NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2022

The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin tied for third on the all-time scoring list, the Leafs’ Auston Matthews widens his lead in the Richard Trophy race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to tie Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal list (766) as his club held off the Calgary Flames 5-4. With 36 goals, Ovechkin sits fourth in this season’s goal-scoring race. The Capitals hold the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 71 points, sitting two behind the Boston Bruins. Flames forward Elias Lindholm also scored two goals as his club remains atop the Pacific Division with 75 points.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Auston Matthews powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-4 win over the Seattle Kraken. The Leafs blew a 3-1 lead and fell behind 4-3 before getting two goals from Matthews and one from Mitch Marner for the win. With 43 goals, Matthews holds a five-goal lead over the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl and the New York Rangers Chris Kreider. the Leafs (78 points) are two back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is just seven goals from becoming the first Leaf to reach the 50-goal plateau since Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94. With 74 points, he’s just five points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

Patrick Kane netted a career-high six points (one goal and five assists) as his Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Anaheim Ducks 8-3. Dylan Strome had a hat trick plus an assist while Alex DeBrincat had a goal and three assists. Anaheim goalie John Gibson got the hook after giving up five goals in 13 shots in the first period. With 63 points, the Ducks remain four points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Arizona Coyotes tallied seven or more goals for the second straight game in a 9-2 dubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Fresh off a seven-point performance in his previous game, Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz tallied two goals and added two assists in this contest while teammates Jakob Chychrun, Clayton Keller and Nick Ritchie each had three-point nights. The Coyotes have won three straight games for the first time this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes winger Phil Kessel skated in the opening shift to keep his NHL Ironman streak alive at 956 games, then flew back to Arizona on a flight chartered by team owner Alex Meruelo to attend the birth of his child. Meanwhile, Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana scored in his season debut following a long recovery from shoulder surgery.

Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair tied his career-high of 23 goals to help his club down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Aleksander Barkov collected two assists as the Panthers move into a tie with the Carolina Hurricanes with 83 points, though the Hurricanes sit atop the Eastern Conference with a game in hand. Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points.

The Colorado Avalanche (87 points) failed to widen their lead over the Hurricanes and Panthers in the overall standings after falling 5-3 to the New Jersey Devils, who overcame a 3-0 deficit for the win. Jesper Bratt collected three assists for the Devils. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar extended his points streak to 13 games with a goal and an assist. Devils head coach Lindy Ruff moved into sixth place on the all-time wins list among NHL bench bosses with 776. He’s 12 wins behind Hall-of-Famer Al Arbour.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele scored and set up three others to lead his club to a 7-4 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Paul Stastny scored twice for the Jets, who had lost six of their last eight games. With 60 points, they’re seven points out of the final Western wild-card berth. The Lightning (80 points) remain three behind the Hurricanes and Panthers in the Eastern Conference.

The Minnesota Wild got two goals by Kevin Fiala and a three-point performance by Marcus Foligno to down the New York Rangers 5-2. Cam Talbot made 23 saves for the win as the Wild (69 points) moved within two points of the second-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. The Rangers (77 points) hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand over the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild winger Jordan Greenway collected an assist as he returned to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Blues, they suffered their fourth straight loss by falling 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris led the way with a goal and two assists each while Brady Tkachuk scored his 19th goal of the season.

Two goals by Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi lifted the Nashville Predators over the Dallas Stars 2-1. John Klingberg tallied for the Stars to snap his 25-game goal-scoring drought. The Predators (68 points) moved one ahead of the Stars into the first Western wild-card spot.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made a career-high 47 saves to backstop his club to a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Justin Braun and Oskar Lindblom were the goal scorers for the Flyers while Evgenii Dadonov replied for the Golden Knights, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken signed forward Jared McCann to a five-year, $25 million contract extension. McCann, 25, is their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points and is the first player in franchise history to re-sign with the club.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the ice yesterday by taking part in an optional skate. He’s been sidelined by a concussion and there’s still no timetable for his return to action.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel has been sidelined for six weeks with a lower-body injury.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Justin Danforth to a two-year, $1.95 million contract extension. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks claimed defenseman Andrej Sustr off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.










