NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

Tuukka Rask makes a triumphant return to the Bruins, the 2022 All-Star Game rosters and captains are revealed but several notable players are passed over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in his season debut as he backstopped the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. David Pastrnak tallied all of the Bruins’ goals, including the game-winner on the power play to snap a 2-2 tie in the second period. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots. With 44 points, the Bruins moved to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they fell 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings as the latter tallied four unanswered third-period goals, including three in a span of 1:23. Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice and set up another while Sean Durzi had a three-point performance and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves. The Kings (43 points) move into third place in the Pacific Division.

Nikita Kucherov collected two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 24 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Lightning holds a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with 55 points. The Canucks have lost three of their last four contests.

The New York Rangers Rangers got a 37-save shutout from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Chris Kreider scored twice, including his first NHL shorthanded goal. Braden Schneider scored in his first NHL game. The Rangers (52 points) sit atop the Metropolitan Division while the Sharks (41 points) still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames.

Speaking of the Flames, they were upset 4-1 by the Ottawa Senators. Nick Paul tallied twice while Matt Murray made 27 saves for his first win of the season. The Flames have dropped four straight games.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up the shutout with a 33-save performance to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Andrew Copp scored two goals and Kyle Connor scored shorthanded. The Jets (39 points) are two points behind the Sharks and one back of the Flames.

A four-goal third period carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 6-0 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes. Elvis Merzlikins turned in a 31-save shutout and Yegor Chinakhov scored two goals. The loss leaves the Hurricanes two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Seattle Kraken 2-1. The Blues extended their home points streak to 13 games while the Kraken have lost eight straight. With 49 points, the Blues are one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

The Predators, meanwhile, saw their five-game win streak halted in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Skinner tallied twice while Aaron Dell made 29 saves for the Sabres.

Mathew Barzal broke a 2-2 tie to lift the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Barzal’s teammates Zach Parise and Josh Bailey each collected two points as the Isles’ played their first game in 11 days.

Philipp Kurashev scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their five straight loss. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane also scored to snap a 13-game goalless drought. The Canadiens played without goalie Jake Allen, who is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. Teammate Chris Wideman also missed this game as he’s serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov, New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar were among the notable first-time selections for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game to be held in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Feb. 5.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid were named captains of their respective division squads as chosen by fan voting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link to see the full rosters as well as the candidates for the “Last Man In” for each division to be decided by fan voting.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the notables passed over for selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The exclusion of Markstrom, Rantanen and Ekblad could be a result of being overshadowed by their more well-known teammates. Marchand’s snub is likely tied to his well-earned reputation for questionable play.

Shesterkin still isn’t as well-known as he should be, though his profile should improve if the Rangers remain among the league’s top clubs. It won’t help him become a participant in this year’s All-Star Game but could help him garner recognition for next season’s event.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A partial tear in a thumb tendon has sidelined Oilers goaltender Mike Smith for at least a week, possibly two. The club has recalled Stuart Skinner from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Evander Kane could help resolve that issue…oh, wait, he’s not a goaltender…never mind…

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome, New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere and Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny are among the notable players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol on Jan. 13.

AHL’s Iowa Wild signed Eric Staal to a professional tryout contract.

TSN: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said individual active NHL players will not be permitted to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, any player under an NHL contract cannot participate in the Beijing Olympics.

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Quebec finance minister Eric Girard the league isn’t aware of any opportunity at this time that would lead to a franchise returning to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one observer noted on Twitter, that was Bettman’s polite way of saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Oh, and for those of you saying, “What about the Arizona Coyotes?”, should that club be relocated, it’ll likely be to another American city in the Western Conference such as Houston.










