What Next For The New Jersey Devils?
Recaps of Monday’s action, three stars of the week, plus updates on Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Dougie Hamilton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 26 saves for his first career NHL shutout to blank the Vegas Golden Knights 2-0, snapping the latter’s six-game win streak. Kevin Fiala and Jonas Brodin were the goal scorers. With 29 points, the Wild moved into third place in the Honda West Division.
The San Jose Sharks ended a three-game losing skid on Evander Kane’s overtime goal to edge the St. Louis Blues 3-2. Vladimir Taransenko picked up an assist in his second game back from offseason shoulder surgery. The Blues (32 points) moved within one point of the first-place Golden Knights in the West Division.
Connor McDavid picked up two assists and Leon Draisaitl scored a goal as the Edmonton Oilers held off the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Rookie Tim Stutzle scored one of the Senators’ two goals. The Oilers vaulted over the idle Winnipeg Jets into second place in the Scotia North Division with 32 points.
A third-period goal by Johan Larsson lifted the Arizona Coyotes over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Antti Raanta made 16 saves for the win in relief of Darcy Kuemper, who left in the third period with an apparent injury. Clayton Keller and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each collected two assists for the Coyotes (27 points), who moved within one of the fourth-place Avalanche in the West Division.
Bo Horvat scored the winner in a shootout as the Vancouver Canucks edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Adam Gaudette tied the game for the Canucks within the final minute of the third period. Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the win while Montreal’s Carey Price turned aside 28 shots. The Canucks (26 points) moved to within three points of the fourth-place Habs in the North Division.
The Anaheim Ducks blew a 5-3 lead but went on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 on an overtime goal by Adam Henrique. Rickard Rakell scored twice and collected an assist for the Ducks while Kings forward Adrian Kempe tallied a hat trick. The Kings sit two points behind the Avs in the West Division.
Golden Knights captain Mark Stone, Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko and Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 7.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews admitted he still hasn’t fully recovered from a nagging hand injury. Matthews leads all NHL scorers this season with 18 goals but has gone goalless in his last five games.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Patrik Laine’s status is unclear after leaving practice early yesterday following a spill during a drill. Head coach John Tortorella provided no update on the winger’s condition.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton has only one goal this season after scoring 20 in 2019-20. He leads the clubs with 15 assists.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Duck general manager Bob Murray gave a vote of confidence to head coach Dallas Eakins. However, they’ve discussed bringing in an experienced assistant coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ah, the infamous “vote of confidence”. Given the Ducks’ struggles over the last three seasons, I wonder if Ducks ownership has any confidence left in Murray. If they don’t, he and Eakins could be replaced in the offseason.
SPORTSNET: released its list of the 25 most powerful women in hockey to commemorate International Women’s Day (March 8). Among the notables were NHL executive Kim Davis, Los Angeles Kings AHL scout Blake Bolden, Team USA captain Kendall Coyne Schofield, Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Toronto Maple Leafs assistant director of player development Hayley Wickenheiser.
SPORTSNET: The NHL has proposed more changes to its draft lottery format. Among them are teams being limited to no more than two lottery wins within a five-year period, teams being allowed to jump no more than 10 spots in the draft order with a lottery win, and a reduction in the number of picks decided by the lottery from three to two.
Also, a final decision on whether to postpone the 2021 NHL Draft is expected in the next several days. It is tentatively slated for July 23-24.