NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2022

A five-point night for Joe Pavelski, a new investigation could halt Evander Kane’s efforts to land a new contract, Tuukka Rask set to return today, the mid-season scouting rankings are released, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski had a had in every one of the Dallas Stars goals in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken, handing the latter their seventh straight loss. Pavelski scored twice and set up three others while teammate Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists. With 38 points, the Stars sit three back of the San Jose Sharks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand tallied a hat trick in a 5-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Marchand has tallied eight goals in his last four games as the Bruins have won six of their last seven contests. Montreal goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. The loss drops the Canadiens into last place in the overall standing while the Bruins (42 points) opened a five-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Arizona Coyotes moved into second-last in the overall standings by upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Ryan Dzingel snapped a 1-1 tie while Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 45 saves for the win. Leafs center Auston Matthews set a franchise record by scoring in nine consecutive road games.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL has opened an investigation into how Evander Kane crossed the border from the United States into Canada on Dec. 29. Kane had tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 and was still under the AHL’s 10-day COVID protocol when he crossed the border. It was one of the factors that prompted the San Jose Sharks to place the 30-year-old winger on unconditional waivers and terminate his contract last Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said this will likely prevent Kane from landing a new NHL contract as teams await the results of the league’s findings. Some teams are willing to ignore the winger’s apparent disregard for league rules (including a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID passport last fall) and other well-documented issues because they feel they can get a productive player on an affordable, prorated one-year contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid said he wouldn’t be opposed to Kane joining his club. The Oilers are believed among a handful of clubs in the running to sign the troublesome winner.

TSN: Tuukka Rask is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 34-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins earlier this week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports recurring concussion symptoms are behind Bowen Byram’s departure from the Avalanche for personal reasons. His father said his son told him he can’t continue playing feeling the way he does. The 20-year-old defenseman has already suffered three concussions in his young NHL career. There’s no word when he’ll return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Byram can find the treatment he needs to regain his health and hopefully return to the Avalanche. It would be a shame for his promising career to come to a premature end.

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are among the noteworthy players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin with Braden Holtby recently being added to COVID protocol.

ESPN.COM: The Buffalo Sabres signed minor-league goaltender Michael Hauser to a one-year, $750K contract and recalled Aaron Dell from the minors to shore up their injury-depleted goaltending. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Michael Subban were recently sidelined while Craig Anderson remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while Dustin Tokarski is still recovering from COVID-19.

TSN: The Canadiens yesterday claimed Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

NHL.COM: Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright tops Central Scouting’s mid-term ranking of the top North American skaters. Winger Joakim Kemell of JYP in Liiga (Finland’s top professional league) is the leader among International skaters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright is expected to be the top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal with the first round on July 7. The young center had a slow start to this season but his production has picked up with four multi-point games in his last five contests. TSN’s Craig Button has compared his style of play to that of Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

SPORTSNET: Two former NHL off-ice officials have filed a lawsuit against the league alleging they were fired for “pretextual reasons” after calling out two former supervisors for racist behavior.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

Which players could the Canadiens trade? Will the Canucks make big roster changes? Should the Bruins sign Tuukka Rask? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHO STAYS OR GOES FOR THE CANADIENS?

TVA SPORTS: Jonathan Bernier examined which Montreal Canadiens players with long-term contracts could be traded if executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton decides a rebuild is in order. Gorten recently told Bernier’s colleague Renaud Lavoie he and the club’s next general manager will initiate discussions with several players to take stock of their careers.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Bernier believes Carey Price should be traded. While he has a no-movement clause, he might lift it for an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender. Given his $10.5 million contract over the next four seasons, the Canadiens will have to absorb part of it to facilitate a trade or take back a bad contract.

Shea Weber’s career is likely over. His $7.857 million annual cap hit could be placed on long-term injury reserve again if the club remains near the cap ceiling should they attempt to sign an unrestricted free agent or re-sign one of their promising players next summer.

Defenseman Jeff Petry likely won’t want to be part of a rebuild. He has three seasons remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million and a 15-team no-trade clause. His struggles this season could also make him difficult to move.

