NHL Rumor Mill – August 10, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 10, 2020

Reaction to the Maple Leafs’ elimination from the qualifying round in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes a seismic change is needed for the Toronto Maple Leafs following their elimination from the qualifying round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their disappointing loss and a stagnant salary-cap could force management to make some difficult decisions.

Johnston considers the Leafs defense to be second-rate and took a big blow after losing Jake Muzzin in Game 2. Secondary scoring was an issue after Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe put Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner on the same line in Game 5.

Has William Nylander played his last game with the Toronto Maple Leafs? (NHL Images)

Except for Matthews, Johnston expects one of the Leafs core players (Tavares, Marner, William Nylander, Frederik Andersen, Morgan Rielly) will be sacrificed as part of wider changes before next season. “Everything else must be up for consideration, pending the forces at play in the marketplace.”

If the Leafs win tonight’s draft lottery, Johnston suggests selecting left wing Alexis Lafreniere, trade away one of the high-priced, high-impact forwards, and use the savings to address their blueline needs.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos believes it’s time for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas to trade William Nylander for defensive help. He pointed out the Blue Jackets did the same thing several years ago, shipping center Ryan Johansen to Nashville for blueline stud Seth Jones. “Maybe Nylander can get the Leafs a Seth Jones or, at the very least, a Josh Manson or Brett Pesce.”

THE SCORE: John Matisz listed John Tavares, Frederik Andersen, and Kaspari Kapanen among those on the hot seat heading into the off-season.

Matisz wondered how Tavares will be perceived following his inconsistent play against the Jackets, especially carrying an $11 million annual average value for the next five years.

Replacing a goaltender of Andersen’s caliber won’t be easy, as he’s usually top-10 caliber during the regular season. While he’s undoubtedly safe, he will face increasing pressure heading into his contract year

If a shake-up is coming, Matisz believes Kapanen (and perhaps Andreas Johnsson) could become a trade chip. He carries an affordable contract ($3.2 million AAV for the next two years), had a decent scoring touch and skates like the wind.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll see and hear a lot more speculation about the Leafs’ off-season plans in the coming weeks. No one should be surprised. The Leafs are top-heavy offensively and lack sufficient blueline depth. They can get by with that during the regular season, but it’s their undoing in playoff or qualifying-round series.

Dubas, with the blessing of Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, approved that hefty contract for Tavares two years ago, bringing in a player they didn’t need. That’s not to disparage Tavares. I don’t blame him for taking the big bucks to play for his hometown club. He didn’t pressure the Leafs to sign him, and he’s played well for them.

However, the Leafs’ defensive shortcomings were obvious two years ago. They were coming off a season where they were among the top-five in scoring but also in shots-against per game. Andersen’s goaltending was the only reason they finished 12th in goals-against per game (2.80).

But the Leafs front office got distracted by a shiny thing in the summer of 2018, and Tavares’ $11 million AAV handcuffed them ever since. That’s why they had their contract standoff last season with Nylander, it’s why Dubas and his capologist engaged in salary-cap gymnastics last summer to free up room to re-sign Marner, and it’s why they failed to suitably address their defensive needs.

I praised Dubas’ efforts last summer because he hadn’t made the team any worse. However, it’s clear he didn’t make them any better. And now, he faces a daunting challenge of addressing those weaknesses with even less cap room.

So who gets moved? I agree it won’t be Matthews. It also won’t be Rielly. Trading their best defenseman for defensive help would be ridiculous.

They could move Andersen, but the cost of a replacement will be expensive via trade or free agency. That’s a move likely to be kicked down the road a year. They could move Marner but that’s unlikely after all those moves last summer to accommodate his new salary. Tavares has a full no-movement clause. Even if he agrees to waive it, good luck trying to move that contract in the current economic environment. 

That leaves Nylander, who Dubas reportedly promised wouldn’t be moved as long as he was the general manager. The youngster could find out that sometimes general managers break their promises for the good of the team.

Nylander had a breakout performance this season, carries a reasonable $6.962 million AAV, and lacks no-trade protection. Teams in the market for a scoring winger will definitely be interested if he becomes available. The Leafs could also move Kapanen, but he won’t fetch the type of return the Leafs need.

