NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2023

Three division leaders suffering upset defeats, the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky reaches a career milestone and the Wild fire head coach Dean Evason. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored two goals as his club upset the league-leading New York Rangers 5-1. Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 25 shots as the Sabres improved to 10-10-2 on the season. Mika Zibanejad replied for the Rangers (15-4-1), who remain in first place in the overall standings with 31 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers also lost winger Kaapo Kakko as he left the game in the second period with what appeared to be an injured left knee. There was no postgame update regarding his condition.

The Boston Bruins suffered their third straight defeat as a result of a 5-2 upset at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Yegor Chinakhov had a goal and an assist while Spencer Martin made 31 saves for the Blue Jackets (7-12-4), who’ve won three of their last four games following a nine-game losing skid. Matthew Poitras and John Beecher scored for the Bruins, who also have 31 points but remain behind the Rangers with a record of 14-4-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ defensive play was becoming a legitimate concern before this game, in part because they’ve faced tougher opponents in recent games. Those worries won’t be alleviated by falling to the lowly Blue Jackets while giving up five goals for the fourth time in five games.

An overtime goal by MacKenzie Weegar lifted the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. A.J. Greer also scored while Dan Vladar got the win with a 25-save performance as the Flames boosted their record to 9-10-3, sitting in the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 21 points. William Karlsson tallied for the Golden Knights (14-5-3), who remain in first place in the Western Conference with 31 points and third in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were forced to use an emergency backup goalie named Dusty Nickel after starter Jacob Markstrom was sidelined by an illness. There was a moment early in the first period when it appeared Nickel would have to relieve Vladar after the latter was briefly shaken up but he was able to finish the game.

The Colorado Avalanche got two goals from Ryan Johansen to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1, extending their win streak to four games. Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 37 shots while Cale Makar had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (15-6-0) sit atop the Central Division with 30 points, one back of the Golden Knights in the conference standings. Anthony Cirelli scored for the Lightning as they slipped to 10-7-5.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves for his 40th career shutout in a 5-0 blanking of the Ottawa Senators. Sam Reinhart tallied twice while Aleksander Barkov collected three assists for the 13-7-1 Panthers. Joonas Korpisalo made 33 saves for the Senators (8-9-0), who dropped into last place in the Eastern Conference standings with 16 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers and Senators combined for 167 penalty minutes with most of those coming in the third period as a result of a line brawl with 7:22 remaining in the frame. That resulted in every player on the ice receiving 10-minute misconducts.

A third-period goal by Luke Kunin carried the San Jose Sharks over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Fabian Zetterlund also scored while Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 33 shots for the 5-12-2 Sharks, who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with 12 points. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the only goal for the 10-6-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks got the win without Tomas Hertl as he was sidelined with an injury to his midsection. He is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, the Capitals placed winger T.J. Oshie (upper body) on injured reserve and activated defenseman Martin Fehervary off IR.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild fired Dean Evason as head coach on Monday, replacing him with John Hynes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off a 103-point performance last season, the Wild have been in a swoon since October. They are in the midst of a seven-game losing skid which prompted general manager Bill Guerin to make the coaching change.

Guerin had defended Evason earlier this month, stressing that improvement would have to come from within. That’s because the cap-strapped Wild can’t afford to make a significant trade to shake things up in a league where only five teams have at least $5 million in cap space.

Perhaps the Wild can rediscover their winning ways under a proven NHL bench boss like Hynes. If not, a roster retool could be next starting at the trade deadline when clubs will accrue sufficient cap room to make deals with each other.

Speaking of the Wild, Ryan Hartman received a two-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for tripping Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat on Sunday.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros are the league’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 26.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (upper body) was placed on IR retroactive to Nov. 24.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins and Panthers will honor Patric Hornqvist during their Dec. 8 game in Florida. Hornqvist played for both clubs during his 15-season NHL career before retiring due to injuries following last season.

NHL.COM: The player draft will be returning to NHL All-Star Weekend this season as part of a new event called NHL All-Star Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The player draft was one of the few ideas that worked to make the All-Star Game a little more interesting than the pond-hockey yawnfest it usually tends to be.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2023

A look at questions facing the Bruins, Sabres, Avalanche, Oilers, Panthers, Wild, Canadiens, Islanders, Flyers, Sharks and Leafs in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently listed one question facing all 32 NHL teams at the quarter-mark of this season. Among them:

Boylen wondered if the solid performances thus far of Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha might shift the Boston Bruins’ trade focus away from adding a center to seeking a scoring winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or maybe they might consider adding a player or two to bolster their defensive game. Their goalie tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman were able to paper over their leaky defense but they’ve given up at least five goals per game in three of their last four contests.

