NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2024

The Panthers advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the latest on the Stars and Oilers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year, holding off the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to win the series four games to two.

Sam Bennett opened the scoring in the first period, Vladimir Tarasenko added the insurance goal in the third period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves for the win. Artemi Panarin scored for the Rangers to make it interesting late in the third period while Igor Shesterkin stopped 32 shots.

The Florida Panthers are the 2024 Eastern Conference champions (NHL.com).

The Panthers posed with the Prince of Wales Trophy when awarded to them at the end of the game but didn’t touch it like they did last year. “We touched it last year and it didn’t work for us,” said Sam Bennett, referring to their five-game defeat at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final. “So, we thought we’d try something different this year.”

Bennett and his teammates will get a six-day break as they await the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars. The Oilers hold a 3-2 series lead and can wrap things up with a win on Sunday night in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers might be hoping to change their luck in this year’s Stanley Cup Final but they didn’t need luck to defeat the Rangers. Their experience, disciplined defensive game, and physical style made the difference in Game 6 just as it had in each of their three previous victories in this series.

The Rangers played better in the last two games but couldn’t mount sustained offensive pressure against Florida. The Panthers snuffed out their power play and neutralized scoring forwards like Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad. They also prevented the Rangers from generating offense from the blueline, though the Blueshirts were hampered in that department with defenseman Adam Fox hobbled by a knee injury.

Shesterkin was outstanding for the Rangers, giving his teammates a chance to win throughout this series whenever they fell behind. However, his teammates couldn’t match the Panthers’ heavy game.

PLAYOFF NOTEBOOK

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers are on the cusp of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2006.

Their offense has dominated this postseason. Connor McDavid (29 points), Leon Draisaitl (27), and Evan Bouchard (25) hold the top three positions among this year’s playoff points leaders, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied for fourth with New York’s Vincent Trocheck. Meanwhile, Zach Hyman leads all goal scorers with 13, followed by Draisaitl with 10 goals.

Their defense has a league-leading 46 points in this postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers sit second in goals-per-game average (3.59) and power-play percentage (34.7) only because the Colorado Avalanche ran up big numbers during their five-game opening-round elimination of the Winnipeg Jets. It’s also worth noting that their penalty-killing percentage (93.5) is first overall.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars hope their strong road record will help them in Game 6 as they try to force a seventh and deciding game against the Oilers. They tied with Florida for the most road wins during the regular season (26) and have six road wins in this postseason. They also need scoring from a power play that has gone 0-for-11 in this series.

Stars coach Pete DeBoer said Chris Tanev was sore following Friday’s game against the Oilers but he’s confident the 34-year-old defenseman will be ready to go for Game 6. Meanwhile, Stars blueliner Jani Hakanpaa didn’t make the trip to Edmonton as he recovers from a lower-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Corey Masisak points out Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is poised for a big pay raise. He’s eligible next July to become an unrestricted free agent but the Avs can sign him to an extension this July 1. He will enter the final season of his six-year, $55.5 million contract with an annual average value of $9.25 million.

A comparable is Boston Bruins’ right wing David Pastrnak, who’s in the second season of an eight-year deal with an AAV of $11.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Masisak noted that paying Rantanen $11.75 million on his next contract would be a raise of only $2.5 million annually from his current salary.

The Avs’ offer to Rantanen won’t exceed Nathan MacKinnon’s team-leading $12.6 million. As one of the NHL’s top right wings, he will likely get between $11.5 million and $12 million on his next contract.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Daniel Alfredsson is leaning toward returning to the Senators’ coaching staff next season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steve Warne cited The Athletic’s Mike Russo reporting that the Senators didn’t renew assistant coach Jack Capuano’s contract, which expires on July 1. Russo indicated that Capuano could be a contender to join the Minnesota Wild’s coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps ensuring that Alfredsson will be back with the Senators next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2024

What could the offseason hold for the Avalanche and Bruins? What’s the latest on the Hurricanes? Who could become candidates for the Blue Jackets’ GM position? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE AVALANCHE AND BRUINS?

ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at what the offseason might hold for the Colorado Avalanche following their elimination from the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Supplementing their roster core is once again a priority. They must re-sign restricted free-agent center Casey Mittelstadt. The Avs must also re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agents like Jonathan Drouin, Jack Johnson, Sean Walker and Andrew Cogliano. They must also replace retiring winger Zach Parise.

Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

Core winger Mikko Rantanen has one year remaining on his contract. His continued presence is important if the Avalanche intend to remain among the Western Conference’s top contenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have $15.9 million in projected cap space next season with 12 active roster players under contract. They get an additional $7 million in wiggle room if sidelined captain Gabriel Landeskog remains on long-term injury reserve. He hasn’t given up attempting to resume his career after being sidelined by knee surgeries for the past two years.

Rantanen carries a cap hit of $9.25 million on his current contract. Given his consecutive 100-plus point seasons, he’ll likely seek over $12 million annually.

The Avalanche will also have to decide what to do with Valeri Nichushkin once he exits Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in November.

Kristen Shilton looked at what could be in store for the Boston Bruins this summer.

They face some significant personnel decisions. Several notable players, including Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen, are slated to become UFAs on July 1. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman is an RFA coming off a one-year contract and the Bruins must ensure they have sufficient cap space to pay him his worth as a starter.

Shilton expects the Bruins will be active in the free-agent market if they hope to keep their playoff window open, especially on the defensive side.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss observed the Bruins have around $21 million in projected cap space for next season to put toward offseason roster upgrades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were frequently linked to Elias Lindholm this season before and after his trade to the Vancouver Canucks. They could revisit that rumored interest or consider other options to add a center for one of their scoring lines.

Rumors also tied the Bruins to Noah Hanifin before his trade and contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights. Free-agent options could include Carolina’s Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei or Florida’s Brandon Montour, regardless of his recent interaction with Bruins captain Brad Marchand. Money talks and time heals all wounds.

LATEST HURRICANES SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: During Friday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman said he didn’t expect Brett Pesce to return with the Carolina Hurricanes. He indicated the Hurricanes’ offer to the Pesce camp last summer was a five-year deal worth $5 million annually.

Friedman believes Martin Necas could be traded this summer. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He thinks the Hurricanes will prioritize re-signing Jake Guentzel.

Winger Seth Jarvis has surpassed Necas on the Hurricanes’ depth chart, making him more of a priority contract-wise. Jarvis is coming off his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce was the subject of trade speculation last summer, which was an early indication of how poorly those contract negotiations were going. The Hurricanes retained him for this season. His absence due to injury contributed to their elimination from the second round by the New York Rangers. He missed 12 games in the regular season but the decline in his stats likely won’t hurt his free-agent value.

Necas could draw plenty of interest from teams seeking additional scoring depth. He’s been mentioned as a possible trade option for the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens. Necas is completing a two-year, $6 million contract and will likely attempt to more than double his money on his next deal.

HOLLAND, BERGEVIN AMONG RUMORED CANDIDATES FOR BLUE JACKETS’ JOB

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland’s report of rumors linking Oilers general manager Ken Holland to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Holland is in the final season of his contract with the Oilers. The Blue Jackets are in the market for a new general manager after firing Jarmo Kekalainen in February.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont reports speculation the Blue Jackets could consider former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to fill their vacant GM position. Bergevin is currently working in the Los Angeles Kings’ front office.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2024

The battle for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth continues as does the jockeying for first place in the overall standings. Get the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Detroit Red Wings got first-period goals from Lucas Raymond, Patrick Kane and Dylan Larkin to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. Tage Thompson replied for the Sabres. With a record of 38-31-8, the Wings vaulted over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals into the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 84 points. The Sabres slipped to 37-36-5 (79 points) and sit five points back of the Wings.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators. Jake Sanderson scored in overtime and Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist for the 34-39-4 Senators. Max Pacioretty and Aliaksei Protas scored for the Capitals (36-30-11) as they sit one point behind the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals also lost defenseman Rasmus Sandin to an upper-body injury following a hard hit by Senators forward Parker Kelly in the first period. After the game, Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery said Sandin will miss some time from the roster.

The New Jersey Devils’ wildcard hopes suffered a blow as they fell 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on a shootout goal by Ryan O’Reilly, who also had two assists in regulation. Jack Hughes and Chris Tierney scored for the 37-36-5 Devils, who are five points behind the Red Wings. The Predators (45-29-4) hold the first Western Conference wildcard spot with 94 points.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils defenseman John Marino missed this game with an undisclosed injury. The Devils also learned that forward Curtis Lazar could miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Senators.

