NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2024

The league returns to action from its All-Star break on Monday plus the latest on Mark Scheifele, Zach Parise, Ryan Pulock, Mattias Samuelsson, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon can regain first place in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as they visit the New York Rangers on Monday evening. MacKinnon (84 points) sits one point behind league-leader Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zach Parise will make his debut with Colorado in this game. The 39-year-old winger signed a one-year, prorated contract with the Avalanche on Jan. 26. He believes joining the Avs gives him a great opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

Meanwhile, Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren is expected to return to action after missing the Blueshirts’ last game before the All-Star break with an upper-body injury.

In Toronto, Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews can build on his lead for the Maurice Richard Trophy when his club faces off against the New York Islanders. With 40 goals, Matthews holds a three-goal lead over Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders also got some good news as defenseman Ryan Pulock was activated off long-term injury reserve. He’d been sidelined since Dec. 7 with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, the Leafs placed forward Calle Jarnkrok on injured reserve while forward David Kampf remains out day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of returning from injury, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele will suit up against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. He missed their last six games with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets went 2-3-1 during their leading scorer’s absence.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson’s season is over as he faces surgery for an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, his teammate Jack Quinn will be sidelined for six to eight weeks recovering from surgery for a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two big blows for the Sabres in a season that started with the promise of their long-awaited breakthrough as a playoff contender. Instead, they’re headed for another disappointing finish.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins yesterday signed Jesse Puljujarvi to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $800K. The 25-year-old winger underwent double hip resurfacing last summer. He’d been playing with the Pens’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on a professional tryout offer (PTO) last month, collecting nine points in 13 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi worked hard to save his career and return to the NHL. It remains to be seen where things go from here but it’s admirable that he reached this point.

CAP FRIENDLY: indicates the Minnesota Wild placed forward Pat Maroon on injured reserve.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames claimed defenseman Brayden Pachal off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2023

The number 600 was an important milestone for Connor McDavid and Erik Karlsson, a hat trick performance for Artemi Panarin, another multi-point game for Sebastian Aho, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist in his 600th career game as his club downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on a shootout goal by Derek Ryan. Stuart Skinner stopped 26 shots in regulation and overtime for the 17-15-1 Oilers as they’ve won four straight games. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist as the Kings (20-8-5) picked up a point and sit third in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid has 274 multi-point games, which is the third-most through 600 games in NHL history. He sits behind Wayne Gretzky (407) and Mario Lemieux (353).

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson collected his 600th career assist as his club doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist while Sidney Crosby tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 17-13-4 Penguins, who sit two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 38 points. Robert Thomas and Kasperi Kapanen replied for the Blues (18-17-1), who are three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 37 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson reached the 600-point plateau in 954 games, ranking eighth all-time among NHL defensemen for the fewest games to reach that number. Bobby Orr tops the list with 608 games.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin tallied a hat trick in a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and three assists for the Rangers (25-9-1), who moved into sole possession of first place in the overall standings with 51 points. Nikita Kucherov netted his 25th goal of the season for the 17-15-5 Lightning (39 points) as they slipped one point out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin sits third in the NHL points races with 50. He’s nine points behind the league-leading Kucherov (59), who sits second among the league’s leading goal scorers.

The Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Sebastian Aho had his third-straight game with at least three points with one goal and two assists as the Hurricanes improved to 20-13-4, vaulting over the idle Philadelphia Flyers into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 44 points. Max Domi collected two assists for the 17-10-1 Leafs as they cling to third place in the Atlantic Division with 41 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Leaf Michael Bunting scored against his former team in this contest while his teammate Jesper Fast left the game with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Leafs winger William Nylander’s points streak ended at 13 games.

Winnipeg Jets winger Nino Niederreiter scored twice as his club held off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-2, extending their points streak to seven games. Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 34 shots for the 21-9-4 Jets (46 points) as they sit one point behind the first-place Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. Ryan Hartman and Matt Boldy scored for the 16-14-4 Wild (36 points) as they slipped to four points out of a Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild also lost goaltender Filip Gustavsson and winger Kirill Kaprizov to injuries during this contest. There was no postgame update regarding their statuses.