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 Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

COVID cases keep rising among NHL teams, Steven Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines

COVID NUMBERS STILL RISING AMONG NHL CLUBS

CALGARY SUN: Forward Dillon Dube and defenseman Oliver Kylington are the latest Flames players to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, bringing the total number to 18 players and five staff members, including head coach Darryl Sutter. Test results also showed several players appear to have the Omicron variant.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers now have seven players in COVID protocol. They are forwards Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Lomberg and defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas and Brandon Montour.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have three more players in COVID protocol as goaltender Jeremy Swayman and forwards Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh were added to the list. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were placed on the list earlier this week.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s COVID protocol list grew to five with forwards Andrew Burakovsky and J.T. Compher, defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Darcy Kuemper joining defenseman Devon Toews. Toews is the only player with symptoms and those were described as mild.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Lawson Crouse and Jay Beagle were placed on the COVID list yesterday.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Devin Shore joined teammate Ryan McLeod and head coach Dave Tippett in COVID protocol.

The Nashville Predators placed forward Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote on the COVID protocol list. They joined head coach John Hynes, forwards Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron and Philip Tamasino and defenseman Ben Harpur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reported Cousins took to Twitter wondering why the NHL doesn’t pause the schedule until after Christmas to get this situation under control. “This is ridiculous!”, he said. They added that Cousins fully supports advanced protocols but doesn’t think it’s fair to have the threat of COVID hanging over the players and their families in this way.

There’s no indication thus far the league intends to pause the schedule. However, there might not be many choices if the number of infected players keeps rising. The good news is those who have tested positive were asymptomatic or felt mild symptoms thanks to 99.9 percent of the players being fully vaccinated.

The league could be hoping to make it as far as their scheduled three-day break next week. That could slow the spread while allowing time for those who’ve already tested positive to be cleared to resume play following the holiday break. Let’s hope we’ll get some clarification soon because so far there’s little indication of what the league’s intentions are at this point other than soldiering on as cases mount.

NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February could soon be out of the question if more teams have games postponed by the league due to rising COVID numbers. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players but the league can opt-out by Jan. 10 if it believes mounting COVID cases will adversely affect the remainder of this season’s schedule.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos collected an assist to reach his 900th career point in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. With 42 points, the Lightning now sits first in the overall standings.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected an assist as the Nashville Predators topped the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Colton Sissons picked up three assists as the Predators extended their win streak to six games. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brock Boeser scored twice and J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced Stan Smyl was promoted to vice-president of hockey operations.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice and assisted on another as his club dropped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to snap a six-game losing skid. Connor McDavid chipped in two helpers while goaltender Stuart Skinner picked up the win with a 36-save effort.

The Montreal Canadiens got their first win in eight games by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Jonathan Drouin’s shootout goal. The Habs played without fans in the Bell Centre at the request of Quebec public health officials concerned over the rising cases in the region. They received assurances they will be able to return to a partial capacity scenario in January.

Jonathan Quick kicked out 41 shots to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Florida Panthers 4-1. The King extended their points streak to four games while handing the Panthers their third straight loss. Anze Kopitar was among the Kings’ goal scorers.

The Vegas Golden Knights got goals 33 seconds apart by William Karlsson and Nicolas Roy in the third period to hold off the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault had two points apiece for Vegas. The Devils have lost 10 of their last 12 contests.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter tallied two goals in a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The COVID-depleted Hurricanes iced a roster of just 16 players. One of them was rookie Jack Drury, who scored his first NHL goal. Drury is the son of former NHLer Ted Drury.

Semyon Varlamov turned aside 40 shots for his first win of the season as the New York Islanders downed the Boston Bruins 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck tallied twice for the Isles.

A shootout goal by Tage Thompson lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Minnesota Wild 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Sabres played without defenseman Robert Hagg as he’s month-to-month with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2021

Concern as COVID-19 cases rises among the players, Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews scoring reach milestones and Ben Bishop ends his playing career. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

COVID-19 CASES RISING AMONG NHL PLAYERS

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Tuesday’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild was postponed as six Hurricanes players and a member of their training staff went into COVID protocol. Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov, Steve Lorentz and Ian Cole entered the protocol one day after Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis did. The NHL will provide a further update on the Hurricanes schedule on Wednesday.

CALGARY SUN: The number of Flames on COVID protocol reached 10 after Milan Lucic, Sean Monahan and Noah Hanifin were placed on the list yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal is in COVID protocol. This comes three days after Casey Cizikas was the last of eight Isles to come off the list following an outbreak that began last month.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews will miss at least six games after testing positive for COVID-19.