Notable NHL Trades – July 23, 2021

Notable NHL Trades – July 23, 2021

A list of the noteworthy trades that took place leading up to, and including the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft along with my hot take on each. I will update this throughout the evening.

The Columbus Blue Jackets trade defenseman Seth Jones, the final pick in the first round of the 2021 draft (32nd overall) and a sixth-round pick in 2022 to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Adam Boqvist, a first-round pick in 2021 (12th overall), a second-round pick in 2021 and a first-round pick in 2022. If the latter pick is top-two, it becomes a 2023 first-rounder.

Jones also signs an eight-year contract extension with the Blackhawks worth an annual average value of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t say I’m surprised that Jones wound up in Chicago. The Blackhawks were among the early suitors and really wanted to bolster their defense, especially after shipping Duncan Keith to Edmonton earlier this month.

What I am surprised by is the shock on social media that Jones got that expensive contract extension. Folks, if I’ve said it once, I said it a thousand times: never underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to spend too much on talent. Even under a flattened salary cap, some just can’t help themselves.

Some believe this is a lousy deal for the Blackhawks, pointing to the decline in Jones’ play over the past year, or the drop in his offensive numbers over the last two years. I believe Jones’ play suffered last season because the Blue Jackets were falling apart. Maybe the reason behind the decline in his production was playing for a club with a popgun offense.

Jones is 26, still in his playing prime, with a contract taking him up to age 35, skating for a team with a lot more talent than the one he just left. True, the Blackhawks are rebuilding, but they’ve got a mix of established and promising talent. Adding Jones to their lineup could help him regain his form and accelerate their rebuild.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, got the best return they could for a player who wasn’t going to re-sign with them before next season. Boqvist, 20, is coming off his NHL sophomore season. He’s a promising offensive blueliner who could be very effective on the Blue Jackets power play.

Landing the Blackhawks’ first-rounder while giving up the 32nd selection still gives the Jackets three selections in that round. They’re in a good position to land some promising prospects as they commence their rebuild in earnest this summer.

The Arizona Coyotes trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and winger Conor Garland to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for winger Loui Eriksson, winger Antoine Roussel, center Jay Beagle, the Canucks first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2021 NHL draft, their second-rounder in 2022 and a seventh-rounder in 2023. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be the blockbuster of the day. The Canucks were one of just two teams Ekman-Larsson was willing to waive his no-movement clause for when the Coyotes tried to trade him last October. The two sides ran out of time to hammer out a deal before the blueliner’s deadline on Oct. 9.

Ekman-Larsson’s performance has declined over the past three seasons. The Canucks are betting he’ll regain his form on a promising team in Vancouver. The Coyotes retained 12 percent of his $8.25 million annual salary-cap hit but that could still be an expensive gamble with six years remaining on his contract at $7.26 million per season.

Garland, 25, is coming off back-to-back 39-point performances and should provide a boost to the Canucks’ secondary scoring. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, he was pursued by several clubs in recent weeks.

The Canucks tried shedding Eriksson’s $6 million cap hit for the past two years. They’re finally rid of it when there’s just one year remaining. Beagle has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $3 million. There was speculation he could miss 2021-22 with an undisclosed injury. Roussel also has a year left on his deal with a cap hit of $3 million. The Coyotes could use the physical winger as a trade chip at next year’s trade deadline. 

For the Coyotes, the real prize was that first-round pick. They forfeited theirs for violating 2020 Draft Combine rules under former general manager John Chayka. Current GM Bill Armstrong was willing to eat the remaining year on Eriksson’s and Beagle’s contracts to get a top-10 pick.

Canucks GM Jim Benning is getting roasted on social media for this move. If Ekman-Larsson improves in Vancouver and Garland bolsters their scoring he’ll come out of this smelling like a rose. If not, he’ll be smelling of something rather unpleasant.

The Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Robert Hagg, a first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher continues to shore up his defense after acquiring Ryan Ellis last Saturday from the Nashville Predators. Expect Ristolainen to slot in behind Ellis as their second-pairing right-side defenseman. 