Shifting to the top of the table, the league-leading New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Artemi Panarin extended his points streak to nine games with a goal and three assists for the 53-21-4 Rangers (110 points). Cayden Primeau stopped 41 shots and Mike Matheson collected two assists for the 29-36-12 Canadiens, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers tied their franchise record for the most wins in a season.

The Dallas Stars are three points behind the Rangers in the overall standings with a 7-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Roope Hintz reached the 30-goal plateau for the third straight season, Tyler Seguin scored twice and Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and two assists for the Stars (49-20-9) as they sit second overall with 107 points. Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists for the 48-24-6 Avalanche (102 points), who sit sixth overall but have won just twice in their last seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche were without winger Mikko Rantanen as he entered concussion protocol after being injured during Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. The early reports are positive as Rantanen worked out on Saturday and skated on his own on Sunday. He’s listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, MacKinnon (133 points) moved within three points of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the scoring race with 136 points. 

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (49-22-7) as they sit fourth overall with 105 points. Malcolm Subban stopped 32 shots for the 26-40-12 Blue Jackets.

A four-point performance by Robert Thomas powered the St. Louis Blues to a 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Jordan Kyrou scored the winner in the shootout and picked up three assists in regulation play as the Blues improved to 41-32-5 (87 points). Frank Vatrano and Leo Carlsson each scored two goals for the 25-48-5 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues kept their playoff hopes alive as they’re five points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard.

The Minnesota Wild defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 as rookie Jesper Wallstedt turned aside 24 shots for his first NHL shutout. Kirill Kaprizov scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season for the 37-31-9 Wild. The Blackhawks dropped to 23-49-5.

Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Keller extended his points streak to 11 games for the Coyotes (33-39-5). Henry Thrun had a goal and an assist for the 18-51-8 Sharks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Tomas Hertl is expected to make his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights in Monday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Golden Knights acquired the 30-year-old forward from the San Jose Sharks at the March 8 trade deadline. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 27 after undergoing knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl is no playoff rental for the Golden Knights. He’s under contract until 2029-30.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The NHL department of player safety fined Oilers winger Evander Kane $5,000.00 for slashing Calgary Flames defenseman Dryden Hunt on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane didn’t have a good game against the Flames. Teammate Corey Perry lit into him on the bench at one point over a botched play. That stoked speculation Kane may have worn out his welcome in Edmonton.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2024

The Oilers, Leafs and Lightning clinch playoff berths and the Masterton Trophy nominees are announced. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers got two goals from Connor McDavid and Evander Kane to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 and clinch a playoff berth. With a record of 46-24-5, the Oilers sit second in the Pacific Division with 97 points. Jonathan Drouin and Ross Colton replied for the Avalanche (48-23-6) as they sit sixth in the overall standings with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also lost winger Mikko Rantanen, who left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a heavy, clean hit by Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Following the game, Avs head coach Jared Bednar said Rantanen would be under evaluation for a while.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon gained some ground on Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the league this season with 133 points. MacKinnon collected an assist and sits second with 131 points while McDavid sits third with 128. Speaking of scoring, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl became the fifth player in franchise history with five 100-point seasons.

The Oilers overcame a poor start to this season to secure a postseason spot. They were 10 points out of contention and third-last in the overall standings by the US Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 23.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho snapped a 2-2 tie in a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, leaving the latter winless in their last five games (0-4-1). Jake Guentzel tallied twice and collected an assist as the Hurricanes improved to 48-22-7 to rise into fourth in the overall standings with 103 points. Alex Ovechkin scored both goals for the Capitals (36-30-10), who sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has 851 career goals, leaving him 43 behind all-time leader Wayne Gretzky (894). After scoring eight goals in his first 43 games this season, the Capitals captain has 21 goals in his last 30 games. He’s poised to reach the 30-goal mark for the 18th time, which will set an NHL record.

The Buffalo Sabres kept their playoff hopes alive by doubling up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. Jack Quinn potted two goals and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves for the 37-35-5 Sabres (79 points) as they sit four points behind the Flyers, who dropped to 36-30-11 and slipped into the final Eastern wildcard spot with 83 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The idle Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth with the Flyers and Capitals’ losses on Friday.

The Flyers overachieved for most of this season and have held a playoff berth since last fall. However, the wheels are coming off as they’ve won just twice in their last 10 games. The New York Islanders have knocked them out of third place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re now in danger of being overtaken by the Sabres, Capitals, Detroit Red Wings or Pittsburgh Penguins if any of those clubs can string a few wins together.