Dubas and company could shock us by moving someone else, but I think it’s got to be Nylander.

What do you think, Leafs fans? Let me know in the comments section below.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2020

Phase 2 training groups expanded, update on the host city candidates, expiring player contracts tentatively extended to Oct. 31, plus the latest on John Tavares, Vladimir Tarasenko & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reported the NHL will allow voluntary small-group training to expand from groups of six to 12 players effective today. It is a continuation of Phase 2 of the league’s return-to-play plan.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin reports Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares remains optimistic about the return-to-play plan despite 11 players testing positive for COVID-19 since Phase 2 began on June 8. Tavares, a return-to-play committee member, said the league and the NHLPA continue to listen to advice from infectious-disease experts.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (Photo via NHL Images).

Certainly, you always have to be monitoring and preparing for the worst,” Tavares said. “But what we’ve been told by the experts and world health officials, everything they’re recommending, we’re more than capable of being able to come back and play as things continue to get better and improve. The other optimism I see is what’s gone on in other countries around the world that are a few weeks and steps ahead of us, especially in Europe, the soccer leagues in how they’ve handled it with their return to play. It seems there’s been some pretty positive progress. Some of those countries were hit pretty hard by the virus.”

Because players under Phase 2 haven’t faced league-imposed restrictions, Larkin feels it’s too early to declare last week’s positive tests as a threat to the return-to-play plan. The quarantine bubble under Phase 3 beginning July 10 would be much stricter. Nevertheless, Larkin believes the league could have a significant problem if cases still pop up among players in Phase 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phase 3 will tell the tale. If COVID-19 cases spike during training camp, the league could be forced to reconsider its plans.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun reports Las Vegas, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver figure prominently among the six cities under considerations as hosts for Phase 4. Sources indicate Chicago remains in the running while Los Angeles keeps pushing. The NHL sent more detailed information on the hub city bids to the NHLPA for review.

LeBrun speculates it could be Vegas and Vancouver or Vegas and Edmonton, with Toronto just on the outside. Las Vegas’ proposed quarantine bubble is considered the tightest. If both bubble cities are in the west, the league isn’t concerned about home-ice advantage because there won’t be any fans in the stands.

THE SCORE: George McPhee, the Vegas Golden Knights president of hockey operations, believes Las Vegas is well-suited to become a host city.

“It’s a service business down there and they’re used to big, big events and they can handle this one,” said McPhee.

Edmonton, meanwhile, released details of its’ proposed Olympic Village-style set up for the players.

NBC SPORTS: Columbus and Minneapolis/St. Paul were ruled out as host city candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas’ bubble had better be the tightest because cases are rising there. Vancouver and Edmonton have significantly flattened its COVID-19 curve which bodes well for their respective host-city bids. The decision is expected at the end of this week.

SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHLPA have tentatively agreed to extend all expiring player contracts and work permits to the end of October pending approval of the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That includes players on the seven non-playoff clubs. The free-agent period usually begins on July 1. Looks like the market will instead open on November 1.

IN OTHER NEWS…

STLTODAY.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko took part in small-group training with several teammates on Monday. The St. Louis Blues winger had been sidelined since late October by a shoulder injury.

FOREVER BLUESHIRTS: New York Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko is exempt mandatory military service in his native Finland because he’s a type-1 diabetic.

THE SCORE: The International Ice Hockey Federation announced the 2021 World Championship will take place from May 21 to June 6. The 2020 championship was canceled due to COVID-19.

ESPN.COM: The Dallas Stars fired a visual effects designer over a racist comment made on social media.

STLTODAY.COM: Winger Chris Thorburn announced his retirement yesterday. He spent 801 games over 14 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, and St. Louis Blues, tallying 53 goals and 134 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Thorburn in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2020

Players mull over the idea of performing in arenas without fans, Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane put aside their differences to help form Hockey Diversity Alliance, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE CANADIAN PRESS (via CTV News): Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and teammate Darnell Nurse, Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, and Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler are among several NHL players pondering playing in arenas without fans under the league’s return-to-play plan later this summer.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (Photo via NHL Images).