Bernier also suggests shopping wingers Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia and defenseman David Savard. Gallagher has five years remaining on his deal at $6.5 million annually with a six-team no-trade clause. Armia could be easier to shop with three years left on his contract at an AAV of $3.4 million. Savard has three years at $3.5 million and Bernier believes his fate could be tied to Petry and pending UFA blueliner Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Gorton and his GM handle this situation. If it’s to be a rebuild, it has to start with moving Price. That means picking up half of his cap hit and perhaps getting a third team involved that’s willing to pick up another portion of his salary in exchange for a decent draft pick or prospect.

Gallagher would also involve some salary retention or taking back a comparable contract. Petry’s age and struggles this season could affect his trade value but there could be a general manager out there willing to bet he’ll regain his 40-point form on a better club. Armia could be the easiest to move of the bunch. Bernier said there’s speculation the Boston Bruins are interested in him.

Renaud Lavoie, meanwhile, spoke with player agent Kent Hughes, who was mentioned by Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman as a possible GM candidate for the Canadiens. “I don’t control speculations,” said Hughes. “I had no discussions regarding the GM job.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also said the Canadiens hadn’t held any talks yet with Hughes but he was believed high on their list of potential candidates. That could still be the case even though they haven’t had any discussions yet. Hughes also didn’t say he had no interest in the job.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy reports former Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is said to be high on the Vancouver Canucks’ list of candidates to replace Jim Benning as general manager. Bergevin was fired as Canadiens GM over a week ago.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini said he hasn’t yet spoken to Bergevin. He also hasn’t ruled out bringing back a former employee such as former GM Mike Gillis.

Aquilini indicated the club will conduct a thorough and exhaustive search for the club’s next general manager. He also suggested the possibility of hiring a president of hockey operations.

MacIntyre doubts the Canucks will embark on a rebuild and sell off assets even if the new general manager decides a rebuild is necessary. He pointed to the club’s handful of core players 26-and-younger including Bo Horvat, Thatcher Demko, Conor Garland, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. They also have promising youngsters such as Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon the club’s performance over the remainder of this season under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. I don’t see there being many changes if they show significant improvement and claw their way back into playoff contention. As MacIntyre points out, their young core gives them plenty for the next GM to work with going forward.

SHOULD THE BRUINS PASS ON RASK?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: D.J. Bean observes it’s becoming increasingly likely the Bruins will sign goaltender Tuukka Rask once he’s ready to return to action next month. Doing so, however, would mean demoting Jeremy Swayman to the minors as Linus Ullmark has a no-movement clause.

Bean suggests the Bruins should pass on Rask and stick with their current tandem of Swayman and Ullmark. They’re a fringe playoff team and not a Cup contender. Swayman has a solid .918 save percentage and sending him back to the minors could be a step backward for him. If they still want to sign Rask, they should find another way to make room for him.

There’s a slim possibility the Bruins could trade Swayman for help at forward or defense but Bean doesn’t expect they’ll go that route. He believes it would be a stupid move that would be harmful to the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve encapsulated Bean’s article and I suggest folks read the entire thing before piling on him for daring to suggest the Bruins pass on Rask. He makes a good point given Swayman’s development and where the Bruins are this season as a playoff contender. However, even he acknowledges they’re probably going to bring Rask back and Swayman will likely be demoted to make room for him.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 7, 2021

The Canucks get their first win following their coaching change, the Flyers lose again despite their shakeup behind the bench, plus the stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks picked up their first win under new head coach Bruce Boudreau by blanking the Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Thatcher Demko made 31 saves for the shutout, Brock Boeser tallied his first goal in 14 games and J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist. The Canucks hired Boudreau on Sunday after firing Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy Canucks fans serenaded Boudreau with “Bruce, there it is!” to the tune of “Whoomp, There It Is.”

The Philadelphia Flyers replaced bench boss Alain Vigneault with Mike Yeo yesterday morning but they still fell 7-5 to the Colorado Avalanche to extend their winless skid to nine games (0-7-2). Avs rookie goalie Justus Annunen made 27 saves for his first NHL win, Mikko Rantanen and Erik Johnson each had two points and Cale Makar went end-to-end to score his 11th goal of the season. Claude Giroux scored twice for the Flyers.