The Buffalo Sabres have been frequently mentioned as a destination for free-agent winger Patrick Kane but will they get him?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen pointed out that salary-cap space isn’t an issue. Of late, however, the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings have been mentioned more frequently as possible landing spots for Kane. We’ll hopefully find out by this week where he intends to spend this season.

Boylen pointed out the Colorado Avalanche’s need to boost their depth scoring. This could be an area they look to the trade market to address if no one steps up in the coming weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Patrick Kane, The Athletic’s Peter Baugh believes the Avs are “monitoring the situation” but doesn’t see them among the front-runners.

Which goaltender will the Edmonton Oilers add?

Florida Panthers winger Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s been the biggest question in the rumor mill throughout November. They don’t appear any closer to acquiring one while recent speculation suggests they could look at recalling Jack Campbell if he regains his form with their AHL affiliate.

Boylen also pondered the possibility that Sam Reinhart could prove too expensive for the Florida Panthers to re-sign. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent but sits among the league’s leading scorers with 13 goals and 25 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He carries a $6.5 million cap hit and could seek between $9 million and $10 million annually on his next contract.

Given the Minnesota Wild’s struggles, Boylen raised the question of whether head coach Dean Evason will make it to the all-star break. The Wild are capped out and have several key players struggling.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild general manager Bill Guerin is sticking by Evason and insisting the answers to his cap-strapped team’s woes must come from within. It remains to be seen how much longer that will last.

Will the Montreal Canadiens get Sam Montembeault signed? He’s earning an average annual value of $1 million and is eligible for UFA status next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montembeault has been linked to the Oilers in the rumor mill but I think the Canadiens will get him signed. As Boylen noted, he’s starting to build on last season’s promising performance.

Boylen wondered how long the New York Islanders could continue with such a meek offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been an issue for the past couple of years. They might have to shift their focus on finding a short-term replacement for defenseman Adam Pelech, who injured an arm during weekend play.

Philadelphia Flyers center Morgan Frost has been a frequent healthy scratch this season, prompting questions over his future. He’s signed through next season with an AAV of $2.1 million. So far, he hasn’t asked for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers reportedly denied rumors that Frost was available in the trade market but his situation could be worth watching. GM Daniel Briere is reportedly willing to move players for returns that will improve his club’s foundation going forward.

Boylen wondered which players the struggling San Jose Sharks will trade this season. Forwards Anthony Duclair and Mike Hoffman are on expiring contracts while Mackenzie Blackwood could interest goalie-needy clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Duclair and Hoffman aren’t moved by the March 8 trade deadline. Blackwood could be available for the right price but they could opt to move pending UFA Kaapo Kahkonen.

Turning to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boylen is curious how they’ll address their blueline corps. With John Klingberg going on LTIR, he wonders what kind of defenseman they’ll go after.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Your guess is as good as GM Brad Treliving’s. He opted for a puck-moving defenseman by signing Klingberg during the offseason while bringing in physical forwards like Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi and Ryan Reaves. Perhaps he’ll look to add more “snot” to his blueline.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2023

The Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov matches a franchise scoring record as Andrei Vasilevskiy returns to action, the Kings extend their road win streak and a goalie mask brouhaha involving the Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov tied a franchise record for most points in a game with six as the Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the Carolina Hurricanes 8-2. Kucherov scored two goals and set up four others to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race with 35 points. Teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning (10-6-5) in his season debut since undergoing back surgery in September. Brayden Point tallied a hat trick and added two assists. Michael Bunting had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they slipped to 11-8-0.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning lit up the Hurricanes on the power play, going four-for-five with the man advantage. Carolina goalie Antti Raanta gave up eight goals on 14 shots.

The Los Angeles Kings extended their season-opening road win streak to nine games with a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Kevin Fiala tallied twice, Drew Doughty collected two assists and Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots as the Kings improved to 12-3-3. Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn replied for the 9-11-0 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After riding a six-game win streak to a 7-4-0 start the Ducks have plummeted back to earth, losing seven of their last nine contests.