NHL players are accustomed to playing in front of thousands of noisy fans, drawing energy and intensity from the crowds. That won’t be the case during the 24-team playoff tournament, as fans won’t be allowed into the two hub arenas due to COVID-19 concerns.

Nurse believes it will be a test for the players to create their own intensity. Tavares acknowledged it’ll be unlike what the players are used to, but pointed out the game between the boards remains the same.

Wheeler suggests players will have to push aside the distraction of silence and remember millions of fans will be watching them on television. McDavid, meanwhile, acknowledged it won’t be the same. “It’ll suck, but we gotta do what we gotta do.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lack of fan noise will be a little disconcerting at first, but I expect the players will quickly adjust. As Nurse pointed out, the players will have to find other ways to create their own environment and draw sufficient motivation.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane have a well-documented rivalry. However, the two put their differences aside to become part of the newly-formed Hockey Diversity Alliance, which seeks to eradicate racism from hockey.

I spoke to Evander and told him I want to jump in on this powerful message,” Reaves told the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Ed Graney. “We have to put aside our differences on the ice and come together for a much bigger cause.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said he and his staff intend to use their time leading up to the tournament in preparation to face the Edmonton Oilers, their qualifying-round opponent. They intend to work on improving their systems while ramping up their focus on the Oilers as the tournament draws near.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL coaches will have plenty of time to prepare. Late July is the earliest the tournament could begin, though early August seems the more likely time.

NJ.COM: Executives from the seven non-playoff clubs are hoping the NHL will allow them to spend some on-ice time evaluating their players during their long off-season. The New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks failed to qualify for the post-season tournament.

Devils interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald said those teams are hoping to get in some form of game action for their players.

Bring them in in any shape or form. It could be a mini-camp. It could be rookie camp. It could be a rookie tournament. Maybe the Eastern teams get together. Maybe there’s an appetite for all of us to somehow have some sort of mini-tournament. But there’s definitely going to be some push from us at least to be able to have the ability to work with our players in a smaller window, whatever that may look like. We all believe it’s not fair that we go nine months without being able to have contact with our players.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getting those teams together could be difficult as they’d all have to follow the same protocols as those participating in the playoff tournament. Perhaps mini-camps or rookie camps would be acceptable, though those clubs might have to pick up the costs of travel, accommodation, and COVID-19 testing.

HOKEJ.CZ: reports Dallas Stars forward Martin Hanzal is considering retirement after spending the past several seasons plagued by back injuries. He’s in the final year of his contract and spent the entire 2019-20 season on long-term injury reserve. With his contract still technically on the Stars’ books, he’ll likely wait until this season is over before making it official.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Craig Morgan reports Hanzal told him two months ago retirement was likely, but he’d wait until his contract expired to make an official decision. Morgan writes Hanzal’s back problems flare up whenever he plays hockey.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oiler Nail Yakupov, the first-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, is bouncing around the KHL with the same frequency as he did during his final NHL seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I attributed Yakupov’s NHL woes to the revolving door of coaches during his four seasons with the Oilers. However, it appears his problems are much deeper than that. He has the dubious honor of being among the biggest draft busts in NHL history.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens mascot Youppi! is the first character from a Canadian-based sports team to be inducted into The Mascot Hall of Fame. He’s also the first two-sport mascot to be inducted, having joined the Canadiens in 2005 after serving with the Montreal Expos from 1979 until the MLB club was relocated in 2004. Youppi! is also the only mascot to be ejected from an MLB game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, Youppi! One of my favorite mascots of all time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2020