New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow tallied two goals in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Chris Kreider netted his 37th goal of the season and Jonathan Quick turned aside 31 shots for the league-leading Rangers (52-21-4) as they opened a three-point lead (108) over the second-overall Dallas Stars. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored his 30th goal as his club fell to 37-31-8 and are one point behind the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Wings, Flyers and Capitals losing their games, the idle Tampa Bay Lightning secured a playoff spot. Only two berths in the East remain available with six teams having a legitimate shot at clinching them.

Larkin is the first Red Wing to have three straight 30-goal seasons since Henrik Zetterberg from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

The Arizona Coyotes scored six unanswered third-period goals to upset the Vegas Golden Knights 7-4. Michael Carcone tallied the tying and winning goals for the 32-39-5 Coyotes. William Karlsson had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (42-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 92 points.

Seattle Kraken center Shane Wright scored twice and picked up an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists for the 32-31-13 Kraken. Leo Carlsson replied for the 25-48-4 Ducks.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced the 32 finalists for the 2023-24 Bill Masteron Memorial Trophy, awarded each year “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the complete list. Among the notables are Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, Dallas Stars center Matt Duchene, New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick, Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

My congratulations to all 32 players as they are worthy nominees.

I’m not a member of the PHWA but if I were, my choice would be Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington, who returned to action this season after a year and a half away from the game dealing with mental health issues.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will return to action on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. He’s been sidelined by a high-ankle sprain for 12 games. He will start on the second line with center John Tavares and winger Bobby McMann.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner usually skates alongside Auston Matthews on the first line. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe wants to keep the line of Matthews, Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi intact for at least this game.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm resumed practicing with his teammates on Friday after being sidelined with a wrist injury since March 23. It’s not known when he’ll return to the lineup but it’s a promising sign that he might be back before the end of the regular season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2023

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid and the Blackhawks’ Connor Bedard face off for the first time, the Leafs Auston Matthews and the Canucks’ Brock Boeser reach the 20-goal plateau, the Blues fire head coach Craig Berube, and more in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid led his club over the Chicago Blackhawks and Connor Bedard 4-1 as the two stars faced off for the first time. McDavid collected two assists to extend his points streak to 10 games as the Oilers won their eighth straight, improving their record to 13-12-1 (27 points) to sit one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Bedard scored for the Blackhawks (9-18-1) as they slipped to the bottom of the overall standings with 19 points.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid now sits seventh among the league’s leading scorers with 38 points. He’s nine points behind Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who tops the leaderboard with 47.

Bedard, meanwhile, tops all rookie scorers (and the Blackhawks) with 12 goals and 24 points. Speaking of the Hawks, defenseman Seth Jones missed this game due to an upper-body injury while rookie blueliner Kevin Korchinski was away dealing with a family matter.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice and collected two assists to thump the New York Rangers 7-3. Matthews became the first player to crack the 20-goal plateau this season and is tied for first among the league’s leading scorers with 21 goals. Mitch Marner tallied twice and set up another for the 15-6-5 Leafs. Blake Wheeler replied with two goals for the Rangers (19-7-1), who remain in second place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller missed this game for personal reasons. The Boston Bruins also have 39 points but lead the Blueshirts based on point percentage (.750).

A hat trick by Brock Boeser powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Boeser became the second player to reach 20 goals this season and is tied for the lead (21 goals) with the Leafs’ Auston Matthews. Quinn Hughes had three assists for the 19-9-1 Canucks. Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (13-12-5) as they slipped out of a wild-card berth with 31 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes also have 31 points but sit ahead of the Lightning based on games in hand. Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman missed this contest with an upper-body injury.

The St. Louis Blues fired head coach Craig Berube following their 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Kevin Hayes tallied two goals for the Blues as they sank to 13-14-1. Lucas Raymond and Michael Rasmussen each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings (15-9-4) as they hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 34 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berube was signed through 2024-25. He coached the Blues to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history but he’s had to deal with a steadily depleted roster as long-time stars such as Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko departed in recent years.

The Blues are just one point out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference but they’ve struggled with consistency this season. Like many clubs this season, they lack sufficient salary-cap space to improve their roster. General manager Doug Armstrong had little option but to shake things up behind the bench in the hope that it would provide a boost to his struggling club.

