San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton lost a piece of his beard in a fight with Toronto’s Nazem Kadri (Photo via NHL Images).
Game recaps, Canadiens trade Al Montoya plus the latest on Joe Thornton, Frederik Andersen and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on a shootout goal by Tyler Bozak, marking their first home-ice win over the Sharks since 2002. San Jose center Joe Thornton lost a piece of his illustrious beard in a scrap with Toronto’s Nazem Kadri early in the first period.
Earlier in the day, the league fined Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen $2,000.00 for diving during Toronto’s 6-3 loss on Dec. 31 to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Ivan Provorov scored twice and set up another as the Philadelphia Flyers held on for a 6-4 win over the New York Islanders, extending the Isles losing skid to four games.
Earlier in the day, the Islanders signed depth defenseman Scott Mayfield to a five-year, $7.25-million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.45 million.
The Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. Cam Ward turned in a 21-save shutout while Sebastian Aho extended his points streak to six games by tallying two goals. With the win, the Hurricanes vaulted ahead of the New York Islanders into the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
Carey Price made 44 saves, including a spectacular stop in overtime, while teammate Max Pacioretty snapped a 13-game goalless drought as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Paul Byron scored the only goal in the shootout frame. With the win, the Habs ended a five-game losing skid.
The Canadiens also traded goaltender Al Montoya to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers lack of an experienced veteran backup became painfully obvious when Talbot was sidelined for several games earlier this season. Montoya recently returned from a concussion injury and should fit the bill for Edmonton. He’s also signed through 2018-19 at an affordable annual salary-cap hit of 1.062 million.
The Vegas Golden Knights eight-game winning streak ended with a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Paul Stastny’s third-period goal held up as the winner, handing the Knights their first regulation defeat since Dec. 10. The Golden Knights also activated forward William Carrier from injured reserve for this contest.
Minnesota Wild winger Nino Niederreiter netted a hat trick in his first game since returning from an ankle injury as his club thumped the Buffalo Sabres 6-2. Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen received a game misconduct for interference when he rocked Wild center Mikko Koivu with a big hit.
Ben Bishop made 39 saves while Alexander Radulov had a goal and two helpers as the Dallas Stars downed the New Jersey Devils 4-3. The Stars were bolstered by the return of center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Marc Methot from injuries.
Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves, including 16 in the third period, as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0. Teammate Mikko Rantenen scored a goal and collected an assist.
A four-goal second period carried the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Micheal Ferland each collected two points.
Cam Talbot made 33 saves and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins netted the game winner in a shootout as the Edmonton Oilers ended a four-game losing streak by edging the Anaheim Ducks 2-1.
Nick Cousins third-period goal set the stage for Christian Fischer’s overtime winner as the Arizona Coyotes nipped the Nashville Predators 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes claimed forward Freddie Hamilton off waivers from the Calgary Flames.
NBC SPORTS: A “bomb cyclone” forces the postponement of last night’s games between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Bomb cyclone” is also known by the less sexy word, “snowstorm.”
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Good news for the Jets blueline as defenseman Toby Enstrom could return to action by this Sunday’s game against the San Jose Sharks. Enstrom’s been sidelined since Nov. 18 with a lower-body injury.