The Masterton Trophy nominees are revealed, updates on the league’s return-to-play plan, and the latest on John Tavares, Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) yesterday released the 2019-20 nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Miller, G
Arizona Coyotes: Conor Garland, F
Boston Bruins: Kevan Miller, D
Buffalo Sabres: Curtis Lazar, F
Calgary Flames: Mark Giordano, D
Carolina Hurricanes: James Reimer, G
Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford, G
Colorado Avalanche: Ryan Graves, D
Columbus Blue Jackets: Nathan Gerbe, F
Dallas Stars: Stephen Johns, D
Detroit Red Wings: Robby Fabbri, F
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid, F
Florida Panthers: Noel Acciari, F 
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick, G
Minnesota Wild: Alex Stalock, G
Montreal Canadiens: Shea Weber, D
Nashville Predators: Jarred Tinordi, D
New Jersey Devils: Travis Zajac, F
New York Islanders: Thomas Hickey, D
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, G
Ottawa Senators: Bobby Ryan, F 
Philadelphia Flyers: Oskar Lindblom, F
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin, F
San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton, F
St. Louis Blues: Jay Bouwmeester, D
Tampa Bay Lightning: Alex Killorn, F
Toronto Maple Leafs: Zach Hyman, F
Vancouver Canucks: Jacob Markstrom, G
Vegas Golden Knights: Shea Theodore, D
Washington Capitals: Michal Kempny, D
Winnipeg Jets: Mark Letestu, F

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is among this year’s nominees for the Masterton Trophy (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the nominees. The winner of the Masterton Trophy will be announced at the 2020 NHL Awards following this season at a date to be announced.

LATEST ON THE RETURN-TO-PLAY PLAN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL and NHL Players Association will continue discussions in the coming weeks regarding the protocols, details, testing, and more for staging Phase 3 and 4 of the league’s return-to-play plan. Phase 3 is the training camp portion and Phase 4 the 24-team playoff tournament. The PA executive board representing the 31 teams is expected to vote on one big package rather than separate votes for each phase.

Darren Dreger reports the players are awaiting the specifics for Phase 3, including details on the two hub cities, restrictions, family matters, and more. The league and the PA acknowledge nothing will be perfect and some sacrifices will have to be made to get the sport back on its feet.

Regarding the collective bargaining agreement, LeBrun said those involved are holding out hope for an extension before play resumes. A lot of work still has to be done. Escrow and the salary cap are important issues for the players. Dreger noted they’re also interested in returning to the Olympics as early as 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the league and the PA will get the details for the return-to-play plan sorted out by no later than early July. Whether either Phase takes place without a hitch is another issue. A second wave of COVID-19 could derail those plans.

Most fans will be thrilled if a CBA extension beyond 2022 can be hammered out before play resumes. Nevertheless, the priority is completing this season and crowning a Stanley Cup champion. The CBA takes a backseat to that right now.

REUTERS: Canada and the United States are expected to extend their border ban on non-essential travel to late July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the government of Canada provides exemptions for NHL players and staff, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver will be out of the running as one of the two host cities for the 24-team tournament. Other Canadian teams participating in the playoff tournament could emulate the Calgary Flames’ plans to stage training camps next month in the United States.

TORONTO SUN: John Tavares, Ilya Mikheyev, Jack Muzzin, and Jack Campbell were among the Maple Leafs taking part in small-group workouts yesterday at the Leafs’ training facility. Mitch Marner and Cody Ceci are expected to join them soon.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber intends to continue training at his off-season home in Kelowna, BC until a full training camp is on the horizon.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings center Jeff Carter underwent successful surgery last week to repair a core muscle injury. He’s expected to fully recover before the start of next season.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils put their search for a new head coach on pause for the time being. They reportedly spoke with 8-10 coaches and narrowed the list to four, including current interim bench boss Alain Nasreddine.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut signed a two-year contract with KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk. It appears to have an NHL opt-out clause but the details remain sketchy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pilut, 24, is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. Perhaps he’s trying to garner a measure of leverage in negotiations with the Sabres.

THE SCORE: Former NHL player Brandon Bochenski was elected mayor of Grand Forks, North Dakota yesterday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2020

Another update on the possibility of staging neutral-site games, plus the latest on John Tavares, Danny DeKeyser and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is considering games at neutral sites without fans if the season resumes later this year. “I’d say it’s one possibility, for sure, and it’s something that has been considered and something that has been discussed,” said Daly. “It’s not our preferred result or outcome.”

Daly indicated it would be difficult for team facilities to open in 25 of the league’s 31 markets because of local coronavirus directives. He acknowledged government and health authorities control the timetable for a possible resumption of the schedule, but felt the league still has some time to work with. Asked about staging neutral site games in Europe, Daly didn’t rule it out but considered that option unrealistic.