The Boston Bruins netted four goals in the second period to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. David Pastrnak and Kevin Shattenkirk each scored twice while Linus Ullmark turned aside 31 shots for the 21-7-6 Bruins, who side in first place in the Atlantic Division with 48 points. Nico Hischier and Luke Hughes scored for the Devils (19-14-2) as they slipped behind the Washington Capitals for the final Eastern wild-card spot with 40 points.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Nashville Predators. Ryan O’Reilly netted the winning goal while Yaroslav Askarov stopped 26 shots for his first NHL win for the 20-16-1 Predators, who vaulted over the idle Arizona Coyotes into the first Western wild-card spot with 41 points. Beck Malenstyn and Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals (17-11-6) as they overcame a 2-0 deficit, picking up a point as they cling to the final Eastern wild-card berth with 40 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals appeared to have won this game in the dying seconds of the third period on what would’ve been Ovechkin’s second goal of the game. However, it was overturned due to goaltender interference.

The Florida Panthers picked up their fourth straight win by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Eetu Luostarinen scored twice while Sam Bennett and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (22-12-2) as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 46 points. Cole Caufield scored for the Canadiens as they slipped to 15-15-5 on the season.

An overtime goal by Jeff Skinner gave the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Owen Power collected two assists for the 15-18-4 Sabres. Danill Tarasov made 39 saves for the 12-18-8 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blue Jackets placed forward Sean Kuraly (chest) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 23. Meanwhile, Sabres prospect Matt Savoie underwent an MRI Saturday for a lower-body injury and could miss the remainder of the 2024 World Junior Championship.


THE ATHLETIC: Flyers head coach John Tortorella became the eighth coach in NHL history to reach 1,500 games during Friday’s matchup against the Seattle Kraken. He’s the first American-born coach to reach that plateau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Tortorella on this achievement as well as reaching 10th all-time in wins (723) earlier this week.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The Islanders yesterday placed defenseman Ryan Pulock (lower body) on long-term injury reserve retroactive to Dec. 7. With Adam Pelech also on LTIR, the Islanders have $9.95 million in LTIR cap space.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2022

The Avalanche’s home win streak ends at 18 games, the top rookie and the three stars for January are revealed, Willie O’Ree will receive the U.S. Congress’ highest honor, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche’s home winning streak ended at 18 games as the Arizona Coyotes nipped them 3-2. Alex Galchenyuk scored his first goal of the season and tallied the winning goal in the shootout. Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood picked up the win with a 38-save performance. The loss left the Avalanche (68 points) one point behind the first-overall Florida Panthers in the overall standings.

Speaking of the Panthers, they blew a 2-1 lead to drop a 5-2 decision to the New York Rangers. Chris Kreider scored twice and set up another goal while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists. The Rangers (64 points) are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first in the Metropolitan Division with five games in hand.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (63 points) gained some ground on the Panthers by beating the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Victor Hedman. With the win, the Lightning are three points back of the Panthers. Logan Couture had a goal and an assist for the Sharks (48 points), who sit two points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his goal streak to seven games by tallying twice and adding two assists in a 7-1 thrashing of the New Jersey Devils. Auston Matthews netted his 29th goal of the season as the Leafs remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and Juuse Saros kicked out 30 shots for his 100th career NHL win to double up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Predators sit in second place in the Central Division with 60 points while the Canucks (56 points) are four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

David Pastrnak’s two power-play carried the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Kraken. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 55 points.

The Calgary Flames overcame a 3-1 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to drop the Dallas Stars 4-3. Dan Vladar replaced Flames starter Jacob Markstrom after he gave up three goals on 23 shots. Oliver Kylington tallied the winning goal late in the third. The Flames hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 50 points while the Stars sit two points back.

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov scored twice, including the winner in overtime in a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov made 43 saves after Vitek Vanecek left the game following a first-period collision with Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen. The Capitals hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 59 points while the Penguins (62 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights (57 points) opened a two-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Golden Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone each had a goal and an assist while Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored in his first game in Vegas against his former club.

New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 26 shots in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock returned to the lineup after missing 25 games with a lower-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their second straight win following a 13-game losing skid by downing the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. James van Riemsdyk and Oskar Lindblom tallied two unanswered third-period goals for the Flyers. Jets winger Kyle Connor potted his 25th goal of the season.


