NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

The Oilers get their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft, Martin St. Louis gets his first win as Canadiens coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by thumping the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Draisaitl leads the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy with 35 goals. Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan each had two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped their third straight and remain behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 55 points.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game of two teams going in different directions. The Oilers are surging since their coaching change while the Ducks have slid out of a playoff spot and are in danger of falling further behind if they don’t reverse their fortunes soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 33rd goal of the season and Jack Campbell made 45 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their first loss in their last seven road games. Matthews also picked up an assist and Mitch Marner collected two helpers. The Leafs (67 points) are three points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while the Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 70 points.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win under interim coach Martin St. Louis by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. Cole Caufield tallied the tying and winning goals as the Habs snapped a 10-game losing skid. The Blues (62 points) are one point behind the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have a better chance of winning this year’s draft lottery than they have of reaching the playoffs. Nevertheless, they’ve been more competitive since St. Louis took over as coach. Caufield in particular has thrived under his new bench boss, scoring four goals in his last four games after managing just one in his previous 30.

Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3. Josh Morrissey scored the winning goal by snapping a 3-3 tie in the third period. With 52 points, the Jets moved within three points of the Kings for the final Western wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks also reached 52 points as J.T. Miller’s overtime goal lifted them over the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each had two points for the Canucks. Hughes returned to the lineup following a 10-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Sharks winger Timo Meier scored twice and picked up an assist.

Two third-period goals by Garnet Hathaway rallied the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hathaway finished the night with three points as the Capitals (65 points) widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves for the win while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (58 points) hold the second Eastern wild-card berth.

The Detroit Red Wings kept their thin playoff hopes alive by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves and Pius Suter scored the winner in the shootout. The Wings are six points behind the Bruins, who have three games in hand.

Patrik Laine tallied his first hat trick with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-4 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Laine is riding an eight-game points streak.

Goaltender Craig Anderson lost to his former team as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on third-period goals by Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes was fined $25,000.00 by the league for “inappropriate conduct” following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Hynes was berating officials from the bench at the end of the game.

Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka was fined $2,004.17 for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the NHL, a coach telling off officials following a game is considered more egregious than a player attempting to injure an opponent.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed on injured reserve due to lingering effects of COVID-19.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association met Thursday to discuss plans for staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2024.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has elected for a jury trial in his sexual assault case. He is currently playing for KHL team Spartak Moscow.