THE PROVINCE: Four members of the Vancouver Canucks (Luke Schenn, Tucker Poolman, Brad Hunt and Juho Lammikko) have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday. Poolman was pulled from last night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets five minutes into the first period after the results of his test came through.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers forward Ryan McLeod joined the COVID protocol list yesterday. Head coach Dave Tippett was held out of last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a precautionary measure.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Morgan Frost left last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils within the first five minutes of the first period due to COVID protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: 24 NHL players entered the league’s COVID protocol within 36 hours. The good news is their symptoms (and those of players who tested positive earlier this season) were in most cases minor because all but one player is double-vaccinated. Nevertheless, they must self-isolate for between seven-to-10 days depending on the outcome of subsequent testing to prevent or slow the spread of the coronavirus.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL isn’t considering pausing its schedule yet because of the recent outbreaks. Doctors with the league and NHLPA advising both sides had a call on Tuesday evening to discuss the latest events and consider the next steps. That could include a return to enhanced protocols such as more mandated mask-wearing to daily testing of players and staff.

The outbreaks also raised concern over NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics based on the three-to-five week quarantine rules for players who test positive while taking part in the Men’s Ice Hockey tournament. The mood among the NHLPA membership is to wait and see, review the information and reach a decision on participation as the Jan. 10 deadline to opt-out approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also said that to his knowledge no players have yet to decide against skating in the Olympics based on those strict COVID rules. The league has left it in the NHLPA’s hands whether or not they’ll take part. It could depend on the spread of the Omicron variant between now and the Jan. 10 deadline.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby became the 14th player in NHL history to reach 400 multi-point games by collecting two assists in a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Crosby is the only active player to reach that mark. Evan Rodrigues had a goal and two assists as the Penguins pushed their winning streak to five straight. The Canadiens have dropped seven in a row.

Auston Matthews scored two goals to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-1 victory over the slumping Edmonton Oilers. Matthews joined Dave Keon as the only Leaf to reach 20 goals in each of their first six seasons. The Leafs sit atop the overall standings with 42 points. Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is now tied for second place in the goal-scoring race with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin with 20 goals. Edmonton Leon Draisaitl has 23.

The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to five games by nipping the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. The Canucks overcame a 3-0 deficit as Bo Horvat scored twice and Quinn Hughes collected three assists. They have yet to lose since Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach last week.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty tallied twice to extend his goal streak to seven games in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Mark Stone collected two assists as he and Pacioretty have each collected points in nine straight contests.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Florida Panthers 8-2. Josh Norris scored twice and added an assist, Drake Batherson had a goal and three assists and Connor Brown had three helpers.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson’s hat trick led his club to a 6-1 drubbing of the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers have won three straight games after dropping their first two games under interim coach Mike Yeo.

An overtime goal by Mathieu Joseph lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. The Lightning has won six of their last seven games. With 40 points, the defending Stanley Cup champions are just two back of the league-leading Maple Leafs.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals and Nazem Kadri had three assists to beat the New York Rangers 4-2. Nathan MacKinnon also picked up two assists for the Avalanche as they’ve won five straight.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored and chipped in two assists in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Blues goalie Charlie Lindgren made 33 saves as his club is unbeaten (4-0-2) in their last six games. The Stars, meanwhile, have dropped four straight.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a seven-game skid by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Rasmus Dahlin scored twice (including the game-winner) while rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 34 saves for his first career NHL win.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 34 saves to hold off the New York Islanders 2-1. Dylan Larkin and Michael Rasmussen tallied for the Wings while Anders Lee replied for the Isles.

The Seattle Kraken got a 33-save performance by Chris Driedger to down the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has been officially named as GM of Team USA in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop yesterday announced his playing career was over after struggling with a knee injury that has hampered him since the 2019 playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bishop and his family in their future endeavors. He was one of the NHL elite goaltenders between 2013-14 and 2019-20.