The Sabres begin what appears to be another rebuild. Ristolainen’s been a fixture in the rumor mill for a couple of years now. Prying a 13th overall pick from the Flyers was quite a coup by GM Kevyn Adams, especially for a player who’s slated to become a UFA next summer. Flyers fans are taking to social media expressing their unhappiness with Fletcher for parting with that pick for Ristolainen. 

The New York Rangers trade right wing Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for winger Sammy Blais and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could set the table for the Blues to trade Vladimir Tarasenko. It could also set the stage for the Rangers to make their much-rumored deal for Sabres center Jack Eichel. Or, it could simply be the Blueshirts being unwilling to invest too much for too long in Buchnevich when they’ve got two key players to re-sign next summer in Mika Zibanejad and 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believed the Rangers had to bring in another physical winger to skate on the third line with recently-signed Barclay Goodrow. Blais will fill that role at an affordable cap hit of $1.5 million. 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2021

Could Nazem Kadri’s latest suspension turn him into an offseason trade candidate? What’s the latest on the Canucks and Senators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD KADRI BECOME AN OFFSEASON TRADE CANDIDATE?

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh yesterday examined the fallout of Nazem Kadri’s then-pending suspension for the Colorado Avalanche lineup during their series with the St. Louis Blues. Kadri received an eight-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Blues defenseman Justin Faulk during Game 2 of their opening-round series.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Baugh pointed out Kadri was traded in 2019 to the Avalanche by the Toronto Maple Leafs following two playoff suspensions. He wondered if the 30-year-old center could face the same fate again this summer.

The Avalanche have two young centers in Tyson Jost and Alex Newhook working their way up the depth chart. They must also shed salary to re-sign core players such as captain Gabriel Landeskog, goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Cale Makar.

Kadri carries a $4.5 million salary-cap hit. Baugh speculates the Avs could explore trade options this summer or leave Kadri unprotected in the expansion draft.

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla believes the Avalanche should cut ties with Kadri as soon as possible. He feels whatever value he brings to their lineup is overshadowed by his reckless play and unwillingness to adjust his style.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That decision, of course, rests with Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic. Whether he sees things the same way as Kadri’s critics among Avs followers remains to be seen.

If Sakic decides Kadri must go he’ll probably go the trade route rather than lose him for nothing in the expansion draft. While the latter is an easy way to shed Kadri’s salary if the Seattle Kraken select him (and I think they would), Sakic would probably want to get something in return for him.

Despite his suspension history, Kadri would still be an enticing commodity in the trade market. His 10-team no-trade clause would be a bit of a sticking point but not insurmountable.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND SENATORS

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning takes responsibility for his club’s failure to reach the playoffs this season. He also dropped hints as to his offseason plans for the roster.

Contract buyouts are on the table. Johnston listed Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson and even Jake Virtanen as potential candidates, though the latter’s legal situation could make things murky.

Benning said none of his players have asked for a trade. He also indicated he would be aggressive in the trade and free-agent market in search of more offense.

Johnston noted there’s currently no third-line center as Brandon Sutter is due to become an unrestricted free agent and best-suited for fourth-line work. Benning also feels they need more speed up front and veteran leadership.

Steve Ewen reported Alex Edler hasn’t heard from the team yet but he’d love to remain with the Canucks. The 35-year-old defenseman is due to become a UFA this summer. Sutter also indicated a willingness to return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks production was down this season (2.64 goals per game compared to last season’s 3.21). However, that was due to Elias Pettersson’s season-ending wrist injury in early March and most of the roster being waylaid by a COVID-19 outbreak for nearly three weeks in April.

I believe the Canucks’ biggest need is shoring up their blueline and checking lines. Last season, the Canucks had a goals-against per game of 3.10, their penalty killing percentage was 80.4 and they gave up 33.3 shots-against per game. This year, their goals-against was 3.34, the PK percentage was 79.8 while their shots-against was 33.4.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch noted Senators owner Eugene Melnyk spoke about his club’s roster needs during an interview earlier this week with Bob McCown.