Jake Guentzel extended his points streak to 13 games (two goals, one assist) as the Pittsburgh Penguins trounced the Seattle Kraken 6-1. Jeff Carter also scored twice and Danton Heinen had a goal and two assists. Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer got the hook after giving up three goals on four shots in the first period.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored twice and set up another to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. The Stars tied a franchise record with their seventh straight victory while the Coyotes dropped their third straight. Coyotes winger Loui Eriksson played his 1,000th career NHL game.

John Carlson netted the winner in overtime as the Washington Capitals nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 to move into first place in the overall standings with 38 points. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin collected two assists while Ducks forwards Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano each had two points. The Capitals played without Garnet Hathaway as he joined Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the COVID protocol list.

The Ottawa Senators picked up their third straight victory by downing the New Jersey Devils 3-2, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Josh Norris netted the winner in a shootout while Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson each had a goal and an assist.

HEADLINES

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 5.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Neal Pionk was suspended for two games for kneeing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Meanwhile, Leafs center Jason Spezza has an in-person hearing today via Zoom for attempting to knee Pionk in retaliation for the latter’s hit on Sandin. Spezza’s teammate Wayne Simmonds was fined $2,250.00 for crosschecking Jets forward Jansen Harkins.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop begins a conditioning assignment with the club’s AHL affiliate Texas on Thursday. It will be his first game since the 2020 playoffs. He missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery in October 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This brings Bishop one step closer to rejoining the Stars lineup. They’re already carrying three goalies in Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger. They could end up sending the waiver-exempt Oettinger to the minors and trade Holtby or Khudobin to make room for Bishop in their crease and their salary-cap payroll.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price isn’t expected to return to the lineup before Christmas. Defenseman Joel Edmundson suffered another setback in his recovery from a back injury but won’t require surgery. The already injury-depleted Habs got more bad news as Tyler Toffoli is expected to miss some time with an upper-body injury while Jeff Petry (upper body) and Joel Armia (undisclosed) aren’t expected to play in tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price has been skating on his own for a couple of weeks but he’s yet to begin workouts with full equipment. Don’t expect to see him until sometime in 2022.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruin Tuukka Rask served as an emergency backup for the club in yesterday’s practice with goalie Linus Ullmark among several players sidelined by a non-COVID illness. An unrestricted free agent, Rask continues to work out at the Bruins’ practice facility as he works toward returning to NHL action in January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also an opportunity for the Bruins to get an early look at Rask’s conditioning and performance. It’s expected they will sign him once he’s cleared for game action next month.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Robert Thomas has been sidelined by a lower-body injury that could keep him out of tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2021

Check out the latest Flyers and Bruins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLYERS COULD SOON FACE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes it could be time for Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher to make some tough decisions if his club falls out of playoff contention. They’re mired in a lengthy losing skid and losing ground in the postseason race.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

One of those decisions could involve shopping captain Claude Giroux. The 34-year-old Flyers forward is their leading scorer and still has something left in the tank. He’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Carchidi believes Giroux could fetch a solid return if shopped before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox also speculated on some of those difficult decisions facing Fletcher. He wondered if Giroux would agree to waive his no-movement clause. Fox noted Elliotte Friedman mentioning Giroux on the Jeff Marek Show. “I’ve wondered about him going to Ottawa before,” said Friedman, who also pondered the possibility of the Flyers perhaps shaking up their core again after having done so in the offseason.

Fox felt any number of options could be on the table for the Flyers, including shopping winger Travis Konecny. While that would be a bold move, he also felt it would be a long shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher recently spoke about being patient with the lineup but I think he’ll soon reach the stage where he’ll have to do something to shake this club out of its doldrums. That could include replacing Alain Vigneault as head coach in hope of saving the season.

If that doesn’t work or if Fletcher doesn’t go that route, trades will be in the offing at some point if the club fails to reverse its fortunes. He could sit down with Giroux to determine where his captain sees his future and if it’s with a rebuilding club.