Bishop finishes with a record of 222 wins, 128 losses and 36 overtime losses with a career 2.32 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and 33 shutouts. He was a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist and a two-time Second Team All-Star during his tenures with the Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2021

The Capitals take over the top spot in the overall standings, the Leafs tie their franchise record for consecutive road wins, speculation over the next Canadiens’ general manager, Matt Murray demoted, Evander Kane on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: John Carlson scored and set up two others as the Washington Capitals doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2, vaulting over the Hurricanes into first place in the overall standings. The Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie the game but Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov potted the game-winner with a power-play goal late in the third period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 19th goal of the season. Lars Eller returned to Washington’s lineup after missing six games due to COVID-19.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (NHL Images).

The Toronto Maple Leafs tied a franchise record with their seventh straight road victory by downing the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Jack Campbell made 39 saves, Auston Matthews tallied his 10th goal of the season and John Tavares (22 points) maintained his place as the Leafs’ leading scorer with two assists. Leafs forward Ondrej Kase missed the game with an upper-body injury. Toronto (16-6-1) has won nine of their last 10 games. They’re tied in points with Washington (33) but the latter holds first overall by having a game in hand.

New Jersey Devils forward Andreas Johnson enjoyed a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve dropped six straight games. Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton also scored using a custom stick in honor of Thea, a young girl Hamilton grew close with in Calgary who passed away from cancer. He put her name on his stick as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night. “It’s great to score for her and her family,” said Hamilton. The Flyers, meanwhile, have lost six straight games.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored in the third period as the Boston Bruins nipped the Vancouver Canucks 3-2, handing the latter their ninth loss in the last 10 games. Linus Ullmark got the win with 36 saves.

Third-period goals by Ryan Hartman and Marcus Foligno lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Wild winger Mats Zuccarello missed this contest with an undisclosed injury. Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. Timo Meier scored both goals for the Sharks.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens owner and president Geoff Molson will hold a press conference today to address the firings on Sunday of general manager Marc Bergevin and head scout Trevor Timmins, the resignation of assistant GM Scott Mellanby on Saturday, and the hiring yesterday of former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton as executive vice-president of hockey operations.

TVA SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Anaheim Ducks assistant general manager Martin Madden Jr are among two of the rumored candidates to become the next Canadiens general manager.

Others included Quebec Remparts GM Patrick Roy, Florida Panthers advisor Roberto Luongo, former senior VP of NHL player safety Stephane Quintal and ECHL Maine Mariners president Daniel Briere.

RDS.CA: Hockey analyst Vincent Damphousse and San Diego Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard are also among the rumored candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere indicated he’d listen carefully to a proposal from the Canadiens but he hasn’t been contacted yet. Neither has Roy, whose name inevitably pops up whenever there’s talk of the Canadiens getting a new GM.

The reason why none of them have been called thus far is that Gorton will be the one who’ll do the hiring. Some pundits believe he will be running the show regardless of who becomes the next general manager.

That doesn’t mean the next GM will be a figurehead or puppet for Gorton. Whoever gets the job will work closely with the new hockey ops VP. However, Gorton will likely have the final say on all significant management decisions while Molson takes a step back from the day-to-day operations.

The next Canadiens general manager must be bilingual, a policy that for years limited the depth of talent the club could draw upon for available experienced management. The current list of available candidates with NHL management experience is rather thin. Having the unilingual Gorton in charge of overall hockey operations is a clever workaround, enabling the Habs to bring in a respected, well-seasoned NHL executive.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday placed winger Evander Kane on waivers in anticipation of the completion of his 21-games suspension on Nov. 30. If he clears waivers later today, he’s expected to report to their AHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane doesn’t report he will be suspended without pay. Sharks assistant GM Joe Will didn’t dismiss the possibility of the troubled winger getting traded. I’ll have more on that in today’s rumor mill.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Matt Murray cleared waivers yesterday and has been assigned to their AHL affiliate in Belleville.

Los Angeles Kings winger Brendan Lemieux faces an in-person hearing via Zoom on Tuesday with NHL VP of player safety George Parros for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk on the hand on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could face a suspension of over five games, which would take a bite out of his salary. Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Fenway Sports Group has signed a purchase agreement to assume a controlling stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins. Senior management is expected to remain in place following the sale of the club. Current co-owner Mario Lemieux is also supposed to stay with the club in some capacity.