Melnyk is confident his club will re-sign Brady Tkachuk to a contract extension. The 21-year-old winger is completing his entry-level contract. Garrioch recently reported the expectation is Tkachuk will receive a lucrative long-term deal instead of a bridge contract.

The Senators owner also feels his team needs a “good defensive defenseman” and “a veteran-type first-line center” but acknowledged those types of players are easy to come by.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Tkachuk should be the easy part for the Senators. They could be forced to continue building with youth while augmenting their ranks with affordable veteran depth before they’re in a position to address those needs cited by Melnyk.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s games plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Tomas Hertl, Jason Zucker and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 25-save shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Carolina Hurricanes. Alex Killorn collected two assists and rookie Ross Colton tallied his first NHL goal as the Lightning (25 points) move to within one point of the first-place Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division.

Speaking of the Panthers, they fell 3-0 to the Dallas Stars. Anton Khudobin kicked out 43 shots for the shutout and Joe Pavelski picked up two assists as the Stars snapped a six-game winless skid.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux picked up three assists after coming off the COVID-19 protocol list as his club held off the New York Rangers 4-3. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied a hat trick and Mika Zibanejad has two assists.

William Nylander scored the tying and winning goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime. Flame goalie David Rittich made 37 saves as he was denied his second straight shutout of the Leafs.

Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise tallied his 800th career point and teammate Mats Zuccarello got his 400th in a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nico Sturm also scored twice as the Wild (20 points) have won four straight games to sit one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes in the Honda West Division.

Speaking of the Coyotes, they overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Anaheim Ducks for the second straight game. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Arizona as they took the game on a shootout goal by Christian Dvorak. Coyotes backup Adin Hill made 14 saves in relief of Darcy Kuemper after the latter left the game with a lower-body injury.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their sixth straight victory by hanging on for a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Cal Petersen turned aside 35 shots for the win on second-period goals by Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou.

HEADLINES

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the Kontinental Hockey League said it had not been made aware of or received any complaint in relation to any incident involving Artemi Panarin back in December 2011.

Panarin’s former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov alleged the Rangers winger assaulted a young woman in a bar following a game in Riga, Latvia. The KHL said it would’ve investigated any such complaint as they take allegations of misconduct “incredibly seriously”.

To date, there’s been no corroborating evidence to support Nazarov’s allegation. No victim has come forward nor has there been any police record of the alleged incident. Kip Brennan and Jon Mirasty, two of Panarin’s former Vityaz teammates, both said they never knew or heard of the incident taking place.

Another former teammate, Mikhail Anisin, told Russian outlet Sport-Express the incident didn’t play out as Nazarov described, recalling Panarin “didn’t beat anyone, maybe pushed one girl a little bit, nothing more” in a karaoke bar. Anisin said police did come to the team hotel but left after determining the situation didn’t warrant charges. He also rejected the notion of the police being paid off as the players at the time didn’t have that type of money.

Panarin remains on a leave of absence from the Rangers as he deals with this situation. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is looking into the allegations. Kaplan said it would be uncharacteristic of the league to punish Panarin without corroborating evidence.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker also cited Anisin’s comments. She also spoke with Maxim Sitnikov, who briefly played with Panarin during that season. Sitnikov also denied the alleged incident took place, praising the winger’s character and rejecting what he called “villains” saying “all sorts of nonsense.” Walker cited two more former Vityaz players who requested to remain anonymous agreeing with Brennan’s and Mirasty’s version of events.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The allegation against Panarin is quickly falling apart. Unless Nazarov can produce evidence to corroborate his story he should withdraw his comments and issue an apology to the Rangers’ star.

SPORTSNET: The NHL postponed Thursday’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights after a Sharks player tested positive for COVID-19. Sharks center Tomas Hertl was placed on the league’s COVID-19 list yesterday. New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was also added to the list, which is now down to eight players, four of them members of the Flyers.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins winger Jason Zucker has returned to Pittsburgh for further evaluation for what appeared to be an injured knee or ankle suffered during their recent game against the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon is sidelined at least a month with a fractured hand.