THE LATEST ON THE BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes it could take some time before Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney pulls the trigger on a Jake DeBrusk trade. The Bruins still need him in the lineup with Brad Marchand serving a three-game suspension plus their farm team in Providence is going through a COVID outbreak. He also pointed out Sweeney’s reputation for carefully considering trade offers and playing hardball for as long as he can.

Shinzawa also pointed out one of Sweeney’s preferences is clearing salary-cap space for Tuukka Rask. The play of current goalie tandem Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark has been the club’s other weakness besides its offensive production.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma took note of recent speculation linking the Vancouver Canucks to DeBrusk. He pointed to the Canucks’ limited cap space as a sticking point, suggesting it might have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out deal to take on DeBrusk’s $3.675 million cap hit.

One option could be shopping Tanner Pearson, who’s in the first season of a three-year, $9.75 million contract. However, he has a no-trade clause for this season.

NBC SPORTS: Sean Leahy believes the Bruins are keeping their crease warm for Tuukka Rask when he’s finally ready to return to action from offseason hip surgery. He’s currently training five days a week and could be ready in early January. Rask is an unrestricted free agent but has made no secret of his wish to sign with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask has also indicated he’s willing to accept an affordable one-year deal with the Bruins. Still, it would be worthwhile to clear sufficient cap space to sign him. However, it could also complicate efforts to swap DeBrusk for another middle-six forward.

DeBrusk has been linked to around a dozen teams. Most of those mentioned, like the Canucks, are cap-strapped clubs. Sweeney might have to focus on those with cap space to make a deal happen.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 12, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 12, 2021

Check out the latest on Tuukka Rask, Jack Campbell and Filip Forsberg in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Chris Johnston reports goaltender Tuukka Rask has been working out at the Boston Bruins training facility. He remains without a contract as he works toward returning from offseason hip surgery. His agent told Johnston his goal is to get healthy and return to play as soon as possible, perhaps by January.

Former Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

Rask could be an option for teams seeking help between the pipes. However, Johnston believes the 34-year-old free agent hopes to return with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnston said Rask had been a little non-committal about his playing future. Back in August, however, he indicated his willingness to return to the Bruins for less money this season. I believe their game plan is to sign Rask to a cheap, prorated one-year deal. They’ll then send Jeremy Swayman back to their AHL affiliate as he’s waiver-exempt for this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun speculated about how much it’ll cost the Toronto Maple Leafs to sign Jack Campbell to a contract extension. The 29-year-old goaltender is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. He’s earning $1.65 million annually on his current contract.

Contract talks between the two sides have yet to begin. When they do, LeBrun suggested the annual average value could be somewhere between $4 million and $5 million on a four-to-five year deal if he has another solid season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems about right, though if Campbell were to become a Vezina Trophy finalist that number gets pushed to $6 million annually.

LeBrun also reported contract talks between the Nashville Predators and Filip Forsberg are expected to start soon. The 27-year-old winger is completing a six-year deal with a $6 million AAV. LeBrun speculates the Forsberg camp could seek an eight-year extension and wondered if either side will use the eight-year, $56 million extension signed by Gabriel Landeskog this summer with the Colorado Avalanche as a comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also acknowledged Forsberg and his agent are unlikely to accept anything less than the $8 million AAV currently earned by teammates Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen. However, I don’t think Predators GM David Poile is keen to have a third $8 million forward on the roster. Unless Duchene or Johansen are moved (and I don’t see that happening), Forsberg could end up hitting the open market next summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2021

Carey Price reveals treatment for substance abuse while Ducks GM Bob Murray is placed on administrative leave for improper professional conduct. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price broke his silence yesterday regarding the reasons why he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last month. In a statement released on his Instagram account, Price said he sought treatment for substance abuse after years of neglecting his mental health. He admitted it could take some time before he returns to action. The 34-year-old goaltender also expressed appreciation for the support and well wishes he’s received.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price didn’t owe the public an explanation for seeking help but it was brave of him to do so. He’s dealt with an unimaginable burden of pressure as a superstar in one of hockey’s most demanding markets. Success and millions of dollars does not make a person immune from struggling with mental health issues. Best wishes to Price and his family in his ongoing recovery.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Anaheim Ducks placed general manager Bob Murray on administrative leave following the initial findings of an internal investigation into allegations of “improper professional conduct”.