POST-GAZETTE: Speaking of the Penguins, winger Bryan Rust (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Mark Jankowski to a one-year, $750K contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2021

Alex Ovechkin reaches another goal-scoring milestone, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Joe Pavelski each reach career benchmarks, Kirill Kaprizov leads the Wild to a lopsided victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied the 28th hat trick of his career as his club held off the Florida Panthers 4-3. Ovechkin is now tied with Bobby Hull and Marcel Dionne for the sixth-most hat tricks in NHL history. He’s also one goal shy of tying Dave Andreychuk’s record for the most career power-play goals (274). Tom Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had three points for the Capitals. The Panthers played without Anthony Duclair as he was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and considered day-to-day.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Joe Pavelski reached the 400 career goal plateau by scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger left the game in the second period following a collision with Avalanche forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel but returned for the third period. The Stars (9-7-2) have won five of their last six games. Cale Makar netted the only goal for the Avalanche.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 17 saves for his 200th career win and his second straight shutout to blank the Seattle Kraken 3-0. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s first goal of the season was the game-winner while Steven Stamkos netted his 11th goal of the season.

Kirill Kaprizov scored and set up three others as the Minnesota Wild romped to a 7-1 thumping of the Winnipeg Jets, handing the latter their fifth straight loss and chasing Connor Hellebuyck from the Jets net after he gave up four goals on 14 shots. Mats Zuccarello scored two goals and Kevin Fiala collected two assists.

Artemi Panarin broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the New York Rangers tallied three unanswered goals on route to a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Panarin and Bruins winger Brad Marchand each received misconduct penalties in the final seconds of the game after an exchange of words between the benches led to the Rangers winger throwing one of his hockey gloves at Marchand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks cited two sources claiming Marchand invoked Russian president Vladimir Putin and said no Russian players like Panarin. It’s believed the club has contacted the league about Marchand’s remarks.

Panarin took a leave of absence from the Rangers last season to deal with allegations made by one of his former Russian coaches claiming he assaulted a woman in Latvia a decade ago. The coach has close ties to Putin, whom Panarin had singled out for criticism in the past. The allegations were eventually revealed to be unfounded.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 34-save shutout performance from Anthony Stolarz in a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators, handing the Sens (4-13-1) their 10th loss in their last 11 games. Rickard Rakell and Trevor Zegras each had two points while Troy Terry netted his 13th goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators goaltender Matt Murray was a healthy scratch and is expected to be placed on waivers later today. The move is seen as a “wake-up call” for Murray, who hasn’t performed up to expectations this season.

Garrioch reports there are teams struggling between the pipes this season (Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres) who could use an experienced starter. However, Murray’s $6.25 million cap hit makes it unlikely he’ll be claimed.

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their eighth win in their last nine contests by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-1. John Tavares and William Nylander each had a goal and an assist while Joseph Woll kicked out 34 shots for the win. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced general manager Doug Wilson is taking a temporary medical leave from the club to deal with a non-COVID-related illness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Wilson for a quick and full recovery.

A four-goal second period powered the Carolina Hurricanes over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored two goals and Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes set a franchise record for requiring the fewest games (19) to reach 15 season-opening wins. The Flyers have dropped five in a row.

An overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat set up by Patrick Kane lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 3-2. The Blackhawks (7-11-2) were down 2-0 but rallied back on goals by Jujhar Khaira and Brandon Hagel. The Blues have now lost seven of their last nine contests.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist as his club doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Josi now has 20 points in as many games this season. Andreas Johnsson also had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who have lost five of their last six.

Tristan Jarry turned aside 25 shots and Kasperi Kapanen scored the only goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the New York Islanders 1-0 to pick up their fifth straight win. The Islanders (5-10-2) have lost eight straight.

A 39-save effort by Elvis Merzlikins gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Jack Roslovic scored the tie-breaker in the third period for the Jackets (12-6-0) while the Canucks’ record sinks to 6-13-2.

The Buffalo Sabres broke a four-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Tage Thompson tallied two goals for the Sabres (8-10-2). The Canadiens (5-14-2) are 1-9-1 on the road this season. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed forward Drake Caggiula on injured reserve.