The Colorado Avalanche (13-6-0) nipped the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Kurtis McDermid broke a 2-2 tie in the third period with the winning goal while teammate Valeri Nichushkin scored to extend his goal streak to six games. Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist for the struggling Wild as they dropped to 5-9-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was overshadowed by the news that the league wasn’t going to allow Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to wear a custom mask before this game for the club’s Native American Heritage Night.

Fleury wanted to honor his wife Veronique, who is an Indigenous woman. However, the league threatened to fine him for violating their policy prohibiting players from wearing specialty gear, jerseys or hockey tape for theme nights.

Allan Walsh, Fleury’s agent, said his client was willing to pay whatever fine the NHL would hand down for wearing the mask. The league then threatened to levy an “additional significant fine” on the Wild if he did.

Fleury wore the mask during the warmup.

Good on Fleury and good on the Wild for supporting his decision. This was another example of how the NHL continuously shoots itself in the foot with its tone-deaf policies.

Meanwhile, Avalanche defenseman Sam Girard has entered the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program. He released a statement through his agency that he is seeking treatment for severe anxiety and depression that led to alcohol abuse. Best wishes to Girard in his recovery.

Detroit Red Wings forwards Alex DeBrincat and JT Compher each had a goal and an assist to defeat the Boston Bruins 5-2, handing the latter just their second regulation loss. Ville Husso picked up the win with a 25-save performance for the 10-6-3 Red Wings. Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen replied for the Bruins (14-2-3), who remain atop the overall standings with 31 points.

The New York Rangers got two goals from Mika Zibanejad and 36 saves from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the 12th win in the last 14 games for the 14-3-1 Rangers, who hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 29 points. Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers as they dropped to 10-9-1.

An overtime goal by Kevin Korchinski lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jason Dickinson had a hat trick as the Blackhawks (6-12-0) overcame a 3-1 deficit. William Nylander’s season-opening 17-game points streak came to an end as the Leafs sit at 10-5-3 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander had a golden opportunity to win the game on an overtime breakaway but his backhander struck the post and the crossbar and ricocheted away.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 37 shots to nip the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Eric Robinson’s tie-breaking goal in the first period held up as the game-winner for the 6-11-4 Blue Jackets, who’ve won two straight following a nine-game losing skid. Alexander Holtz scored for the struggling Devils (8-9-1), who’ve dropped six of their last seven contests.

The Nashville Predators (9-10-0) picked up their fourth straight victory with an 8-3 romp over the St. Louis Blues. Filip Forsberg and Luke Evangelista each had two goals and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly scored in his first game in St. Louis against his former club since being traded to Toronto last February. Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist for the 10-8-1 Blues.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had four assists, Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got a goal and two assists to blank the Washington Capitals 5-0. Stuart Skinner turned in a 25-save shutout for the 6-12-1 Oilers. Charlie Lindgren stopped 30 shots for the 10-5-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury and won’t be traveling with the club during their upcoming road trip.

A shootout goal by Jesse Ylonen gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist while Cayden Primeau stopped 31 shots for the 9-9-2 Canadiens as they overcame a 2-0 deficit. William Eklund had a goal and an assist for the Sharks (3-15-2), who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with just eight points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens recalled forward Joel Armia and placed sidelined defenseman Arber Xhekaj (upper body) on injured reserve. Meanwhile, San Jose winger Filip Zadina left this game with an undisclosed injury. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced defenseman Jan Rutta is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who improved their record to 9-9-2. Sidney Crosby netted his 13th goal of the season as the Penguins fell to 9-10-0.

New York Islanders forwards Kyle Palmieri and Oliver Wahlstrom each had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Isles (8-6-5) have won three straight games. Drake Batherson tallied twice for the 8-8-0 Senators.

The Winnipeg Jets got a 32-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to defeat the Florida Panthers 3-0. Nino Niederreiter, Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry scored for the 12-5-2 Jets as they picked up their fifth straight victory. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 28 shots for the 12-7-1 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness returned behind the bench following a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife Judy, who is recovering from a seizure she suffered last month in Winnipeg.

The Panthers, meanwhile, placed defenseman Mike Reilly on waivers, sparking some speculation over whether this move is being made to clear a roster spot for Patrick Kane. The free-agent forward has been linked to the Panthers and is expected to reach a decision next week on where he’ll sign.

