yesterday signed Joseph Woll to a three-year contract extension on Friday. He’s currently playing for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. The first year of the deal is a two-way contract and becomes a one-way deal in the final two years.

The Leafs also got some good news on forward Ondrej Kase, who was shaken up during Thursday’s game against the Calgary Flames but could return to the lineup on Saturday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2022

Sidney Crosby tallies his 499th career goal, Brad Marchand could face another suspension, Tuukka Rask’s comeback could be over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby tallied his 499th career NHL goal and Danton Heinen scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Boston Bruins 4-2. Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 43 saves for the win but was also on the receiving end of a punch and a stick to the head from Bruins winger Brad Marchand late in the game. Marchand received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline for attempting to injure Jarry. David Pastrnak scored both Bruins goals.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

The Penguins are tied with the New York Rangers with 64 points but the latter holds second place in the Metropolitan Division with 30 wins while the Pens have 28. With 54 points, the Bruins remain four points behind the Washington Capitals, who hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins also lost captain Patrice Bergeron in the third period when he fell awkwardly into the boards following a collision with Crosby. He was assisted off and the Penguins captain received a minor penalty for roughing though the contact was minor and didn’t appear intentional on Crosby’s part. **CORRECTION: Crosby received the roughing penalty a minute later for a different incident.**

Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered their fourth loss in their last six games by falling 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Boone Jenner snapped a 4-4 tie late in the third period while teammate Patrik Laine scored twice and collected an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist after emerging from COVID protocol yesterday.

Alex Pietrangelo scored to collect his 500th career NHL point while Laurent Brossoit kicked out 28 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. William Karlsson and Reilly Smith each had a goal and an assist. Oilers goalie Mike Smith made 24 saves in his first start since Jan. 5. The Golden Knights sit on top of the Pacific Division with 59 points while the Oilers (49 points) remain three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Winnipeg Jets got a 28-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck in a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Mark Scheifele and Nate Schmidt were the goalscorers as the Jets (49 points) sit seven points behind the Flames. The Wild remain in third place in the Central Division with 59 points. Wild forward Marcus Foligno received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for kneeing Jets forward Andrew Copp in the head during their third-period scrap.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had three assists and winger Conor Garland scored against their former club in a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 48 points, the Canucks are four back of the Flames.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk scored two goals as his club held on to down the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. The Hurricanes were down 4-0 but made it interesting with three goals in the third period. Anton Forsberg stopped 42 shots as the Senators have gone 5-2-2 in their last nine contests. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points.

The New Jersey Devils snapped a seven-game losing skid by humiliating the lowly Montreal Canadiens 7-1. Michael McLeod scored twice for the Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits are wondering how many more embarrassing lopsided losses the Canadiens front office is willing to endure before they start making changes. Apparently, they’re willing to endure many more over the remainder of this season.

Trades seem unlikely at the moment because they probably prefer waiting until the March 21 deadline when they hope the value of their trade candidates is at their highest. A coaching change would have a more immediate effect but they committed to head coach Dominique Ducharme for the rest of the season and seem reluctant to change their minds.

The Canadiens have been walloped by injuries and illnesses to key players throughout the season. Ducharme hasn’t been placed in the best position as a coach to deal with these unique situations he’s faced since becoming their head coach. Nevertheless, they’re now mired in a toxic atmosphere. Many veterans appear to have tuned out Ducharme knowing he’s a goner at season’s end while their younger players are growing discouraged with the constant losing. That’s not going to help improve the club’s culture going forward.

