Penguins snap Islanders 10-game win streak, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock picks up his 700th NHL victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: The New York Islanders 10-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. The Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit and picked up the win on Bryan Rust’s second goal of the night. Teammate Jared McCann enjoyed a three-point night. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed the game with a lower-body injury.
The Toronto Maple Leafs gave head coach Mike Babcock his 700th career victory by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime. John Tavares scored the game-winning goal. Auston Matthews also tallied for the Leafs. Max Pacioretty scored for the Golden Knights. Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed Martin Marincin and Nic Petan on waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock sits eighth on the all-time wins list for NHL coaches. He’s three wins behind Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice.
Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson scored the tying and winning goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist while John Carlson had a three-point night. Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. The Capitals (27 points) hold a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon collected four points in a 9-4 win over the Nashville Predators but left the game with an upper-body injury (Photo via NHL Images).
The Colorado Avalanche tallied six goals within eight minutes in the second period to crush the Nashville Predators 9-4, snapping a five-game winless skid. Jonas Donskoi netted a hat trick while Nathan MacKinnon collected four points. MacKinnon left the game in the second period as a precautionary measure after suffering an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed starting goalie Philipp Grubauer would miss the next couple of games with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With first-line wingers Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog already sidelined, it’s understandable why the Avs are being cautious with MacKinnon. It could sink their season if they lose him to a lengthy period.
The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 2-0 lead but downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on an overtime tally by Sean Couturier. Goaltender Carey Price made 40 saves to carry the Habs into the extra frame. Earlier in the day, the Flyers learned defenseman Samuel Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee for the second time in 19 months during a conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick (11th overall in 2013), Morin has struggled to establish himself as an NHL blueliner. A second consecutive injury to the same knee could jeopardize his playing career.
The San Jose Sharks took a 6-2 lead and held on to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-5. Sharks captain Logan Couture had a four-point performance while teammate Tomas Hertl picked up three points. Eric Staal had a three-point game for the Wild.
Patrick Kane scored and set up two others to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Corey Crawford turned aside 36 shots for the win and Dylan Strome collected three assists.
The Calgary Flames netted four unanswered goals to down the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin scored a goal and set up two others. Devils rookie Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist.
Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 45 shots as the New York Rangers doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich each collected a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts. The Hurricanes have lost three straight games.
Gustav Nyquist had a three-point performance as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 stops for the win.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
THE HOCKEY WRITERS: KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko doesn’t see his league being in direct competition with the NHL. He believes there’s enough room for both leagues to thrive.
Chernyshenko also cited the difficult logistics of potential games between NHL and KHL clubs. He points out the KHL season is over 1 1/2 months before the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. KHL players also begin their preseasons earlier than NHL players.
While the NHL has reached an agreement to start broadcasting games in Russia, the KHL broadcasts games to 34 different countries and has teams in six countries. The KHL is also in the process of perfecting puck- and player-tracking technology, giving them a potential edge in sports betting.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL has had its ups and downs in its short history. Nevertheless, it has not only survived but is continuing to build its product.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets center Bryan Little is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a perforated eardrum and vertigo from being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers during Tuesday’s game against the Devils. Little required 25-30 stitches and spent the night in a neurological ward for examination.
SPORTSNET: The hits keep on coming for the Jets as Gabriel Bourque will be out at least four weeks with a lower-body injury.
NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz (undisclosed) will be sidelined for the next two weeks. Blueline John Klingberg (lower body) will miss the next two-to-four weeks.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Alex Steen will miss at least a month with a high-ankle sprain.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (lower body) will be sidelined for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed winger Tomas Jurco on waivers and assigned Colby Cave to their AHL affiliate.