TSN: The Penguins yesterday claimed defenseman Mark Friedman off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

CBC SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL for roughing Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Pulujarvi on Tuesday.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will soon be allowed to admit some fans to their games following North Carolina governor Roy Cooper’s announcement yesterday that indoor arenas can open to 15 percent capacity.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Gary Inness passed away on Feb. 23 from dementia at age 71. Inness played 162 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals from 1973-74 to 1980-81. He also coached the AHL’s Hershey Bears from 1981-82 to 1984-85. Following his hockey career, he became a teacher and guidance counselor at Barrie North Collegiate Institute until his retirement in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Inness’ family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Vancouver Canucks

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Vancouver Canucks

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2020

Ducks-Blues game postponed following Jay Bouwmeester’s cardiac incident, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Last night’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues was postponed after Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident and collapsed on the Blues’ bench in the first period. Thanks to the quick response of the medical staff of both clubs, Bouwmeester was stabilized and reportedly conscious, alert, and moving his extremities as he was transported to a local hospital for further tests and observations. An update on his condition will be released later today.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester hospitalized following a cardiac incident (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A frightening moment for all concerned. Here’s hoping Bouwmeester makes a full recovery and returns to action soon.

Yanni Gourde’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his franchise-record points streak to 19 games. The Bolts (79 points) have won eight straight games and sit one point behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. It was a costly win for the Lightning, as Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirelli left the game with lower-body injuries.

Philipp Grubauer turned in a 34-save shutout as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Ottawa Senators 3-0. The Avs (72 points) have won eight of their last nine contests and sit one behind the Western Conference-leading Blues. Earlier in the day, the Avalanche learned center Nazem Kadri will miss multiple weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri’s injury has sparked speculation the Avs could seek a short-term replacement before the trade market. I’ll have more shortly in the Rumors section.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn’s hat trick powered his club to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Stars (69 points) have won four of their last six games and sit third in the Central Division, while the Hurricanes (67 points) are two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists while Kailer Yamamoto scored twice in the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers (66 points) sit one back of the Vancouver Canucks for first in the Pacific Division, while the Blackhawks (58 points) are six points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced captain Connor McDavid will be sidelined two-to-three weeks with a quadriceps injury.

The New York Islanders blew a 3-0 lead but rallied on goals by Ryan Pulock and Leo Komarov to down the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Isles center Mathew Barzal collected three assists while teammate Casey Cizikas left the game in the first period with an apparent cut to his left leg. The Isles (72 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division, while the Flyers (69 points) hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

An overtime goal by Kasperi Kapanen lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes had seemingly won the game earlier in the extra frame, but it was overturned due to goaltender interference. Zach Hyman scored both regulation goals for the Leafs (68 points), who hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Matheson, Mark Pysyk and Noel Acciari each had a goal and two assists to power the Florida Panthers over the New Jersey Devils 5-3. The Panthers sit two points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

Sam Reinhart’s early third-period goal held up as the game-winner as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Sabres sit 10 points behind the third-place Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Wings forward Anthony Mantha picked up two assists. Teammate Brendan Perlini suffered a bruised right orbital bone and received several stitches to his face after being struck by a skate in the first period.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock made 26 saves to shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0. Kevin Fiala scored and picked up two assists for the Wild (60 points), who sit four points behind the Golden Knights and Coyotes for one of the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference.

New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin kicked out 42 shots in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He briefly left the game early in the first period under the league’s concussion protocol but showed no ill-effects upon his return. Chris Kreider scored twice for the Rangers (60 points), who sit nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The Jets (63) sit one point out of a wild-card spot in the West. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba received a mixed reaction from Jets fans in his first game back in Winnipeg since getting traded to New York last summer. Before the game, Randy Carlyle and Tomas Steen were inducted into the Jets Hall of Fame.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones will be sidelined for eight-to-ten weeks with an injured right ankle.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens remain mum on the status of captain Shea Weber. The Habs captain remains sidelined with a lower-body injury and there’s no timetable for his return.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Antoine Roussel was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for slashing Nashville Predators defenseman Yannick Weber.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed forward Joakim Nygard to a one-year, $875K contract.