ESPN.COM: Daly said cities and venues across North America have reached out to the league pitching themselves as neutral site locations. He admitted the league is compiling a comprehensive list, but it isn’t completed or narrowed down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding suitable neutral-site locations is one thing. The logistics of staging those games in those areas is another.

Suitable accommodation, meals, and transportation for the players, as well as the staff of the respective teams and arenas, plus the security and broadcasting crews, must be provided, as well as stringent COVID-19 testing. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it could put a tremendous strain on local resources that could prove unmanageable.

John Tavares was among several Toronto Maple Leafs donating money to help two Toronto-area hospitals (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Led by John Tavares, several members of the Toronto Maple Leafs donated an undisclosed amount of money to support front-line workers at two Toronto-area hospitals.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser hopes to get his NHL career back on track after missing all but eight games this season with a herniated disc.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sidelined Flyers Philippe Myers and Nate Thompson have been cleared to resume playing whenever the league schedule resume. Winger James van Riemsdyk is expected to be cleared within one-to-two weeks.

Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder) continues to work out but hasn’t been cleared yet. Samuel Morin is expected to return from knee surgery in time for the 2020-21 season.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed defenseman Kurtis McDermid to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $875k.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have furloughed half of their staff through June 30. The club will cover 100 percent of their health benefits during that period.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former Kings coach Tom Webster died of brain cancer at age 71. As a player, he spent parts of five NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, and California Golden Seals, as well as six productive seasons with the WHA’s New England Whalers from 1972-73 to 1977-78.

Webster went on to become head coach of the New York Rangers in 1986-87 and the Kings from 1989-90 to 1991-92. He also served as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hartford Whalers, and Carolina Hurricanes, and as an amateur scout with the Calgary Flames.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 26, 2020

Alex Ovechkin continues his march up the goal-scoring leaderboard, the Leafs rebound from an embarrassing defeat on Saturday, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season and the game-winner in a 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ovechkin now has 701 career goals, sitting seven behind Mark Gartner for seventh place among the all-time goal-scoring leaders. The Capitals (84 points) opened a two-point lead over the Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. The Jets (70 points) are tied with the Nashville Predators, but the Preds hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot with three games in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 43rd goal of the season in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

The Predators, meanwhile got third-period goals by Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson to down the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

After an embarrassing loss to an emergency backup goalie on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs rebounded with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leafs captain John Tavares scored twice while Lightning captain Steven Stamkos left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning (85 points) failed to gain ground on the Bruins, while the Leafs (74 points) hold third place in the Atlantic Division.

Mike Hoffman’s third-period goal proved the game-winner as the Florida Panthers squeaked past the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. The Panthers sit two points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic, while the Coyotes (70 points) sit just outside the Western playoff picture.

Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund each scored two goals to lead the Calgary Flames over the Boston Bruins 5-2. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask saw his personal points streak end at 20 games. The Bruins remain atop the league’s overall standings with 90 points, while the Flames (72 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

The Vancouver Canucks edged the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli. With 74 points, the Canucks move into second place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights.

An overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad lifted the New York Rangers over the New York Islanders 4-3. The Isles hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 77 points. The surging Rangers (72 points) have won four straight and eight of their last 10 games, sitting four behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Minnesota Wild. Mikko Koivu tallied twice for the Wild, who sit three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The slumping Jackets have just one victory in their last 10 contests.

The Philadephia Flyers picked up their fourth straight victory and their seventh in his last 10, doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Kevin Hayes had a three-point performance, including two goals. The Flyers (79 points) hold third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight victory with a four-goal third period to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5. Zach Sanford tallied twice for the Blues (84 points), who sit atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.

Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. With the win, the Stars (80 points) move one ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division. The Hurricanes (74 points) sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Sonny Milano scored twice (including the game-winner) in his debut with the Anaheim Ducks in a 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. New Oilers Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and an assist. The Oilers (74 points) sit third in the Pacific Division. Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm left the game in the second period after suffering an upper-body injury crashing into the corner boards. Before the game, the Oilers announced winger Kailer Yamamoto would miss two-to-three weeks with a sprained ankle.

Cory Schneider made 27 saves for his first win of the season as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Devils center Pavel Zacha collected two assists.