Speaking of the Red Wings, the NHL Players Association has officially filed an appeal to reduce the six-game suspension handed down to David Perron for cross-checking Ottawa Senators defenseman Artem Zub on Saturday.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone’s overtime goal lifted his club over the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-4, extending his club’s points streak to nine games. Stone finished the night with two goals and two assists while Jonathan Marchessault had three assists as the league-leading Golden Knights (20-5-5, 45 points) become the first team to reach the 20-win mark this season. Yegor Sharangovich scored twice for the 11-14-4 Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Flames announced that defenseman Chris Tanev is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored twice and added an assist as his club snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 31 shots for the 15-12-1 Hurricanes (31 points) as they sit behind the Washington Capitals (31 points), who hold three games in hand. Josh Norris replied for the Senators as they dropped to 11-12-0 and remained last in the Eastern Conference with 22 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators still hold several games in hand over their Conference rivals but they’re failing to gain traction in the standings. They must start stringing some wins together if they hope to contend for a playoff berth. Meanwhile, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour indicated before this game that sidelined winger Andrei Svechnikov is expected to be out “for a while” with an upper-body injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 thanks to two-goal performances from Jeff Carter and Jake Guentzel. Connor Ingram kicked out 40 shots for the Coyotes (13-13-2) as they dropped into the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 28 points, one ahead of the surging Oilers. The Penguins improved their record to 12-12-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph returned to action after missing 16 games with an undisclosed ailment.

An overtime goal by Filip Forsberg lifted the Nashville Predators over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. The Predators jumped to a 2-0 lead but the Flyers battled back on goals by Sean Couturier and Travis Sanheim. The Predators (16-13-0) have won five of their last six and hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 32 points. The Flyers (15-10-3) had their four-game win streak snapped but hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 33 points.

Seattle Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord made 24 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 4-0 victory over the Florida Panthers. Kailer Yamamoto had a goal and an assist for the 9-14-7 Kraken. Sergei Bobrovsky had 19 saves for the 17-9-2 Panthers, who sit one point ahead of the Leafs in second place in the Atlantic Division with 36 points.

A late goal by William Eklund gave the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 upset win over the Winnipeg Jets, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 36 shots for the Sharks (9-17-3), who’ve won three of the last four games. Brenden Dillon scored for the 16-9-2 Jets, who hold third place in the Central Division with 34 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are also awaiting a second opinion in Winnipeg regarding winger Kyle Connor’s knee injury. However, there’s speculation he could be sidelined for six to eight weeks. An update on his condition is expected today.

HEADLINES

DAILY FACEOFF: Reports indicate the Washington Capitals (as well as the NBA’s Washington Wizards) will be moving across the Potomac River to a new arena in Alexandria, Virginia. It would be located about 20 minutes away from their current home, the Capital One Arena, which has hosted the Capitals since 1997-98. The anticipated move could take place in time for the 2028-29 season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of the Capitals, Sammi Silber takes a look at the reasons why captain Alex Ovechkin is not scoring at his usual pace this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 16 points in 25 games but he’s fourth in goals thus far with just five. He’s on pace for just 16 this season, which would be the first time he would fail to crack the 20-goal plateau.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen was none too pleased over reports from a Finnish columnist questioning his offseason dedication to training. The comments came from Ismo Lehkonen, father of Rantanen’s teammate Artturi Lehkonen.

Following the Avs win over the Flames on Monday, Rantanen accused the elder Lehkonen of “talking s**t about me”, accusing him of “making things up.” However, he also said everything was fine between himself and his old friend Artturi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something tells me Lehkonen’s dad won’t be on Rantanen’s Christmas card list this year.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and center Pavel Zacha are expected to miss tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils with upper-body injuries. Both are listed as day-to-day and haven’t been ruled out of Friday’s matchup with the New York Islanders.

DAILY FACEOFF: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov is out day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Islanders placed forward Matt Martin (upper body) on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 2.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2023

Milestone performances for Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Chicago’s Connor Bedard while the Sabres sign Owen Power and the Devils ink Lindy Ruff to contract extensions. Get the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews collected a hat trick, including his 300th career goal, in a 6-5 season-opening win over the Montreal Canadiens. Mitch Marner netted the winner in a shootout after the Leafs overcame a 5-3 deficit in the third period while John Tavares had three assists. Alex Newhook scored twice in his first game with the Canadiens after being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was sloppy defense and goaltending by both clubs in this game. However, it proved more costly to the Canadiens as they also blew an early 2-0 lead.