A four-goal third period carried the Calgary Flames to a 7-4 win over the Dallas Stars. Blake Coleman, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Flames overcame a 4-3 deficit to improve their record to 8-9-3. Wyatt Johnston scored twice for the Stars as they slipped to 12-5-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling through October and at one point finding themselves near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Flames (19 points) are just two points out of a wild-card berth.

The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Seattle Kraken 5-1. Connor Garland picked up two assists while Quinn Hughes had an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games for the 14-6-1 Canucks (29 points), who sit one point back of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Tye Kartye scored for the 8-9-5 Kraken, who lost forward Brandon Tanev during this game to a lower-body injury.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2023

The latest on Patrick Kane, the Oilers’ goaltending, and the Wild in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports Patrick Kane is getting very close to deciding on which NHL team he’ll join this season. The 35-year-old free-agent winger is reportedly mulling over multiple options.

As many as eight clubs were initially involved as Kane and his agent Pat Brisson were involved in several face-to-face interviews, including a Zoom call with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brisson is expected to circle back to clubs to tell them they’re out, though that hasn’t happened yet.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

It was expected that Kane might reach a decision this week. With American Thanksgiving coming up, it might take place by next week.

NHL NETWORK (via NHL WATCHER): Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are the leading candidates for Kane’s services. He claimed he keep hearing about Eastern clubs linked to Kane as there may be a concern about travel in the Western Conference.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said he’s spoken to teams that are wondering if the Panthers might be the front-runner for Kane. They could be the best option for him to win a fourth Stanley Cup this season, especially with defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour returning from injury. Seravalli speculates they could be a multi-year destination for Kane if they can free up cap space down the line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported that Panthers general manager Bill Zito has aggressively pursued Kane since the summer. They currently have around 630K in cap space so someone will have to be traded or demoted to free up a roster spot and cap room for him.


SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): Appearing on the latest episode of The Jeff Marek Show, Elliotte Friedman said the Edmonton Oilers could make a really bad trade for a goaltender if they wanted to. However, they don’t want to do that as they’re trying to keep an eye on the big picture at some level.

Friedman believed someone like the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson could make a difference for the Oilers. However, he’s not going to fix everything that ails the club.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the representatives for free-agent goaltender Jaroslav Halak have spoken with the Oilers. The 38-year-old is back in Boston contemplating his next move after being released from his PTO contract by the Carolina Hurricanes. LeBrun believes the reason Halak was released was due to his unwillingness to have a conditioning stint in the AHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are backed into a corner with their goaltending and everyone knows it. They would have to overpay to bring in an experienced netminder who might not have much success between the pipes given the Oilers’ sloppy defensive game.

Signing a free agent like Halak would be a more affordable option. However, there’s no guarantee of improvement given his age and the fact he hasn’t played since April.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason is not in any imminent danger of losing his job despite his club’s sputtering start to this season. He believes that’s mainly because the best fix is for the Wild’s best players to pull them through this difficult stretch.

Johnston cited the low production thus far from Wild stars like Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy and Marcus Foligno. He believes the heated meeting that general manager Bill Guerin had with the players last week was to send the message that it’s up to them to get themselves out of this situation.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Joe Smith believe Guerin may have robbed himself of potentially valuable trade-deadline chips by re-signing Foligno, Ryan Hartman, and Mats Zuccarello to multi-year contract extensions.

If the Wild fail to improve, Guerin will have little or no flexibility near the trade deadline. They won’t have many players on expiring contracts to flog for draft picks and prospects.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2023

Are the Sabres a fit for Patrick Kane? Could the Panthers pursue Nikita Zadorov? What’s the latest Canucks speculation? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: In his latest mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked why so many Sabres fans think Patrick Kane will sign with their club if he’s trying to latch onto a Stanley Cup contender.

Kane has links to his hometown Sabres including with Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and head coach Don Granato. He noted that the club is among the few with the cap space, opportunity and supporting cast to entice the 35-year-old free-agent winger.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

However, Lysowski doesn’t see Kane selecting the Sabres unless they overpay or give him a multi-year contract. The latter scenario seems unlikely as they have several right-wing options for next season that include Alex Tuch, Jack Quinn and Matthew Savoie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are among a handful of clubs (including the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs) that have been linked to Kane in the media rumor mill. He’s expected to decide by the end of this week as to where he’ll spend the rest of this season. The Sabres and Panthers have reportedly kept in touch with his camp since the summer.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, George Richards was asked if he thinks the Panthers will be in on Nikita Zadorov. The defenseman recently requested a trade from the Calgary Flames.