NHL.COM: The bill to present Willie O’Ree the Congressional Gold Medal was signed into law Monday by U.S. President Joe Biden. It is the U.S. Congress’ highest honor and commemorates O’Ree’s achievements as a hockey pioneer and his ongoing contributions to the game. O’Ree became the first black player in NHL history when he took to the ice for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 18, 1958.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to O’Ree, who will receive the award in a ceremony at a future date.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust are the NHL’s three stars for January 2022 while Panthers winger Anton Lundell was named rookie of the month.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro reports several NHL executives are frustrated over the Arizona Coyotes plan to spend the next three seasons playing at a 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University while the franchise attempts to construct a new arena in Tempe. The Coyotes must vacate the Gila River Arena at the end of this season after the city of Glendale opted out of it lease agreement with the club. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Shapiro the Coyotes’ plan is under serious consideration by the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those executives told Shapiro they’re concerned over what that move into such a small venue will have upon hockey-related revenue at a time when HRR has already been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re also upset by the prospect of the Coyotes receiving more money under the league’s revenue-sharing plan. Whether those concerns carry any weight in the league’s decision remains to be seen.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports former NHL star Ralph Backstrom had a severe form of the degenerative brain disease CTE. Backstrom died in Feb. 2021 and had his brain donated for research. His wife revealed the posthumous diagnosis. What was notable was Backstrom was a skill player rather than one who engaged in belligerent physical play. CTE is often diagnosed in athletes with a history of repeated blows to the head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Westhead observes, Backstrom’s CTE may have come not from fights but from body checks that occur during a game.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Reid Boucher was sentenced to four years of probation with one year of suspended jail time if he successfully completes his probation in his 2011 sexual assault case. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 13 to third-degree sexual criminal sexual conduct against a minor.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2021

The Blackhawks win their fourth straight, the Canucks woes continue, plus the latest injury updates and supplemental discipline in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated under interim coach Derek King, doubling up the Seattle Kraken 4-2 for their fourth straight win. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had a goal and an assist while Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to hold off a late rally by the Kraken.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks (5-9-2) still have a ways to go if they hope to climb out of the early-season hole they dug for themselves. Another lengthy losing skid could undo their progress and damage their postseason hopes. Nevertheless, there’s no question they’re a different team under King. They’re also getting better goaltending from Fleury and backup Kevin Lankinen, which has been crucial to their recent improvement.

Caleb Jones made his season debut after being sidelined by a wrist injury, joining Seth Jones as the fifth set of brothers to play for the Blackhawks simultaneously in the franchise’s history. The others were Bobby and Dennis Hull, Doug and Max Bentley, Brent and Rich Sutter as well as Steve and Jeff Larmer.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Nazem Kadri, Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog rallied the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and two assists for the Avs, who tallied all but one of their four goals on the power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ league-worst penalty kill was once again their undoing. Team owner Francesco Aquilini will reportedly remain patient with this club following a meeting on Tuesday with general manager Jim Benning, but a few more losses like this one will test his patience.

Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov kicked out 34 shots to blank the Los Angeles Kings 2-0, snapping the latter’s eight-game points streak. Two late goals by Garnet Hathaway gave the Capitals the win.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is listed as week-to-week following a knee-on-knee collision with New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield on Tuesday. Head coach Andrew Brunette said Barkov won’t require surgery.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher was fined $2,500.00 by the NHL department of player safety for sucker-punching New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow on Tuesday. Head coach Dominique Ducharme said forward Mathieu Perreault will require a second surgery on his injured eye, pushing back his return date by a couple of weeks.

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny on Tuesday.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights forward Michael Amadio entered COVID protocol on Wednesday.

TSN: Speaking of the Golden Knights, they claimed forward Adam Brooks off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks hired Rob Cookson as an assistant coach and elevated Marc Crawford to associate coach.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews was saddened by the flooding that has devastated his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C. “People literally rescuing livestock from drowning is quite sad to see,” said Toews. “It’s a resilient community and I know the people will bounce back and figure it out. But it’s pretty unfortunate and sad to see some of these videos.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Hive News has a list of links and information if you want to help British Columbia residents affected by this week’s flooding.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2021

Alex Ovechkin moves up the all-time goals leader board, new contracts for the Islanders’ Ryan Pulock and Predators’ Mattias Ekholm, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin moved into sole possession of fifth place among the NHL’s all-time goalscoring leaders as his Washington Capitals thumped the New York Rangers 5-1. Ovechkin scored twice to surpass Hall-of-Famer Marcel Dionne with 732 goals. The Capitals captain collected four points on the night, linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists and rookie Hendrix Lapierre tallied his first NHL goal.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is nine goals behind Brett Hull (741), who sits fourth overall on the all-time leader list. He could pass The Golden Brett by the end of this month.

The Edmonton Oilers edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on a shootout goal by Kyle Turris. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists and Mike Smith made 36 saves. The Canucks forced the extra frame by overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period on goals by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Quinn Hughes.

Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves as the Colorado Avalanche doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri and Bowen Byram each had a goal and an assist for the Avs. It was a rough outing for Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury as the reigning Vezina Trophy winner gave up three goals in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seth Jones’ debut with the Blackhawks was not one he’ll remember with any fondness. The Avalanche dominated play when the 26-year-old Jones was on the ice in five-on-five situations.

The Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on William Nylander’s game-winner early in the third period. Jack Campbell picked up the win with a 31-save performance. Jonathan Drouin scored his first goal for the Canadiens since taking time away in the second half of last season to deal with anxiety and insomnia issues.

Anaheim Ducks rookie Mason McTavish tallied his first NHL goal as his club upset the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. The 18-year-old McTavish became the youngest goalscorer in Ducks history. Rickard Rakell, Adam Henrique and Kevin Shattenkirk also scored for the Ducks while John Gibson kicked out 33 shots for the win.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the New York Islanders have agreed to an eight-year contract extension with defenseman Ryan Pulock. It’s believed to be just under $50 million with a full no-trade clause in the first five years and a limited no-trade in the final three.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per JFreshHockey, the 27-year-old Pulock is “a high-end, top-pairing two-way defenseman who’s the primary puck-mover on one of the league’s best pairings.”

Pulock’s annual average value could come in at around $6.25 million, slightly higher than the $5.75 million defense partner Adam Pelech is earning on his new contract. General manager Lou Lamoriello wasted little time ensuring this underrated defense pairing is locked up to reasonable long-term contracts.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked defenseman Mattias Ekholm to a four-year, $25 million contract extension. The annual average value is $6.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm gets a big raise over the $3.75 million of his current contract while the Predators get a sensible term for the 31-year-old blueliner, who wasn’t shy about publicly expressing his desire to remain in Nashville.

Some observers believe the raise is too high for a defenseman at this stage of his career but Ekholm was significantly underpaid as one of their most reliable top-four blueliners. While his performance could decline they obviously feel his experience and leadership are worth retaining while the club undergoes its’ “competitive rebuild.”

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed Colton Sceviour to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings named Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal as their alternate captains this season.

NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken forward Marcus Johansson is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: San Jose Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov is also out with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers claimed Charlottetown native Zack MacEwen off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.

GWINNETT PREP SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets suspended defenseman Mikko Lehtonen for his failure to report to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland and placed him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2021

The Golden Knights tie their semifinal series with an OT win over the Canadiens plus ongoing reaction from Game 4 of the Islanders-Lightning series and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights tied their semifinal series with the Montreal Canadiens at two games apiece with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 4. Nicolas Roy tallied the game-winner in the extra frame.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (NHL Images).

Montreal opened the scoring with a second-period goal by Paul Byron but Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb tied it midway through the third period. Robin Lehner was a surprise starter for the Golden Knights, kicking out 27 shots for the victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eyebrows were raised when Vegas coach Peter DeBoer went with Lehner over starter Marc-Andre Fleury for this contest. Fleury’s turnover in Game 3 cost his club that game but he’s been otherwise superb in this postseason. It was a gusty move on DeBoer’s part that paid off. Lehner played very well, showing little sign of rust in just his second game of these playoffs.

After the Golden Knights dominated Game 3 and lost in overtime, it was the Canadiens turn to fall in the extra frame after outperforming their opponent. This was one of the Habs’ best games of the playoffs despite the loss. They’ve done an effective job bottling up the Golden Knights’ scoring forwards.

The poor quality of the NHL officiating has been an ongoing theme in this year’s playoffs. It reared its ugly head in this contest. One example was Montreal defenseman Joel Edmundson boarding Vegas forward William Carrier from behind right in front of referee Dan O’Rourke. Another was NcNabb manhandling Canadiens center Nick Suzuki, punching him in the face in full view of referee Chris Lee. There was no call in either incident.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was placed in self-isolation yesterday after testing positive for COVID-19. The test result was revealed hours before Game 4. McCrimmon is the second person in this series to test positive. On Friday, Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme tested positive and is self-isolating for 14 days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme was fully vaccinated but a Golden Knights spokesman declined to comment when asked if McCrimmon had reached that status. The story goes on to say that 85 percent of their traveling party had reached the vaccination threshold that qualified for relaxed travel protocols. McCrimmon and team president George McPhee was seen maskless while watching Game 3 from a suite at the Bell Centre, which could be considered a protocol violation.

The games in this series are the first involving NHL teams traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States since March 2020. So far, no players have tested positive. You can bet the league will be closely monitoring this situation, reminding both clubs about the importance of maintaining its COVID-19 protocols.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: For the first time in two postseasons, the Lightning is tied 2-2 in a series heading into Game 5. They led each of their last six series three games to one heading into previous Game 5 situations.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock’s game-saving block in Game 4 is earning comparisons to other famous saves in sports history.