Bottom line is the Canadiens are a laughingstock and an easy two points for most clubs, including those fading in the playoff race like the Devils. That’s not going to change over the remainder of this season. It might help improve the Canadiens’ chances of winning the draft lottery, but it’s not a healthy mood for a franchise facing what could be years of rebuilding.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Sources tell Fluto Shinzawa that the Boston Bruins don’t expect Tuukka Rask to continue his comeback. He felt discomfort in his surgically repaired hip following his last game on Jan. 24 and has been on injured reserve. He could finalize his retirement in the next several days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Rask is calling it a career he’ll be retiring as one of the top goaltenders in Bruins history. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cup Finals (2013 and 2019), won the Vezina in 2014 and was a finalist in 2020, and is their franchise leader in games-played for goalies with 564 and win with 308.

CBS SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (finger) was placed on injured reserve yesterday.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning signed forward Patrick Maroon to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1 million.

The St. Louis Blues signed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to a two-year, $1.9 million contract extension.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman remains sidelined with headaches and migraines and continues to meet with doctors.

CBS SPORTS: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.

TSN: The Seattle Kraken claimed forward Austin Czarnik off waivers from the New York Islanders.

ESPN.COM: The Anaheim Ducks named Hall-of-Famer and former captain Scott Niedermayer as a special advisor to their hockey operations department.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday named Daniel Briere as special assistant to general manager Chuck Fletcher.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2022

The Panthers hand the fading Oilers another loss, the surging Avalanche extend their points streak to 11 games, Roman Josi reaches a franchise record and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 40-save shutout and Aleksander Barkov scored twice as the Florida Panthers thumped the Edmonton Oilers 6-0. Sam Reinhart collected three assists for the Panthers, who sit in first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Oilers, who were in first place in the Western Conference standings on Dec. 1, now sit six points out of a wild-card spot with 38 points.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are 0-5-2 in their last seven games and seem at a loss to figure out how to reverse their fortunes. They obviously need better goaltending but head coach Dave Tippett seems to have lost the room. Perhaps a coaching change might provide a spark of improvement while management tries to find an upgrade between the pipes. I’ll have more about that in the rumors sections.

The Colorado Avalanche extended its points streak to 11 games with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 40 shots while Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points. The Avs hold first overall in the Western Conference with 57 points while the Kings have dropped three straight and cling to second place in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi collected two assists to set a franchise record with 358 as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund each had two points for the Predators, who snapped a four-game losing skid to sit four points behind the Avalanche. With 40 points, the Jets sit four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Earlier in the day, the Jets placed winger Nikolaj Ehlers on injured reserve with an MCL sprain. He’s listed as week-to-week.

An overtime goal by Shea Theodore lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Theodore finished the night with a goal and two assists as his club sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 50 points. Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembault made 49 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montembault will see plenty of action in the coming weeks. The Canadiens announced goalie Jake Allen will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took a 5-1 lead and held off a third-period surge for a 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson scored twice and collected an assist while Senators center Josh Norris tallied twice. The Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points, winning eight of their last 10 games. Earlier in the day, they placed Jason Zucker and Louis Domingue on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker could be out week-to-week as he’s been sidelined by the same injury that recently kept him out of the lineup for seven games.

A late goal by Charlie McAvoy lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth with 48 points. Winger Brad Marchand left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a hit from Garnet Hathaway and forward Anton Blidh in the first period from a big hit by winger Tom Wilson. The Capitals sit five points ahead of the Bruins with 53 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (56 points) collected an assist to open a two-point lead over Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the lead in the NHL scoring race.

Tyler Seguin and Jason Robertson each scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Dallas Stars over the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. John Klingberg picked up four assists for the Stars (40 points) who sit four back of the San Jose Sharks for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and two assists for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres announced goalie Malcolm Subban underwent season-ending lower-body surgery while defenseman Colin Miller is out six weeks following surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

Speaking of the Sharks (44 points), they fell 3-2 to the Seattle Kraken. Carson Soucy scored twice and Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves for the Kraken. Sharks forward Timo Meier scored his 21st goal of the season and sits ninth among the league’s leading scorers with 46 points.

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 10 straight games for the second time this season as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Patrik Laine scored for the Jackets as Elvis Merzlikins made 33 saves for the win.