NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2022
A record night for Timo Meier, the Blues retire Chris Pronger’s number, an update on Carey Price, the stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier set a personal and franchise record with a five-goal performance in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Tomas Hertl collected four assists and Erik Karlsson had three as the Sharks (44 points) opened a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is the fifth player in the past 25 years to score five goals in a game, joining Mika Zibanejad (2020), Patrik Laine (2018), Johan Franzen (2011) and Marian Gaborik (2007). The last player to tally six goals was Hall-of-Famer Darryl Sittler in 1976.
The Colorado Avalanche extended their home winning streak to 14 games by downing the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on a shootout goal by Mikko Rantanen. Pavel Francouz made 25 saves for the Avalanche after Darcy Kuemper left the game midway through the second period with a head injury following a collision with Wild winger Jordan Greenway. Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist in regulation. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche moved into first overall in the Western Conference with 53 points. With 47 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot.
Jason Zucker scored twice and Jake Guentzel tallied as the game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-3, handing the latter their fifth loss in their last six games. Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen each collected two assists as the Penguins have won 13 of their last 15 contests to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. The Golden Knights (48 points) sit in first place in the Pacific Division with a three-point lead over the Kings.
The St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on the night they retired former captain Chris Pronger’s No. 44. Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev each scored two goals and collected two assists while Ryan O’Reilly had a three-point performance. Both clubs have 51 points but the Blues moved ahead of the Predators into second place in the Western Conference standings with a game in hand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pronger spent nine of his 18 NHL seasons with the Blues, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1999-2000. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named as one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history in 2017.
New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, handing the latter their eighth straight defeat. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Isles, who’ve won five of their last seven contests.
Dylan Larkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Detroit Red Wings over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.
The Seattle Kraken snapped a nine-game losing skid by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on shootout goals by Ryan Donato and Joonas Donskoi. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves.
A three-point performance by Nick Schmaltz gave the Arizona Coyotes a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, giving the latter their sixth straight loss. The sad-sack Canadiens are dead last in the overall standings with seven wins and 19 points in 37 games.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they announced goaltender Carey Price will have to restart rehabilitation on his surgically repaired knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in the offseason but the week-long break due to COVID-19 earlier this month that closed the club’s practice facility put him back at square one in his rehab. There is no timetable for his return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Price returns to action before the end of this season. His rehab was also delayed by a month earlier in this campaign after spending four weeks in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
This should also put the kibosh on that silly speculation suggesting teams in need of a proven starting goalie (hi, there, Edmonton Oilers!) would try to acquire Price before the trade deadline. His hefty contract and full no-movement clause made moving him almost impossible. The uncertain deadline for his return should kill off that slim chance.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 16, 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, that will mollify critics who believe Marchand got screwed by being passed over for the 2022 All-Star Game (end sarcasm mode).
TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Connor Brown will be sidelined at least three weeks with a broken jaw.
SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas, Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss are among the latest players to enter the NHL’s COVID protocol.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Seattle Kraken claimed Karson Kuhlman off waivers from the Bruins.