Frank Seravalli reported sources claimed Murray allegedly created a toxic workplace atmosphere through repeated verbal abuse and harassment of Ducks players, coaches and personnel. His intimidation tactics and temper tantrums fostered a climate of fear throughout the organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Ducks GM was with his team in Vancouver yesterday when the news was delivered. He was ordered to leave the team immediately and return to Anaheim on his own. Murray’s fate could be decided once the team receives additional findings from the investigation.

This news comes less the two weeks following the release of the report into allegations by Kyle Beach that he was sexually assaulted by former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Alrich in 2010. That report cost Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman his job over his handling of the allegations.

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins have settled a lawsuit filed by a former minor-league assistant and his wife. Jarrod and Erin Skalde accused the team of negligently retaining a coach who sexually assaulted and harassed Erin and threatened retaliation against Jarrod for reporting the incident.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, NHL teams, here’s a thought: stop hiring and protecting abusive scumbags and sexual predators.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils overcame a 3-2 deficit to thump the Florida Panthers 7-3, handing the latter their second straight regulation defeat after going 10-0-1. Mackenzie Blackwood made 35 saves, Ty Smith had a goal and two assists and Andreas Johnsson scored twice.

Detroit Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov tallied two goals and Alex Nedeljkovic kicked out 31 shots in a 4-2 upset of the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi replied for the Oilers after the Wings opened a 3-0 lead. Moritz Seider put the game away with an empty-net goal. Detroit extends its record to 7-5-2.

A 37-save effort by Adin Hill carried the San Jose Sharks over the Calgary Flames 4-1. Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Jonathan Dahlen netted three unanswered third-period goals for the Sharks, who now sit 7-4-1 on the season.

The Los Angeles Kings extended their winning streak to six games by nipping the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on an overtime goal by Adrian Kempe. Cal Petersen made 33 saves for the win as the Kings’ record sits at 7-5-1. Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin missed his third straight game as he still feels lingering effects from a recent head injury.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 41 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Winger Troy Terry netted the game-winner to extend his points streak to 12 games as the Ducks (7-4-2) have won five straight games. Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes each had two assists in a losing cause.

The Carolina Hurricanes (10-1-0) downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on an OT goal by Martin Necas. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos opened the scoring but Teuvo Teravainen tied in the third period. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves. Before the game, the Hurricanes placed winger Nino Niederreiter (lower body) on injured reserve.

A shootout goal by Ryan O’Reilly gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 39 stops while teammates Pavel Buchnevich and Jordan Kyrou each had a goal and an assist. The Blues’ record sits at 8-2-1.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith scored twice in a 46-second span in the third period as his club doubled up the Seattle Kraken by a score of 4-2. Vegas defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore each had a goal and an assist. The Kraken (4-8-1) have dropped four of their last five contests.

Patrice Bergeron tallied the game-winner late in the third period as the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy picked up his 200th career NHL victory. The Senators (3-8-1) have lost five straight games. Bruins forward Trent Frederic left the game after being hit in the second period by Senators defenseman Josh Brown. Earlier in the day, Senators defenseman Victor Mete became the sixth member of the team placed on COVID protocol.

The Chicago Blackhawks overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves while shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat completed the comeback. The Blackhawks (3-9-2) have won two straight games under interim head coach Derek Kings. Jeff Carter scored two goals for the Penguins. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed winger Mackenzie Entwistle (ankle injury) on IR. He’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Tuukka Rask returned to the Boston Bruins practice facility in full goalie gear working out with the club’s goaltending coach Bob Essensa. The 34-year-old Rask underwent hip surgery three months ago and remains an unrestricted free agent. Whether he returns with the Bruins or signs with another NHL club remains to be seen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask has already indicated he’s open to returning to the Bruins on an inexpensive one-year deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back in the lineup at some point in the New Year.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon missed practice yesterday with a lower-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Nashville Predators placed Filip Forsberg (upper body) on injured reserve.