Richards believes the Panthers always have an interest in any player who could help them out. However, he doubts that they have what it would take to make a move for someone like Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means depth in draft picks and prospects, something the Flames would want in return for Zadorov.

The Panthers have traded away their first-round picks for 2024 and 2025 as well as their 2024 second-rounder. Their prospect pipeline was ranked No. 23 by The Athletic back in August largely because of Anton Lundell’s success. They won’t part with Lundell as he’s a key part of their roster.


THE PROVINCE: In a recent mailbag segment, Patrick Johnston was asked if the Canucks are continuing to search for more defensive depth with Carson Soucy sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Johnston noted that the Canucks were interested in the Flames’ Nikita Zadorov since before last summer’s draft. His teammate Chris Tanev loved his time playing in Vancouver and would probably welcome a return, especially with how well the Canucks are playing right now.

However, Johnston doesn’t believe the Flames want to trade either player to Vancouver. To make it work, the Canucks might have to find an Eastern Conference club willing to swing a three-team deal.

The Canucks would also like to add another winger or two. Conor Garland has been in the rumor mill for some time but no one’s sprung for him yet. If the Canucks could trade Anthony Beauvillier and his expiring contract, they could use the savings to add a more effective player to their lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks strong performance of late means management doesn’t have to rush around trying to find a suitable deal this early in the season. They could end up having to wait until the calendar flips to 2024 before they start finding any suitable possibilities in the trade market.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2023

William Nylander extends his points streak as the Leafs win again in Sweden, tough times for the Blue Jackets and Wild, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander extended his season-opening points streak to 17 games with the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild in the NHL Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden. Nylander and Auston Matthews each had a goal and an assist while Morgan Rielly had a goal and two assists for the 10-5-2 Maple Leafs. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist for the Wild as they slid to 5-8-4 on the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander remains the Leafs’ best player this season, leading them with 27 points and sitting among the league’s scoring leaders.

The Wild, meanwhile, have been struggling this season, prompting general manager Bill Guerin to express his unhappiness over the club’s performance during a team meeting with players and coaches.

Guerin recently attempted to bolster his blueline by shipping Calen Addison to the San Jose Sharks and adding Zach Bogosian from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Handcuffed by over $14 million in dead cap space due to buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter two years ago, there’s little the Wild GM can do to help his cap-strapped club.

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2, handing the latter their ninth straight loss. Ryan Poehling had a goal and two assists for the Flyers (10-7-1) as they extended their win streak to five games. Blues Jackets winger Patrik Laine was a healthy scratch as his club fell to 4-11-4. Jackets defenseman Damon Severson left this game during the second period with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have tied their franchise record for the longest losing streak in a season. The Athletic’s Blue Jackets beat writer Aaron Portzline wondered who’ll take the fall for this club’s poor performance. He doesn’t see head coach Pascal Vincent getting the axe less than two months after being hired. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has been criticized by Jackets fans but he still has the support of team president John Davidson.

The Flyers, meanwhile, placed goaltender Felix Sandstrom on waivers after taking him off injured reserve.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic returned to the lineup with a 38-save performance to shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0. Ryan Graves, Noel Acciari and Evgeni Malkin scored as the Penguins improved to 9-8-0. Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill stopped 30 shots as his team remains on top of the Western Conference with a record of 13-4-2 (28 points).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jeff Carter returned to the Penguins’ lineup as Vinnie Hinostroza is sidelined by a lower-body injury. The Golden Knights activated Nicolas Hague off injured reserve for this game.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a three-game losing skid by nipping the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and two assists for the 8-9-1 Sabres. Philipp Kurashev has a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks as they fell to 5-11-0.

St. Louis Blues netminder Joel Hofer had a 30-save performance in a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, handing the latter their third straight loss. Pavel Buchnevich scored what proved to be the game-winner as the Blues moved to 9-7-1. John Gibson stopped 28 shots and Mason McTavish scored for the 9-9-0 Ducks.


THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins winger Milan Lucic will appear in a Boston court on Monday to face a charge of assault and battery on a family member. Lucic was arrested on Saturday morning following a domestic incident and is on an indefinite leave of absence from the Bruins.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is listed as day-to-day with a knee injury and will miss Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.