Speaking of the Canadiens, Cap Friendly indicates they demoted winger Joel Armia to their AHL affiliate in Laval and recalled defenseman Arber Xhekaj, who collected an assist and got the better of Leafs enforcer Ryan Reaves during their first-period tussle.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard tallied his first-ever NHL goal but his club fell 3-1 to the Boston Bruins. David Pastrnak scored the tying and winning goals for the Bruins while Linus Ullmark stopped 20 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall suffered an upper-body injury following a hit by Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. He’s listed as week-to-week.

The Vancouver Canucks crushed the Edmonton Oilers 8-1. Brock Boeser scored four goals while Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each had a goal and three assists. Leon Draisaitl netted the sole Oilers goal while goalies Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner each gave up four goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are predicted to be a Stanley Cup contender this season but they were outperformed by the Canucks in every aspect of this contest. They’re obviously better than this and should use this game as motivation for a better effort in their next contest. Meanwhile, the Canucks couldn’t have asked for a better season-opening performance, especially Boeser given his struggles last season.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen scored twice and collected two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists while Alexandar Georgiev stopped 34 shots for the win. Carl Grundstrom and Quinton Byfield replied for the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I only saw the highlights of this contest but Rantanen and MacKinnon were dominating for the Avalanche. Cale Makar also picked up two points in this game for Colorado. Before this match, the Kings announced that winger Viktor Arvidsson would miss at least two games with a lower-body injury.

The Calgary Flames got a 34-save performance from Jacob Markstrom and two late goals by Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane to upset the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. Lindholm and Mangiapane each finished with three points for the Flames. Kyle Connor, Alex Iafallo and Mark Scheifele replied for the Jets, who outshot the Flames 37-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets deserved a better fate as they were the better team in this game. However, the Flames got outstanding goaltending and clutch scoring to take this one.

Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Brady Skjei and Jaccob Slavin scored in the third period to lift their club to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Skjei and Jordan Staal each had a goal and an assist while Frederik Andersen made 27 saves. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 37 shots for the Senators.

HEADLINES

THE BUFFALO NEWS: On the eve of their season opener, the Sabres signed defenseman Owen Power to a seven-year, $58.45 million contract extension effective next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nobody should be surprised by this move. The Sabres indicated they were working on re-signing Power after getting Rasmus Dahlin under contract on Sept. 22 for an eight-year, $88-million contract.

Power, 20, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. His salary will jump from an average of just over $916K to $8.35 million per season. Chosen first overall in the 2021 NHL draft, he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season.

The Sabres now have their two top defensemen under contract covering them through most of their playing prime. The duo will be crucial factors in this club’s hopes to become a Stanley Cup contender over the next seven years.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils yesterday announced they reached an agreement with head coach Lindy Ruff on a multi-year contract extension that begins in 2024-25. Ruff is currently in the final season of a four-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report didn’t indicate for how many years but wouldn’t surprise me if it’s another three-year contract with a one-year extension option.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: More bad news for San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture as he suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury that will keep him out of his club’s opening games of the season. Sharks coach David Quinn said Couture will undergo more tests and evaluation.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Scott Laughton intends to take a stand against the NHL banning the use of Pride Tape during theme celebrations this season. “You’ll probably see me with the Pride Tape on that night,” said Laughton. “It’s not going to affect the way I go about it. If they want to say something, they can, but it’s not going to make a difference in what I do every night for the Pride community.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league should leave it up to the players if they’ll participate in on-ice support by wearing themed jerseys or using special tape on their sticks during warmups on Pride Night. It’ll be interesting to see if other players around the league follow Laughton’s lead.

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights forward Brett Howden received a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Seattle Kraken forward Brandon Tanev on Tuesday.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Golden Knights, forward William Carrier could be sidelined with an upper-body injury after leaving Tuesday’s season opener.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Justin Danforth to a one-year, $1.1 million contract extension through 2024-25.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they named Josef Boumedienne as assistant coach and signed assistant coaches Jared Boll and Steve McCarthy to one-year contract extensions.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues’ current roster retool hasn’t adversely affected them at the gate. Team owner Tom Stillman said the club remains on par in season ticket sales where they’ve been when the club’s come off a playoff run.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because they’ve got a solid fan base in St. Louis that has supported this franchise for years.